Hussein al-Tahan, governor of Baghdad province, walks with Sheik Sa’ed Jasim, the head sheik in Tarmiyah, to the first Joint Rural Planning Committee meeting in Tarmiyah June 13.
CAMP TAJI, Iraq (June 18, 2008) – Hussein al-Tahan, governor of Baghdad, visited the areas of Mushada and Tarmiyah, northwest of Baghdad, June 13 and attended the first Joint Rural Planning Committee at Bukhari Hall in Tarmiyah.
The meeting brought together leaders from the Tarmiyah Qada, members of the Provincial Council and a special visit from al-Tahan. It served as a forum for local leaders in the area to discuss specific issues and get feedback directly from the decision makers in Baghdad.
“This (meeting) was very successful,” said Maj. Todd Woodruff, a native of Bollingbrook, Ill.
Woodruff, the executive officer for 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, “Warrior,” 25th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad said this meeting was mostly about relationship building, mentioning that the Qada council members have met with Baghdad officials in Baghdad, but this meeting was the first time those officials were invited to Tarmiyah to meet.
“This was an opportunity to show them that Tarmiyah is safe and secure and the markets are open for business,” he said. “It also shows that the area is ready to receive funding from the Baghdad province and the government of Iraq and they are ready to start moving forward on large scale projects.”
The officials discussed many projects to include improvements to the healthcare system, education system, agriculture, roads and electricity.
“These are things, that in the past, due to poor security, probably would not have succeeded,” Woodruff said.
With security gains in Tarmiyah taking center stage, al-Tahan further encouraged partnership between councils in the area and coalition forces.
While al-Tahan praised the efforts by American forces, he emphasized that only Iraqis truly know what they need and should have more input on the projects chosen and the leaders in the area should take charge.
Woodruff described the meeting as mostly ceremonial, but a good forum to “air initial thoughts” and attributes talking between the small groups to get the job done in the future.
“It means that the projects that are currently Iraqi funded and coalition force lead and coordinated will start shifting,” he said. “It will turn so that Iraqi money will be allocated and coordinated by Iraqis, and these projects will become Iraqi spearheaded. This meeting demonstrated that they are more than capable of doing that.”