Saturday, December 29, 2007


BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Air Force received a new, technologically advanced aircraft in a ceremony here Dec. 28. The Beechcraft KingAir 350 was delivered to the Iraqi Air Force through Foreign Military Sales, a process that allows the Iraqi government to purchase military equipment and supplies from other countries, including the United States, with its own money.

Additional KingAir aircraft, which are fitted with intelligence gathering sensors, will be delivered throughout next year, said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Bob Allardice, Coalition Air Force Transition Team commander.

BAGHDAD — For Yousef Kasim, living in the “Five Farms” area of Baghdad is a challenge. His family lives in a mud brick home, with no running water or electricity, in a place where, until recently, al-Qaida terrorists roamed the area generating a swath of destruction. Coalition and Iraqi security forces helped Yousef and his family by first clearing the area of terrorists, then again Dec. 13 when they treated the boy’s severe burns.

That day, Yousef was chasing the family kitten around the family’s outdoor oven when his pants snagged on a grate covering the fire pit; he tripped and landed in the stew his mother was cooking, causing severe burns from his right hip down to his right knee.

With the terrorists being forced out by the surge of 30,000 U.S. troops and Iraqi National Police (NP) into Baghdad, Yousef was able to be seen by competent medical personnel.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's interior ministry spokesman said Saturday that 75 percent of al-Qaida in Iraq's terrorist network had been destroyed this year, but the top American commander in the country said the terror group remained his chief concern.

Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem Khalaf said the disruption of the terrorist network was due to improvements in the Iraqi security forces, which he said had made strides in weeding out commanders and officers with ties to militias or who were involved in criminal activities.

He also credited the rise of anti-al-Qaida in Iraq groups, mostly made up of Sunni fighters the Shiite-dominated government has cautiously begun to embrace. Additionally, an increase in American troops since June has been credited with pushing many militants out of Baghdad.

Khalaf's assertion that three-fourths of al-Qaida in Iraq had been destroyed could not be independently verified and he did not elaborate on how the percentage was determined.

But violence in Iraq has dropped significantly since June—the U.S. military says it is down 60 percent nationwide—demonstrating success in fighting the terrorist network.

KIRKUK — “Upon entering our academy…you are no longer Turkman, Arab, Christian, Kurd…you are an Iraqi,” Col. Samir Murshed Khushid, commandant of the Kirkuk Police Academy and former Peshmerga Soldier, said.

He tells his recruits that they are there to serve their fellow citizen. “Protect them: ethnicity does not matter.”

That sentiment is built into the screening process. Ministry of Interior (MoI) standards are based on the ethnic make-up of a particular province. “The three major ethnic groups here are Arab, Kurd, and Turkman. MoI has set the following percentages for us to hire: Arab, 29 percent; Kurd, 40 percent; and Turkman, 29 percent,”

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Aker of 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division’s Provincial Police Training Team (PPTT), said. “Don’t ask Samir what religion he or any one of his cadres or recruits are, he would be offended as, ‘that is their personal choice,’ he would say,” Aker said.

“Everyone in Kirkuk is working together to eliminate the terrorists here,” Recruit Muhammad Abdul Abas, 22, an Arab said. “We – Arab, Kurd, Turkman, and Christian, are united in this belief and as a team, we work in peace to protect everyone in Kirkuk against those that want to separate us and try to make us fight each other,” he said.

The team Abas refers to is his brotherhood…one formed with all ethnic groups within each Iraqi police platoon. “We will work together to protect our citizens.”

CAMP STRIKER, Iraq — What was once known as the Triangle of Death in this war-torn county is now the Triangle of Hope, an Iraqi adviser to an American Army unit said.

“We are building schools, roads and we have repaired a bridge,” Hashim Khidir, said of an area that is part of 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) responsibility south of Baghdad.

And efforts are being made to again increase the agricultural output of the Euphrates River Valley, which he calls the most fertile area in Iraq, a Sunni region long known for its farms.
One of those programs is re-establishing the once large poultry industry south of Baghdad, said the English-trained engineer.

Khidir helps provide engineering expertise to the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry, 3rd Bridge Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division (Assault). But he said many other projects are helping to build a base for democracy in his homeland.

As a bilingual and bicultural adviser to the unit, he said he sees his job as being a bridge between the U.S. Army and the Iraqi people.

ALSO from McClatchy Papers


Two policemen were killed inside their car when gunmen attacked them near Al Shaab stadium in Zayuna east Baghdad
around 7,00 am.

Police found two bodies in Baghdad. One body was found in Amil neighborhood while the other body was found in Amin.


A Kurdish security officer was killed in an IED which was planted near his house in Jalwla city northeast Baquba early morning today.


Mosul police operation room officer Brigadier General Abdul Kareem al Jobori said that 7 people were injured in a car bomb in al Qadisiyah neighborhood east Mosul city last night. Al jobori added that some buildings were damaged by the explosion.

The media officer of Mosul police Ahmed al Jobori survived from an assassination attempt when gunmen attacked his convoy in Al Qadisiyah neighborhood northeast Mosul city today afternoon.

One of al Jobori guards was killed and another was injured while two gunmen were killed in the clashes.

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