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Fardh Al-Qanoon Update: MND-B general sees change, progress

Multi-National Force-Iraq

Tuesday, 17 July 2007
Multi-National Corps – Iraq
Public Affairs Office, Camp Victory
APO AE 09342

RELEASE No. 20070716-19
July 16, 2007

Fardh Al-Qanoon Update: MND-B general sees change, progress
Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

BAGHDAD — Five months into Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon a senior leader with the Multi-National Division – Baghdad said Iraqi Security Forces have shown continued improvements since the operation began in mid-February.

“The biggest change since we arrived in Baghdad has been the establishment of the Baghdad Operations Command March 1st,” said Brig. Gen. John F. Campbell, the deputy commanding general for maneuver for MND-B and the 1st Cavalry Division. “That command, under Lt. Gen. Abud, and the subordinate Karkh and Rusafa area commands, has given the Iraqis increased command and control of their own forces. It has enabled them establish a planning process and will help them take the lead in the command and control of division-level operations.”

Campbell called this period of the operation a critical time, as American forces are now in place throughout the country, working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts. While a lot of attention has been given to “surge” of American forces, Campbell said nine additional Iraqi Army battalions were also brought into Baghdad as part of Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon.

Campbell noted that nearly 400 separate company-level or higher operations have been conducted with Iraqi Security Forces since the FAQ began in mid-February, with more than 740 weapons caches uncovered through those operations.

The biggest change for U.S. troops since the surge began, Campbell said, is a shift from operating from big base camps to the smaller joint security stations and coalition outposts dotting neighborhoods throughout the Iraqi capital.

The violence against the civilian population of the Iraqi capital has steadily declined since the 1st Cavalry Division arrived to assume control of the MND-B area of operation in mid-November last year. Since the beginning of the year the numbers of kidnappings and murders in Baghdad have declined nearly 50 percent. Overall, attacks against the civilian population have declined by nearly 30 percent in the same period. Campbell said the decline in the violence against civilians is due to the surge of forces, allowing MND-B to leave behind forces in neighborhoods after insurgents have been cleared out, to better control who can get in and out of the neighborhoods.

“We’re maintaining a presence in the neighborhoods and gaining the trust of the Iraqi residents,” Campbell said.

That trust, coupled with Iraqi residents grown tired of extremist violence, Campbell said, has led to tribes in areas of Baghdad to align themselves with Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces. These security force volunteers, who previously may have supported Al Qaeda or other extremist groups, are being vetted to join the Iraqi Police or other security forces.

Campbell said efforts in the Abu Ghraib, Ameriyah and Tarmiyah areas in northwestern Baghdad have the potential to be a key element for the security of Baghdad, as residents begin to reconcile with their government.

“We are in a very tough fight and making steady progress. While we would like to see faster progress, the enemy gets a vote,” Campbell said. “We're seeing positive signs however such as volunteers from the tribes coming forward to become part of the government's security forces in their local areas. In areas like Abu Ghraib and Ameriyah, these volunteers are helping to significantly reduce the violence by partnering with us against Al Qaeda operatives and identifying weapons caches.”



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