Iraqi children celebrate the transfer of security responsibility to Qadasiyah province from Coalition forces in a parade during a ceremony in ad-Diwaniyah, July 16. (Army photo by Sgt. David Turner)
FOB ECHO, Iraq (July 21, 2008) — The governor of Qadasiyah province assumed security responsibility from Multi-National Force - Iraq during a ceremony in the provincial capital of ad-Diwaniyah, July 16.
Lieutenant General Lloyd Austin, commander of Multi-National Corps - Iraq, signed an agreement with Provincial Governor Hamed al-Khoudari, which gives responsibility of providing security to the people of Qadisiyah and the Government of Iraq.
Austin thanked Maj. Gen. Andrjez Malinowski, Polish Army commander in charge of Coalition forces in the province, for helping to keep the area safe for the past five years, but gave credit for the transfer of security responsibility to the performance of the Iraqi Security Forces in the area.
“The ISF have done a tremendous job in providing security for the population,” said Austin, in his remarks during the ceremony. “They have fought hard, and the freedom to celebrate today is the result of their efforts.”
Austin said that MNC-I would continue to support the ISF, as well as the Government of Iraq and provincial government to provide “sustainable security” for the people of Qadasiyah province.
Qadasiyah is the 10th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to transfer security responsibility to the local government. The Joint Commission, which includes members of the GoI and MNF-I, decided to transfer security responsibility. The commission based their decision on the capabilities of local governance and the readiness of ISF in the area, among other factors.
The recent decrease in violence in the area contributed to the decision, said Lt. Col. Andrjez Tomanek, planning officer with the Polish contingent of Coalition forces, stationed near ad-Diwaniyah. He cited operations carried out by ISF in March as proof that local police and Iraqi Army can keep the area secure in the future.
“Compared with our last rotation, the security situation has improved,” said Tomanek. “All of our activities are coordinated with the ISF. [They] are the basic elements to [maintain] security in this province; we only support them.”
Referring to the clashes between the ISF and criminal groups in the area in March, Tomanek said, “[They] passed the exam.”
Before the official signing of the agreement, local officials spoke to the crowd and Iraqi police, IA and other groups, including Iraqi children participated in a parade. An Iraqi SWAT team demonstrated its counterterrorism capabilities as part of the parade.