BAGHDAD (May 12, 2008) — U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus said the courage of the Iraqi police and the Iraqi Security Forces while working together helped drive down the level of violence and level of civilians deaths in Iraq in the last 15 months at the Baghdad Police Summit last week.
Speaking before a Baghdad Police Summit, Petraeus, commander of the Multi-National Force-Iraq, told an audience of approximately 180 participants that “the decrease in violence has been very significant.” He noted the Iraqi Police had also made huge gains in manning, training and equipping their force, all of which will strengthen the police in the future.
“We have seen in the past year in communities like Salman Pak where the police have gone back into that these communities have come back to life,” said Petraeus. “Markets have been renewed and businesses and schools reopened. Clearly, we have seen progress.”
He said “Al-Qaeda and other criminal groups will try to re-establish their presence in these communities. The Iraqi Security Forces will have to remain vigilant to secure the peace in these communities. It will take a strong effort, but it is achievable.”Petraeus said, “It is an honor for me to be your partner in this effort to bring peace to the citizens of Iraq.”
Minister of Interior Jawad al Bolani said the “Iraqi policemen love their country and they are trying to bring peace to Iraq.”
“In Sadr City, the Iraqi government continues to target the criminal element, gangs and terrorists there. We will not stop until we have rid the city of these criminals. We do not target civilians,” Bolani said.
Bolani added the Ministry of Interior will expand its training facilities to train more police this year as well as build new police stations.
“We are now facing many challenges from the criminals and terrorists who are against the Iraqi people’s hope for progress and to live in peace, said Bolani. “They have failed to stop Iraq. I see in the end that the Iraqi people will get the victory.”
Brig. Gen David Phillips, director general of the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team, said the Coalition and the Ministry of Interior will work together in building two new training centers in Baghdad this year that will increase training seats by 3,800. He said 18 new expedient police stations will open by June and 14 new permanent police stations will open in Baghdad by the end of 2008.