Joint Combat Camera Center Iraq
U.S. Army Sgt Ben Chambers from Shoshone, Idaho, along with other U.S. Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, along with Iraqi soldiers conduct a cordon and search on Jan. 24 in Baghdad, Iraq.
Photo by Sgt. Edwin Bridges
Another Week of Progress in Iraq, Including Elections
The time has come for elections in Iraq once again and all the work put into place is showing.
“At this point, we’re trying to enable, not to direct, the Iraqis in how to accomplish their mission,” U.S. Army Capt. Nicholas Doerr, of 1st Armored Division’s Task Force 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, said recently.
In support of the U.S.-Iraqi status-of-forces agreement that took effect Jan. 1, U.S. Soldiers rehearsed election security plans with Iraqi security forces on Jan. 25 at Combat Outpost Meade, southeast of Baghdad, in an area once known for sectarian violence. In the past year there has been a significant decrease in attacks on Iraqi civilians as the “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group, the Iraqi army and the reconciliation program have greatly increased security and helped to reinstate a sense of normalcy.
Balloting opened on January 28, 2009 at 7 a.m. for around 3,000 detainees and continued until all eligible detainees passed through the polling stations.
Iraqi correctional officers and linguists who work with the detainees said they were honored to be part of the historic event and felt the elections are another sign that Iraq is moving forward as a democratic nation. Iraqi police also voted on January 28, 2009, at the Bilal Al Habashi School in Istaqlal Qada of northeast Baghdad.
“This is a good step for Iraq and the people. They have free opinions to vote wherever they want and for any person they want to give peace in Iraq,” Iraqi police Col. Majeed Khalil said.
The special round of voting was set aside to ensure that soldiers will be able to provide security for the general election.
“We have all the emergency stuff we need, and we are going to do our best to provide security to the people so that the people are able to vote free,” Khalil said.
For those who voted early, the importance of that decision was not forgotten.
“It is very good,” said Bakr Hdait, a hospital janitor from Adhamiyah, who was casting his vote. “We have to choose the person who is going to work for us. He’s going to make a lot of things good for us.”
According to U.S. military officials, January 28, 2009 in Iraq was an eventful and successful day. Iraqi security forces, aided by their U.S. partners, detained suspected criminals, seized illegal weapons and found and destroyed a “sticky bomb.”
Iraqi National Police officers on a combined operation with Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers detained a suspected criminal in the Jihad community of Baghdadâ€™s Rashid district. The combined patrol transported the detainee, who was wanted for alleged car-bomb activity, to a joint security station for processing. Another bomb-building suspect in the Zubaida community was captured by a combined patrol.
Elsewhere in Iraq, Iraqi security forces acted on information provided by a detainee who had knowledge of recent attacks. They arrested two suspects believed to have conducted hand-grenade attacks on civilians that were resettling in northern Baghdadâ€™s Ghazaliyah neighborhood.
Also last Wednesday, in Baghdadâ€™s Rashid district, Iraqi security forces and Multinational Division Baghdad soldiers seized weapons and found a bomb and unexploded ordnance in various operations:
Police and U.S. soldiers found a magnetic â€œsticky bombâ€ in the districtâ€™s Jazeera community and called in an Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team to dispose of it.
Forces confiscated 15 AK-47 assault rifles in the Saydiyah community.
Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers found a bomb made of a 2.75 inch rocket and a 60 mm mortar round in the Masafee community.
In the Abu Tshir community, a combined patrol found a rocket-propelled grenade round that had been fired but hadnâ€™t exploded.
Iraqi and U.S. soldiers found an 81 mm white-phosphorus mortar in the Arab Jabour community. A coalition EOD team secured it.
January 27, 2009 in Iraq:
U.S. and Iraqi soldiers seized weapons in Baghdad that included two AK-47 assault rifles, an 82 mm mortar round, a 60 mm mortar round, a rocket-propelled grenade and a 22 mm anti-aircraft round. A coalition forces explosive ordnance disposal team responded to handle the munitions.
Meanwhile, to the East in Afghanistan (where things are ramping up as well), on January 29, 2009, Coalition forces in Afghanistan killed four militants and detained eight suspects during operations to disrupt Taliban bomb makers and militants in Kandahar.
In Arghandab district, just outside the city, the operation targeted a Taliban operator known to have employed roadside bombs aimed against Afghan National Police and coalition forces.
When coalition forces reached the compound where the Taliban member was located, armed militants engaged them with small-arms fire. Militants barricaded themselves in a building, endangering the women and children on the compound. Coalition forces precisely engaged the barricaded militants after they refused to surrender, while safeguarding the women and children. Other suspected militants on the compound followed instructions to surrender, and they were detained without incident.
Because a building damaged by the militants was deemed unsafe for occupants, coalition forces destroyed it after removing women and children to a safe distance. During the operation, the force found AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and blasting caps. Nine women and 17 children present on the compound were unharmed during the operation due to the precise actions of coalition forces, officials said.