Border Enforcement in Iraq

11th Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Spc. Cynthia Teears Van Cleve

Date: 01.18.2009
Posted: 01.26.2009 10:36
News ID: 29269
Border Enforcement in Iraq

By Spc. Cynthia Teears
11th Public Affairs Detachment

IRBIL, Iraq – Border Transition Team 4100 met with their counterparts, 1st Region, Iraq Directorate of Border Enforcement, to discuss information to be presented to the Iraq ministry of interior in Irbil, Iraq, Jan. 18.

The teams are working to correct some inconsistencies between what the ministry of interior has on record and what is actually needed to complete the Directorate of Border Enforcement's mission in the 1st Region of Iraq.

This Directorate of Border Enforcement Region is one among five in Iraq. The 1st Region, DBE, controls the northeastern parts of Iraq, where country shares borders with Syria, Turkey and Iran. The 1st Region, considered one of the safest areas of Iraq currently, contains cities like Irbil, Dahuk and Sulyamaniah.

"Iraq has five regions in the DBE," said Law Maj. Gen. Fazladin Abdulqader Mohammed of Bamarni, Iraq, commander, 1st Region, Directorate of Border Enforcement. "This is the 1st Region, Mosul is in the 2nd Region, Diyala is in the 3rd Region, Bashrah is in the 4th Region and the cities of Nyjaf and Nakheb are in the 5th Region."

The main headquarters for the DBE is located in Baghdad under the ministry of interior. Custom police also fall under the DBE.

The 1st Region is also part of the Kurdistan regional government's area and has the highest population of Kurdish in Iraq.

"We have the longest border of all the regions in Iraq," said Fazladin. "Our border covers from Fairozkan to Al Khabour, where the Tigris River Border Fort is located. It is 1,083 kilometers and we have three brigades for this region, the 1st Brigade, DBE, in Dahuk, 2nd Brigade, DBE, in Diyana and 3rd Brigade, DBE, in Sulyamaniah."

There are also points of entry that the 1st Region, DBE, must control along the Syrian, Turkey and Iranian borders.

"We also have two international airports, one in Irbil and one in Sulyamaniah," Fazladin said. "There are five departments of custom police spread throughout the 1st Region, DBE, as well."

The BTT has helped this region in overcoming communication barriers and political Arab/Kurdish obstacles due to the high volume of Kurdish in their ranks.

"When we go to Baghdad we need a strategy of the top three things we need, as priority from the books," said Lt. Col. Mikel Russell of Lawton, Okla., commander, BTT 4100. "I think the 1st priority is to retain the officers and their ranks that we have on the books."

It is because of the BTT that the 1st Region, DBE, has received from Baghdad what they have now, said Fazladin. If the BTT was not here the 1st Region, DBE, wouldn't get a fourth of what has been received. The problem is political not military.

"You guys are here to serve us, so as to get our work done and keep our borders secure," Fazladin said. "Whatever you need just ask, we are teammates so we work together. My personal vehicle it is under your command, whatever you ask."

Fazladin, who has been the commander of the DBE for the past four to five years, has experienced many trying times in his past and his determination is strong.

"Whatever they do right now, we are never going to give up," said Fazladin. "For years we've been doing these things without money."

One of the key issues currently is to correct the members of the 1st Region's, Directorate of Border Enforcement, ranks and salary.

"Those officers here, all of them, use to work in the Iraqi military," said Fazladin. "They said, 'Okay, you going to decrease my rank? Okay, well tell them to decrease my age too. If I go back to 20 years old then I will have no problem," Fazladin said, while he was laughing. "Okay, I will do that."
Lt. Richard Myers of Waldorf, Md., administration officer, BTT 4100, is working with the 1st Region's administration to get a list together. While all the commanders go to Baghdad and meet with the ministry of interior, Myers will go to work on getting the ranks and proper pay corrected on the ministry of interior's books, said Russell. The BTT commander understands that there are a total of 791 ranks and salaries incorrect right now in the whole 1st Region, DBE.

"The 2nd Brigade, DBE, commander, Col. Saba, they made him a lieutenant," said Fazladin, as an example. "What I am really lacking is that I was the first one to go on the books and they still let my rank stay. I don't want that I have my rank, but my people don't have their rank."

In support of his commander the 1st Region's executive officer showed his determination and strength as well.

"If they took our rank and cut our pay, we'd still be here," said Brig. Gen. Fokhraden Abdullah Hamasaeed of Sulyamaniah, Iraq, executive officer, 1st Region, DBE.

Fazladin and Fokhraden started working together in Irbil with the DBE, Nov. 2004.

"He is a good person and a close friend," said Fazladin about his executive officer. "We are one not two. His is from a different party, yet we are united here under the KRG and Iraq. Five years we have worked together and there is no problem between us."

The commander is with the Kurdistan democratic party and the executive officer is with the patriotic union of Kurdistan party. These parties united under the Kurdistan regional government about ten years ago in Iraq, after overcoming their own struggles and differences.

"Iraqi democracy, as it is represented in the states, is good for Iraq," said Fazladin. "If people answered that they are from Iraq, instead of, from a party. That would be good. Freedom is not achieved yet, but we need to sacrifice to get that. Iraq has a good future, because of democracy."