Thursday, April 5, 2007

Progress in Iraq Update

I know these seem like rapid fire posts on the progress in Iraq, but there is a LOT of progress to report lately. Amazingly, aside from ABC airing an occasional piece, the MSM (mainstream media) has been relatively silent on all of the progress. If I can find room for 10-15 stories per week, you think the press could find one worth reporting...

Iraqi, U.S. Soldiers bring smiles to schools
Wednesday, 04 April 2007

AZ ZAIDON — The children, wide-eyed at the sight of Iraqi soldiers in their schools, seemed a little frightened at first, but within moments, as the soldiers began handing out cookies and asking questions about the day’s lessons, they warmed up.

Iraqi soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, visited two schools with troops of the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) and the military transition team from 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, March 29. The visits, which provided much-needed school equipment like chalkboards and generators, also served to let the children and teachers see that the Iraqi troops serve the country and are available.

“Please give me your phone number,” Ta’if School Headmaster Nafir Abdullah asked the Iraqi troops. “And don’t be a stranger. This school is always open to you, and we would love to have you help educate the children.”

Sgt. Richard Fulham, a native of Toms River, N.J., and a squad leader with Troop A, 1-89, distributed cookies to several classes of youngsters.

“My mother-in-law made them for me, but I just had to give them to the kids,” he said. “I get too many cookies anyway.”

The children shouted and waved, competing for the troops’ attention and photographs before the teachers called them back to class.

“Most of the teachers here work without receiving a salary,” Abdullah explained. The school, while well-kept, is very poor. “There are plenty of terrorist attacks at night, but during the day it’s very safe. But we have no problems with the Iraqi or U.S. soldiers coming; please feel free to come anytime.”

At the Al-Haafaththa school just up the road, the combined patrol again distributed basic supplies and goodies to the children and teachers.

“We’re doing a humanitarian assistance operation here,” said Capt. Joshua Schneider, a native of Phoenix and the staff maneuver adviser to the Iraqi Army for military transition team 0632. “We’ve brought generators, blackboards, book bags filled with school supplies like pens and pencils and notebook paper, and activity books for school.”

About 60 Iraqi soldiers were part of the operation.

“The reception has been very good,” Schneider added. “The teachers and Iraqi soldiers are building stronger relationships, and that’s only going to help this area.”

“It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, helping the children,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Grilo, a native of Millington, N.J., and the executive officer for Troop A. “If we give them the ability to learn and get an education, they’re less vulnerable to other influences -- like extremist views.”

Platoon leader 1st Lt. Adam Robison, a native of Columbus, Ohio, was also upbeat about the mission.

“Seeing the kids respond to us handing out toys and book bags is always great -- they are so happy. It's like we’re Santa Claus to them,” Robison said. “I think doing missions like this with the Iraqi soldiers allows people to see that they (the soldiers) care and that they’re starting to take responsibility for their country so they can start taking over.”

Bush: Troops’ Hard Work in Iraq Will Impact the World
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2007 – The hard work U.S. troops are doing in Iraq is “laying the foundations of peace for generations to come,” President Bush told soldiers and family members today at Fort Irwin, Calif.

“The work that you have volunteered to do will have a lasting impact on the world in which we live,” the president told the troops.

By helping Iraq become a country that can sustain, defend and govern itself -- and become an ally in the war on terror -- the U.S. military will have delivered a significant blow to those who want to harm the American people, he said.

“The amazing thing about our United States military is that thousands and thousands of you have signed up knowing full well that we’re a nation at war,” he said. “You decided to put your country ahead of self in many ways.”
Read the Full Article.

Baghdad ‘Surge’ Produces Early Successes, Official Says
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2007 – Murders and kidnappings, the hallmarks of sectarian violence, have decreased in Baghdad since reinforcements of U.S. and Iraqi security forces began to flow into the city in mid-February as part of Operation Fahrd al-Qanoon, a senior U.S. military official said in Baghdad today.

“A clear reduction in the number of kidnappings and execution-style murders” has taken place across Baghdad since Fahrd al-Qanoon, or “Enforce the Law,” was launched to secure and tamp down violence in Baghdad and western Iraq, Navy Rear Adm. Mark I. Fox, spokesman for Multinational Force Iraq, said to representatives of U.S.-based veterans groups during a telephone conference call.

There are “some preliminary good signs” that security measures are taking hold in Baghdad, Fox said, as U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to make their presence felt as they operate from 31 joint security stations established across the city.

“Our troops now are living and operating in the districts of Baghdad,” Fox said.
Read the Full Article.

Iraqi Security Forces discover weapons cache
BALAD – Iraqi Security forces conducted an early-morning sweep on April 4 in Diyala, seizing a large cache of ammunition and detaining four suspected insurgents.

With coalition advisers present for support, Iraqi forces raided the suspected site in Imam al-Hajj Yusuf Village in the Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.

The primary targets of this operation are alleged to be planning attacks against innocent Iraqi citizens, Coalition and Iraqi Forces.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during this operation.

Iraqi Police detain suspects tied to Tal Afar attacks
BALAD – Iraqi Security forces conducted a raid operation on April 3 in Nineveh Province, detaining two suspects believed to be involved in insurgent activities.

With coalition advisers present for support, Iraqi forces raided a residence in the Nineveh Province northwest of Tal Afar and captured their primary targets.

Iraqi forces also detained 19 other suspicious individuals who were present during the operation.

The primary targets of this operation are alleged to be responsible for the recent vehicle borne improvised explosive device attacks on the people of Tal Afar, as well as attacks on Coalition and Iraqi Forces.

Iraqi Forces conduct raid in Baghdad
BAGHDAD – Iraqi Army forces conducted an early-morning operation on April 4 in Baghdad, capturing 10 suspects believed to be involved in a major terrorist cell.

With coalition advisers present for support, Iraqi forces simultaneously raided several residences in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad and captured their primary targets including the leader of the cell.

Coalition and Iraqi Forces encountered enemy-fire upon entry into one of the structures. Well aimed fire allowed Iraqi Security forces to kill one insurgent and wound another during the exchange.

The primary targets of this operation are alleged to be responsible for attacks on
Coalition and Iraqi Forces, as well as Iraqi civilians. The suspects were also linked to manufacturing and storing vehicle borne improvised explosive devices in a separate facility.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were injured during this operation.

So far the surge is working. Don't let the Democrats rip defeat from the jaws of victory... support our troops, support the war on terror.

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