Archive for May 22nd, 2008

Troop Scoop

Posted: 22 May 2008 04:25 PM CDT

Dear Interested Reader,
Kudos to the Sons of Iraq who volunteer to protect their neighborhoods, get paid very little, and have to face threats to their lives as well as those of their families.  There’s a most positive story on the success of reconciliation.  A key AQI leader is detained, as well as other criminals killed or captured, and large weapons caches seized.

Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

May 21, 2008

MND-B Soldiers stop IED emplacers in New Baghdad

BAGHDAD – MND-Baghdad Soldiers killed 11 criminals in an ongoing op in eastern Baghdad, May 21.
Soldiers observed armed criminals with AK-47 assault rifles, exiting a sports utility vehicle in the New Baghdad security district.  The individual scanned the area and motioned another vehicle forward, emplacing an IED. The suspects were engaged with small-arms fire, killing one.
Earlier, MND-B Soldiers encountered 4 other armed criminals, with AK-47’s and RPK rifles, travelling in a vehicle. They were engaged and all 4 were killed.  Soldiers engaged and killed another armed criminal carrying a RPG.
At another location in New Baghdad, MND-B Soldiers noticed a criminal armed with an AK-47 conducting
recon from a vehicle, who was engaged and killed.
MND-B Soldiers spotted a criminal moving away from a nearby alley, holding an AK-47 in a firing position, engaged and killed him.  Another criminal, driving a vehicle in New Baghdad, made several passes by MND-B Soldiers. He stopped the vehicle and attempted to hand an AK-47 to other individuals.  An MND-B Soldier engaged and killed him.
Also in New Baghdad, MND-B Soldiers observed 2 other criminals digging a hole at the corner of an intersection in New Baghdad.  One of the militants left the scene and returned with an IED.  After it was emplaced, MND-B Soldiers engaged and killed them both.
“CF will use an appropriate, effective and lethal response when dealing with those who will use IEDs.  These indiscriminate weapons hurt and kill many innocent Iraqis,” said Maj. Joey Sullinger, spokesperson for 4th BCT, 10th Mtn Div, MND-B.


New Sons of Iraq stand up to help secure their communities

KIRKUK – Approx. 75 new SoI members witnessed their leaders sign 3 SoI contracts in a signing ceremony in the Ta’mim Province May 19.
Iraqi SF, CF, local tribal leaders and SoI members were on hand to witness the signing, representing more than 600 hundred SOI members, at the Jawalla Middle School in Rashaad, 48 kilometers south of Kirkuk.
The new members complete 1st BCT, 10th Mtn Div’s efforts in employing 2,000 SoI members in the Rashaad Valley to help protect its citizens from insurgents’ violence.
“Today is a very important day, and my people have waited a long time for this opportunity to protect our neighborhoods,” said Hassam Salih. “We want to be a part of a new Iraq, and to help bring peace and prosperity to our communities.”
Following the signing, the SOI members recited the SOI Oath; pledging their support to the ISF and their commitment to protect their citizens against extremist violence.
“Today marks yet another milestone on the road to improved local security, stability and normalcy. It is the continued support of the ISF, local leaders, and most importantly, the local villagers who have made security and the benefits which come with it a reality,” said Lt. Col. Dennis Sullivan, cmdr 2nd Bn, 22nd Inf Regt,10th Mtn Div.
The SoI have been attributed with helping in the reduction of violent activities in the Ta’mim Province. There has been a 60% decrease since the SOI inception, early December 2007.  Furthermore, there has been almost an 80% drop in violence in the neighboring Hawijah District, once called the “Anbar of the north,” according to Col. David Paschal, cmdr., 1st BCT, 10th Mtn Div.


Lt. Col. Dennis Sullivan, congratulates one of the SoI leaders after signing a contract.


Coalition forces detain suspected AQI leader in Diwaniyah Peninsula area

BAGHDAD – Soldiers with 4th BCT, 3rd ID, detained 2 individuals May 17, during ops in the Diwaniyah Peninsula area, approx. 40 km southeast of Baghdad.
One of the detainees is a key suspected AQI leader who has reportedly been involved in kidnapping civilians for ransom and using the money to fund terrorist ops.  He is also accused of facilitating IED attacks on CF.


Iraqi Army finds large cache in support of Operation Lion’s Roar

TIKRIT – The IA found a large buried cache during clearing ops in support of Op Lion’s Roar in the Younis al-Sabawi neighborhood of Mosul, May 19, consisting of more than 100 mortar rounds, more than 100 mortar fuses, 2 mortar tubes, 2 mortar bipods, a suicide vest, 2 rockets and 8 mines.


