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Mandali [variants: Mendeli, Mendili, Mendali, Mandaly] is in Diyala in eastern Iraq, close to the Iranian border. The oasis of Mandali on the Persian border had a million palm trees that had Mesopotamia's sweetest dates for millennia. The Amer Hajj date is known in the Middle East as "the visitor's date" because it is a delicacy served to guests.

On 4 September 1980, the Iraqi border towns of Khanaqin, Mandali, Naft, Khaneh and Zarbatiyah were attacked by Iranian forces. During the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, the 250 miles along the central sector, from Mandali, Iraq, to Bostan, Iran, provided flat, dry terrain and clear fields of fire. In October 1982 officers fired lethal chemical weapons at the orders of Saddam during battles in the Mandali area. In April 1983, the Mandali-Baghdad northcentral sector witnessed fierce fighting, as repeated Iranian attacks were stopped by Iraqi forces.

The Kurdish Region of Iraq includes the Provinces of Kirkuk, Sulaimaniyah and Erbil within their administrative boundaries before 1970. It also included the Province of Duhok and the districts of Aqra, Sheihkan, Sinjar and the sub-district of Zimar in the Province of Ninevah and the districts of Khaniqin and Mandali in the Province of Diyala and the district of Badra in the Province of Al-Wasit. Many of these areas had been geographically always a part of Kurdistan with an overwhelming Kurdish majority but were subjected to a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing and Arabization, whereby over 500,000 Kurds were deported from their original habitat. Following the policy of arabisation and ethnic cleansing in the regions of Kirkuk, Sinjar, Mandali, Jalawla et Mossoul in areas under the control of the Iraqi regime, over 800,000 internally displaced persons of Kurdish, Turkmen or Assyro-Chaldean identity were present in the three Kurdish Northern provinces.

On 19 April 2001 Iraqi forces shot down an Iranian UAV near Mandali. In February 2002 it was announced that a joint Iranian-Iraqi search committee would start looking for the remains of the two countries' MiAs in near future. The joint operation was launched in Iran's Meymak and Iraq's Mandali region.

Before the 2003 war it was a ghost town -- put to the torch by Saddam Hussein during the Shiite revolt of 1991. Thousands of its inhabitants were massacred, and many more became refugees.

After the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, thousands returned to clear the debris and rebuild their homes. In Mandali, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan [PUK] asked more than 100 Arab families to leave the area within 72 hours in April 2003. On 11 July 2003, the the United States Government (USG) Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) traveled to investigate reports of 48,000 Arabs that were displaced by Kurds and concentrated in abandoned military camps near Khanaqin and Mandali in the Diyala' Governorate. The DART reports that although there are property rights issues and poverty, there is little apparent interethnic tension.

Tehran reportedly used the Mandali-Monthariya border in February 2004 to send into Iraq a significant number of agents to conduct operations and roadside bombings against coalition forces.

FOB Rough Rider

In October 2004 FOB Rough Rider was transferred to Iraqi control.

As of April 2004 FOB Rough Rider was soldiered by the 1/150th WV Army National Guard, part of the NC 30th Brigade with the 1st ID.

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 B from Hamlet and Laurinburg was located at FOB Rough Rider near the Iraq/Iran border

Forward Operating Base Rough Rider was the home for Task Force Mountaineer from March 2004 until October 2004 when the military camp near the ancient city of Mandila was transferred to the 206th Battalion of the Iraqi National Guard (ING).

Task Force Mountaineer, comprised mainly of units from the 1st Battalion, 150th Armor, and other elements of the 30th Brigade Combat Team have been the guardians of FOB Rough Rider since they arrived in Iraq seven months ago as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom II.

"This ceremony supports the fact that the ING is ready and able to perform their mission for the new Iraq", said Lt. Col. Gregory Wilcoxon, Commander, 1st Battalion, 150th Armor. "I'm confident that B Company, 206th ING is capable of providing security from this location for the people of Iraq" continued Wilcoxon.

The ceremony at FOB Rough Rider was attended by the Governor of Diyala, Dr. Abdullah Shahad al-Jabur, as well as Mayor Abas Hussein of Mandila, Mayor Mohammad Maroof Hussein of Balad Ruz, and several other community leaders, Sheiks, Iraqi Police Chiefs, and representatives from the Department of Border Police.

Many of the ING Soldiers and Officers have been trained by MNF partners, as well as attended military training programs offered by the MNF at the Kirkush Military Training Base. Jointly the MNF and the ING have been conducting patrols in Diyala for some time. Additionally, the ING has been provided patrol vehicles, radios, and emergency medical training from the MNF.

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