News: Highlanders Brigade hosts commanders' conference with Iraqi security forces
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Mullett
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq — The 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division "Highlander" hosted an Iraqi Security Forces Partnership conference on Contingency Operating Base Adder near Nasiriyah, Iraq, July 11.
Key leaders of the U.S. and Iraqi security forces operating in the Dhi Qar, Maysan, and Muthanna provinces, met to discuss their partnership roles within the U.S.-Iraqi Security Agreement.
In accordance with Article 24 of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement "all United States combat forces shall withdraw from Iraqi cities, villages and localities no later than the time at which Iraqi security forces assume full responsibility for security in an Iraqi province, provided that such a withdrawal is completed no later than June 30, 2009."
"We planned this conference with our ISF partners to ensure we are speaking on the same sheet of music so our operations are well-coordinated," said Col. Peter Newell, commander, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division. "It's important for Iraqi citizens to know we are here to advise and assist the ISF and all of our movements planned with them."
Attendees included the 10th Iraqi Army Division commander, Provincial police chiefs, IA brigade commanders, Department of Border Enforcement, U.S. battalion commanders and Police and Military Training Team chiefs.
"The purpose of this meeting was to determine the movements and methods for U.S. forces and the provincial reconstruction team inside cities," said Staff Maj. Gen. Habib Al-Husseini, commander of the 10th Iraqi Army Division operating in Dhi Qar, Maysan, and Muthanna. "Additionally, we will specify roles for ISF assigned to provide escorts and protection to those elements."
Newell discussed the relationship his command has with Iraqi leadership and how the U.S. will coordinate military movement activities outside of bases with Iraqi units.
He outlined enhanced communication between U.S. forces and their Iraqi counterparts as well as the need to keep the Iraqi public informed.
"The relationships and procedures solidified at this conference must be conveyed to Iraqi citizens," said Newell who wants to ease the Iraqi minds by increasing public dialogue with the Iraqi military leadership.
Several Iraqi reporters and cameramen attended the conference.
Newell emphasized the need to inform the public about what we are accomplishing to improve Iraq's economic, rule of laws, and governance capacity.
"Many Iraqi people erroneously believed that after June 30 they would not see any more Americans inside Iraqi cities," said Staff Maj. Gen. Sabah Al-Fatlawi, Dhi Qar Province Chief of Police. "The U.S. Soldiers will continue to advise and provide training to Iraq security forces in the city; also, the provincial reconstruction teams have ongoing service projects inside the cities that require their presence for implementation."
Special Forces personnel from both the U.S. and Iraqi leadership outlined their continued relationship and discussed techniques to streamline their coordination procedures.
The Iraqi police and Iraqi army had a spirited discussion on how to best collaborate their security efforts.
"The productive relationship between Soldiers and leadership in the Highlander Brigade has directly contributed to the ability of a diverse group of leaders to focus their considered judgment on developing effective solutions for implementation of the security agreement," said Lt. Col. James Gallivan of Fort Bliss, Texas, commander of 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment "Steel Tigers," "[The conference] exceeded my expectations."
Overall, the U.S. leadership and the Iraqi leadership were able to put a number of concerns into a better perspective through discussions and a detailed review of the security agreement.
The attendees moved over to the coalition dining facility for buffet-style Halal luncheon. The Iraqis were presented with a DVD of their national anthem "Mawtini" with heroic footage of Iraqi security forces, sung by Sgt. Brenda Bushera a member of the 34th Infantry Division band and professional opera singer.
"Our ISF partners, based on the event now understand the importance of communicating our partnership with local citizens," said Varney. "It was an extremely productive session because we were able to articulate our partnership responsibilities."