BAGHDAD, Sep. 1, 2006 – The Iraqi Ground Forces Command assumed command and control here today of one of its Iraqi army divisions from the Multinational Corps Iraq, marking what officials here said is the first step toward Iraqi sovereignty over the country's armed forces. The 8th Iraqi Army Division, commanded by Maj. Gen Othman Ali Salih Farhood, which had been a subordinate unit of Multinational Division Baghdad, will now report directly to the IGFC as an adjacent unit to MND-B. When the division took the lead for operations in its sector on Jan. 27, it was the first to reach that milestone.
In a gradual sequence over the following months, the IGFC will assume control of the remaining nine Iraqi Army divisions, officials said. The IGFC was established May 15, 2005, as the corps-level command for providing command, control and guidance to the 10 Iraqi Army divisions. Over the past year, MNC-I worked closely with the IGFC in a partnership to develop procedures, training and infrastructure that enables the IGFC to effectively command and control maneuver units to provide for Iraq's security, officials said.
Later this week, the IFGC will join the Iraqi air force and the navy in a formal ceremony marking the transition of operational control of Iraqi armed forces from the coalition to the Iraqi government. Four months ago, the IGFC officially opened its Joint Operations Center, a modern command center in which all elements of the headquarters staff are represented, to monitor and process data from throughout Iraq in real time.
Today's assumption of control by the IGFC demonstrates the increased capability of the Iraqi Army to assume control of security tasks and is another significant step toward Iraqi security self-reliance, Multinational Corps Iraq officials said today in a written statement.