Friday, February 15, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 15 Feb 2008

From MNF-I, Adwaniyah Residents Look to Brighter Future, Normalcy.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Last year, the community of Adwaniyah witnessed the worst of what the insurgency brought to the people of Iraq.

There were reports of kidnappings and murders. Members of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were said to have forced residents out of their homes. Soon, Adwaniyah residents realized that life under AQI would be a step backward and they began to work with Coalition forces to rid their community of AQI.

Adwaniyah citizens Hazim Shaker Ahmen and Riyah Yas Khudayr, both former Iraqi Army officers, began working with Coalition forces and started ‘Sons of Iraq’ (SoI) programs last October.

In mid-November AQI mounted an offensive against U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi Army and Sons of Iraq. At the time, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division was the Army unit patrolling Adwaniyah. Troop B and the SoI repelled the offensive and since then AQI members have either been detained or fled the community.

Now, Troop B, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. controls the battle space and the future of Adwaniyah is bright.

“The local leadership, the Sons of Iraq and Iraqi Army all played an important part in making this a success and they continue to do so,” said Capt. Douglas Hoyt, Troop B, 6-8th Cav. Regt. commander, from Columbus, Ohio. “The willingness to make a stand, to sacrifice and work hard has paid off.”

In December, a SoI headquarters was set up and a town council was established.

By January, word began to spread that the community was safer. Residents began moving back into the city and businesses started re-opening.

“The situation has gone from bad to better,” said local SoI co-founder Ahmen. “The task has begun to improve the security, economic and employment situation and the relationship with the central Government of Iraq.”

Assisting with the improvement in security, Troop B, 6-8th Cav. Regt. established Patrol Base Dolby in the community to help keep residents safe, rebuild the infrastructure and try to boost the economy.