Lt. Col. Doug Kirby hands a certificate of appreciation to a member of the Yarmouk Sons of Iraq for a job well done on the final payday by the U.S. to the SoI in Yarmouk, Oct. 2.
BAGHDAD (Oct. 7, 2008) – Sons of Iraq from the Yarmouk neighborhood in central Baghdad were given their final payday from U.S. forces at Joint Security Station Yarmouk Oct. 2.
On Oct. 1, the SoI transitioned to the Government of Iraq control. Paying the 35 members of the Yarmouk SoI was the last task to accomplish for Coalition forces in the area to finalize the transition.
“These guys are fully transitioned to the Government of Iraq right now,” said Capt. James Spofford, Battery B, 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, attached to 2nd BCT, 101st Airborne Div., Multi-National Division – Baghdad. “They’ll still get paid by the Government of Iraq.”
The SoI transition has gone smoothly due to the good working relationship between Coalition forces and the Iraqi government, and it appears that the GoI will take the necessary steps needed to ensure SoI members are given continued employment, explained Lt. Col. Doug Kirby, commander of 4th Bn., 42nd FA Regt., 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
Some of the SoI have already been transitioned into the Iraqi Army or the Iraqi Police, and these 35 men were the remainder from Yarmouk SoI who hadn’t been transitioned into to the IA or IP. They will continue to be SoI until the Government of Iraq helps them find a job, whether in the Iraqi Security Forces, one of the ministries of government, or in some civilian capacity.
Although the path is clear and the transition must happen, there has been concern among some SoI about the potential outcome and Iraqi government promises.
“When I first heard about the transition, I’ll have to be honest with you, I was a little scared,” said Yassin Mahmoud, SoI commander in Yarmouk. “Some are frightened for the transition.”
Despite these concerns, the Iraqi government is committed to a successful transition and Coalition commanders feel confident in its eventual success and see the transition as a necessary step for the Government of Iraq to take for the establishment of the rule of law and the reconciliation of the Iraqi people.
“They’re taking a huge step forward by supporting these guys, by paying them, and by helping to create meaningful jobs for all of the SOI,” Spofford said.