Myers, Abizaid Hold Strategy Session in Baghdad
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 14, 2004 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commander of U.S. Central Command held discussions about the situation in Iraq here today.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers and Army Gen. John Abizaid spoke for about an hour and 20 minutes after Myers arrived from meetings in Kuwait.
A Joint Staff official characterized the discussions as "frank, productive, a good give-and-take." The chairman is in Iraq following meetings with leaders in Bahrain and Kuwait. He arrived in Iraq at Tallil and met with Italian troops responsible for patrolling the city of Nasiriyah. He later flew on here.
The chairman arrives as the ceasefire in Fallujah continues. It has been five days since the Marines have surrounded the area. The city is in the heart of the Sunni triangle west of Baghdad, and has an enemy group of former regime elements, foreign fighters and extremists. The Marines moved on the city following the murder of four Americans by anti-coalition forces and the mutilation of their bodies by an out-of-control crowd.
In the south, the riots encouraged by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr sputter on in Najaf and Karbala. U.S. troops and other coalition forces have worked to contain Sadr and his illegal militia. Earlier in Kuwait, Myers said that Sadr had marginalized himself and his movement. The chairman added that Sadr's move is against the best interests of Iraqs.
As if pointing up the problems in Iraq, soon after Myers arrived at the place where he would stay, two rounds hit about 500 meters away. There were no casualties.
Myers said he visits the region every three or four months "just to get more texture on what's happening."
He said he is not in Iraq to deliver a message to coalition commanders, but rather to learn from the situation on the ground. "What I need to know is what do they need to do the job?" he said. "You learn a lot from talking to the commanders on the ground. I learned a lot talking to the Italians in Tallil. Their morale was great, and they seemed in good spirits."