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Friday, August 26, 2005

Progress In Iraq

We won't be seeing this in our local newspapers. Why? Because it is mostly about Iraqis getting on with their lives and building a country. It is about the ordinary, everyday advance of progress in a country that has been stalled for 25 years. This CENTCOM news release has been edited for content. Only items that have been finished have been left in. References to projects that are not complete have been ommitted.
August 22, 2005
Release Number: 05-08-21

School Children:

Some of the Iraqi citizens benefiting from reconstruction this week were school children. Several projects were completed across the country, including school buildings. The Iraqi Security Forces continued to display their capability, and local citizens contributed to the security of their communities.

Children in Dobak Tappak village of Al Tamim Province received much-needed school supplies, clothing and toys from the Nahrain Foundation, a non-governmental organization that focuses on providing proper nutrition, decent clothing and medical supplies to Iraqi women and children. The foundation received its supplies as part of a joint effort between American donations and a Coalition forces-run program known as “Operation Provide School Supplies,” which accepts donations from private citizens and corporations in the U.S.

More than 600 children will return to renovated or rebuilt schools in Maysan Province when school starts this fall. This week, renovation on the Al-Eethnar Mud School was completed, and the Al Eethar Mud School was replaced at a cost of $87,000, benefiting 500 students who attend classes there.

Completed Construction Projects

Eight newly constructed schools in Wassit and Babil Provinces are receiving new furniture before the start of the school year. Each of the school projects will receive office desks and chairs, file cabinets and new student desks. 400 three-student desks will be proportionally divided among the schools, based upon the number of students.

An electric distribution and street lighting project in Daquq was completed on Aug. 17, providing new overhead distribution lines and street lighting in the community.

Baghdad trunk sewer line, was completed this week benefitting approximately two million people. Workers cleaned and repaired the Baghdad trunk sewer line and its associated manholes and pumping stations. The $17.48 million project restored principal sewage collection elements in the Adhamiya, Sadr City and 9-Nissan districts of Baghdad, and will provide for the intended sewer flows to the Rustamiya wastewater treatment plant.

The Basrah courthouse project completed phase one. This five-phase, $865,000 project is expected to be entirely complete in October of 2005. It is expected to hold a number of high profile trials. Work continues, employing an average of 70 local Iraqi workers daily.

A patrol station in the Karkh district of Baghdad Province was completed, as was a $390,300 border-post project on the Saudi Arabian border. A division headquarters building for the Iraqi Army in Salah Ad Din Province was also completed this week. The $7 million project includes a single-story building with a concrete roof and interior office space to accommodate the unit. Additionally, a $2 million firing range in Taji was completed this week.

A new prison project was started in Khan Bani Sa’ad, a mountainous municipality in the Ba’quba District of Diyala Province. The $75 million project will house up to 3,600 inmates. The entire site is approximately 550,000 square meters, which includes an educational center, medical facilities and administration buildings. The project will employ approximately 1,000 Iraqi workers during construction.

Iraqi Army Turnovers, Graduations, Etc.:

Generals from Iraqi and Coalition forces joined local tribal leaders at a ceremony where Forward Operating Base Dagger in Tikrit, one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces, was officially handed over to the 4th Iraqi Army Division this week. This highlights the increasing turnover of security responsibilities to Iraqi forces.

In Taji, Iraqi soldiers completed a Strategic Infrastructure Battalion Train-the-Trainer course. The 90 graduates will go on to serve as instructors at an Iraqi Army training base. A class of future IA non-commissioned officers graduated from their primary leadership development course on Aug. 15 in Tikrit. Iraqi Army unit training also included combat lifesaving, staff training, computer skills and weapons training.

This week, the 1st Iraqi Army Brigade succeeded at implementing the first Non-commissioned Officer Academy in the country. Iraqi soldiers from the most recent class were the last group to be instructed by the U.S. Soldiers who had developed the training. During Saddam Hussein’s regime, an NCO corps did not exist in the Iraqi Army. The class will continue after the U.S. instructors leave, and will be taught by NCOs from the 1st IA who assisted earlier courses.

Security Operations:

Baghdad, Iraqi Police Service officers in the New Baghdad District conducted a variety of operations including raids involving over 450 officers. Police confiscated 30 AK-47 rifles, two hand guns, and one machine gun during the raids.

They arrested 30 suspected insurgents. In addition, police at the Al Khanssa Police Station in Baghdad captured a kidnapper involved in the abduction of a local physician, whose family paid a ransom to have the victim released. Police officers recovered the doctor’s vehicle as well as the ransom money paid by his family.

Iraqi Army soldiers found a weapons cache under a vehicle in Rawah this week. The cache contained two light machine guns and 3000 rounds of ammunition, nine AK-47 rifles and 500 rounds of ammunition, one NATO machine gun and 200 rounds of ammunition, four concussion grenades, one fragmentary grenade without fuses, and various other ammunition.

Based on two separate tips from Iraqis, Coalition forces discovered weapons caches that contained rocket-propelled grenades and two launchers, 16 mortar rounds and a launcher, and five boxes of anti-aircraft ammunition hidden in northwest Baghdad.

Another tip led Coalition forces to a large cache of artillery shells in the early hours of Aug. 16. The shells were apparently intended for use as improvised explosive devices. The 25 to 30 individual rounds, located inside a building within Al Anbar Province, were destroyed after security forces confirmed there was no one in the building.

After a local Iraqi identified his neighbors as insurgents, Iraqi Army soldiers and Coalition forces conducted a joint cordon and search operation in northwest Fallujah and detained two suspects.

Iraqi Security Forces killed terrorist Abu Zubair, also known as Mohammed Salah Sultan, in an ambush in the northern city of Mosul this week. Zubair, who was wearing a suicide vest when he was killed, was a known member of Al Qaeda in Iraq and a lieutenant in Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi’s terrorist operations in Mosul. He was being sought for his involvement in a July suicide bombing attack of a police station in Mosul that killed five Iraqi police officers. He was also suspected of resourcing and facilitating suicide bomber attacks against Coalition, Iraqi Security Forces and Iraqi citizens throughout the country.

Local Iraqi citizens, along with the growing Iraqi Security Forces, are contributing to the security of their communities.


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