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So the Democrats say they want to see more visible effort on Iraqi government and her people before they will pay our men and women for the work we sent them there to do? Well, check this out:

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq – The number of Iraqi-led reconciliation efforts swelled over the past two weeks across Multi-National Division – Center as local Iraqi leaders seek to capitalize on an improved security situation by developing the institutions that will enable long-term stability.

With Coalition Forces and Iraqi Concerned Local Citizens working increasingly in tandem with the Iraqi Police and Army to solidify security relationships, a window has opened for local leadership to push forward business development and infrastructure repair and forge political relationships across sects and neighborhoods.

On Nov. 26, Khalif Haloos of the Sadr al Yusifiyah Nahia Governance Council hosted more than 500 sheiks from Sunni, Shi’a and Kurdish tribes. Also in attendance were Coalition Forces from the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), who were the invited guests of the Iraqis who organized the meeting. Security for this meeting, the largest of several important reconciliation gatherings in MND-C in recent days, was provided by the Iraqi Security Forces.

“This meeting was an example of Sunnis and Shias working together,” said Col. Dominic Caraccilo, commander of 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div (AASLT). “The ISF took the lead in providing security for the meeting, and we had representation from all the key players in that area. That dynamic, coming from the local level, could be an example for the national government.”

The sheiks discussed reconciliation issues, from the return of displaced families, to a pact that would allow Iraqis of all sects to travel freely through the sheiks’ territory without fear of sectarian reprisal. They also discussed restraining Iranian influence, suppressing the remaining insurgents in their territory, and ways to integrate their activities with Iraq’s central government.

On Nov. 27 [2007] at Forward Operating Base Kalsu, leaders of the Iraqi Army and Police met with elected officials and Coalition commanders to discuss security cooperation and coordination in Babil province.

Col. Michael Garret, commander of the outgoing 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, used the occasion to say goodbye to the Iraqi leaders with whom he had worked for more than a year. Working to build on those relationships now is Col. Thomas James, commander of 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

Although it’s early in James’ deployment, his brigade has seen many examples of local leaders taking steps to improve their community through Sunni and Shia cooperation, specifically from the Sunni sheik and the police chief in Musayyib. Both will tell you that they are Iraqis first, not Sunni or Shia, and only want what’s good for their country and citizens, James said.

Another meeting was held Dec. 1 on the other side of MND-C at Forward Operating Base Hammer, east of Baghdad. Iraqi civic and tribal leaders in attendance offered frank assessments of their needs and asked U.S. and Iraqi officials for continued support with stabilization efforts.

Col. Wayne Grigsby, commander of the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, said after the meeting, “I’ve spent 35 months of my life in Iraq, and this is the best I’ve ever seen it.” He noted, however, that there remain opportunities to synchronize U.S. and Iraqi efforts.

Part of that direction involves parlaying improved security and cooperation among the different parties to build a stepped-up reconstruction program. Similar to the reconciliation conferences that took place, the reconstruction effort is manifesting itself across MND-C as community development projects.

On Nov. 28, the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd HBCT, 3rd Inf. Div. opened a new medical clinic in Narwhan after the project was approved by Iraq’s Ministry of Health. As a signal of its commitment to the initiative, the ministry hired three doctors to work at the facility, two of whom are female.

The following day, the 1-10th FA conducted a school bag and bottled-water drop in Sabah Nisan. School children there received 180 school bags and 3,500 cases of water, distributed by the Concerned Local Citizens.

On Nov. 26, the Al-Wehda Nahia council celebrated with Iraqi and Coalition Forces the completion of a well system in al Sadiq. The system includes water pumps, storage tanks, a generator and quarters for a caretaker. The project was a joint effort by local Iraqis and Coalition Forces.

Finally, on Nov. 28, Iraqis celebrated the graduation of a class of small businessmen from an entrepreneur training program in the Mada’in Qada. The program helps develop business skills and planning among local business owners and then provides them with micro-grants to revitalize their businesses. As part of the program, U.S. military and civilian officials assess the proposals of the Iraqi graduates and award grants of up to $10,000 to eligible candidates.

Now I want you to go to your phones and dial toll free at 1-866-340-9281, and tell the Democrats to PAY OUR MEN AND WOMEN! They wanted evidence? Here it is. To continue to ignore this fact, is to ignore any and all facts they with which they disagree politically. This is outrageous, and it should not be allowed to stand. Write about it, talk about it on the radio programs, do whatever you can. Our men and women did not ask to be deployed by the same people who are now refusing to pay them so that they can make political points back home. They really, REALLY, need to stop. Thank you.

Source: CentCom News Release.

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    26 Aug 07
    by Multi-National Division-North
    Public Affairs Office
    .

