By Staff Sgt. Jon Cupp, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsOctober 17, 2007
CAMP TAJI, Iraq - The general in charge of leading the Iraqi efforts in Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon (Baghdad Security Plan), Iraqi Army Lt. Gen. Abud Qanbar, commanding general of the Baghdad Operations Command, met with senior leadership from the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division here Oct. 15 to discuss the brigade's recent progress in and way ahead for the reconciliation process.
Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, deputy commanding general for maneuver with the Multi-National Division-Baghdad and the 1st Cav. Div., accompanied Qanbar during the visit.
Col. Paul E. Funk II, the Ironhorse Brigade commander, hosted the generals and explained to them the roles the brigade is playing with the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Army units in the reconciliation process.
Having an area of operations that encompasses nearly one million people, Funk highlighted the large decrease in significant enemy activity within the villages and outerlying areas where the brigade operates, attributed to the impact of reconciliation.
Much of the improved security, said Funk, is due to the efforts of the Iraqi people coming together to push out Al Qaeda operatives and other extremists, and there are approximately 5,000 Iraqi Security Volunteers working within the Ironhorse area of operations.
The security improvements have been a concerted effort with local residents, Iraqi Security Forces, Iraqi security volunteers, local tribal leaders, Iraqi government leaders and Coalition Forces, Funk added.
"We collectively are winning the security fight in Iraq," said Funk. "The local sheiks are the real driving force not only behind reconciliation efforts but also with Iraqi Police expansion efforts."
Funk also said that the economic impact of reconciliation efforts, as well as the security of the local populace, is "indicative of a national momentum for a greater Iraq."
Funk briefed Qanbar on recent success during an Iraqi Police recruiting drive in the Taji area in which the brigade's Iraqi Army partners in the 2nd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division (Mechanized) assisted in the effort, resulting in 1,265 locally vetted Iraqi Police applicants volunteering for police duty.
"The support for the recruiting drive, a joint operation between the IA and IPs, was a great process and certain success, due primarily to the support of the 2nd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division commander and the Taji Iraqi Police station chief," said Funk.
Funk shared his confidence in the Iraqi Army's abilities with Qanbar and praised their efforts.
"I am immensely proud of my Iraqi partners - especially the commanders of the 3rd Brigade and 2nd Brigade of the 9th Iraqi Army Division-and their cooperative dealings with the Iraqi Police and Iraqi Security volunteers in our area of responsibility," said Funk at the conclusion of the meeting.
Qanbar said he was pleased with reconciliation progress being made in the Ironhorse AO and is "adamant" about the success of the Iraqi security volunteers.
"The Awakening has resulted in many groups standing up against the enemy," said Qanbar. "Our forces are all volunteers who are choosing the path of righteousness and our successes are convincing the public and inspiring hope in the population."
"Despite the enemy's actions and the number of things they destroy, they have not won and will not win," added Qanbar. "Cooperation between the population, Iraqi Security Forces and Coalition Forces is the key (to success)."