Sunday, May 4, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 4 May 2008

From MNF-I, Iraqi, Coalition Soldiers Distribute Food, Toys to Families in Need.

FOB DELTA — Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and American Soldiers recently gave humanitarian assistance to more than 200 families in the Zuwarijat district of al-Kut, 163 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, as part of Operation Thunder II.

The humanitarian mission furthered the operation’s goal of establishing a permanent ISF presence in the area.

During Operation Thunder II, ISF occupied three buildings to serve as temporary joint security stations until a permanent facility is built, said Col. Peter Baker, commander of the 214th Fires Brigade.

“This is the first time since I came to al-Kut that ISF has come into and stayed in an area with no permanent ISF presence,” Baker said.

Zuwarijat, like the Sadr area of Baghdad, was used by Saddam Hussein as a place for people he considered undesirable, said Capt. Hayder Ali Adnan, of the Iraqi Police (IP). The standard of living is very low.

The ISF moved into the area to show residents of Zuwarijat the strength of the security forces and give them the opportunity to support ISF in finding criminals, Adnan said.

The Iraqi Army led the mission, with the support of IP and assistance in planning from American forces, Baker said.

“I think the joint security mission and the assistance mission was very effective and successful,” Adnan said. “The distribution mission was good.”

Baker said the missions were a good example of ISF growth.

“They are more skilled and better with planning. It’s a tremendous growth in capacity in a short time,” he said.

Baker said he was pleased with the results of the operation, but warned that the future stability of the area is far from assured.

“It’s only been a week, but it’s been a good week,” he said.