February 22nd, 2007 02:37 EST
Baghdad security challenging but doable says Caldwell
BAGHDAD — The Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman addressed journalists during an operational update media roundtable Wednesday at the Combined Press Information Center.
Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV reiterated that the war will not be won until Iraqis are able to stand up and find solutions to their problems, and he noted some important steps that have recently been made toward this goal.
“This past week we have seen some signs that Iraqi leaders are in fact making the tough decisions needed to demonstrate their commitment to serve all Iraqis,” Caldwell said. “Last week, General Abboud Gambar, military commander for Baghdad, announced the initiation of ‘Operation Fardh Al-Qanoon’, the newest iteration to the Baghdad Security Plan.”
Caldwell went on to mention the arrival of three Iraqi armor brigade elements that have begun operations in Baghdad.
“These Iraqi Forces are deploying throughout the city and working also in the joint security stations, where they are living and patrolling jointly with the Iraqi Police and with Coalition forces,” Caldwell said.
Four joint security stations were opened this week, making a total of 14 stations.
“This number will increase significantly over the coming weeks and months until there is no district in the city that doesn’t have at least one (joint security station) present there,” Caldwell added.
Coalition force members have also given border patrol/enforcement training and classes to help Iraqis maintain their borders.
“The ability to protect the integrity of their borders will allow Iraq to be free of foreign interference and help provide for breathing space necessary to find political solutions to Iraq problems,” said Caldwell.
Caldwell also described the uniqueness of operation Fardh Al-Qanoon.
“One key difference between Fardh Al-Qanoon and previous iterations of the Baghdad Security Plan is that this time we intend to build continuously Iraqi institutions and invest in neighborhoods even as we conduct security operations,” Caldwell said.
He said that although, Fardh Al-Qanoon is only in its initial stages the full plan will unfold over the course of the next months and there will be good days and bad ones.
Already in the first week of Fardh Al-Qanoon, there has been a significant reduction in sectarian incidents and in extrajudicial killings in Baghdad because the Iraqi people have chosen restraint rather than retribution.
“While this is in fact very encouraging, we cannot stress strongly enough that it would be premature to declare Fardh Al-Qanoon a success,” Caldwell said.
Success will require a sustained effort and a comprehensive approach that complements progress and security with political, economic, legal and social initiatives.
“We do not expect to eliminate all violence in Iraq,” Caldwell said. “The Multi-National Force-Iraq’s objective is to help the Iraqi Security Force reduce the violence enough to give the Iraqi people and their government an opportunity to reach political solutions to Iraq’s problems.”
“This effort will be extremely challenging, but it is one that is doable,” Caldwell said.
(Story and photos by Spc. Lajaun Hickman and Spc. Scott Kim, Combined Press Information Center)