Skip to comments.Iraqis welcome Dhi Qar handover
Posted on 09/26/2006 7:51:03 PM PDT by SandRat
The Iraqis have passed yet another major milestone with the hand over of Dhi Qar province last week. It is the second province - Al Muthanna being the first - to be handed over to Iraqi control.
UK Defence Secretary Des Browne congratulated the Iraqi people, saying, I am pleased that Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq is today being handed over to Iraqi control. I congratulate the Iraqis on this achievement, along with our Italian and Romanian partners, whose hard work has contributed to establishing the conditions required for handover.
Italian and Romanian personnel have worked hard to develop and mentor the Iraqi security forces in Dhi Qar and support the local authority.
I understand that the continuing violence in Baghdad is rightly the main focus of interest here in Britain. But elsewhere in Iraq, there is real progress both in establishing security, and in the transition process. Dhi Qar is the second province, after Al-Muthanna in July, to be handed over to Iraqi control. This does not mean there are no security challenges in Dhi Qar - but it does mean that Iraqs Security Forces are now in a position to take the lead. I hope to see further provinces going through this process in the coming months, said Des Browne.
The handover of all provinces, Dhi Qar included, is conditionally based upon:
The situation differs across Iraq but the expectation over the coming months is that the Iraqi Government and its Security Forces will progressively take responsibility for security in other provinces when the afore mentioned conditions are met.
Coalition Forces based in Dhi Qar will retain the capability to re-intervene in support of the Iraqi Security Forces if the Iraqi government judges that the security situation demands it.
From the UKs perspective, there will be no significant force reductions as a consequence of this decision.
The UK remains fully committed to helping the Iraqi Government build a stable, secure and democratic country.
But most of all, I congratulate the citizens of Dhi Qar for building the conditions as their neighbors did in Muthanna to build a prosperous and peaceful future for their children. Ibrahim - the father of the great religions - was born in Ur and the ruins of his home can be seen there today. Iraqis and tourists are now able to freely visit this historical area.
The developments that follow will be of interest. This is an area of lots of Iranian influence. How they handle it will be a barometer of the future throughout Iraq.