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Find, Fix, Finish IC

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2020 5:12 pm
by Organized States

Suleiman Street, Al Faqf, Gerrha

Abu Musab Al-Fallujah enjoyed Gerrha immensely. Walking along the gardened avenues of Al Faqf reminded him exactly why he had left the dusty industrial city that now served as the defining characteristic of his nom-de-guerre. While he was ashamed of his humble upbringing in Fallujah, a dusty backwater in Iraq's Anbar province where he and his mother lived off the goodwill of his tribe following the death of his father in the Iran-Iraq War, it served as a badge of honor in the Jihadist movement. It showed that he was a hardened fighter, one who was not afraid to confront the crusaders. While this belief associated with his name served him well, it couldn't have been further from the truth. In reality, Al-Fallujah had never fired his weapon against the Americans or their allies. In fact, he had never even seen them. He was in Baghdad, caring for his ailing uncle, during both of the deadly battles that tore his hometown apart. This did not stop him from claiming heroics, however, and with the city's insurgent cells in tatters, no one knew the truth.

Despite his lack of any real experience in facing the Crusaders, his ability to spin his story and manage the supply chain of chemical components needed to manufacture explosives made sure that he was able to hold a relatively important bureaucratic position in the so-called Islamic State in Qiyadar, one of the many arms of the worldwide Jihadist organization that had spawned out of Zarqawi's movement in the cells of a dusty Jordanian prison more than two decades ago. He had served them well. He moved hundreds of kilograms of compounds with names like PETN and hundreds of tons of fertilizers through Gerrha's ports and into Syria. In return, they had served him well. They had bought him the impressive home in one of Gerrha's nicest neighborhoods that he now walked into. As with many members of the Caliphate, he had slaves, for both his sexual pleasure and the housework he refused to carry out.

Walking into the entryway of the ultra-modern home, a compound designed to bear a passing resemblance to the Azm Palace in Damascus, he flipped the light switch and noted that he had power, a relative miracle considering the severe instability the city's power grid had suffered from following the Coalition's invasion a few months earlier.

"يا معلم" He exclaimed, surprised that the electricity still flowed. He wondered how long IS-Q's leadership would allow that to occur. The lack of consistent electricity in Gerrha only served to further the group's goals for the city, particularly inciting the sectarian war that they hoped would help throw the Coalition out. He walked further into the home, eventually heading into the restroom to wash his face and his beard, a nightly routine that he had been compelled to begin by his late mother as a child and couldn't bring himself to leave behind in his childhood. Then the lights went out once again. He cursed to no one in particular. He realized the irony of complaining about the electricity, considering his affiliation with the world's notorious terrorist network, before continuing to fumble around in the dark.

Major Chris "Vandal" Locke watched as two of his assaulters, Sergeant First Class James Zoltan, a veteran operator who previously served as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, and Staff Sergeant Jimmy Rivera, a young and boisterous Ranger who had just taken the long walk, stacked up on the massive steel door to the compound. While Locke was a fully-fledged member of the Unit in his own right, he rarely ever kicked down doors with the Assaulters or the Breachers. His job as an officer was to coordinate comms and air support, ensure that they made their time on target windows, and provide top cover for the operators as they did their jobs. Nonetheless, he was also on target and scanned the area with his huge, quad-eyed Night Vision Goggles that gave his face a faint green glow, keeping his Geissele URGI at the low ready.

"Vandal Two-two, Dragon One-one, you're in the clear at this time." the radio crackled in Locke's ear as the Air Force U-28A Draco checked in overhead. While the Draco wasn't a tactical aircraft and it lacked any kind of ability to employ weapons to assist his guys if things went hairy, he felt confident having them overhead. They were an essential ISR platform and Dracos had helped them avoid all kinds of contacts in the past. They were also especially useful in helping track down squirters from the target.

"Vandal copies, Dragon One-one." Technical Sergeant Andre Smith, the Troop's Air Force Combat Controller, said. Smith, a muscular man of 5'7', who could out PT almost everyone, much to every Ranger's chagrin, and had plans of being a CrossFit Games athlete after he got out. Locke could sprint a faster 400 meter than Smith, a leftover from his days on the Track Team at West Point, but with Smith's work ethic, that advantage wouldn't last long. "Man, I just want a fucking gunship." Smith mumbled under his breath, bringing a slight smile from Locke. An AC-130 would be intensely useful during nights like this, but the SOTF had shut down that idea. It made sense. The last thing anyone wanted was a misplaced one-oh-five round in a neighborhood where they already didn't care for Americans.

