New Sons of Iraq stand up to help secure communities
June 6, 2008
KIRKUK, Iraq - Leaders signed Sons of Iraq contracts representing more than 600 citizens in Kirkuk Province during a ceremony May 19.
Iraqi Security Forces, coalition forces, local tribal leaders and Sons of Iraq members were on hand to witness the signing of three SoI contracts representing more than 600 members at the Jawalla Middle School in Rashaad, about 30 miles south of Kirkuk.
These new members complete 1st Brigade Combat Team's efforts in employing 2,000 Sons of Iraq members in the Rashaad Valley to help protect its citizens from insurgent violence.
Dari Salman Khalaf, Hassam Archer Salih and Gaze Thappl Talub signed contracts for their respective SoI members. Following the signing, members recited the SoI Oath, pledging their support to the Iraqi Security Forces 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," said Lt. Col. Dennis Sullivan, commander of 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment. "It is the continued support of the Iraqi Security Forces, local leaders and, most importantly, the local villagers (who) have made security and the benefits that come with it a reality."
The ceremony was held at the Jawalla Middle School just outside the village of Rashaad with about 75 new Sons of Iraq members witnessing their leaders signing contracts, which will allow them and their peers to work together with coalition and Iraqi Security Forces to secure their communities in the Rashaad Valley.
"Today is a very important day, and my people have waited a long time for this opportunity to protect our neighborhoods," Salih said. "We want to be a part of a new Iraq and to help bring peace and prosperity to our communities."
Sons of Iraq have been attributed to helping with a reduction in violent activities in the Kirkuk Province by 60 percent since its inception in early December, with a nearly 80-percent drop in violence in the neighboring Hawijah District, once called the "Anbar of the north," according to Col. David Paschal, 1st Brigade Combat Team commander.