Assumption of Command

26 May 2005

Iraqi Army prepares for Operation Lightning

I have said it many times, the quicker the Iraqi Army and police forces can defended their own country, better off both the US Military and the Iraqis will be. When they can handle themselves, we will start to go home. That is why I try to keep track of the news with the Iraqi Army. There has been some big news lately.

I see news like this more and more frequently:

Iraqi Army Soldiers find explosives, suicide vests:
Soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 6th Division, Iraqi Army found nearly 100 sticks of the plastic explosive C-4, false identification cards and vests and belts that would have been used for suicide attacks during a night raid in north central Baghdad May 8.
Cool. Get that crap off the streets. They still have a long way to go, but these are always good stories.
“We have the four men, and they will face Iraqi justice,” Qussay said.
This is the quote from the Iraqi Battalion Commander. There 2 things of note when discussing Iraqi Justice. First, I like to see the Iraqis doing the work that they should be doing. that is a step in the right direction. Second, If I was the bad guy, I would rather have American Justice, we tend to be a bit more "gentle".
The raid was a part of ongoing security missions by the 1st Bn., which has recently added more territory to its area of responsibility.

“We looked forward to expanding our operations,” Qussay said. “We are ready to be responsible for more.”
HOOAH! Handle your Business!

It looks like LTC Qussay and his Battalion are getting all kinds of good press. THE UPI has picked up on his story as well. This is the first time I have seen one of the bigger news agencies post an article like this, which is good news in itself:

Iraqi army battalion gets bigger role in Baghdad:
"This was a transfer of authority of two large districts in the capitol city of Baghdad from the (U.S.) 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division to the Iraqi Army," said Col. David Bishop, 3rd Brigade commander.

"We are ready to be responsible for more," Iraqi Lt. Col. Karben Qussay, commander of the 1st Battalion, based in the Adamiya section of Baghdad, said according to the U.S. Army report. "We have the full ability to expand our area of operations." The battalion`s sector now includes about one fourth of Baghdad, he said.
This is GREAT news. I wish LTC Qussay and his Battalion good luck. Keep up the good work.

To a man LTC Qussay sound like a confident man and that he wants nothing more to improve his country, but he is not alone. This confidence goes all the way to the top of the Iraqi Chain of Command:

Deputy Commander says Iraqi Army has "turned the corner" in standing up independent force:
The deputy commander of the Iraqi Army says his forces have "turned the corner" and are now well on their way to self-sufficiency.

Lieutenant General Nasier Abbadi tells A-P Radio he now has close to 95-thousand troops in the regular armed forces. That's above and beyond the estimated 88-thousand police, commandos, and border guards under the Ministry of Interior.
And the good news keeps on coming. LTG Abbadi goes on to tell us that that "rolling handovers" are taking place. His units are taking over responsibility for area that have been patroled by coalition forces. I saw keep it coming.

If this is not enough good news for you. take a look at what is on the Horizon: Operation Lightning:

40,000 Iraqi troops to fan out across Baghdad in biggest show of Iraqi force
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari says he's determined to take back the initiative from insurgents who have killed more than 620 people since his government was announced nearly a month ago.

On Thursday, al-Jaafari made clear just how he hopes to accomplish that.

The plan is to deploy 40,000 police and soldiers in the capital and ring the city with hundreds of checkpoints ''like a bracelet'' in the largest show of Iraqi force since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
The Iraqis are getting sick and tired of the violence in their streets and their new govenment wants to do something about it. Thank Goodness!
Al-Duleimi, one of a handful of Sunni Muslims in the Shiite-led government, called on all Iraqis to stand up to an insurgency that has raged unabated for more than a year.

''We have the absolute belief that there is no place for the terrorists, there is no place for those who give shelter to the terrorists, or those who provoke terrorism,'' he said. ''We will stand solidly against anyone who tries to shed a drop of Iraqi blood, against anyone who tries to kill any Iraqi.''
HOOAH! This is the backbone we need to see from this country. I know the people here have national pride that has been buried for many years. This is the kind of thoughts and actions that will make this place better. I would like to see the leaders both nation and local start standing up for the right thing even more.

If Operation Lightning is the success that I believe it will be, it will make a HUGE step in the long process of standing up the new government and the Police and Army.