Coalition Aids Iraq’s Security and Recovery


Captain Ken Jolley, of Kings Lynn, Norfolk, from Britain’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, hands out sweets to a class of girls at a village primary school near Basra. The mixed school, thought to be one of the first to reopen since the start of the war, is on an abandoned Iraqi military base being used by British forces and has 107 pupils aged between six and 10.

Vanessa Allen / Pool / Reuters

In yet another sign of Coalition confidence in the stability of Iraq and efforts there to rebuild, British diplomats have returned to their embassy in Baghdad that had been vacated since 1991. British diplomat Christopher Segar said, "I see this as a symbol of the commitment of our government to working with Iraq and the Iraqi people."

Meanwhile, the U.K., U.S., Italy, Spain, Poland, and other members of the Coalition, are continuing to carry out efforts to bring about stability and security during the rebuilding process.

Removing boxes full of weapons from schools that Saddam had used for storage is only one of the many tasks to bring about the reconstruction for the people of Iraq.

However, still present are the dangers of terror and other types of attacks against the innocent civilians in Iraq and the Coalition forces. To confront the threats to stability and to make it safe for humanitarian assistance operations, Coalition forces continue to actively patrol Iraq. The danger that still exists is seen in Coalition reports of incidents in the past week.

  • A movie theatre apparently was the target of a terrorist attack last Thursday, where five people were wounded by a grenade explosion in the theatre in Al Kut. Coalition troops found a second grenade and it was blown in place by a Coalition explosive ordnance disposal team with minimal additional damage to the theater. Three men were detained for questioning.
  • Last week, an unknown attacker fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment squad headquarters near Al Fallujah Friday evening. The grenade missed the headquarters and landed in a nearby residential area. There were no known civilian or U.S. casualties.
  • An unknown sniper fired on U.S. soldiers who were conducting a sweep of several bunkers in the vicinity of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance headquarters in Baghdad late last Friday afternoon. The soldiers did not return fire because they were unable to positively identify the position of the shooter. No injuries were reported.
  • Looters attempted to steal ammunition from a cache in Baghdad as well. Soldiers from the Third Infantry Division fired on the looters after they demonstrated hostile intent. One looter was killed and two were injured. No soldiers were injured.
  • A lone shooter fired a rifle at U.S. Army military policemen conducting an escort mission in Baghdad last Friday morning. The shooter was not identified, and no injuries were reported.
  • A Third Infantry Division convoy in Baghdad was fired at by a single person May 8. The unit returned fire, killing the individual. No U.S. personnel were injured.
  • A convoy traveling near Baghdad International Airport May 8 avoided a mine after being alerted by local children. However, a civilian truck behind the convoy hit the mine, destroying the truck. There were no U.S. injuries. A High Mobility Multi Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) struck a mine in Baghdad May 8, injuring two soldiers.
  • While directing traffic in Baghdad a U.S. soldier was killed. The V – corps soldier was approached without warning and was killed by the attacker with a pistol in east Baghdad at approximately 1:00 pm on Thursday, May 8th.. The soldier was in the process of directing traffic at the time of the incident. The assailant escaped after killing the soldier and a search and investigation is underway. Officials have asked for the help of the locals in Baghdad in the search for the suspect.The identity of the deceased soldier is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
  • A convoy traveling in Baghdad May 8 was shot at with a rocket propelled grenade, which glanced off the back of the vehicle and exploded across the street. There were no injuries.

Despite the danger, Coalition forces remain dedicated to providing a secure and stable environment throughout Iraq so that infrastructure repair and humanitarian aid can continue.

Coalition forces continue to assist in developing a safer and more secure environment in Iraq. Among recent developments:

  • Al Hillah – Marines are training the new local police force at a stadium in Al Hillah. About 50 Iraqis were trained Thursday. The first police academy class graduated Thursday. Marine forces conducted a meeting with the governor, police chief, and security manager to discuss hiring an additional 600 personnel to assume permanent security responsibilities at schools, civil and public workstations, the electrical plant and hospitals.
  • Karbala – Marine forces and civil affairs personnel conducted the final day of training for a specially selected police cadre. As a “real world” practical exercise, trainees were combined with the Marine/Karbala police task force that arrested a profile fictitious general. As part of the training event, the scenario involved the general staging a riot against the governor of Karbala at city hall. A television announcement will be broadcast encouraging Iraqis to bring weapons to designated areas to turn them in.
  • Ad Diwaniyah – Military police conducted 24-hour combined patrols with Iraqi policemen. Another 200 police officers are expected to be hired. The broadcast discussed security, food distribution, utilities, and education issues in the province. Navy engineers continue electrical, plumbing and general construction at three local schools.
  • As Samawah – Marine forces completed the interior clean-up and ground maintenance of the As Samawah Technical College. Marines destroyed five captured enemy munitions sites May 9.
  • An Nasiriyah – Marines assessed two grain storage silos. One silo contains 6 1/2 tons of mixed grain and the other contains 600 metric tons of wheat. Grain silos have been operating safety equipment to prevent explosions. ORHA is buying grain throughout the I MEF area and using it to feed the Iraqi people. This not only provides food, but also stimulates the local economy. Civil affairs troops initiated an Adopt-A-School program and received pay rosters for teachers at the university.
  • Al Basrah – U.K forces have plans in place to arm the Basrah auxiliary police force. The training is being carried out with weapon stripping and assembly, as well as training at the Shaibah airfield.
  • An Najaf – Navy engineers continued repairs to Al Iman Al Hussein School, the city jail and the police academy. Civil affairs troops coordinated the payment of 22,000 civil workers. Marine and Navy personnel delivered 60 refurbished desks to a local school.
  • Currently, there are 1,736 enemy prisoners of war detained by the Coalition. To date 3,789 Iraqis have been paroled.
Although challenges to security and stability remain in Iraq for the Coalition, U.S. General Tommy Franks noted that it has been about fifty-two days since military action began in Iraq, and noted the positives saying, "Today, the Iraqi people no longer live in fear of a regime of Saddam Hussein," "Key regime figures are being brought to justice every day, one by one."

"And nations in the Red Sea and … the Gulf region are no longer threatened by a regime in Iraq that attacked neighbors twice in the last 20 years," Franks said.

Coalition forces are also working with the government of Kuwait to find some 600 Kuwaiti citizens still missing from Iraq’s 1990 invasion of its southern neighbor. According to CENTCOM officials in southern Iraq, experts are "exploiting" a mass grave found near Samawah. Evidence at the site led the experts to believe the remains could be those of missing Kuwaitis.

Franks noted that Iraqi citizens are forming local governments and town councils. "Iraq’s best days are yet to come," he said.

Coalition forces have removed "hundreds of tons" of weapons and ammunition from schools, residential neighborhoods and religious sites.

Basic services, such as healthcare, water and electrical power, are being restored throughout the country and Iraqi children are returning to school classrooms that previously were taken over by Saddam’s regime to be used as weapons storage facilities.

Source: AFPS