"Andre, we all good, brother?" Locke asked his combat controller, whose thumbs up was visible through the night vision goggles. The hand gesture was all he needed from the Combat Controller. "All Vandal stations, comms check."

"Vandal One-one is in position."
"Vandal One-two in position."
"Vandal One-three in position."
"Vandal One-Four in position."

"Vandal Six Actual copies all. Execute, execute, execute." Locke said calmly into the mouthpiece of his headset. Less than half a second later, the sound of three small explosive charges reverberated in Locke's ears as the three fireteams of four operators each breached the front and back doors and the garage gate of the compound. Moving purposefully through the house, the operators began to call out in the dark for the inhabitants of the house.

"Nadia... Nadia..." one of the operators called out in the dark for one of the young Yazidi women that Al-Fallujah had brought with him to Gerrha following her kidnapping at age twelve from her village in Iraq back in 2014. The quiet weeping over the Operator's hot mic confirmed she had been found by Vandal One-one's leader, First Sergeant Rod Hayes. Her ordeal was finally over.

As Vandal One-two moved through the house's hallway, Master Sergeant Shawn Chung saw the team's quarry dart out of one of the house's bathroom and down the hallway in a foolish attempt to outrun fate. A pair of M855A1 rounds in the small of his back from the darkened operator's ended Abu Musab Al-Fallujah's life and another night for the men of A Squadron's C Troop.

Situational Awareness Room, Camp Moonsor, Gerrha International Airport

"I just don't see his connection to the rest of the group." Rear Admiral Eric J. James said as he stroked his clean shaven chin, one of the few male chins in the room that did not sport facial hair of some sort. Standing at just under 5'10", James was an old school SEAL, a long distance runner and swimmer, not the weight-lifting, ruck-humping BTFs of today. The man remembered when SEALs still boarded ships. His intense hazel eyes stared through the members of his multinational intelligence team. The analysts and case officers were divided as to whether the "Mustafa" that was identified in captured IS-Q flowcharts could be connected to Samir Al-Ayesh, a Syrian-born insurgent leader who was believed to be IS-Q's senior military leader in Gerrha.

"Sir, the thing is, we have continuously heard the name Mustafa among the chatter from foreign fighters. The Jordanians' intercepts are almost uniform in the appearance of the name Mustafa. How could it be anything but an alias for Al-Ayesh?" asked an intelligence officer whose neatly combed black hair, squared glasses, and thick beard gave him the look of a bearded Superman. He was one of the multitudes that worked in the Situational Awareness Room, a massive, darkened facility that had been built up over the course of the past three months in a former hardened shelter built originally for one of the former regime's Russian aircraft. Filled with computers and flat-screen televisions screens, the SAR represented one of the most important sites in the world, providing the SOTF with almost completely unmatched situational awareness. Officers, Enlisted specialists, and intelligence agents collaborated freely and disseminated information to whoever needed it, almost similar to the open floor plan offices that brought success to Silicon Valley's best.

"Okay, convince me. If you can, we'll kill him tomorrow." the Admiral responded, drawing silence from the rest of the meeting. While a few of these officers from the USIC and their international partners were veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, few had worked directly with Special Operations Forces before. The directness surprised many of those used to working in the stuffy cubicles of Northern Virginia and the rest of the DC Beltway.

"We know Mustafa is an alias." the officer finally spoke up. "We know based on how he writes that he's Syrian. Probably educated, perhaps from Damascus or Aleppo or one of the big cities. His knowledge of Iraq, North Africa, and Afghanistan suggests he's been around with Daesh for a while." The officer continued, using the pejorative term for the Islamic State.

"That's not hard intelligence though. That's our best guess, but I'm listening."

"Well, sir, I think the description of Mustafa as enjoying foreign cars is the most telling indicator that he is Al-Ayesh. We know that he briefly drove on the amateur street racing circuit in Syria in the 1990s before he joined the Army."

"So? He likes cars, so do I. I have a '67 Corvette I'm rebuilding." The Admiral responded, putting his booted feet up on the table as he leaned back in his chair. For a flag officer, he was remarkably informal, probably the result of spending an entire career as a Frogman in the field, where manners and professional decorum didn't matter as much as competence.

