References for Operation Matador

Matador raftThe Bridge

M1977 HEMTT Common Bridge Transporter (CBT)




SOF Raids vic Ramana 

“We started working closely with some of the coalition force assets built out of friendships and relationships from the past… They did a raid north of the river into the Rumana area about three weeks ago, or about two weeks preceding Operation Matador…

About a week later, the forces — again, [other] coalition forces — did a vehicle interdiction north of the river based on some sensitive intelligence.  They got into quite a shoot-’em-out. They had a little pick-’em-up truck that had about 14 people in it. So they came and killed all of them — two wounded prisoners came off, including a little girl that was reported out in public.  But in there was a mash of foreign fighters.  Sudanese, Saudi, many guys from Syria. Some of them had documentation.  Some of them had suicide notes on them. So we knew there were foreign fighters up north of the river.”
–Col Davis, Awakening, Vol III

U.S. Says Zarqawi Letter Recovered, NBC, 3may05
“Monday’s battle occurred after coalition forces searching an area of suspected insurgents followed a truck to an isolated tent and shed east of Qaim, the U.S. military said in a statement…  There, men from the truck and from inside the tent and shed loaded materials onto the vehicle. the military said. When it began to drive off, coalition forces stopped the truck, and the suspected insurgents — armed with assault rifles and hand grenades — opened fire, the statement said… 6-year-old girl received injuries to her head and one leg, the military said… Searching the site of the battle, coalition forces found false identification cards, foreign currency and other evidence of direct ties with Zarqawi’s terrorist group and other insurgent groups based outside Iraq, the military said.”

“around that time, probably even before then, there were some special operations raids going on north of the river. I only knew about that, because we’d have to clear
airspace for them. They obviously knew there were some folks up there and were going
after them, but it was very selective.” –LtCol Mundy, Awakening, Vol IIIA




Rebels Said to Be Battling One Another, LA Times, 8may05

Lt. Ronnie Choe, the camp’s intelligence officer, said many area residents who initially fought alongside insurgents trickling across the border have since become disillusioned with the militants. Whether this is wishful thinking on the Marines’ part or reality cannot be determined; it is unsafe to venture into the town for interviews. “Tensions in Husaybah arose from foreign fighters coming here and staying here. Even the imams have been intimidated by the mujahedin,” Choe said, using the local term for the rebels.

Last month, he said, insurgents kidnapped a cleric who had delivered a Friday sermon asking foreign fighters to stop attacking Americans from Husaybah because it put townspeople at risk when Marines returned fire. Choe also described how foreign fighters had hijacked the weekly sermons. “You’ll hear one voice giving the sermon, and then someone else will get on,” he said.

Choe noted that calls on the camp’s tip line were increasing and said those contacts were his best source of intelligence.  Two weeks ago, troops raided a house in Husaybah and found a weapons cache. The family readily acknowledged that insurgents had hidden contraband in their home, Diorio said.  “They said, ‘Yeah, they came and put weapons here. And before they left they shot my son.’ ”


Col Davis Interview in The Awakening, Vol III:

The operation was briefed throughout the chain of command and at some point it appears that information was leaked. I say this because, just before—before being relative, five, six days before—we launched this operation, we found red-on-red fighting breaking out all over the south side of Al Qaim. We had fights between Husaybah and Karabilah. We had fights between Sadah and Ush and between Old and New Ubaydi right across that Upper Peninsula. We didn’t understand it. We appreciated it, but we didn’t understand it. 

Everywhere and nowhere:

I was trying to create the illusion of a greater force structure by showing up everywhere but nowhere, in order to not be predictable. I was beginning to understand the threat, having dealt with these guys before, so I understood how they were looking at us. Philosophically, we were just trying to out-guerilla the guerilla. I needed to be everywhere and nowhere; I was setting a pattern, but not setting a pattern. –Col Davis, Awakening, Vol III


Al-Qaim I, Al Qaim Hospital: Tragedy Beyond Description
Sabah Ali, Brussels Tribunal

(Note: This is a series of very biased articles, probably with many inaccuracies, accusing US troops of many civilian deaths and malicious intent.  It evidently conflates red-on-red firefights and insurgent violence with Operation Matador and US operations. In so doing, however, it provides some insight on the fight between local tribal militia and AQI that erupted on 2 May 05.  The quote below is an example:

Aysha, a young widow covered with black, who works in the hospital, was there on May 2, 2005.  “It was noon; the shooting began after a dead body was brought here. The hospital was surrounded; the place was full of armed men. I told them that my 3 children are alone in the house and that I got to leave. I had to go from corner to corner, under the fire. I found the fighters inside my house. They told me to stay, I could not. I decided to take the children to my father in law’s house across the street. A shell was dropped at the door; I decided to go no matter what. My husband’s family went out to see, another shell was dropped on them, 5 children were killed, and 4 women injured, one of them lost one of her eyes. I left Al-Qaim and went to Ebeidi; the fighting was heavier, so I went to a village called Al-Khaseem until the fighting was over. Many people are telling me to leave Al-Qaim, but where am I to go, I work here”.

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