Making gains in Mahmudiyah
March 6, 2009
MAHMUDIYAH, Iraq - Leaders from the 2nd "Iron" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division met with nine Mahmudiyah sheiks at a residence here Feb. 25 to discuss security and infrastructure progress in the area.
With Mahmudiyah being a largely agricultural area, the sheiks and military leaders focused much of their discussion on determining methods to create more jobs for locals by developing agricultural and rural industries, as well as refining the irrigation systems in their areas.
Brigade commander, Col. Pat White and Lt. Col. Jim Bradford, commander, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armored Regiment, discussed what the recent Iraqi election results mean for the local community, the continued transition of Sons of Iraq security members and maintaining security while also transitioning Coalition focus to essential services, governance and economy.
"The meeting was designed to bring influential sheiks of Mahmudiyah together to discuss the future and to ultimately prioritize how we can help citizens of Mahmudiyah with the resources available to the coalition without interfering with Government of Iraq efforts," said Bradford.
The sheiks said the current and future focus of reconstruction efforts should be on irrigation, agricultural industry, financial industry and electricity to create more jobs and to continue success with security.
"Our road is long and we are only on the first step. All our energy and focus is on the reconstruction of the Mahmudiyah area," said Sheik Sadoon Mohsen Al Ajam Al Kalabi, chairman and organizer of the Sheik Advisory Council.
The sheiks voiced concern that even though a lot of energy and money has funded projects to develop the Mahmudiyah area, some of the projects focus only on the urban centers, with more needing to be done for rural areas.
In addition, the sheiks discussed their plan to form an advisory council for the Mahmudiyah area to assist Coalition Forces on what future projects are needed and where.