Iraqi national policemen gather and catalog weapons they confiscated during cordon-and-search operation conducted in Muhalla 711 of Karadah Security District in eastern Baghdad, May 17. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brian D. Lehnhardt)
FOB LOYALTY, Iraq (May 19, 2008) – Iraqi national police officials with support from Iraqi army soldiers conducted a clearance mission in the Karadah Security District of eastern Baghdad, May 17.
With national police Brig. Gen. Aamir and his operations officer, Col. Tariq, leading the effort, 1st Brigade, 1st National Police Division, conducted a cordon-and-search mission within Muhalla 711 to find and confiscate illegal weapons and explosives. Other goals of the mission, which involved every battalion of the brigade including Iraqi army soldiers under their operational control, encompassed deterring special group and Jaysh al-Mahdi activity in the area and apprehending insurgent suspects and criminals identified through the ministry of interior.
Initial reports indicate the national police confiscated 150 AK-47 assault rifles, four sniper rifles, six sub-machineguns a pistol, four improvised explosive devices consisting of two explosively formed penetrators and two 155mm artillery rounds, a battery initiator and timer for improvised explosive devices, 14 60mm mortar rounds, four 81mm mortar rounds, six grenades, a block of TNT and a truck with no registration or license plates. Also, the national policemen detained 20 suspects during the operation.
The 1st Bde., 1st NP Div. planning for the operation was quite extensive. It involved officers and Soldiers from every battalion within the brigade, and the execution followed the plan with precision.
Policemen from 1st Battalion searched the central and northern portions of Muhalla 711 while 2nd Battalion officials searched the mosque and southern areas. Third Battalion officers and Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division, cordoned off the north, south, east and west borders to prevent insurgents from entering or leaving the muhalla during the operation. The brigade even had a commando company at the ready in reserve to respond where and when needed.
“Overall, the planning and execution are the best I have seen since working with the 1st Brigade since November (2007), said Lt. Col. Terry Michaels, coalition senior advisor to the 1st Bde., 1st NP Div. “The written order provided ample detail in the mission and tasks to subordinate units. Cooperation between the IA and NP was very good, and the battalions seem to function very well together.”
Michaels explained the 1st Brigade of the 1st National Police Division just moved to their new area of operations in Baghdad, March 15. Before then, for the past year, they were working in Madain Al Qada at Salman Pak, and the primary threat there was al-Qaida in Iraq, he said. The 1st Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division has been operating in Zafaraniya for more than a year, he added.
The 1st and 2nd Battalions conducted a joint operation in Zafaraniya two days before the, May 17, clearance operation. Conducting missions so close together is a good indicator of things to come, said Michaels.
“The back-to-back missions indicate the units can perform multiple missions better than when 2-1-1 (2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st National Police Division) was in Salman Pak,” explained Michaels. “We already knew 1-4-1 and 3-1-1 are good battalions, but the performance today of 1-1-1 and 2-1-1 is a good sign these battalion are improving. If they can coordinate and work well together on this level, that’s a big step forward.”
Michaels explained the personal friendship and mutual respect among Iraqi Army Col. Bedor, commander for 1st Bn., 4th Bde. 1st IA Div., and national police Col. Saleem, 2nd Bn., 1st Bde., 1st NP Div. commander and National Police Col. Aiz Al Dean, 3rd Battalion commander, were instrumental in planning and conducting a successful and smoothly run cordon-and-search mission. The mission and its results prove Iraqi security forces are capable and willing to protect and defend Iraqis.
“It (the mission) showed the commitment of the ISF (Iraqi security forces), both Iraqi army and national police, to work together to solve the common problem of security in Baghdad; and that security is here, security against both AQI (al-Qaida in Iraq) and against JAM (Jaysh al-Mahdi), both Sunni extremists and Shia extremists,” said Michaels. “It shows they are focused on Iraq. They are Iraqis; they are not Sunnis, they are not Shias. They are Iraqis, and they are focusing on the betterment of Iraq and the security of Iraqi people.”
“This operation is indicative of the professionalism, effectiveness and capabilities of the national police and the Iraqi army. They are working together to get criminals and their weapons off the streets of Baghdad while protecting the people of Baghdad,” said Maj. Joey Sullinger, spokesperson for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. “We believe operations such as this bode well for the future of Iraqi citizens, their security forces and the government of Iraq.”