Iraqi, Coalition Leaders Discuss Security South of Baghdad
February 27, 2007
KALSU, Iraq, Feb. 26, 2007 - Iraqi and American security leaders representing the Iraqi police, Iraqi Army, provincial military transition teams, the Multi-National Division - Baghdad and other units operating in northern Babil and Karbala gathered here Feb. 24 to coordinate and plan operations that will allow the transition of security responsibility to provincial Iraqi control.
"Iraqi security forces have demonstrated the skill to enforce security in their respective provinces," said Col. Michael Garrett, commander, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division and a Cleveland native. "They already provide most of the security in the provinces."
The security coordination meeting was the third in four months. A conference took place in November after 4th BCT assumed control of the area and again last month.
The meeting was also an opportunity for face-to-face contact with counterparts in the Iraqi security forces and the Spartan Brigade from Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Maj. John Rafferty, a Scranton, Pa. native and plans officer for 4th Brigade Combat Team, reviewed the upcoming security priorities for the Iraqi security forces who will lead the operations in the area where they work.
"Future security operations will occur through cooperative plans that will focus on Iraqi security forces in the lead," said Rafferty. The Iraqi security forces, with minor support from coalition forces will protect the public, prevent attacks, and promote Iraqi security forces in the lead.
The government of Iraqi is in charge and providing security, Rafferty explained."It is clear that we have gained ground since our first security conference," he said. "Our unity of effort; working at one goal with the same picture, has been apparent." Past joint operations, like the security of the Ashura religious pilgrimage were reviewed.
Maj. Max Moore, a Freeport, N.Y., native and operations officer with the Spartan Brigade, emphasized the goal of making next year's Ashura religious pilgrimage just as safe, if not safer than this year's.
"We are getting better and better after each conference and we see this more clearly each time we meet," Garrett said of the gathering. "And we had the opportunity to sit down and eat a meal with our brothers-in-arms."
Terrorist and insurgents in the provinces' area are a great threat, Garrett said, but the challenge to the Iraqi security forces in providing security is a political one.
"No one should be outside the rule of law and anyone who is, will be subject to law enforcement by the Iraqi security forces," Garrett said. "I am supremely confident in their work."