Operation Steel Curtain Launched Along Syrian Border

U.S. forces have launched yet another “major offensive” in an attempt to staunch the flow of terrorists across the Syrian border into Iraq.

U.S. Launches Major Offensive in Iraq (AP)

American and Iraqi forces launched a major offensive Saturday near the porous Syrian border aimed at destroying al-Qaida in Iraq’s ability to smuggle foreign fighters, money and equipment through the region. The U.S. military also announced that two soldiers were killed by insurgents in other areas of Iraq on Friday. The offensive in the town of Husaybah of about 2,500 U.S. forces and 1,000 Iraqis — including local forces acting as scouts — will remove insurgents from the western province of Anbar ahead of Iraq’s parliamentary election on Dec. 15, the U.S. military said.


The military statement said al-Qaida in Iraq, the country’s most feared insurgent group, has used the Husaybah region for its smuggling operations. The military also said that insurgents continue to threaten residents of Husaybah who work with U.S. or Iraqi forces.

The offensive is part of a larger ongoing U.S. military operation designed to deny al-Qaida in Iraq the ability to operate in the Euphrates River valley, which stretches through Anbar province, and to establish a joint permanent security presence along the Syrian border. “Operation Steel Curtain marks the first large-scale employment of multiple battalion-sized units of Iraqi army forces in combined operations with coalition forces in the last year,” the military said.

Stopping the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq would certainly be helpful. Let’s hope this one is more successful in that goal than Operation Iron Fist, Operation Matador, and other operations named after comic book characters and bullfighters.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. AST says:

    What’s the difference between an Iron Curtain and a Steel Curtain?

    I guess the former is more brittle and can fail quickly. The other was the Pittsburg defense.