The OGA man took his glasses off, perhaps in exhaustion or for dramatic effect. Everyone was tired. "Sir, if I can't convince you, I'd like to show you this. One of my colleagues sent over a report I want to explore further. A new BMW G15 was apparently delivered to the port yesterday, bought from a dealership in Algiers in cash. With Euros. With Al-Ayesh's travel history to North Africa, I'd be willing to bet he'd buy one from a familiar face."

"If you feel so strongly about it, kick it out to Haras Battalion and the ODA. Baker's SR troops haven't arrived in country yet." James smiled. He always liked to make the Spooks work for their dinner.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:10 pm
by Reverend Norv
Berth 112
Port of Gerrha

"Nice cars," said Aiden Murphy. The communications sergeant was kneeling atop the fire escape of a warehouse overlooking the port district, eyes fixed to his binoculars. Next to him, Juan Garcia shrugged the butt of his MRAD more snugly against his shoulder.

"And they say crime doesn't pay," Luke Greene drawled. The chief warrant officer, for his part, was tucked into the shadows of one of the customs booths at the entrance to the berth: covered by Garcia's overwatch position on the warehouse, but close enough to see the containers of BMWs and Porsches being unloaded onto the tarmac by longshoremen. Close enough, too, to see the SMF squad stacked up behind a shipping container of their own: invisible from the pier, but nearby enough to swing into action the instant they were needed. It was nearly midnight, and the Haras troopers' blue fatigues blended into the darkness.

Had he been in another unit, Jason Lewis would probably have given a warning about the chatter. But he had been with this team for eight years in ten countries. They knew how to do their jobs. He let one finger tap gently, calmly, against the receiver of his rifle. He was crouched behind one tire of an eighteen-wheeler, parked haphazardly among the shipping containers; he kept his head out of sight. Garcia and Pickering could monitor developments better than he could, anyway.

"I've got headlights." That was Pickering: Lewis nodded with satisfaction. Pick's Arkansas twang was reassuringly calm, and Lewis glanced up at the weapons sergeant's position: installed halfway up one of the cranes on the waterfront, with panoramic views of the port. Even with his GPNVGs, Lewis couldn't spot a trace of Pick from the ground. "Approaching from the south."

A moment later, a soft voice confirmed: "Sayarat. Thalatha." Three cars. The report was from an MSF picket, hidden near the southern approach to the berth. Lewis rolled his shoulders. "Mafhum," the captain acknowledged.

"Got 'em," Garcia stated quietly. His crosshairs tracked the lead vehicle. Down at ground level, Lewis could hear the engines approaching now, could see the headlights track back and forth across the darkened pier, charting a path through the piles of shipping containers and heavy machinery. Luke Greene watched the MSF squad nearby his position press themselves a little tighter against the wall of their own container as the cars passed by on the opposite side.

"Ayup. They're headed for the Beemer," Pickering stated. From their overwatch positions, the weapons and communications sergeants could see the longshoremen pry open one end of a shipping container and gently roll out a gleaming BMW, with three men toiling on each side of the car. The convoy of beat-up Toyotas - considerably less conspicuous in Gerrha - slowed to a halt a few yards away. Lewis could hear car doors opening and closing: his hiding place behind the eighteen-wheeler was just thirty meters from the BMW. Beside Lewis, George Haddad waited like a coiled spring, a flashbang already held close against his body in his left hand. Further down the pier, Luke Greene stepped silently out of the customs booth and nodded to the sergeant of the MSF team nearby him. The man offered a single nod back: wordless confirmation. We are ready.

"I make nine shooters exiting the vehicles," Pickering reported. Lewis heard their boots scrape against the concrete of the pier: quick, confident steps.

"I make twelve," Diaz said. "Three still inside the rearmost vehicle."

Preparing a fast getaway, Lewis thought. He heard the guards talking: curt, professional orders given and received. He glanced at Haddad. "Tounsi," Lewis murmured, very softly. "And Najdi. Right?"

Haddad listened, and nodded. Then Pick spoke again. "Eyes on the buyer. Unarmed, approaching the Beemer." Murphy, next to Diaz on the warehouse fire escape, carefully held his camera steady and heard the massive telephoto lens whisper in the night.

A few dozen meters from the BMW, hidden behind the truck, Lewis heard more conversation: this time louder, more genial, talking about prices. "Buyer's speaking shami," Haddad murmured. "Seller's speaking darija. Dzayiri."

"Call it in," Lewis told his headset mic. Quietly; very quietly.

