JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Sheik Shehab Ahmed Saleh Al-tmime has been running a non-tactical vehicle business on Joint Base Balad since August 2008.
The business provides local nationals with jobs while providing a service to service members on base.

"As reward of my work and my sincerity ... (a) contract was signed between the Iraqi non-tactical vehicle oil station and Joint Base Balad about establishing the Iraqi Base Industrial Zone to do a lot of projects in an American base," Shehab said.

Shehab said he had to overcome barriers when he first made contacts with Coalition forces. He had heard the bad propaganda and knew how the Iraqi people were afraid to get close to service members or enter JBB.

But a week after Coalition forces arrived, he met with commanders. After talking with American forces, however, he and his Family became the target of terrorists. According to Shehab, a commander of a terrorist organization offered $200,000 to the person who could bring him the head of Shehab. As a result, rockets were launched at his house and improvised explosive devices were placed near his home.
They tried to kill me three times and of course they couldn't," Shehab said. "Thank god they always failed to do that and they're done forever."

The NTV oil station changes oil, oil filters and air filters, and performs interior cleaning and tire checks. The station employs five mechanics.

"(We) don't have these kind of vehicles outside the wire," said Rick Assa'ad, the manager of the NTV oil station. "Before they (didn't) know anything about American vehicles ... but they learned it and they are doing good."

When the NTV oil station first opened in August it was responsible for servicing 223 vehicles. Now, the station has grown to service 1,200 vehicles. It is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day but Friday.

Shehab said he plans on extending the capabilities of his mechanics to take on larger tasks on vehicle repairs. He also said he hopes to become more independent and produce vehicle parts on his own instead of ordering them.

Assa'ad has been busy working with the military to get authorization for the contracts, making contacts with Iraqi vendors and contacting other companies outside of Iraq to make ordering his own parts possible.

"I'm always calling my employees and directing them in the maintenance of vehicles," Shehab said. "The work is getting better and it's improving day after day."

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