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ISF, MND-B Soldiers provide security as leaders form government

By Staff Sgt. Brent Williams

BAGHDAD (Army News Service, April 24, 2006) – Iraqi army and police forces partnered with Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers to secure the International Zone as the Iraqi Council of Representatives convened April 22 to elect the nation’s top government leaders.

Working with Iraqi Security Forces, the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team headed a coordination cell at the Iraqi Convention Center at the nation’s capital.

Soldiers from the 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, worked with Iraqi police to form a protective cordon around the building where the nation’s top leaders took the next step forming their government.

Soldiers from 4th BCT and the Georgian Army’s 22nd Light Infantry Battalion, working as part of the Coalition Forces deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, maintained entry control points while their Iraqi counterparts guarded the IZ as Iraq’s national parliament elected its first president and national speaker of the permanent government.

“No longer do we have U.S. forces guarding the ICC,” said Lt. Col. Troy Smith, deputy commander, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div. “The security of the IZ is done by IPs, IA and Coalition Forces combined.”

Leading a team of governance officers and civil affairs Soldiers, the coordination cell led by Smith is responsible for monitoring security operations within the ICC and surrounding IZ checkpoints.

“The Iraqis are in the lead on security,” Smith said. “In their plan, we are augmenting them at the ECPs. Eventually, the Iraqis will secure this thing in its entirety. They have already started taking over the responsibility in certain areas.”

The coordination cell also serves as a conduit for the 4th Inf. Div., bringing any concerns the ministries might have to MND-B, said Capt. Walter Dunn, governance operations officer, 4th BCT.

The role of the governance team is to provide assistance to elements with the Iraqi government dealing with security issues, said Dunn.

“More than 260 of the 275 Council of Representative members attended the session and, through a free and democratic process, voted to elect a Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish representative government,” he said.

As the new government takes its first steps to solidify its tenure within the Iraqi political process, MND-B is prepared to assist the democratically elected republic of Iraq with any issues that arise in the IZ, said Dunn.

(Editor's note: Staff Sgt. Brent Williams writes for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Public Affairs Office.)

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