‘Sons of Iraq’ train to protect own communities

By Cpl. Sean P. McGinty

CAMP FALLUJAH – Throughout Anbar serves a unique group of men whose sole mission is to protect their community.  Since the summer of 2007, SoI have answered the call to work the seams between conventional Iraqi SF, augmenting the combined effort to deny our enemy a safe haven in Anbar.
Currently about 5,000 in number, they are trained by Marines on how to protect their neighborhoods and people.  “I do this for all of my village,” said Mohamad Dakheel, a checkpoint guard from Alnu-Amiyeh’s Sons of Iraq, May 15. “We’re all safe because we all work together.”  The SoI are paid volunteers who live in the areas they guard.
“They’re responsible for identifying who’s not supposed to be in the area of ops,” said Staff Sgt. Jennifer K. Richardson, plt cmdr, Mobile Assault Plt, Guardian Co, I Marine Expeditionary Force HQ Group (Forward). “Every 500 to 800 meters in the Alnu-Amiyeh area there’s a SoI checkpoint. These are great for keeping insurgents out of the area.  They don’t get paid a lot of money for this, and it’s not easy for them to support us when they get threatened and their lives are on the line,” Richardson said. “It’s really admirable what they do.” Though the SoI are paid about $150 dollars a month, most also make money through other means.  “My payment will last for only a week, but I also make some money by farming,” said Dakheel.
Since most had jobs to begin with, most of the Iraqi volunteers said they did not join for the money.  “I do it because I learn from the Marines how to make it safe in our country,” said Eiad Sathan, a checkpoint guard from Alnu-Amiyeh’s SoI. “When the Marines leave, we can keep security in our country because of the training.”
The Marines of Guardian Co., based at Camp Fallujah, have been training the SoI, not only to be better guardsmen, but ultimately to aid them in their efforts to become IP.  “The goal these guys have is to become police,” Richardson said. “Everything we teach these guys is geared towards making them IP’s, from shooting positions and shooting fundamentals, to the physical fitness test.”
“I see there is a terrorist destroying my country, and I want to stop him,” said Wajdi Selaman, a Fallujah SoI. “We are a peace-loving people.”


Operation Restore Peace VI offers alternative to former fighters in Hawijah

HAWIJAH – Sheiks, villagers and CF members attended a reconciliation meeting held at FOB McHenry, May 18.
The 6th meeting under Op Restore Peace afforded a pathway toward reconciliation to combatants who have been linked to attacks against Iraqi SF and CF. The program, citizens call Musalaha, has been credited along with the SoI program, with more than a 90% decrease in violent attacks against both forces and civilians in the Hawijah district, located roughly 60 miles southwest of Kirkuk City in the Ta’mim Province.
Since January, more than  200 citizens in the region have reconciled during this op. “We came today of our own freewill,” said Sheik  Hussein of the Obedi tribe in the district of Riyadh. “I tell my children and villagers that we need to cooperate with our govt and our SF. That is the only way our lives will improve and that Iraq will prosper as a country.”
Locals came from as far as the village of Al-Quodas, approx. 20 miles northeast of Hawijah, to as close as Riyadh some 5 miles up the road.  Khalif Muhammid of the Abassi tribe heard of the meeting from a local in a neighboring village.  “He told me that I needed to go to Musahala here. This person told me I had a choice.”
More Iraqis here are becoming motivated to join the reconciliation program as joint targeting efforts between the ISF and CF with info given by citizens and SoI members. The info obtained in the past 2 weeks has led to the detention of 13 known criminals.


Sheik Hussein of Riyadh and his son look over paperwork distributed during the reconciliation meeting.


Local citizens, SOI lead to 19 caches discoveries in 16 days

SAMARRA – SoI and local citizens have provided info leading to 19 weapons, explosives and bomb-making caches being found by Iraqi SF and CF during the first 16 days of May.
The cache items included approx. 100 artillery and mortar rounds, approx. 100 white phosphorous grenades, more than a thousand pounds of homemade explosives, detonation cord, and numerous IED parts and important documents.
“AQI used Samarra as a sanctuary previously. Today, AQI has no support from the local population,” said Capt. James Leidenberg, a spokesman for the 1st BCT, 101st Abn Div. “Citizens of the city are taking advantage of the initiatives to provide safe neighborhoods by removing caches within Samarra.”
“Samarra is becoming an example of what can happen with individuals dedicated to the well-being of their fellow countrymen,” said Capt. Josh Kurtzman, a co. cmdr. in the 1st BCT.  “We have NP working hand in
hand with SoI and local police and a Kurdish IA Bn. Samarra has become an example for the rest of Iraq.”


Citizens lead Soldiers to three caches

FOB KALSU – Local citizens led MND-Center Soldiers to 3 separate caches locations, May 16.
The area was once a haven for criminal activity. “Local Iraqis are tired of the violence and fighting and have
come to see the benefits of assisting the Coalition and (IA’s) efforts in their community,” said Lt. Col. R.J. Lillibridge, a 2nd BCT, 3rd ID spokesman.
The first cache consisted of 4 RPGs, 6 RPG warheads and 6 RPG boosters.
The second cache contained 100 belt-linked rounds of 7.62 ammo, 250 loose pistol rounds, SKS and AK-47 magazines, AK-47 butt stocks, bayonets, flasks of gunpowder, a couple spools of wire and a rifle with bayonet.
The third cache contained 500 rounds of 9 mm ammo and 1,000 rounds of PKC machine-gun ammo.
Over the past week, MND-C Soldiers have removed 13 caches from the area.


Mayor of Mosul visits Zanjail after 10-day trip of U.S.

TIKRIT – Zuhair Abdulazeez, the mayor of Mosul, who just returned from a 10-day trip of the U.S., visited his residents in Zanjail, May 18. During his U.S. visit, he learned about city management, budgeting, cultural funding and solid waste.
The Mayor was accompanied by Lt. Col. Keith Barclay, cmdr. of the 3/3 ACR, and Maj. Gen. Ahmed Taha. They walked the streets of Zanjail in preparation for route sanitation during Op Lion Harvest II.
IA soldiers and CF Soldiers provided security.