COB BASRA, Iraq — The commanders of the 14th Iraqi Army Infantry Division and Multi-National Division - South declared their partnership a success during a joint press conference Oct. 27 on the banks of the Shatt al-Arab River in Basrah.
"As we move forward, all Iraqis can be proud of the professionalism and the courage of the Iraqi Security Forces, which include the Iraqi police, the Department of Border Enforcement and the Iraqi army," said Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, commanding general, MND-S, who commands U.S. Troops in nine provinces in southern Iraq.
"By working with our American friends in some areas, such as logistics and training, and with our internal partners in all matters of local security, we are achieving very good results here in our beautiful Basrah," said Staff Major General Abdul Aziz Aswadi, commanding general, 14th IA Div.
Aziz noted the partnership between the U.S. Navy and Iraqi Naval Forces in their mission protecting Iraq's border.
"Working together, they patrol our rivers and marshes, help to guard our borders and intercept, deter and interdict smugglers and criminals from crossing into our country," said Aziz. "They are a small part of a larger partnership picture, as my division has ongoing partnerships with not only the U.S. 17th Fires Brigade and the 34th Infantry Division, but also with our own police and Department of Border enforcement."
"The training both sides have received and the trust built between them has been very positive," Aziz added.
The two generals' comments came in the shadow of last weekend's bombings in Baghdad, which killed 155 people and injured 500 more. While the attacks occurred outside of Nash and Aziz's areas of operation, both issued strong condemnations of the attacks.
"These despicable terrorist acts seek to undermine the impressive progress that Iraq has made through stability and self reliance," Nash said. "They will not succeed."
Nash added that U.S. and Iraqi forces cooperatively track criminal elements to maintain security in the area.
"Major General Aziz and I work very closely here in Basrah, sharing information and sharing intelligence here at the Basra Operations Center through our 17th Fires Brigade," Nash said. "We track those extremist networks that tend to do harm here in southern Iraq ... whether it's here in Basrah or up through the Euphrates Valley up into Baghdad."
"Together, the Iraqi security forces and the U.S. forces attack those networks and bring to justice those that have warrants, to bring them to the rule of law to find justice," Nash emphasized.
"We will continue to provide security to our people, through an army and police force that are capable, competent and nonsectarian," added Aziz. "Together, we will support U.S. forces as they draw down their military and depart Iraq. We are in the lead, ready and prepared for the next step."
"Through the partnerships developed between our countries, we all will continue to work through any issues that may arise," Nash said. "We share the same goals of safety and security for all the Iraqi people."