U.S. continues to transfer control to Iraqis ahead of June 30 deadline
June 22, 2009
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, transferred responsibility of Joint Security Station Basateen, JSS Suleikh, and Tharwa II to the government of Iraq, June 8.
"When transferring JSS's back over to Iraqi control we aren't just returning the keys to buildings" said Poolesville, Md., native, Maj. Sean Davis, supply officer in charge for the brigade. "It's more like we are handing them the keys back to the city; for them to regain control."
Transferring these three facilities resulted in the completion of six out of eight bases 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., has scheduled to take place before June 30.
This was the third, of four day's worth, of JSS transfers to the government of Iraq, explained Maj. Geoffrey Norman, executive officer for the brigade. The transfers ran quite smoothly for both government of Iraq and coalition representatives.
According to Col. Tobin Green, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div., commander, speaking at the JJS Basateen ceremony, Iraqi Security and Coalition forces have launched hundreds of combined patrols and dozens of joint operations; all with the common purpose of protecting the Iraqi people and bringing security and stability to the neighborhoods surrounding this base.
Progress over the past several months has allowed the brigade to take the next step forward under the Security Agreement, said Green, a Sioux City, S.D., native. The ISF have proven that they are now more stable and effective than ever before, and grow stronger each day.
Coalition and ISF Soldiers understand that these transfers are a major step in ensuring the legitimacy of the government of Iraq and ISF. Most Soldiers with experience in the area understand there may be some difficulties after the handoff.
"The Iraqi's are going to run into problems similar to ours," said Davis. "But, they will learn how to work with it, like we did. It is going to be difficult, not impossible, but difficult."
The transfer of JSS Basateen, along with the Coalition's assurance to operate from outside the city limits, demonstrates the U.S. commitment to abide by the requirements of the security agreement. The JSS Basateen transfer ceremony represents the transfer of all joint security stations in the Sha'ab area.
Coalition forces will continue to partner with the ISF from outside the city limits; continuing their relationship with and training of the Iraqis. The partnership will ultimately ensure the safety and security of the citizens living in northeast Baghdad.
"This was the largest number of facilities this brigade has transferred in one day," stated Norman. "It was a very successful mission."
A ceremony to be held at JSS Sadr City will represent the last of the facilities which the Ironhorse brigade will transfer to the government of Iraq before June 30.