“And intermixed amongst this part of Baghdad are great Iraqi citizens who are eager to get on with their lives, to enjoy the benefits of a secure environment and to participate in the reconstruction of their nation.”
Col. J.B. Burton, U.S. Army, Commander,
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
Map courtesy of geography.com
A March 16, 2007 news briefing by Colonel Burton.
Colonel Burton talks about his unit’s deployment:
“Now let me tell you a bit about our area of responsibility in northwest Baghdad. We’re responsible for coalition force activities across an area of about 93 square kilometers, with an indigenous population of about 1 million people. Our area of responsibility runs from Kadhimiya in the northeast and then extends west to include Shula, and then south to include Ghazalia, Khadra and Amiriyah, and then east again, to include all of the Mansour area north of Route Irish.
This heavily urbanized area is further defined by being principally Shi’a in the northeast, Sunni in the west and southwest, and mixed in the southeast. There are sectarian fault lines that further define these areas, where both Sunni and Shi’a extremists vie for control over portions of the city and its citizens.
These contests between extremist actors come in various forms, from extremely horrific acts, like car bombs being detonated in public gathering places, to illegal militia control over access to gas stations and food distribution programs, to execution-style murders by death squads, designed to terrorize local citizens into leaving a specific area or to supporting a sectarian cause.
Colonel Burton talks about the mission:
And intermixed amongst this part of Baghdad are great Iraqi citizens who are eager to get on with their lives, to enjoy the benefits of a secure environment and to participate in the reconstruction of their nation.
Our brigade combat team’s mission here is to secure the Iraqi people within our area of responsibility, in order to provide the Iraqi government a chance to govern. And we do that by focusing our efforts to defeat extremist actors, increase the professional capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, and by assisting local governmental leaders in their efforts to govern effectively.
Under the Baghdad security plan, we have deployed most of our forces away from the big forward operating bases and occupied smaller, more austere combat outposts and joint security stations throughout the area of responsibility.
This deployment of forces out and among the people has had an immediate and positive effect on the overall security situation, on the professional capabilities of our partnered Iraqi security forces and on the abilities of local governmental bodies to form and operate. Our soldiers are living out in the neighborhoods of Baghdad with our Iraqi security force partners. Working with us here in partnership are 10 Iraqi army battalions and two national police battalions, which are deployed across two security districts of the Karkh area command, those being the Kadhimiya security district and the Mansour security district. We plan and conduct operations together. We grow in capabilities together, and together we are increasing the trust and confidence in the Iraqi people in their nation’s forces to provide security.
The fundamental necessity for improving the quality of life for Iraqis in Baghdad is security. And to achieve that necessity, the Baghdad Security Plan is focused on three basic parts: clear, control and retain.
In the clear and control phases, Iraqi and coalition forces will not simply clear neighborhoods and then leave them unattended. We will clear the neighborhoods of extremists and then emplace measures to control those areas and protect the population so that they are not threatened by extremist forces in the future. These gated and secure communities facilitate the rebuilding of neighborhoods, with security provided through the combined efforts of Iraqi and coalition forces, allowing local governmental processes to take root and improve access to basic and essential services. The establishment and maintenance of the joint security stations within these communities is an integral part of the clear and control phases.”
Col. Burton took questions from the press after his briefing. Read them at DoD briefing.
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