IRAQ UPDATE

Wednesday March 16, 2005

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman, JCS

Trend lines on progress in Iraq are up, and Iraq and the Coalition are on track with work to rebuild the country.

- Iraqi Security Forces are increasingly taking more responsibility for the security mission.
- Forces now number 145,000, including the army and various police units.
- Their capacity and capabilities continue to grow
- They have been playing a larger role in leading the counter-insurgency effort.
- Iraqis continue to battle the insurgency.
- The people causing instability are more criminal in nature than they are a true insurgency.
- Even so, the most deadly acts of violence are the work of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his al Qaeda helpers. Former regime elements also play a large role in the violence.

Army Lt. Gen. John Vines, Commander, MNC-I

The goal of Coalition forces in Iraq is to enable Iraqi forces to conduct independent counter-insurgency operations.

- As Iraqi forces improve, there will be less need for Coalition forces; however, decisions on force size will be driven by events on the ground.
- Iraqi Security Forces have valuable capabilities Coalition forces don't, such as language skills, cultural insights and access to certain intelligence.
- Iraqi forces have performed brilliantly, most recently in the elections.

Army Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, Commander, Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq

- The success of the Iraqi elections boosted morale in the Iraqi Security Forces, and trust by the Iraqi people in their security apparatus.
- Iraq has 96 operational combat battalions.
- Forces are conducting independent operations and getting results.
- Forces are "shouldering the burden" in 12 of the 18 provinces - the three Kurdish provinces in the north and nine provinces in the south.
- Momentum is going forward in all aspects: Recruits are being trained; the supply system is equipping them; and the infrastructure is maturing at the right time to house and maintain the units.

Marine Corps Col. Kerry Burkholder, Deputy Chief of Coalition Operations, U.S. Central Command

- The 72-nation Coalition supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is making significant contributions and remains committed to the cause.
- Twenty-five coalition members are contributing more than 20,000 troops to the operation.
- The Poles lead the Multinational Division Center-South.
- The British lead the Multinational Division South-East.
- The Koreans lead the Multinational Division North-East.
- Other nations provide intelligence and humanitarian support, back the Coalition politically, donating money or supplies, help train Iraqi forces, or support security and maritime-interdiction operations.

Source: DOD

NEWS ABOUT THE ARMY

  • New Army interrogation manual sets limits (BS | EB)
  • Soldiers readied for Iraq's urban environment (TRADOC News)
  • Graner refuses order to testify in other abuse trials (WT | EB)
  • Officer sentenced to prison for river incidents (HC | EB)
  • Army launches Web site for 'community partnerships' (ARNEWS)
  • SoldiersONLINE begins new info approach (ARNEWS)

WAR ON TERROR NEWS

  • Trends pointing up in Iraq, Joint Chiefs Chairman says (AFIS)
  • New poll reveals most Iraqis happy with country's direction (USAT | EB)
  • CENTCOM officials cite components to Iraq success (AFIS)
  • Shiites and Kurds at impasse over Iraq government (NYT | EB)
  • Six killed in car bombing in Iraq (LAT | EB)
  • Italy looks to withdraw troops from Iraq by September (NYT | EB)
  • Shiites unlikely U.S. allies in stabilizing Iraq (WP | EB)
  • Myers visits transformed Afghanistan, says efforts on track (AFIS)
  • U.S. commander promises to protect Afghan elections (PI | EB)
  • Military officials say inmates deaths may be homicide (NYT | EB)
  • SOUTHCOM General can't confirm Guantanamo abuse reports (MH | EB)
  • DHS report list possibilities for terrorist attacks (NYT | EB)

OF INTEREST

  • Subsequent tests turn up negative for anthrax contamination (AFIS)
  • "Our new defense strategy" Letter by Douglas Feith (BG | EB)
  • QDR panel set to begin in early April (Inside Defense/EB)
  • "Rummy's last stand" Editorial (SLPD | EB)
  • U.S. looking for alternatives to N. Korea talks (LAT | EB)
  • Syrian symbols of power being removed from Lebanon (NYT | EB)
  • Tomorrow begins meetings on new defense personnel system (WP | EB)
  • BRAC panel is appointed (MH | EB)
  • "America's new beginning with India" Opinion (AWSJ/EB)
  • "Military career speaks louder than anti-recruitment efforts" Opinion (USAT/EB)
  • "And now, the counterfeit news" Editorial (NYT | EB)
  • General praises Southcom headquarters offer (MH | EB)
  • U.S. concerned over Venezuelan president's hostile rhetoric (MH | EB)

WORLD VIEW

  • Israel gives control of Jericho to Palestine (Aljazeera)
  • Post-war Iraq faces corruption (BBC)
  • Beijing says secession law will not fuel tensions (China Daily)

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SENIOR LEADERS ARE SAYING

Iraqi forces are conducting operations and hanging tough in the face of difficult challenges... More units are coming out of the chute every week. (Story)

Lt. Gen. David Petraeus
Multinational Security Transition Command - Iraq

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