Updated 18-Sep: Welcome to the Schriefer Blog, my name is Tavis Schriefer. Recently, my wife Jill and I raised money to supply driFIRE shirts to every soldier in Apache Company of the 1-501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. We were successful in raising over $6500 and we would like to thank everyone for all their support to make this happen.
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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Article: In the Land of the Blood Feuds

In the pre-dawn gloom, through weary villages shaded in gray, the soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, searched for the enemy. An aerial drone had spotted men burying weapons in a nearby Sunni cemetery.

The soldiers walked along a thin ribbon of sandy road, flanked by tall reeds
and palm trees, until they reached this forlorn place covered with crumbling gravestones. Silence mocked the unit, for the men had vanished. Soldiers pried open graves searching for the cache and 15 minutes later found four guns and some ammunition. Lt. Thomas Murphy, 32, wondered who the men had been. Members of al-Qaeda in Iraq? Loyalists of the former government? Tribesmen?

"Here we have so many different enemies," he said.

On the unruly outer fringes of the Sunni area south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death, American soldiers navigate more than a dozen battle zones straddling the fault lines of sect and tribe. Al-Qaeda in Iraq -- identified by President Bush and his generals as the main U.S. enemy -- is just one of myriad armed groups competing here for influence and authority. This arid region nourished by the Euphrates River is a microcosm of the many often-overlapping conflicts that have erupted across the new Iraq.

"We're fighting in multiple directions," said Col. Michael Garrett, commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) of the 25th Infantry Division.

In Garrett's office at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, near the Triangle's southern edge, a large map of his brigade's theater of operations hangs on the wall. South of Kalsu, the land stretches toward the Shiite cities of Musayyib and Karbala. To the northwest, across the farmlands of Jurf al-Sakhr and Khidr, Sunnis are in control. And to the north is Iskandariyah, a volatile mixed-sect town of factories and low-slung buildings.

(This is a detailed article from the Washington Post and a very good read. It provides insight to the political tactics being used to try and curb the violence in the FOB Iskan region. -Tavis)

Full text of article

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