By Sgt. Jason Stadel
2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. PAO
FOB KALSU, Iraq – It was a great day for leaders and citizens in Arab Jabour.
The Arab Jabour Governance Center officially opened Dec. 27 with a large ceremony on the grounds of the center. More than 250 people were in attendance. The center will function similar to a city hall for Arab Jabour. It will be the headquarters for the Arab Jabour Governance Council, and the Concerned Local Citizens group. Local Iraqis will be able to bring infrastructure and political issues to Arab Jabour leaders at the center.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Adgie, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said the opening of the governance center is a symbol of the progress in security that has been made in Arab Jabour during the last six months.
"This is where people can get problems solved."
He said this is a step forward in the political progress being made in Arab Jabour.
Six months ago, Arab Jabour had almost no coalition force presence and al-Qaida in Iraq used the community as a safe-haven and imposed a strict Islamic law on the residents.
With the arrival of 2nd BCT, 3rd Inf. Div., the fifth and final surge brigade, 1-30th Inf. Regt. was able to move into the area and push al-Qaida out of Arab Jabour.
The battalion also started the CLC movement in Arab Jabour that has grown to more than 800 local Iraqis from the area. The CLCs will provide security for the Arab Jabour Governance Center.
Adgie and his battalion began conducting offensive combat operations against al-Qaida in June. CLCs began guarding the community's infrastructure about four months ago.
"This is Iraqis working with Iraqis to improve the basic needs of their people," Adgie said.
Local Iraqis in attendance praised the opening of the center and the overall improvement in security in Arab Jabour.
"Today is a great day for our region and for all of Baghdad," said Majid Hamad Yasien al' Jabouri. "This is a great day for all of the Iraqi people."
Majid added he was happy to be a part of the celebration at the governance center but the best part of the day was seeing the people of Arab Jabour being free to live their lives without the overwatch of a dictator or al-Qaida.
"The real happiness is outside with the farmers working and the children going to school. This didn't happen before," Majid said.
The governance center has been refurbished with new furniture, computers, Internet and offices for Arab Jabour and CLC council members; there is also a meeting room, kitchen, reception room, and offices for area officials. It is but one more step on the path to a safe and secure new Iraq that can govern and care for itself.