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This relentless progress of democracy is causing quite a commotion throughout the Arab world. While it is fashionable to denounce the American presence in Iraq, the Arab language buzz on the net is going in unexpected directions. Because of al Jazeera and the Internet, young Arabs everywhere are not only able to observe what it happening in Iraq, but to discuss it with young Iraqis.
The non-Iraqi Arabs are impressed at the proliferation of media in Iraq, and the eagerness of Iraqis to vote, and make democracy work. The economic growth in Iraq is admired, and is already attracting entrepreneurs from other Arab countries. The pessimists appear to be in the minority. Arabs are tired of dictators, economic stagnation, the corruption and living in a police state.
Opposition to the liberation of Iraq was supposed to topple the governments of Britain, Denmark, and Australia which are committed to helping Iraq. But that didn’t happen. All three won new mandates , at times with increased majorities.
Opponents of the liberation of Iraq, however , did not fare so well. Gerhard Schroeder, the most opportunistic Chancellor that federal Germany has had since its creation, was chased out of office by Angela Merkel who had shed no tears over the demise of Saddam Hussein.
In France, Jacques Chirac, who had also done all he could to keep Saddam Hussein power, ended up losing every local, regional , and European election that his party contested, not to speak of his humiliating defeat in the European Constitution referendum.
There was also good news in the fact that none of the bad news forecast materialised. The “Arab street” which was supposed to explode didn’t, except when it did in the form of backlash against terrorism in Morocco, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia,.
In Iraq, a Jordanian military hospital provides much-needed health services to Iraqis and serves as an ad hoc trauma center, treating patients wounded in terrorist attacks and moving them to Jordan or other locations "if they are in bad condition," Alkhas said. More than 4 million people have been treated in Jordan's military hospital in Iraq, and Jordanian military general surgeons have performed 1,638 surgeries, Alkhas said.
Jordan has committed nearly 600 health care practitioners to the medical assistance missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. They consist of medical personnel and Jordanian special forces, who protect the hospital staff, Alkhas said.
Aside from saving lives by providing medical care, the Jordanians also have helped Iraqis protect their own lives by providing them with military and police training, and donated military and police equipment, coalition officials said.
Jordanians have donated 250 armored personnel carriers to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The vehicles consisted of 50 Ukrainian-built BTR-94 armored personnel carriers, 100 British Spartans, and 100 American-made M113A1 armored personnel carriers, coalition officials said. Jordan also donated two C-130B Hercules transport aircraft to the Iraqi air force, as well as 16 UH-1H utility helicopters.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 – The 8th Iraqi Army Division now has responsibility for military operations across two large provinces, a senior U.S. military officer told reporters in Baghdad yesterday.
"Today is the day that the 8th Iraqi Army Division assumed control of battlespace inside of Iraq," Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said.
The 8th division is one of 10 such Iraqi army units now formed and will take the lead for counterinsurgency operations in both Diwaniyah and Wasit provinces, Lynch said. Those provinces make up a combined geographical area of about the size of the state of Kentucky.
Since 2005 the 8th Division's Iraqi soldiers have trained under Polish, Salvadoran, Bulgarian and U.S. military instructors, Lynch said. "They have transitioned through all the levels of capability," he said. "And today it was declared that they are now proficient enough in counterinsurgency operations to have the lead in two provinces."
BAGHDAD, Feb. 21, 2006 – The 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, assumed responsibility from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, for areas in central and southern Baghdad yesterday during a battlespace transfer-of-authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Honor.
The ceremony took place after many months of training and combined missions between the two units, in which the soldiers of the U.S. unit assisted the Iraqi soldiers in preparation to assume the battlespace inside and around the International Zone.
Beech said he remains optimistic about the new transition. The Iraqi army is now responsible for the security of nearly 60 percent of the Baghdad area. This is important in light of the fact the country is preparing for the upcoming seating of the Council of Representatives, he added.
The 6th Iraqi Division is responsible for all the battlespace in Baghdad. The 5th Brigade's area of operations covers about 50 square kilometers of the city.
The brigade's three battalions will operate primarily inside the International Zone and the Karradah Peninsula. Iraqi security forces will be responsible for running various checkpoints in the area of operations.
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq, March 3, 2006 – U.S. and coalition troops in the Baghdad area handed control of operations in western Baghdad and eastern Abu Ghraib to Iraqi soldiers in a ceremony yesterday.
Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, handed over operations to 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Constitution.
"We are comrades. The Iraqi army and the American forces are brothers. We bleed together. We shed tears over the same fallen comrades," Iraqi Brig. Gen. Aziz Noor, commander of 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, said.
The transfer of operations was one of the largest and most prominent since coalition forces began training Iraqi troops, officials said.
