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Iraqi Security Forces Continue to Progress

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2005 – Iraqi security forces are continuing to show signs of progress, with the newly formed Iraqi air force completing its first significant operation this week, a military spokesman in Baghdad, Iraq, said today.

The Iraqi air force used three C-130 Hercules aircraft to reposition Iraqi security forces to the western Ninewa province Aug. 28 and 29, Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, told reporters at a news briefing. This was the first time Iraqi air assets have been used to directly support the deployment of Iraqi combat forces inside the country, Lynch said, and is a testament to the progress of Iraqi forces.

"It was a magnificent mission on the part of truly trained professionals," he said.

The quick response of Iraqi forces to the Aug. 31 accident on a bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad was also was evidence of their progress, Lynch said. Iraqi police immediately sealed off the area to prevent attacks, and Iraqi security forces, police and medical professionals provided care to the injured, he said.

"Their heroic and professional actions in the face of devastating tragedy reflected a concern for their fellow citizens, acting out of compassion in a time of need and a time of great urgency," he said.

Insurgents have not been able to stop the growth of Iraqi security forces, no matter how many attacks they commit, nor have they been able to build a support base in Iraq, Lynch said. The targeting of civilians by the insurgents causes the Iraqi people to reject their practices and their ideology, he said. As a result, the insurgents cannot find a safe haven in Iraq, he said.

"They can run, but they're going to die tired," he said. "They can't find a safe haven in Iraq."

The insurgents have also been unable to stop the political and economic growth in Iraq, Lynch said. The draft constitution, at the forefront of political progress, outlines a bright future for all Iraqis, he said.

"It is truly a vision for the future based on democratic values -- a future that protects human dignity and human rights," he said.

The Iraqi government is implementing an aggressive outreach plan to educate people about the draft constitution and to encourage them to participate in the October referendum, Lynch said. Copies of the draft will be distributed, classes and conferences will be held, and public debate will be encouraged, he explained.

Coalition forces have been actively engaging the Sunni population, specifically in the Anbar province, to get them involved in the political process, Lynch said. There are indications that more than 85 percent of Sunnis will participate in the referendum, he said.

"We see a significant momentum on the part of the Sunni populations ... to embrace the political process," he said. "They see a future in Iraq by actively being involved in the political process."

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