Skip to comments.Dhi Qar: Rich past, hopeful future
Posted on 09/18/2006 4:52:17 PM PDT by SandRat
BAGHDAD With all its history, Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq is looking toward the future. Its scheduled later this month to become the second of Iraqs 18 provinces to be transferred to provincial Iraqi control.
This means Coalition security forces will pull back and let the local provincial Police and Iraqi military handle security of the province, a key step for the eventual withdrawal of Coalition forces from the country.
Both Coalition officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have said they hope to have all 18 of the countrys provinces under Iraqi control by the end of next year.
Dhi Qar province is an archeologists dreamland. It contains the site of the ancient city of Ur, purported to be the hometown of the biblical figure Abraham. Near the ruins of the ancient city stands the Ziggurat of Ur, a towering ancient temple dating back more than 4,000 years.
Iraqis and tourists are now able to freely visit this area, something they could not do under the oppression of Saddam Hussein, said Maj. Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski, Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategy, Plans and Assessment, Multi-National Force - Iraq.
Chichowski said there are four key conditions to determine a provinces eligibility for transfer: the capability of the Iraqi security forces, threat levels in the province, local government capacity, and that government's relationship with Coalition forces in the province.
The responsibility for getting Dhi Qar ready to transfer has been shouldered mostly by members of the Italian contingent there, led by Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force Iraq.
This result was attained by Dhi Qar provincial authorities and Coalition forces through a long and intense period of sacrifices and efforts, De Pascale said.
About 1,500 Italian troops, along with Romanian, Australian and some British Soldiers, have been based out of Camp Mittica, just outside Ali Base, near Ur. The task force has worked closely with the local government in the province training and equipping the local Police and Army, mentoring government officials, and organizing construction projects like schools and clinics.
In the next days, Coalition forces in the province of Dhi Qar will hand over the security responsibility to Iraqi civilian authorities. This result is a clear evidence of the capability of Iraqi security forces, Police (and) Army, of guaranteeing security in Dhi Qar autonomously," De Pascale said. "It is also evidence of the maturity of the population in Dhi Qar. From now on, they will be able to contribute to the security, the social and economic growth of the province of Dhi Qar and Iraq."
The Coalition transferred neighboring Al Muthanna province on July 13. Since then, Al Muthannas local Police and military forces have had full responsibility for the province's security and continue to run operations there without Coalition prodding.
I wish all the best to the provincial leaders and to the people of Dhi Qar, De Pascale said.
A ceremony marking the transfer to Iraqi provincial control is scheduled for later this month.
Great news bump! Our men and women will leave Iraq as proud warriors--proud of a job no other army has ever done.