By Spc. Kevin Holden, 2nd BCT PAO, 1st Armd. Div., MND-BApril 20, 2009
BAGHDAD - Multi-National Division-Baghdad Soldiers and their Iraqi Army counterparts conducted Operation Bein Al-Nahrein, a combined counter insurgency operation in support of the Security Agreement, in the Qarghuli Village of the Mahmudiyah Qada from April 11 to April 14.
Soldiers from Company A, 1st Combined Arms Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, and Company A, 40th Engineers, 2nd 'Iron' Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, partnered with Iraqi Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Brigade, 17th Iraqi Army Division to clear weapons caches in order to disrupt al-Qaeda attacks in Baghdad and demonstrate to the local population the capability of the IA to provide a stable and secure environment. The area has a history of insurgents smuggling weapons and stockpiling explosives.
The operation illustrates the continuing transition of Iraqi Security Forces responsibility for security as the responsible drawdown of U.S. combat forces in MND-B occurs in the coming months.
The combined operation was conducted with the agreement of the Government of Iraq and was fully coordinated with Iraqi Army leaders.
"1-63 CAB, Company A and the 2-23-17 IA rehearsed the mission objective three days prior to the operation that included tactical maneuver, order of march, and actions on contact. Working with IA commanders on combined operations has been excellent," said Capt. Eric Evans, of Inberness, Fla., commander, Co. A.
The local Qarghuli Village residents cooperated with the MND-B and Iraqi Soldiers during the combined operation as they searched homes and property in the village of Garaghuli. The locals were eager to speak with the IA Soldiers and share information.
According to IA troops like Cpl. Kusay Hady of the 17th IA Div., the IA Soldiers hope to win the support of the populace, isolate the insurgents from the populace and seek to deny the ability of al-Qaeda to intimidate the local population.
"The combined operation went well even though we found no weapons or explosives. We were well trained and prepared to clear the area of caches and insurgents," said Hady.
Although the combined operation ended without any new caches of weapons being discovered, the region has a history of previous searches which resulted in multiple cache findings by MND-B and IA units. The finding of no new weapon stockpiles is a sign of success for the IA and MND-B units because it is evidence the insurgents have lost the ability to control the area, according to Evans. Both Armies also wanted to disrupt the free movement of insurgents and deny them sanctuary in the area.
"Working on operation Bein Al- Nahrein with the IA was a success and the mission was well planned and executed by the CF and IA Soldiers. During the patrol the IA objective was to search the homes while CF searched property and provided security", said 1st Lt. Chris Fluellen, a native of Pittsburgh Pa., and third platoon leader of Co. A.
The combined operation enabled the 17th IA Div., and MND-B to establish a security presence in the area to ensure insurgent weapons and explosives are not stored and then used in attacks on the streets of Baghdad. The increased security presence will allow permanent reforms to be implemented for the citizens of the area.