Iraqi’s Pulling Weight In Northern Iraq

June 27, 2007

In a press conference on Tuesay, Army Brig. General John Bednarek said that Iraqi soldiers and units are working side by side with Multinational Division North troops and “holding firm.”

“They are in the fight. They are doing what thy’re told. They’re following their leaders,” Army Brig. General John Bednarek said. “But more importantly, as we’ve known for years that they have that direct link and rapport with the citizens that the coalition forces do not have, they can get that immediate link, … the human dimension, that information potentially leading to intelligence.”

According to Bednarek, troops have engaged and killed a large number of al-Qaeda operation in Western Baqubah. Almost 100 al-Qaeda members have also been detained by US and Iraqi forces participating in Operation Arrowhead Ripper. According to Bednarek, al-Qaeda leaders have already deserted their fighters.

“You’ve got the senior leaders of a terrorist organization that cowardly leads their mid-level leaders and followers to take on the fight that’s larger than they are,” h said. “I don’t know of any organization that’s going to be successful when the leaders, when it gets too hot, are the first ones that leap. It doesn’t speak too well of an organization.”

Bednarek said that the Iraqi army soldiers are performing well. The Iraqi soldiers are also the immediate link to the people of the country. They are able to aid in determining if an item is important or not. According to Bednarek, the citizens of Baqubah are tired of being terrorized by al-Qaeda in their midst, and are showing that by giving tips to the Iraqi soldiers about terrorist locations, what houses they have booby-trapped, who is involved with al-Qaeda and who is building car bombs.

“One of the signigicant increases just in the past 24 hours is the amount of caches that we have found and … those al-Qaeda holding locations and strong points that had been rigged with masses of explosives … that we had been able to find and dismantle or destroy based on tips from the citizens,” he said.

Progress in Diyala province is not limited to Baqubah. Forces have also uncovered a car-bomb factory in Mosul, which was made up of three large houses that were linked together by a tunnel. Due to the tips received from local citizens who were growing tired of al-Qaeda in their midst, countless of lives of innocent Iraqi’s have been spared. According to Brig. General Bednarek, so far, Operation Arrowhead Ripper has been successful and they remain cautiously optimistic that the operation will continue to be successful.



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