Joint Special Operations Command Leader To Stay In Iraq

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor
Washington Examiner
June 4, 2007 By Rowan Scarborough, National Security Correspondent
WASHINGTON -- The U.S.’s top terrorist hunter in Iraq has agreed to stay in the war another year at the behest of Army Gen. David Petraeus, Pentagon officials told The Examiner.
Gen. Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, made the request of Army Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who heads Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the military’s secretive counter-terrorism unit.
McChrystal was due to relinquish JSOC command through normal commander rotations. After McChrystal served as the Pentagon’s spokesman during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld handpicked him to run the unit based at Fort Bragg, N.C. Rumsfeld took a special interest in building up the JSOC to hunt top terrorist targets, such as Osama bin Laden.
Petraeus considers this such a critical time in Iraq because the Baghdad command needs someone of McChrystal’s experience who has studied enemy networks and knows the techniques to find them, department officials said.
The officials asked not to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of discussing personnel issues.
For more than three years in Iraq, the hard-charging McChrystal has led a crack contingent of Army Delta Force, Navy Seals, Army Rangers and a special intelligence unit. The mission: hunting down scores of high-value targets who head al Qaeda, and Sunni and Shiite guerillas cells.
Last month, JSOC had a hand in finding and killing Sheikh Azhar al-Dulaymi, whom the United States dubbed the mastermind of a Jan. 20 raid in Karbala that killed four American soldiers. Dulaymi was fatally shot on a rooftop in the Sadr City section of Baghdad.
McChrystal’s biggest kill was Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who founded al Qaeda in Iraq and unleashed a wave of terror bombings across Iraq. The JSOC tracked Zarqawi last June to a farm house near Baquba, north of Baghdad. An Air Force F-16 bombing strike killed Zarqawi. McChrystal rushed to the scene and viewed the man he had hunted for years.
President Bush later publicly singled out McChrystal and his unit for praise.