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Friday, May 11, 2007

Local population key in Iraqi, Coalition forces steady progress

10 May 2007
U.S. Army story by Spc. Carl N. Hudson
Combined Press Information Center

BAGHDAD – The Multi-National Force - Iraq spokesman and the director of Air Component Coordination Element held a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center Wednesday.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, the Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman, and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. David Edgington, director of the Air Component Coordination Element provided an update on security operations and discussed the contribution of air support to Coalition forces.

“The future of Iraq belongs to the people of Iraq,” said Caldwell. “They are the key to the leadership of this country.”

“Iraqi partners must take responsibility for their own security, governance and economics,” he added.

According to Caldwell, encouraging signs of progress are beginning to show due to participation of the Iraqi public in the fight against al-Qaeda.

“Successful tribal engagement has brought a dramatic rise in recruitment for both the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Police,” said Caldwell.

The Iraqi population is strategically important for Coalition forces for their knowledge of enemy locations, ability to identify the enemy and their example to other Iraqi citizens.

“The Iraqi police and provincial security forces’ familiarity with the local neighborhoods are critical for ridding al-Qaeda block by block,” said Caldwell.

“This is progress, but it is also just the beginning,” he said. “So much more needs to be done.”

As the Iraqi population and security forces steadily work with local neighborhoods to fight terror, Coalition Airmen and other teams utilize the information gathered to hunt terrorists from the sky.

“We carry the equivalent of the support necessary for the Normandy invasion on a daily basis here,” said Edgington. “We transport 3,000 troops on average both into, out-of and intra-theater.”

Not only does the ACCE transport troops to where they are needed, but they also provide unmanned aircraft and space technology for reconnaissance and surveillance on the enemy.

“We fly [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] 24 hours, seven days a week to watch over the territory to try to find insurgents, al-Qaeda and other elements we’re working against here,” said Edgington.

The ACCE uses satellites for precision navigation, communications and controlling UAVs, he said.

“While these [Iraqi] security forces remain dependent on Coalition force support, they are steadily improving both their professionalism and capabilities,” said Caldwell. “The most vital element is the people themselves.”

“Together, they, along with Iraqi and Coalition security forces, are making progress,” he said.

(U.S. Army story by Spc. Carl N. Hudson, Combined Press Information Center)

In other developments throughout Iraq:

The Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) convicted 33 individuals from April 30 – May 5, for violations of the Iraqi Terrorist Law, Penal Code and Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Orders enforced by the Iraqi judiciary.

Coalition Forces destroyed a torture room, a large cache of weapons and improvised explosive device-making materials Sunday morning while targeting terrorists in Sadr City.

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