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Reconstruction Team Meets Hawr Rajab City Council
Multi-National Force - Iraq ^ | Sgt. Kevin Stabinsky

Posted on 11/06/2007 4:41:19 PM PST by SandRat

and your wisdom. You know how businesses work. You know what your family needs,” the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team (ePRT) leader told the sheiks of the Hawr Rajab City Council. “We need you to teach us ways to do it so we can help.”

John Smith, the ePRT leader, and Coalition forces recently met with the sheiks in Hawr Rajab to discuss the changes taking place there. Such cooperation is vital, Smith said, because success depends on all parties banding together and sharing knowledge.

Working together with the council, Smith and Ferrell said new businesses can grow, revitalizing the local economy. Smith, himself a small farm owner, said his heart is with the farmers and he will work to support the people of Hawr Rajab.

Several projects targeting the main needs of the community, roads, water and electricity are already underway. Road repairs, bridge construction, and water and sewer pipe repair are providing jobs for many of the locals.

Lt. Col. David Kennedy, commander, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Troops Battalion, 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., and ePRT deputy team leader, also said that electrical projects are being conducted in the area.

According to Kennedy, (2500) meters of electrical distribution lines will be laid, three ground transformers will be repaired, (140) street lights will be replaced, and (30) solar power lights will be installed.

“It will make the area safer; a more secure environment for people to move at night and feel safe,” he explained.

Although some contractors hired to perform these jobs are from out of the area, 90 percent of the workers are local hires, Kennedy said.

The next step for expanding security provided by the Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) group was also discussed at the meeting.

Sheik Mahir al-Muini and Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Dulaymi, CLC commander, asked Ferrell for assistance in creating better communication between the CLC and their Iraqi Army allies.

The two also asked to have the CLC training program moved into Hawr Rajab so that more citizens can be trained. Currently, the training is conducted at Forward Operating Base Falcon, which they said causes problems for volunteers without transportation.

The requests come at a vital time, as security operations are currently being planned into adjacent neighborhoods such as Adwaniyah, where insurgents have fled due to improved security in Hawr Rajab.

While Ferrell was pleased at the progress made by the CLC in securing their neighborhoods, he cautioned them about moving too fast. “We can't overstretch, gain too many places too fast. We need to make sure an area is strong before we go to a new area,” he said.

Ferrell explained it is important to maintain a presence, shifting forces to areas of threat, rather than shifting all assets into a new area. “We need to maintain a presence. We have security and we need to take advantage of what we have before we move forward again,” Ferrell said.

As security continues to improve, Ferrell added, more energy and resources can be allocated to Smith's work. In the meantime, Smith said the initial phases of reconstruction can begin.

“Now it is time to get the people back and stores open so families can go on living their day-to-day lives,” Ferrell said. “Let's show the people who live here, and want to live here, that we can make progress.”

The next step in creating that progress is to help empower the council and get them to work and communicate with the directors in the Iraqi central government. “It is not about us, it is about the Iraqi government,” Kennedy said. “We need to convince the Iraqi government to work for them.”

Some progress has been made on this end, Kennedy said, noting that many of the electricity based projects are being coordinated through the Rashid Department of Electricity.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: city; council; frwn; iraq; reconstruction; team

1 posted on 11/06/2007 4:41:21 PM PST by SandRat
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2 posted on 11/06/2007 4:41:50 PM PST by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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