General Recaps First Week of New Baghdad Security Operation
By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2007 The Baghdad security operation that began last week has quelled certain violent acts in the Iraqi capital, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said today.
“There has been a significant reduction in sectarian incidents and in ex-judicial killings in Baghdad,” Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, told reporters via satellite connection from a news conference in Iraq.
Caldwell acknowledged that new security efforts have been hampered by vehicle-bomb and suicide-vest attacks. But combined forces are beginning to achieve success in “stopping the vehicles from getting into the crowded areas where the Iraqi citizens are,” he said.
“Although this effort to improve security in Iraq will take time, this past week we have seen some signs that Iraqi leaders are in fact making the tough decisions needed to demonstrate their commitment to serve all Iraqis,” Caldwell said.
The operation, called Fardh al-Qanoon, an Iraqi phrase that means “Enforcing the Law,” was announced Feb. 13 by Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abboud Gambar, the officer in charge of the plan. Operation initiatives include splitting Baghdad into 10 districts, creating four new joint security stations and temporarily closing Iran’s and Syria’s ports of entry into Iraq.
“In each of these 10 districts will be Iraqi police, an Iraqi army brigade and a coalition force battalion,” Caldwell said. “They remain there, in a permanent posture, in order to conduct operations within their district.
“Elements of all three additional Iraqi army brigades have arrived and begun operations in the capital,” he continued. “They are deploying throughout the city and working also in the joint security stations, where they are living and patrolling jointly with the Iraqi police and with coalition forces.”
Officials hope this “permanent posture” will create an environment where coalition troops and Iraqi law enforcers establish relationships with local residents and district advisory councils. Combined forces can approach local challenges more effectively if they learn the nuances of their respective districts through cooperation with citizens, Caldwell said
“This war will not be won until the Iraqis are able to stand up and find solutions to their own country’s problems,” Caldwell said. “The intent is to … have a dialogue ongoing so that when they find areas where there are challenges, where there are problems, (forces) are able to focus their efforts there.”