    BAGHDAD – Operation Lightning Hammer concluded Wednesday after a 12-day, large-scale operation to disrupt al-Qaeda and other terrorist elements in the Diyala River Valley, a complex area of villages and palm groves in Iraq’s Diyala province.

    The operation, which involved approximately 16,000 Iraqi and Coalition forces clearing approximately 50 villages, was a key element in Multi-National Corps-Iraq’s overall operation, Phantom Strike; and resulted in 26 al-Qaeda members killed, 37 suspected terrorists detained and the discovery of 10 weapons caches. “The strength and determination of the fighting men and women from the Iraqi and Coalition forces showed great results during Lightning Hammer,” said U.S. Army Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of Coalition forces in Diyala province. “We have continued to diminish their supplies and disable al-Qaeda’s abilities to disrupt the population.”

    Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, partnered with members of the 5th Iraqi Army Division, initiated the operation with a late-night air assault into targeted locations on Aug. 13, and conducted an additional three air-assaults during the course of the operation. Residents of most villages welcomed the security forces, providing tips and intelligence about recent activities in their towns, and were interested in joining the Iraqi Security Forces. Following clearing operations, the Iraqi Army provided medical assistance and humanitarian aid to the local citizens, many of whom said their villages were recently influenced by al-Qaeda.

    More importantly, more than 80 tribal leaders and representatives, some of whom had not spoken in over a year, met Aug. 19 to discuss their grievances and swore on the Quran to unite in their fight against terrorists and become one tribe of Diyala. “As I conducted my battlefield circulation and talked with many of the citizens, they repeatedly thanked our Soldiers, but more importantly, their security forces, for liberating their towns from the terrorists – specifically al-Qaeda,” Sutherland said. “Because their villages have been cleared, the local and central governments will now be able to provide those essential services al-Qaeda destroyed, and the people feel a sense of security they have not known for some time.”

    Throughout the operation, the Task Force Lightning Soldiers also discovered 22 improvised explosive devices, 11 of which were discovered based on tips from a police chief in the river valley, and reduced three house-borne IEDs and six vehicle-borne IEDs, all of which could have been used to harm a large portion of the population or security forces. Additionally, an al-Qaeda command post was discovered in the village of Shadia, and an al-Qaeda medical clinic was located in Qaryat Sunayjiyah.

    The command post, which was surrounded by fighting positions, contained bed space for 20 individuals, supply requests, records of munitions, a list of families supporting the element, a list of al-Qaeda members detained by Coalition forces and other terrorist propaganda. “Although we didn’t find many of the terrorists, the operation proved to be a great success because we disrupted al-Qaeda, causing them to run,” Sutherland continued. “Their fear of facing our forces proves that the terrorists know there is no safe haven for them in Diyala.

    “And though this specific operation is over, our fight is not over,” he continued. “We will continue to aggressively target al-Qaeda, and ultimately, they will be brought to justice.” The results of Lightning Hammer cleared the Diyala River Valley of al-Qaeda and allowed Iraqi and Coalition forces to maintain a permanent presence in Mukeisha, a village in the heart of the river valley area.

    Photo – Spc. Samuel Melendez, Bravo Trop, 5th Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, patrols a mrash outside of Qubah, a small village in the Diyala province. The patrol was part of Operation Lightning Hammer, a maneuver to flush insurgents from the area. Photo by Sgt. Patrick Lair, 115th MPAD.

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    22 Aug 07
    Cpl. Rick Nelson
    2nd Marine Division
    .

    BARWANAH, Iraq – Progress continues to be made in Al Anbar Province. A city once threatened by small arms fire, populace intimidation, improvised explosive devices and snipers is experiencing a renaissance.

    This renaissance is due to the continued presence of the Marines assigned to Alpha Company, Task Force 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2 in and around the town, and the recent build up of Iraqi Security Forces.

    “When we first got here things were running very slow and not many stores were open, but now a lot of new businesses are opening and people seem to be a lot more friendly and helpful with us,” said Sgt. Anthony C. Galloway, a section leader with Weapons Platoon, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 2.

    Galloway, a veteran of the Battle of Fallujah has seen combat at its most intense but was still a little reserved upon his arrival in country. “You never know what to expect when entering a combat zone,” said Galloway . “I was imagining it was going to be just like my first deployment to Iraq, which was all out war and nothing but combat.” This deployment has been less intense than what Galloway experienced two years ago, but there have been numerous challenges faced by 1/3. It takes time to win over the local populace, but Galloway has noticed a big change since Alpha Company first arrived here and is impressed by the way the local people have taken to his Company.

    “You can tell a lot by the attitude of the local people,” said Galloway. “They give information to us about terrorists or suspected insurgents, when they couldn’t before for fear of their lives. With the stability of the city though, the local people have such freedom now to give the Marines information.”

    Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Stutts, a machine gunner in the Company, has also noticed how the local populace seems to be much more accepting of the Marines. “They seem to be very thankful for the security we provide. A lot of times they will come out to say hello, or give us sodas while we’re on a patrol,” said Stutts. “That’s the one thing that stands out, the people. This is my first deployment, but I didn’t expect the people to be so friendly, they’re awesome.”

    Stutts said although the situation has improved, he still remains aware of the enemy. “Even though I feel safe here, I still keep my guard up and keep the mindset in case the time comes when we do get contact,” said Stutts, a Texas native. “You never know when you may go around a corner and get blown up or take contact.”

    Cpl. Anthony P. Mitchell, an intelligence analyst with the Company, said due to a berm that was built around the city in December as a part of Operation Majid, the IEDs inside the city are rare. “A lot of the caches were found along the edge of the Euphrates,” said Mitchell. “We don’t see them nearly as much due to the increase of the company’s patrols in the area.” Mitchell went on to explain another reason for the success seen today was due to the units who operated in Barwanah prior to 1/3’s arrival.

    “The Marines from second Battalion, third Marines and second Battalion, fourth Marines had a big mission to secure the city. By the time Alpha Company arrived, it already had much, not all, of the qualities and stability we see today,” said Mitchell, a native of Burlington, Colo. “The problem we faced when we arrived here was maintaining that stability and building the Iraqi Police and Army force.”

    Prior to April, the Iraqi police force in Barwanah was minor, both in size and impact. However, with the help of the local community leaders, specifically the mayor and city council chairman, the force’s size has increased significantly. It currently stands at 150. Their presence, as much as the Marines, has been a driving force behind this new found progress.

    “The Iraqi Police in Barwanah are all locals from the area, so they’re able to know who the bad guys are,” said Mitchell. “This makes it a lot easier for us when it comes time to detain the people because the Iraqi Police know exactly who they are and where to find them.”

    The population is now able to enjoy its city and spend more time outdoors. “At night, children will play soccer until the 11 p.m. curfew. I don’t know many American parents who would feel comfortable allowing their eight or nine-year-old child to stay out that late,” said the 21-year-old Mitchell. There has been a strong connection made between the Marines, sailors, Iraq Security Forces, and people of Barwanah. This connection has shut down the insurgency within the city and uplifted progress.

    Photo – Sgt. Anthony C. Galloway, section leader, 1st Squad, 4th Platoon, Alpha Company, 1/3 briefs his Marines while holding security at a bridge in Barwanah. Photo by: Cpl. Rick Nelson.

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    15 Aug 07
    by Multi-National Division – Baghdad Public Affairs Office
    .

    Baghdad – Local citizens fed tips to Soldiers from the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, which led to the finding of four weapons caches and the detaining of two suspects in multiple operations north of Baghdad, Aug. 8 and 9.

    Troops from Battery B, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment, attached to the 1st BCT, acting on a tip from a neighborhood watch volunteer, uncovered an improvised explosive devices cache near the town of Sab Al Bor, Aug 8. The cache included five complete IEDs and 12 incomplete IEDs. The cache also included 20 munitions of varying sizes, 100 pounds of homemade explosive, one can of nitric acid, some command wire as well as the tools necessary to manufacture IEDs.

    The same day acting on a tip from a volunteer, Soldiers of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, also of 1st BCT, found a 100 millimeter projectile, 10 80mm mortars, six IED timers, two rocket-propelled grenades and an accompanying booster. In two separate incidents also involving information garnered from volunteer sources, Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, working with their Iraqi counterparts from the 3rd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army Division (Mechanized), unearthed two caches and detained two suspects.

    In the first, while draining a canal, engineers from 2-8 Cavalry’s Sapper Company found three 60mm mortar rounds, two 82mm mortar rounds, one 120mm mortar round and one 122mm projectile Aug. 9 near Kem. In the second find, during a cordon and search, 2-8 Cavalry troops and Iraqi troops found 1 sniper rifle with two scopes, one AK-47 assault rifle with five magazines, a 9mm Glock pistol, a hand grenade and detained two suspects in connection with the cache near Al Dhabtiya, also on Aug. 9. All of the finds were further evidence of Ironhorse Soldiers’ success in working with Iraqi communities and volunteers to root out insurgents and extremists alike, said Lt. Col. Peter Andrysiak, 1st Brigade Combat Team’s deputy commanding officer.

    “Cooperation by citizens and their volunteer security roles is what will turn the tide in securing Iraq,” said the Austin native. “We have the largest reconciliation and volunteer movement in Multi-National Division-Baghdad. We fully support Iraqis taking an active role in securing their neighborhoods, towns and villages to stop the violence which hinders the government’s delivery of essential services and an environment that enables small business opportunities and growth.”

