20 April 2006
Iraqi Security Forces Continuing To Make Progress
Insurgents remain focused on disrupting formation of unity government
By David I. McKeeby
Washington File Staff Writer
Washington – Iraqi military and police forces are leading security efforts in support of their country’s elected leaders’ ongoing negotiations to form a national unity government, says U.S. Army Major General Rick Lynch, spokesman for Multi-National Force - Iraq.
“The Iraqi security forces continue to make a dominant contribution toward operations in Iraq,” Lynch told journalists in an April 20 briefing in Baghdad.
Lynch said current operations are designed to stop the sectarian violence al-Qaida in Iraq and others are inciting and create a secure environment in which a government can be formed.
The 250,000 coalition-trained and equipped members of the Iraqi army and police continue to play an active role in counterinsurgency operations, with 25 percent of all operations against terrorists and insurgents independently planned and executed by Iraqi forces, he said. (See related article.)
Among these operations, Lynch highlighted the Iraqi army’s success in conducting the majority of the nearly 1,200 daily security patrols in Baghdad under Operation Scales of Justice. Lynch praised these patrols for their effectiveness at building relationships with area residents, who, in turn, are providing tips about local insurgent activity that helps to take terrorists off the streets. (See related article.)
“[Iraqi citizens] have indeed reached a point where they are tired of the insurgency, and they realize that they are indeed the target of attacks by the insurgency," he said.
Lynch said that even though the overall security situation is improving west of Baghdad in Al-Anbar province, Iraqi and coalition forces still are encountering significant insurgent activity in the province’s main city, Ramahdi. Iraqi and coalition forces captured 219 insurgents in al-Anbar the week of April 9, Lynch said.
Lynch also reported that in Ramadi, insurgents are using a mosque as a base of operations to launch daily attacks on provincial government offices and that Iraqi and coalition forces have returned fire on the insurgents.
Another factor that has helped reduce overall attacks in Iraq is the effectiveness of border operations, Lynch said. Foreign fighters conduct most suicide attacks, and the Iraqi security forces have been able to limit significantly the flow of people across Iraq's borders, reducing suicide attacks by more than 50 percent, he said.
However, Lynch said that attacks would continue, because insurgents are intent on disrupting the formation of a national unity government, which would mean the death of their cause.
“The absence of an effective national unity government is creating the conditions for the insurgency to do what it wants to do," he said. "The quicker it forms, the quicker we will see a reduction in violence. So the Iraqi government does need to form as quickly as possible to reduce this violence.”
For more information, see Iraq Update.
(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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