Economic concerns overshadow security in Ghazaliyah
By Staff Sgt. Peter Ford, MND-B PAOMay 28, 2009
BAGHDAD - Ghazaliyah, once known as one of the most dangerous areas in Baghdad, had many local citizens concerned about security. Recently, Ghazaliyah has become much safer, due in part to the security efforts of the Coalition and Iraqi Security forces.
"Over the next month, Coalition forces will be moving from the cities, leaving the responsibility of security totally to the Iraqi Security Forces," said Lt. Col. John Richardson, a native of Tallahassee, Fla., commander of 5th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. "Although the transition has not technically transpired, I must say the Iraqi Security Forces are performing admirably."
Since security is no longer the primary concern of the local residents of Ghazaliyah, the people are now more concerned with a better quality of life.
"I don't hear people of Ghazaliyah express much concern about security anymore, they are more concerned with the economy," said Richardson. "That means we are taking another step in the right direction to help build a better Iraq."
Over the past seven months, U.S. troops have teamed up with the Government of Iraq, local officials and the ISF to make some much needed improvements to the community. Through fierce determination and an unselfish effort to improve the Ghazaliyah district, many improvements have already been made.
"The Coalition forces have been instrumental in many of the improvements in the area. They have provided the community with solar lights along the streets and four pump stations for sewer," said Sheik Razak, a local leader of Ghazaliyah. "They have done more than help make improvements to the area, they have provided over 450 people with jobs," he added.
These jobs allow workers to provide for their families and to further stimulate local businesses. With the development of new businesses, improvements will continue to be made in Ghazaliyah.
"We are not just fixing the broken infrastructure, we are implementing real sustainable improvements and helping the GoI to build its capacity to support the population," said Richardson. "As the GoI continues to build capacity to support the local population, the CF will step aside and the GoI will take full responsibility for the population."