February 26th, 2007 05:35 EST
Fardh Al-Qanoon, Iraqi Army sends troops
BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Government took an important step Sunday in both uniting their country and following through with Fardh Al-Qanoon (the Baghdad Security Plan) when Soldiers from Kurdistan arrived at the Iraqi side of Baghdad International Airport and set out to train and eventually augment with Iraqi Soldiers currently protecting Baghdad.
A significant number of troops from the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Army flew in on a C-130 plane, owned by the Iraqi Air Force, participated in a short ceremony, then boarded busses en route to Besmaya. Once there they will participate in intense, collective training, similar to the training U.S. troops undergo at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Ca., said United States Army Maj. Gerald Ostlund, deputy public affairs officer, Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq.
Once they left the airfield they became part of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command, said Ostlund, who felt this event shows much progress for the Iraqi Government.
“This is the first time Soldiers from Kurdish north come south, which shows the solidarity of Iraq,” Ostlund said. “It shows the commitment Iraq has for the Baghdad Security Plan; and, it shows their internal ability to interoperate between services within their command.”
A key speaker at the event, Gen. Babkir, Chief of Joint Forces, Iraq, had good words to say of these Soldiers.
“We are one nation, one country,” said Babkir, through a translator. “They came voluntarily and in high morale and will enforce the security and the law according to the Baghdad Security Plan.”
Babkir also stated that he was grateful for their service to their country – that in their volunteering to come they will help draw the Iraqi people from the clutches of terrorism.
Another speaker, Gen. Ali, commander of Iraqi Ground Forces Command, spoke of the duty these Soldiers now had to their country.
“You are loyal to the Iraqi Army and you have a duty to Iraq and its people,” he said. “Iraq is united as one, now, and in the future. Only the people of Iraq can defeat the terrorists; and you are those people.”
Ali also told them not to be negligent in carrying out their duties, as the outcome of any one event may one day rest in their hands.
Col. Shawkat, IGFC PAO chief, said that this was the first time the Iraqi military has brought forces into Baghdad from outlying areas.
Some Iraqi journalists expressed concern about the Kurdish Soldiers’ abilities to understand the Arabic language. To this, Babkir replied without concern, saying that most of the Soldiers are high school graduates or higher. And, for those who did not know Arabic well, he said that a few weeks in the field would teach them what they need to know.
When the 2nd Div. completes their collective training they will augment with the 6th and 9th Iraqi Army Divisions who already patrol the Baghdad area, said Ostlund.
Though the path to success proves difficult in nature, Iraq and its people continue to show that they are willing to fight for their country. And so, they march on, diverse and united, seeking a safer, brighter future.
(Story and photo by Sgt. Zachary Unsell, Combined Press Information Center.)