Progress Continues in Iraq; Officials Note June Milestones
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 4, 2005 Daily accomplishments, both large and small - in governance, security and reconstruction - marked progress toward Iraqi self-reliance as the country marked a year of sovereignty June 28. Multinational Force Iraq officials here have compiled a list of notable accomplishments during June:
- On June 1, in the first move of its kind, coalition forces officially transferred full responsibility for security at a base in Dibbis to the Iraqi army. Two hundred dignitaries and civilians attended the flag-raising and ribbon-cutting ceremony, where the Iraqi army took full control of base and security operations in the area.
- Also on June 1, Iraqi army soldiers, working with coalition aviation assets, conducted their first air assault. About 35 soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, were inserted into a landing zone near several small towns and villages outside Baghdad to conduct raids and door-to-door searches for bomb-making materials and specific persons of interest.
- Reconstruction gained momentum in the Nissan district of eastern Baghdad, where major sewer and water projects broke ground in Kamaliya and Oubaidi. After completing a site survey, workers began on the project that ultimately will create a sewer network serving 8,870 homes in Kamaliya. The area has never had underground sewage lines and relies on slit trenches, which leads to sewage pooling in the streets. The project will cost about $27 million and will employ 600 local workers at peak construction times. As the sewer project takes shape, an existing water distribution system will be rehabilitated. About 5,435 homes are slated to receive connections to the water main.
- On June 4, Basrah airport began civilian flights, opening the gate for business growth in the region. A week later, regular flights began between Hawler International Airport in Irbil and Baghdad. The flights now run three times per week and open a new avenue to encourage foreign capital investment by improving accessibility to Iraq's capital.
- The $100 million Al-Ameen electrical substation, which distributes electricity to other substations around Baghdad, was completed on June 5, after about 10 months of work. Local workers made up 99 percent of the work force.
- The Iraqi Navy's Predator Patrol Boats commenced interoperability training with an amphibious transport ship on June 7. The training is teaching the Iraqi navy about ship handling, force protection and weapons handling.
- With some help from Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi National Soccer League resumed play June 12. More than 10,000 fans showed up for the first game, held in the Baghdad soccer stadium, and watched Basra beat Dahouk 1-0. Iraqi police officers, Iraqi army soldiers and coalition forces guarded the stadium, which can hold 45,000 fans. The same team of security forces will provide security for future games, which are scheduled through the end of August.
- More than 110 soccer uniforms were distributed to local coaches in a ceremony June 15 in Sadr City. Following the ceremony, each coach was presented with 11 complete sets of uniforms to fully outfit their teams.
- Iraqi army soldiers rescued Australian hostage Douglas Wood from his captors June 15. Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, discovered Wood and an Iraqi hostage in the northwestern Baghdad neighborhood of Al Adel while conducting a planned cordon-and-search operation for a weapons cache. Three individuals were detained during the operation. The soldiers also discovered a weapons cache that included four AK-47 assault rifles and a sniper rifle.
- In mid-June, construction started on a $1.25 million school project in the Fallujah district of Anbar province. Out of 13 school projects programmed for construction in Fallujah, four are under construction and nine are complete. Some 840 school projects are programmed throughout Iraq; 102 are under construction, and 628 are complete.
- On June 19, Iraqi workers finished construction on railroad stations in Balad and Baiji. These facilities will connect Salah al-Din with destinations throughout the provinces, bringing goods to customers and citizens in distant cities. Two important rail projects have already been completed in Kirkuk: the Kirkuk and al-Maraej stations have been rehabilitated. Throughout the rest of the nation, the Ministry of Transportation has more than 100 rail projects scheduled; 28 are currently being built, while 45 have been completed and are serving the people.
- During the same week, the U.S. Marine Corps' 5th Civil Affairs Group and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers kicked off the Property Lease Program in Fallujah. Local residents whose homes were or are currently occupied by coalition forces had leases drawn up. Lump-sum payments were made to eligible homeowners for the total time their houses were being used. The payment will include the amount of rent owed through Sept. 30, 2005.
- Iraq joined 80 nations in Brussels for a historic conference on June 21 and 22, focusing on Iraq's reconstruction and paving the way for other nations to develop political ties with Iraq. Iraq's foreign minister also opened the door for further diplomatic ties between Iraq and other Arab nations. Canada announced its ambassador to Jordan also would serve in Iraq, and Jordan said it would send an ambassador to Iraq soon.
- On June 22, one of 167 medical clinic projects planned for the country got under way. A $656,000 clinic in the Khanaqin district of Diyala province, in which Baghdad is located, is one of two programmed for construction in the district. Both are now under construction.
- Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Iraqi Army Brigade, graduated from the first organized Iraqi Army Leadership Training Course at Forward Operating Base Justice.
- As the month drew to a close, Iraqi marines prepared to take over security of the Basrah and Khawr Al Amaya oil terminals. The Iraqi marines had been supported by coalition forces since April 2004, but now planned to take over security of the oil platforms completely.
- On June 27, a water treatment project was finished in Kirkuk, which will provide 5,000 people from four villages with clean, potable water, while another began in the northwestern Ninewah province. Eight water projects are programmed for construction in Mosul, and 34 water projects are programmed nationwide. Seven of those are under way, and 18 are complete.
- Also on June 27, the Iraqi Navy signed the Iraqi Navy Transition Roadmap aboard the Ticonderoga-class cruiser USS Normandy. The roadmap outlines the plan for the Iraqi navy to achieve the capability to fully defend Iraqi coastal waters, integrating sea operations, shore support, boarding-and-search and point-defense of oil terminals with an overall command and sustainment program.
- U.S. soldiers from Task Force 1-128 and the Iraqi army took a day off from their normal security patrols June 28 and handed out school supplies, clothes and shoes in a few small villages during a combat patrol. The soldiers distributed more than 60 boxes of goods containing more than 100 pairs of shoes, assorted clothes and hundreds of pounds of school supplies such as pens, pencils, notebooks and paper to children and families in the villages of Albouhaswa, Ahmed Hajam and Jaafaral Jalaby.
(Courtesy of Multinational Force Iraq.)