Iraqi Based Industrial Zone Service Center Opens In Balad

June 27, 2008

Last week a program started in Balad that is aimed at helping business and progress in the provinces that surround Joint Base Balad. A ribbon cutting was held on June 17th, which marked the official opening of the Iraqi-Based Industrial Zone Service Center, or the I-BIZ, that is located at Joint Base Balad. The center will be operated by the Basateen Al-Dejayl General Training & Contracting Company, Ltd. The center is being spearheaded by the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Indiana Army National Guard.

“We are proud to call Iraqis our wonderful allies and we wish you the very, very best in your new venture,” said Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger, adjunct general of the Indiana National Guard.

This center is the first of several initiatives that will provide opportunities for Iraqi business leaders to tap into valuable military contracts. This will also provide a secure environment in which to grow their businesses. The service center will provide maintenance for non-tactical vehicles that are owned by coalition forces. Officials at Balad also have plans for a host-nation business center, a facility that will remanufacture shipping containers, wholesale and retail businesses and a vocational training program.

All of these business will provide much needed employment for the citizens of the area. That in turn will help to curtail the violence that goes along with the insurgency. It has been found that when young men in the communities of Iraq are without jobs, they often turn to the insurgency, as a means of ready cash to support their families. According to Brig. Gen. Gregory Couch, commander of the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the command will be another step towards fulfilling the vision of General Petraeus, when he came to Balad. That vision is to provide the Iraqi people with the opportunity to work in their country and to use that opportunity to support their families. The owner of the Basateen Al-Dejayl General Training and Contracting Company, Ltd, Sheik Shihab Ahmed Saleh Al-Tamimi, signed an agreement to operate the service center. He said that he was very encouraged by the outreach efforts that the coalition forces have made towards the Iraqi community.

“This is a very important business opportunity for the people of the area. It provides employment opportunities for the people of the area around here to stop them from joining terrorist organizations,” Sheik Shihab said. “Our vision for the future for this business opportunity is to expand from vehicle maintenance to engine repair, military and civilian vehicles,” said Sheik Shihab. “We hope that we meet all the standards and we add more job opportunities out there for the people around the LSA Anaconda. This business also sends a message to the terrorist organizations out there that we’re willing to work with the coalition forces and help our country become a free country,” he said.

It’s great to see the leaders and business owners in the Iraqi communities stepping forward and providing employment opportunities for the citizens of the area, so that hopefully more and more of them will obtain legitimate employment, instead of obtaining their money from the insurgency. Not only will the legitimate employment allow them to support their families, but it will also provide their families with the knowledge that their loved one isn’t going to do something, such as become a suicide bomber, which in the long run, removes the financial support from the family. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this project as it develops.


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