By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
July 23, 2008 - As violence levels maintain a steady decrease across Iraq, coalition forces and the Iraqi government are able to focus their efforts on reconstruction and civil issues, a senior coalition military official in Iraq said today. Iraqi forces are improved, and the government continues to develop and progress, Army Brig. Gen. David Perkins, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman, said in a news briefing from Baghdad.
"Government, security and economic institutions continue to surge forward" throughout Iraq even as the last of the initial five surge brigades – 3rd Infantry Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team – redeployed this week, Perkins said.
military officials credit the past year's five-brigade troop surge as the foundation for the country's recent progress, the general said, but that wasn't the only surge that took place.
"The coalition surge was one of many surges that have come to produce programs and progress across Iraq," Perkins said. "The coalition surge has been accompanied by a surge in Iraqi security forces, a surge of support by the Iraqi people, a surge in political and governance progress and a surge in the revitalization of the economic sector."
With violence throughout the country at its lowest levels in four years, the Iraqi council of representatives has approved 20 major legislative measures, ranging from accountability and justice laws to the Ministry of Interior penal code. Also, the improved security has facilitated meeting high demands of electricity, water and residential reconstruction in Baghdad, he said.
Throughout the past year, electricity production has increased 13 percent and oil production has increased 25 percent a day, the general said. Iraqi government agencies have granted loans to 18,000 small and medium businesses .
These results also can be attributed to the maturity and growth of the Iraqi security , Perkins said. Iraqi security forces have grown an additional 150,000 trained troops over the past year, and they planned, led and executed major security operations in Basra, Mosul, eastern Baghdad and Amarah. Control of 10 of Iraq's 18 provinces has been handed over to Iraqi security forces, with Anbar province near that mark as well, the general said.
"security forces have learned that security means much more than fighting the enemy, and that protecting the local population can only be sustained by reconstruction support for the local communities.
"Indeed, these surges are linked together to provide Iraqis with the opportunity to work, send their children to school and live in a secure environment," he continued. "[Coalition forces] are committed to our partnership with Iraqi security forces, and we will continue to support the processes to allow Iraqis to rebuild Iraq."