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Iraqis Taking the Security Lead
Defend America News ^ | Sgt. Mike Pryor

Posted on 05/30/2007 4:58:27 PM PDT by SandRat

Photo, caption below.

1st Lt. Larry Rubal (kneeling), of Old Forge, Pa., a platoon leader with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, watches as Lt. Col. Ahmed Abdullah, the local police commander, asks an Iraqi woman some questions during a joint patrol May 18, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Mike Pryor

Iraqis Taking the Security Lead

U.S. soldiers maintain a quieter role at Al Suleikh Joint Security Station

By Sgt. Mike Pryor
Multi-National Division – Baghdad Public Affairs

BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 30, 2007 — Capt. James Peay was starting to feel like a third wheel.

Peay, a battery commander with the 82nd Airborne Division from Nashville, Tenn., was accompanying the Iraqi police chief, Lt. Col. Ahmed Abdullah, on a combined engagement patrol through the east Baghdad neighborhood of Suleikh.
Whenever they stopped to speak with people on the street, Ahmed did most of the talking. Peay stood off to the side, listening as his interpreter translated. His comments were mostly limited to hellos, goodbyes, and thank yous.

This was Ahmed’s show, and Peay was more than happy to give him the spotlight. It’s not that he is shy, Peay said later, it’s that, ultimately, stability in Iraq depends on the Iraqi security forces – and people like Lt. Col. Ahmed – taking the lead.

Successfully negotiating that difficult transition has become one of the major focuses of the entire war effort, especially since the kick-off of the new security plan for Baghdad, which has placed thousands of additional U.S. and Iraqi forces in Baghdad communities, often living together in the same compounds.
Peay commands one of those new shared bases – the Al Suleikh Joint Security Station (JSS). For more than three months, paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division have been living and working side-by-side with the Iraqi police and Iraqi army at the JSS to coordinate security efforts in Suleikh.

The paratroopers from Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, man the JSS 24 hours a day. They have a cramped section of the building to themselves, stacked high with boxes of canned food, water and other supplies. The police stay on the other side of the same building, and the Iraqi soldiers stay in another part of the complex. At least once a day, liaisons from the three units meet in the conference room to discuss operations. 

When the JSS was first established, the area was so dangerous that the police rarely left the station. Some days, they went out only to pick up one of the dead bodies regularly dumped in the neighborhood.

Three months later, things have changed. The U.S. presence helped bring the level of violence down significantly. At the same time, it emboldened the ISF to raise their profile in the area – particularly the police.

“They know we’re here to support them, but at the same time, they’re getting to a point where they know security as a whole is in their hands,” said 2nd Lt. Jesse Bowman, an alpha battery platoon leader from Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

The difficult part, now, will be to maintain the security while the U.S. forces step back and the ISF step up. Peay’s patrol with Ahmed, May 18, his first as the new battery commander, gave an encouraging glimpse of the future.

Before the patrol started, platoon sergeant Sgt. 1st Class

Photo, caption below.

Capt. James Peay, commander of U.S. forces at Joint Security Station Suleikh; interpreter “George”; Lt. Col. Ahmed Abdullah, the local police commander; and platoon leader 1st Lt. Larry Rubal, of Old Forge, Pa., walk the Suleikh streets together on a joint patrol, May 18, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Mike Pryor

Michael Nichols, of Lewisburgh, W.Va., went over tactics and procedures with the Iraqis. When he was satisfied everyone was on the same page, the patrol moved out.

With a phalanx of police and paratroopers around them, Peay and Ahmed spent several hours walking a loop of the neighborhood around the JSS. They talked to people in their houses, outside washing their cars, on their way to work or anywhere else they found them. Almost everyone complained about sewage or electricity, which, in the big scheme of things, Peay found promising.

“If they’re complaining about the power, security must be pretty good,” he said.

Sometimes people came right out of their gates to talk with Ahmed in the middle of the street, an act that newly-arrived platoon leader 1st Lt. Larry Rubal, from Old Forge, Pa., found incredible. At his old unit, people were afraid to be seen talking to U.S. or Iraqi security forces.

“I was very surprised by how willing people here were to come out and talk to us in the middle of the road,” he said. “They were just very open.”

Peay rarely had to ask a question. Ahmed was running the show. At one point Rubal asked his interpreter to make sure a man they were talking to received a pamphlet with the number of a crime tip hot line. The man produced one from his pocket. Ahmed had already given it to him.

“You’re too quick,” Rubal said to Ahmed, laughing. Ahmed shrugged.

“He really took the lead and got out there,” Peay said afterward.

Peay said he’d like to build on the day’s success by conducting more joint patrols and joint operations. And whenever possible, he’ll continue to keep the United States in the background.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: frwn; iraqis; lead; security; taking
Ohhhhh,..... Murtha's gonna hate this!!!!
1 posted on 05/30/2007 4:58:29 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; windchime; Grampa Dave; ...

WAR News at Home and Abroad You'll Hear Nowhere Else!

All the News the MSM refuses to use!

Or if they do report it, without the anti-War Agenda Spin!

2 posted on 05/30/2007 4:59:03 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Bump for more, keep it coming!

3 posted on 05/30/2007 5:44:12 PM PDT by Stayfree (*******************Fred D. Thompson for
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To: Stayfree

Sadly, that’s all for tonight but. search for the keyword FRWN for a group that I just put up tonight for any you may have missed.

4 posted on 05/30/2007 5:46:50 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat
Ohhhhh,..... Murtha's gonna hate this!!!!

5 posted on 05/30/2007 8:50:29 PM PDT by FreeReign
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