On the warehouse fire escape, Murphy unhooked the handset of his PRC-119. "Remington Actual, Roomy Six Romeo." Lewis, who was half-Persian and of aristocratic stock, liked to quote Rumi, and the callsign had followed as an inevitable and atrocious pun. "We have eyes on the buyer. He's Syrian or Lebanese, with twelve guards, most of them foreign. Awaiting further instruction, over."

PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 6:54 pm
by Organized States
Situational Awareness Room, Camp Monsoor, Gerrha International Airport

"We have eyes on the buyer. He's Syrian or Lebanese, with twelve guards, most of them foreign. Awaiting further instruction, over." the earpiece said into Colonel Anthony Baker's ear. The tall, broad Ranger listened intently as he watched the footage from both the ever-present drones overhead and the footage from the ODA team streaming onto the four large screens in the front of the room that helped him and the other officers on duty make decisions about the tactical situation.

"Remington copies all Roomey. Standby one. Over" Baker said, holding his hand over the mouthpiece after speaking. This habit alone wouldn't stop any radio calls from going out, but after one too many mistakes as a Ranger PL with a radio back in the early days of the GWOT, he wasn't taking a chance with an errant or confused radio call. He looked down at one of the sitting airmen from the Joint Communications Unit who was standing watch, "Staff Sergeant, can you run facial recognition on all of those faces down there to confirm what Roomey is seeing."

"Copy, sir." The mild-mannered woman said, rapidly pressing a series of keys on her laptop to begin the process of running the faces, at least the visible ones through dozens of CIA, FBI, NSA, DIA, and other USIC databases. The system was fairly new, having only been procured late last year out of a project funded by CENTCOM, DARPA, and the NSA to match infrared images with other images collected by artificial intelligence from thousands of sources, like IS propaganda videos or social media profiles. Every time Baker saw it used, he gave himself a mental pat on the back for deactivating his LinkedIn, the only social media profile he had, last year. Working for JSOC and seeing the full intelligence picture that could be provided by the US Intelligence Community tended to make him more than a little paranoid at times. God help most of these bastards being identified by this system, because if their faces matched with any face an agency had redflagged somewhere, it was a surefire ticket to paradise delivered by one of his operators or a fucking drone.

The Computer program, however, for all of its complexity, did not move very fast. It slowly scanned each figure's infrared signature slowly and precisely. Methodically matching the data points with all of the speed and agility of a system manufactured by the lowest bidder. If the lowest bidder could produce something this lethal, what exactly did the losing bid look like? Baker thought to himself, shuddering at the very idea. Within a minute, an eternity within the rapidly evolving world of Special Operations, the targets were identified.

"Roomey, this is Remington. Confirmed ID on Mustafa. Withdraw immediately, Roomey. Mission requirements have changed."

Berth 112
Port of Gerrha

"Mustafa", AKA Samir Al-Ayesh loved cars. He had grown up around them, and one of his first draws into the Syrian regime was the financial solvency to help fund his passion. However, the former Army officer had grown increasingly disgusted by the regime's actions during the Civil War, particularly towards his fellow Sunnis. When the United States and the West decided not to intervene in 2013, he had developed a deep hatred for the infidels. Combined with his disdain of the regime, his burning desire to destroy the West for what he saw as a betrayal, and good old fashioned greed brought him directly into the Islamic State. Despite his hatred for the West, he couldn't bring himself to hate their cars and the BMW was the newest addition to the growing collection of vehicles he had amassed in Qiyadar and Syria. He knew his hobby could eventually catch the attention of the enemy, but he used a collection of middle men and dozens of separate wire transfers to try and throw off anyone on his scent.

As soon as he climbed into the new G15 that all of his effort was entirely worth it. The smell of the new leather and the sleek interior design thrilled him. He turned the key of the vehicle in the ignition and began to drive the vehicle away. His entourage, mostly Chechens and Syrians (he didn't trust Qiyadaris), watched him drive the vehicle in circles around the lot, until he started to drive away. This was not unusual for him, but the speed at which he had driven away surprised all of them.

Al-Ayesh was surprised at how quickly the vehicle began to accelerate away and then he noticed that the wheel was turning on its own. He let go of the wheel and watched the vehicle begin to drive itself through the stacks of shipping containers and through the warehouses of the port district. He knew that the newer BMWs had a kind of auto-drive feature and he wondered if he had inadvertantly enabled this new system. In reality, however, a team of hackers at Fort Meade at seized control of his vehicle and driven him right into the sights of a waiting MQ-9B Reaper. The Reaper, flown on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, fired a single AGM-114R which detonated the vehicle.