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Mosul Security Forces Show Way Ahead for Iraq

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

MOSUL, Iraq, April 16, 2004 – The threat facing members of the coalition's Task Force Olympia here remains the same, but the people responding to it are Iraqis, not Americans.

Mosul, a northern city with Sunni, Shiia and Kurdish ethnic groups, was not immune to recent disturbances. On the night of April 9, former regime elements conducted "well-organized and dangerous" attacks against Iraqi government buildings, said Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, commander of Task Force Olympia.

Like the rest of Iraq, residents of Mosul had seen what was happening in Fallujah and had demonstrated. Unlike in the rest of the country, their demonstrations remained peaceful. "That was due to the early involvement of religious and government leaders, members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Iraqi Police," Ham said.

But when the attack came later that night, it was not Task Force Olympia's Stryker combat vehicles that answered the call. Instead, the men of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Iraqi police responded. "They stood strong," Ham said. "It was those forces that repelled the attack."

The galvanizing force was the governor of the province and the city, Ham said. "He never left the building, and his personal courage made a big difference," the general noted.

"The Iraqi people in Mosul got the message that here is a strong, democratic leader with a competent security force." Ham said.

He pointed out that the Iraqi Security Forces had to call on U.S. forces to help in only one incident that night, but all the heavy lifting was done by the Iraqis.

Ham said it was Iraqi leadership that made the difference with the security forces. He said he is very proud of them for the way they reacted.

The results in Mosul seem to prove Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers' contention that Iraqi leadership and a set Iraqi chain of command is necessary for the Iraqi security forces to do well.

Myers said that during the recent demonstrations and riots, the Iraqi security forces did very well in some locations and poorly in others including some, according to news reports, who refused direct orders. He said that having an Iraqi chain of command would reinforce the reality that the security forces are fighting for their country and not to prop up a dictatorship.

Biography: Gen. Richard B. Myers

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