    Local Iraqis have grown tired of the al-Qaeda stranglehold and they are taking back their communities and their lives, according to Andrysiak. “Their efforts, along with that of the Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces, may prove to be the turning point,” he added.

    Photo – Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment take defensive fighting positions, while their commander talks with locals inside the fenceduring a cordon and search in Husseniya. Photo by Sgt. Rachel Ahner.

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    27 July 07
    By Multi-National Division-North Public Affairs Office
    .

    BAQUBAH, Iraq – Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, met with the governor of Diyala, provincial leadership, key tribal leaders, Diyala’s Iraqi security force leadership and senior coalition officers during a meeting at the Baqubah Government Center, July 26.

    “The prime minister’s visit is vital, not only for the government and security officials, but for the people of Diyala to see that their effort in achieving peace and fighting against terrorist groups does not go unnoticed,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of coalition forces in Diyala province.

    The visit, which focused on current operations in the province as well as provincial-level government issues, was Maliki’s first trip to Diyala province since taking office.

    “This is a great day for Diyala province because the prime minister is among us,” said Ra’ad Hameed Al-Mula Jowad Al-Tamimi, governor of Diyala.

    “We are here to thank all the excellent efforts by you (the government and security officials), and we also came to thank the people of Diyala,” Maliki said in his opening remarks. “We can say that the suffering of Diyala people is ending, and we in the central government appreciate all your efforts.”

    During the meeting, Maliki addressed the peoples’ ability to rise above terrorism, assuring those present that the central government will continue to work closely with the provincial government and is committed to the people of Diyala.

    “This province suffered a lot from the outlaws,” Maliki said. “They wanted it to be a huge graveyard, but we wanted something else for Diyala – and we succeeded when the Iraqi army, Iraqi police, tribes and all other people found out what the terrorists are really made of. “We are fighting against the terrorists and we will prevail,” Maliki added, before discussing the importance of tribal reconciliation.

    “Iraq is not only for some people, it’s for everyone,” Maliki said. “We cannot ignore our nation and we have to be united in our efforts to build Iraq.”

    “The tribes have to support the government in its war against the terrorists – they play a big role,” the governor added.

    “Iraq, with all its (rich resources) and people, can eliminate all kind of threats,” Maliki continued. “We will all work together for the prosperity of this country and we will not let anyone interfere with our affairs or with the political process.”

    “The ultimate success of Diyala lies in the hands of the people,” Sutherland said. “Today’s meeting continued to prove that the governments, both central and provincial, care greatly for the peoples’ safety, security and well-being. “The will of the government drives the hope of the people,” Sutherland continued, “and I hope today’s visit, along with recent operations throughout Diyala, continue to restore that hope – a hope that the terrorists tried to destroy, but couldn’t.”

    Photo – Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, left, walks with Staff Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem, commander of Iraqi security forces in Diyala province, after arriving at the Baqubah Government Center for his first visit to the province since taking office, July 26, 2007. Photo by Sgt. Serena Hayden.

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    These are two great articles. First, we have the ISF (Iraq Security Forces) working along side the Coalition Forces (CF) to put pressure on any al Qaida still left in the neighborhood.

    BAQOUBA, Iraq – Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) teamed with Task Force Lightning units, Thursday, to clear Baqouba and surrounding areas as Operation Arrowhead Ripper continued.

    “We are shoulder-to-shoulder with Iraqi Security Forces in this fight,” said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commanding general, operations, and commander of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. “Specifically the 5th Iraqi Army Division led by Maj. Gen. Saleem Kariem Ali Alotbei, along with the provincial director of police, Maj. Gen. Ganim, have provided the Iraqi security forces to the fight.

    The weeks ahead are absolutely key in not only holding and retaining the ground that is cleared in partnership with Coalition Forces (CF), but also in building trust and confidence with the citizens of Diyala.” [Continue reading.]

    There is also a picture that comes with both of these articles. Well, all of them today, actually. Wait until you read how many AQ they killed! 🙂

    This next article is very moving. Two soldiers who were only doing their job turned the mind of one man (who could in turn change the minds of others) when they took notice of the needs of his son.

    KIRKUK, Iraq – The nine-year old boy would most certainly lose his leg. Given the prohibitive cost of medical care and his family’s lack of resources, amputation and a life of pain and dependence seemed inevitable. The Iraqi boy’s father was resigned to that conclusion.

    Then two soldiers got involved and hope arrived along with them.

    Sgt. Donald R. Campbell and Capt. Geoffrey Dutton, both Georgia natives, brought coalition and Iraqi resources together to give an Iraqi boy hope after a chance encounter during a routine patrol in Kirkuk, Iraq. [Continue reading.]

    These guys are very special. It makes me so proud to be an American. Thank you for your service, stay safe, and God bless you.

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