Military


Khanaqin

Khanaqin (khän´äkn) [Khaniqin / Khanqin / Khanaqeen City / Alsadia / Saadia-Khanaqueen] is a town in NE Iraq, near the Iranian border on a tributary of the Diyala. It is located in an oil-producing region and has an oil refinery. Khanaquin was severely affected by the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Khanaqin is situated in the south part of Kurdistan.

In 1997, Baghdad intensified its systematic efforts to "Arabize" the predominantly Kurdish cities of Kirkuk, Khanaqin, and Douz at the edge of government-controlled Iraq near the Kurdish-controlled zone. To solidify control of this strategically and economically vital oil-rich region, the government expelled Kurds, Assyrians, and Turkomans -- at times, entire communities -- from these cities and surrounding areas. At the same time, it offered financial and housing incentives to Sunni Arabs to persuade them to move to Kirkuk and other cities targeted for Arabization.

Forcible relocations continue to take place in the context of a policy aimed at changing the demography of the oil-rich sectors of Kirkuk and Khanaqin by deporting ethnic Kurds and Turkoman families. Although the practice of forced relocation and deportation by the government of Iraq to decrease the presence of the Kurdish and Turkoman population living in that area and to strengthen their hold on the important economic and strategic governate of Kirkuk is not new, the scale of these activities increased in 1997.

The Iraqi government's plan to build a dam near Khanaqin will cause flooding of some Kurdish and Turkmen villages near Kalar, in Kirkuk Governorate, as well as the contact lines between Iraqi government forces and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

As of March 2001 Iraqi armed forces occupied some hills within the administrative boundaries of Khanaqin. A few months earlier, Iraq's forces attacked Ba'adre Region and later the Nughawan village in Guwer region. By 3 March 2001, Iraqi forces had advanced within Khanaqin, moved towards Kani Mazri heights and captured their old positions in this area. Kurdish forces had not taken steps to dislodge them.

In June 2002 it was reported that the Iraqi military command had ordered a contingent of the Iranian mercenary forces Mujahedin Khalk to be deployed around the town of Khanaqin, a Kurdistan town still under the control of the Iraqi regime. The 200-armed men were supported with light artillery, rocket launchers and armored personnel carriers. The deployment was concentrated in areas of Khamish Suzyai, Saif Sad district and along the Kalat Bridge.

The Silk Road travels from Baghdad, ancient Seleucia, through Iran, into and through Afghanistan, and then into China. The Caravan trail from Iran to China goes from Baghdad NE to Khanaqin on Iran's border; over pass to Kermanshah, past Behistun to Hamadan, to Kazvan, then Tehran. It is an old route, joining the many separate tribes of mountain peoples to the 'civilized' world.

Camp Cold Steel

Around 28 May 2003 5th Engineer Battalion's Alpha Company moved into 1st of the 10th U.S. Cavalry Squadron's sector. Once there, the company established Camp Cold Steel, based in an abandoned Iraqi Army outpost about 12km from the Iran border. Each platoon found a building and cleaned it up to live in. Priority one at Camp Cold Steel is force protection, which with the help of A&O¡¯s dozers has greatly increased. To make the camp even safer 1st and 2nd Platoon took turns running gate guard security and serving as a quick reaction force. The next priority is quality of life for the soldiers. During June 2003 the company worked to get local contractors to come in and assess the buildings we live in for potential upgrades. The contractors then hired out labors to come in and conduct the work. Improvements so far include screens and doors, electricity, swamp coolers (poor man's air conditioners), ceiling fans, and running water (from tanks on the roof). With seven different company locations in sector and numerous offsite locations, the soldiers of A&O Platoons were everywhere helping out with force protection, digging latrines and trash pits.

Forward Operating Base Cobra

In early 2004 units of the 105th Combat Engineer Battalion of the North Carolina Army National Guard battalion was spread over four different locations in Iraq. Their missions were mainly basic life support. "Caring for quality of life such as water, housing, dining facilities for troops to mess (eat) in and setting up for long range sustained support. Company A from Rockingham and Wadesboro was divided between Forward Operating Bases Cobra and Wyatt north of Baghdad.





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