"The American forces are giving freedom back to the people of Iraq, just as they did in Japan, Germany and Korea," Aziz said. "We are receiving this area of responsibility and the job to protect it. God willing, we will be able to do so."
More than 1,500 members of the Iraqi army stood proudly in formation as the ceremony took place.
Iraqi Counterterrorism Force frees Iraqi hostage
BALAD, Iraq – A late-night operation by Iraqi Counterterrorism Forces east of Taji March 6 freed one hostage and led to the detention of two others believed to be involved in the hostage taking.
Soldiers from the 2nd Counterterrorism Battalion, 1st Iraqi Special Operations Forces Brigade planned and conducted an assault that freed an Iraqi government official who, according to sources, was to be executed later that night after spending almost four days in captivity.
According to one senior U.S. Special Operations Forces advisor responsible for training the ICTF, this is the type of mission they train for.
“They were able to execute quickly and make timely decisions on the ground,” the advisor said. “It provided an outstanding situation in which to showcase the abilities of the unit.”
The hostage was handcuffed to a bed in an isolated room of the house in which he was held. He was badly beaten and bleeding from his mouth when he was discovered by the ICTF. However, he was quickly cut free and taken to another room where he received medical attention and was able to call his family to tell them that he was safe.
Two individuals were apprehended soon after ICTF forces discovered the hostage. The two are believed to be part of a kidnapping and execution cell.
U.S. soldiers discovered four weapons caches in a four-day period in areas outside of Baghdad, officials said.
Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, discovered a weapons cache March 8 near the Euphrates River, south of Baghdad.
Army Pfc. Jason Chambers, of B Company, was occupying an observation post when he noticed something out of place in the distance. After carefully inspecting the area, he and another soldier discovered the cache, consisting of roadside bomb-making materials. Chambers and the soldier moved away a safe distance, notified their chain of command, and provided security until help arrived. Soldiers from B Company cordoned off the area.
Communications equipment, enemy propaganda, pre-made bomb detonation initiators, and various roadside bomb components were found. EOD technicians estimated the seizure took 637 roadside bombs from terrorists' hands.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – Cooperation between Iraqi and Coalition forces continues to yield results, expanding Iraqi manpower while reducing terrorist capabilities in Iraq.
In western al Anbar Province, Iraqi and U.S Forces wrapped up Operation Al Asad (Lion) March 4. The five-day operation sought out anti-Iraqi forces attempting to hide along the Euphrates River.
Iraqi Army Soldiers, supported by U.S. troops from Regimental Combat Team-7, uncovered 80 weapons and munitions caches, a total of more than 62 tons of material, significantly reducing the number of weapons and munitions available to anti-Iraqi forces. Two insurgents were killed and 65 suspected insurgents were detained as a result of the operation.
Col. W. Blake Crowe, commanding officer of RCT-7, said local citizens expressed appreciation of the military forces. “I spoke with one man and he invited us in for cold water,” said Col. Crowe. “He invited us back and said his village welcomed our presence.”
In Baghdad, Iraqi and Coalition Forces detained eight suspects in a joint operation March 11.
Iraqi forces led the joint operation and discovered several rooftop fighting positions, AK-47s and Molotov cocktails.
Four men were detained at the Al Khayr Mosque Complex, which military officials identified as a possible Al Qaeda in Iraq safe haven. Four others were detained from other sites raided during this operation.
The detainees are suspected of kidnapping, manufacturing car bombs, and financing and supporting terrorists.
IRAQI SECURITY FORCES
Today, ISF independent operations account for more than 36 percent of total operations conducted.
Since 2003, 34 Forward Operating Bases out of a peak total of 110, have been transferred to the Iraqi Transitional Government, transferred to the ISF or closed.
Controlling its national borders and preventing infiltration of terrorists and foreign fighters wishing to use Iraq as a safe haven or conduct acts of terror, was possible due to operations in Al Anbar, Tall Afar, and the Western Euphrates River Valley area. These operations, along with the establishment of 258 border forts resulted in the successful restoration of border control to the people and government of Iraq in late 2005.
Since 2003, 258 Border facilities, 309 police stations, 14 academies and branch schools, 26 unit headquarters, and 67 fire stations have been built or rehabilitated.
Ministry of Defense
After being formally dissolved May 23, 2003, the first 1,000 recruits of Iraq’s new Army began training Aug 2, 2003, today the Ministry of Defense forces now number 112,900; with 99,500 in the Army, 600 in the Air Force, and 800 in the Navy, and 10,800 in various support force units.
The Iraqi military was rebuilt from scratch since 2003. The Iraqi Army absorbed the Iraqi National Guard to form 10 Iraqi Army combat divisions. There are now 101 trained and equipped combat battalions in the Iraqi Army – all of them are in the fight. This includes a (Special Operations Forces) Counter-Terrorist battalion, a Commando battalion, and Strategic Infrastructure battalions. Most recently, the Counter-Terrorism battalion rescued a retired Iraqi Army Brigadier General who had been kidnapped and was going to be killed by his captors. Today, 49 Iraqi Army combat battalions, 13 Brigade headquarters, and two Division headquarters control their own battle space.
