Iraqi Forces to Provide Bulk of Election Security
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2005 Iraqi security forces will provide the primary security for the Oct. 15 constitutional referendum and the December elections, a U.S. commander in Baghdad, Iraq, said today.
In a news briefing, Army Lt. Gen. John Vines, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, said that because Iraqis will be mainly responsible for security, U.S. forces in the area will be increased only by about 2,000 troops for the referendum and elections.
Vines said he expects insurgents to increase attacks as the referendum approaches, but coalition and Iraqi forces will be prepared to defend the Iraqis' democratic process.
"Unfortunately, there are those who want to deprive them of the opportunity to determine their own destiny, and they'll use violence to do it," he said. "We'll do everything we can to create the conditions so Iraqis have the opportunity to be heard and make their own decisions."
Iraqi security forces continue to make progress in their training, Vines said, and they are closely partnered with coalition units in all aspects of their operations.
"They work together, they plan together, and, in some cases, they fight together," he said.
On an average day, more than 30 combined operations are conducted throughout Iraq, and coalition and Iraqi forces are making progress against the insurgents, Vines said. Ultimately, though, the freedom of Iraq is not going to be won by force, he said.
"The success of our endeavor here, in large measure, is not a military solution," he said. "It is a political solution, and it is one that must be achieved by the Iraqi people, the Iraqi security forces and the Iraqi government. We'll do everything we can to help create those conditions so they can and will succeed."
When considering the validity of the cause in Iraq, people need to remember how much progress has been made since U.S. forces have been there, Vines said. Iraq now has a sovereign government, a transitional assembly, a draft constitution and ministries of defense, electricity, oil, water and interior, he said. These accomplishments point to great success, he added, but do not mean the threat has diminished.
"We've been successful enough that some may think there's no longer a threat," he said. "I can assure you, there is. There are some evil people that wish to attack us."
The work of U.S. forces in Iraq and other parts of the world against those who wish to spread terror has increased the safety and defended the freedoms of all Americans, Vines said.