Leading the way toward a stronger democracy
April 6, 2010
- Iraqi Security Forces play crucial role in keeping the peace during historic March 7 national elections in southern Iraq's Maysan Province
- The security effort was a success thanks in part to extensive planning between civilian Iraqi leaders, Police, Army, and U.S. Forces
The 2010 national elections in Iraq went by with order and relative peace throughout the country, and Maysan Province is a prime example of this success by Iraqi Security Forces in securing their nation and their democracy.
This was due in part to efforts by the ISF leaders within the province and their ability to work together in order to provide a safe and secure environment for all to cast their ballots.
The process for the provincial election security plan began in February with the first of several joint and combined meetings.
The first meeting of this kind involved wide representation from across the ISF and local government: Staff Maj. Gen. Sa'ad Harbiya, former Maysan Provincial Chief of Police; Dr. Jafar Kadhum director of the Independent High Electoral Commision of Maysan; Brig. Gen. Ali Ghazi Haydar, deputy commander, 10th Iraqi Army Division; and Ali Udhafa, the Maysan Governor's Security Counselor.
During the meeting, a security plan was laid out that included the Maysan Police, Iraqi Army, Maysan Governor's Security Counselor, Federal Police, and the Federal Protective Service.
"The U.S. forces are here to provide enabling support when, and if, requested, for our Iraqi partners to ensure a safe and secure election process," said Lt. Col. Reginald G. Williams, a Triangle, Va. native and team chief, Maysan Police Transition Team.
The plan included steps for the security of the polling sites during the March 4 special election for ISF members, the March 7 national election, and the transportation of ballots afterward.
The following meetings to finalize the security plan were chaired by the new Provincial Chief of Police, Brig. Gen. Kareem Hashim Al Bahat.
Many of the police departed in shifts from their place of duty at the Maysan Provincial Joint Coordination Center to cast their ballots March 4, and immediately returned to duty in order to provide seamless coverage of the security situation.
"I advise you about the importance of providing protection to the citizens of the province during these days of the election," Kareem said to fellow Iraqi police officers.
He later emphasized that the ISF should remain alert and focused, not allowing any member of the political blocks to pressure the voters, in order for the province to succeed in the political process.
"This is an important step for the Iraqi citizens," Kareem said.