By Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson
Special to American Forces Press Service
Aug. 21, 2008 - Iraqi security forces and coalition forces leaders held a joint news conference here Aug. 18 to confirm the stable security situation in Iraq's Wasit province after the Georgian government redeployed the 1st Georgian Brigade to help with its domestic crisis. "The security is very good, and we are conducting training and joint operations with the coalition forces," said Maj. Gen. Abed al-Haneen, Wasit Provincial Directorate of Police.
The Police and 32nd Iraqi Army Brigade accepted the challenges and additional responsibilities of an increased role in the security of Wasit province.
"We've sent a company to each checkpoint to train and live with the coalition forces," said Brig. Gen. Abed Jabir, 32nd Iraqi Army Brigade Commander.
The Iraqi and coalition forces had very little time to plan and execute the transition of checkpoints and patrol bases.
"The forces out in Wasit right now will be a professional force the Iraqis can be proud of," said U.S. Army Col. Richard M. Francey Jr., 41st Fires Brigade commander. "I say that based on what I've seen this ISF do. They're positive, professional, and they want to do a good job."
The Iraqi security forces were involved with the Diyala operation, which had a positive impact on the security of the province, Jabir said. "We controlled the border between the two provinces, and we've been very successful at preventing smugglers from entering into Wasit," he added.
The operations in Diyala did not affect the Iraqi security forces' ability to react quickly and work with the coalition forces to maintain security throughout Wasit.
"Having the ISF at the checkpoints will not degrade any operation they are conducting," Francey said. "It will create a more flexible and professional force as we conduct joint operations from the checkpoints to other areas."
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Joe Thompson serves in the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office.)