Iraq’s Navy is now operational with a Patrol Boat Squadron with five Predator-class Patrol Craft, an Assault Boat Squadron with 25 Fast Assault Boats (FABs), and a Marine battalion, all of which serve to defend Iraq’s coast, territorial waters, vital ports and offshore assets against both external and internal security threats.
Iraq’s Air Force has five fully operational squadrons capable of conducting a variety of airlift, utility, intelligence gathering, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The squadrons include one C-130 transport squadron, two ISR squadrons with CH2000, Compair, and Seeker aircraft, and two helicopter squadrons with UH-1s and Bell Jet Rangers. The IAF recently purchased 10 Mi17 Hip helicopters which will soon form another helicopter squadron.
Iraq’s three Military Academies are committed to professionalizing the Iraqi Military. Rustamiyah has graduated 73 from the Sandhurst model course, Zahko has graduated 411, and Qalachoun currently has 188 enrolled. Between the three institutions, 653 have graduated from the 3-week newcomer’s course.
Since 2003, construction on 12 major military training facilities was completed and 10 other projects are ongoing.
Ministry of the Interior
In 2003, Iraq had a dilapidated internal security force. Today the Ministry of Interior has over 127,845 professionally trained and equipped members. Of those, over 88,962 are trained and equipped regular police officers and the other approximately 38,883 are assigned to National Police Forces, Commandos, Public Order Division, Mechanized Police Brigade and Border Enforcement.
In November 2003, Iraq’s only formal police training academy opened in Jordan, today, there are 12 police training academies including 8 basic police academies that instruct the10-week basic training course, designed to better prepare the police for the challenging environment in which many will serve.
In 2003, Iraq was unable to independently provide security for its own borders, today 20,391 border enforcement personnel have completed training and 258 border forts have been built, or are currently under construction, to help Iraq’s Border Enforcement officers patrol and secure Iraq’s borders.
Since 2003, 20 provincial SWAT teams of 32 personnel each have been trained and equipped, and one more is scheduled to complete training by December 2006.
Since 2003, 277 Iraqi Police construction projects were completed across the 18 provinces and 11 major cities. This included 37 Police Headquarters, 187 Police Stations, and seven Highway Patrol Stations.
The Iraq Relief & Reconstruction Fund ($2.5 billion) and supplemental Appropriations ($18.4 billion) have been committed to the re-building of Iraq. As of 7 March 2006, $18.6 billion (of which $11.4 billion is obligated for DoD projects) has been obligated on Iraqi reconstruction.
Since March 2003, more than 11,600 construction projects have been started. More than 9,340 projects, valued at $9.3 billion, have been completed.
Since March 2003 $9.6 billion (IRRF 1 - $2.5 billon, IRRF 2 - $7.1 billion) has been focused on providing reliable essential services (electricity, water, transportation, telecommunications, and oil). More than 2,412 essential service projects are either completed or underway.
Before March 2003, Iraq averaged 4,300 MW of peak electricity generation, supplying Baghdad with 12-24 hours of power a day by diverting power from the rest of Iraq, left with 4-8 hours of power, however today the average Iraqi citizen has 7 hours of electrical service in Baghdad and 10-12 hours in the rest of the country. It is expected to be 12 to 14 hours over the next year.
Before March 2003, only 5.5 million of Iraq’s 25 million citizens had access to a safe and stable water supply. Iraq’s cities suffered from inadequate sewage systems, today nineteen potable water treatment facilities have been built or rehabilitated, providing a standard level of service to about 2.7 million more Iraqis. In addition eight centralized sewage treatment facilities have been rehabilitated, adding capacity to benefit 4.9 million Iraqis.
Health care for some ethnic groups was almost nonexistent under Saddam's regime, today there are over 300 new health care facility projects across Iraq and over 270 projects underway to be completed by mid-year 2007 allowing an additional 7 million Iraqi citizens, regardless of ethnicity, geographic origin, gender, or religious affiliation, access to health care that was unavailable under the old regime.
Originally posted by grad_student
All we hear is the bad news. Kudos to you for looking at the good things.
Originally posted by makeitso
Jim Dunnigan writes that Al Qaeda was humiliated during the elections, having proclaimed that voting was against Islam, and that good Moslems should rise up and prevent this abomination. Instead, about 70 percent of eligible voters turned out, and there were few incidents of violence. That should have a good ripple effect, eh?
“We've finally given liberals a war against fundamentalism, and they don't want to fight it. They would, except it would put them on the same side as the United States.”