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Program Molds Elite Iraqi Warfighters
Defend America News ^ | Master Sgt. Melissa Phillips

Posted on 10/09/2007 4:31:27 PM PDT by SandRat

Program Molds Elite Iraqi Warfighters

An Iraqi operator training course modeled after the U.S. Army Special Forces course has turned out its 10th graduating class.

By Master Sgt. Melissa Phillips Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force- Arabian Peninsula

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 9, 2007 — For one Iraqi general, the key to building a united, non-sectarian army lies in fostering a mindset of religious and cultural tolerance among soldiers.

"I will never forget the American and coalition men and women … who provided the first stepping stones for us to make our country better."

Iraqi Brig. Gen. Fadhil Jameel Jameel Barwari

Such a mindset is precisely what the Iraqi Operator Training Course tries to develop through a 90-day curriculum modeled after the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Course. During the course, noncommissioned officers and officers alike take advanced combat training to mitigate and stop terrorism.

The course teaches students first aid procedures, close-quarters battle techniques, urban combat techniques basic survival skills and how to conduct vehicle operations. Students also are required to take classes in the law of land warfare, ethics and morals, mission planning, weapons familiarization, leadership development and detainee handling.

“You are now equipped to fight terrorists, killers and outlaws,” Brig. Gen. Fadhil Jameel Jameel Barwari, Iraqi Special Operations Forces commander admonished the members of the OTC’s 10th graduating class.

The school is tough; of 1,200 initially enrolled, only 36 completed the training. Upon graduation, students move into the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Force. Those who don’t complete the training are assigned to one of three other battalions in the ISOF.

Barwari, his staff and more than a dozen other Iraqi instructors and advisors teach the course.

Recruits are allowed no social interaction with family or friends during the course — an effort to help soldiers bond with one another.

The course also is physically grueling. Students miss sleep, and they are placed in realistic, stressful scenarios daily to test their physical and mental endurance. Only the truly fit survive.

“They are sacrificing a lot to be here,” Barwari said. “As a father, it is rewarding to watch these young Iraqi men graduate from a course that will help make Iraq better.”

Impartiality is another core competency bred into the recruits. While belief in diversity, tolerance and impartiality are prerequisites to membership in the ICTF, old habits are often hard to dissolve — at least at first. One 27-year-old Sunni private from Baghdad, Iraqi, who enlisted in the OTC admitted he still had an unconscious habit of stereotyping other sects at the time in part because the war has created an environment in which neighboring sects that once coincided in relative peace now are often wary of one another.

“This course and unit is open-minded,” the private said. “It’s given me a different point of view.”

When soldiers face off against the barrel of an enemy’s gun together, units often find it’s a great equalizer to resolve racial and religious barriers.

“You have to look at the person,” the private said. “Before I attended the course, I didn’t completely understand that.”

Barwari said that he believes it is this type of bonding that creates a successful fighting force.

“We make our recruits feel welcome regardless of their religious background,” said Barwari.

“We tell our soldiers that it’s about being a good soldier and that their tribe or sect doesn’t matter in making them a good soldier,” the general said. “We let them know that with the ICTF, they fight for Iraq.”

Embracing this diversity is something that Barwari said he partially credits to the influence of his U.S. counterparts.

While other branches of the Iraqi military and security forces have retained the training that their U.S. advisers provided them, Barwari said, they haven’t always adopted a non-sectarian mindset. Barwari said he believes that those units may be making it harder on themselves to make progress in their provinces.

After spending most of his life fighting Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime, Barwari, a Kurdish officer, has vowed to lead his blended crew of more than 3,000 Sunni, Shi’a, Kurdish and Christian Soldiers to root out terrorists and insurgents wherever they may lurk.

“I will never forget the American and coalition men and women … who provided the first stepping stones for us to make our country better,” Barwari said. “We are family. We go out on missions together. We fight together.”

The general said that he believes the country is now starting to reap the benefits of his soldiers’ arduous progress.

“When we clean up citizens’ towns and areas from terrorists and criminal activities, they feel safer,” Barwari said. “It is a good feeling when they realize what we are doing for the country.”

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: elite; frwn; iraq; program; specops; warfighters

1 posted on 10/09/2007 4:31:29 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; windchime; Grampa Dave; ...
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Not for commercial use. For educational and discussion purposes only.
2 posted on 10/09/2007 4:32:11 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

The Surge has Worked and the War is Ending, no thanks to the Rats

Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighters

3 posted on 10/09/2007 4:36:34 PM PDT by bray (Think "Betray U.S." Think Democrat)
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To: SandRat

That’s how the process starts.

4 posted on 10/09/2007 4:38:13 PM PDT by Grimmy (equivocation is but the first step along the road to capitulation)
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To: SandRat


5 posted on 10/09/2007 4:39:43 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand;but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc 10:2)
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To: bray

The battle surge is working.
The war is still in initial stages.
There will be many advances and some retreats.
It’s not even close to being over....IMNSHO

Prayers are needed, indeed.

6 posted on 10/09/2007 5:11:25 PM PDT by sarasmom (USAF:SAC, USAFE, NATO, TAC, SAC :1977-1986 ...)
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