Irak — Iraq Security Landscape Changes Bode Well for Transition

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2010 — The times are chang­ing in Iraq, and they’re chang­ing quick­ly.
While Amer­i­can troops draw down and their mis­sion comes to an end, the Iraqi gov­ern­ment and U.S. State Depart­ment are prepar­ing to take the reins on their respec­tive roles in Iraq’s future.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Stephen Lan­za, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Iraq, joined jour­nal­ists on a DoDLive Blog­gers round­table to answer ques­tions and clar­i­fy the posi­tion of the U.S. mil­i­tary dur­ing its tran­si­tion out of Iraq.

“Iraq is in a peri­od of tran­si­tion … we’re in a peri­od of tran­si­tion … the gov­ern­ment is in a peri­od of tran­si­tion,” Lan­za said. “We under­stand that the secu­ri­ty envi­ron­ment is chang­ing. Vio­lence is as low as we’ve seen since 2004.”

Lan­za added that Iraq now is 85 per­cent more secure than it was in 2007 at the peak of the “surge” of 20,000 addi­tion­al U.S. troops that helped to damp­en insur­gent-com­mit­ted vio­lence in Bagh­dad and Al Anbar province.

Cur­rent­ly, the major­i­ty of com­bat oper­a­tions in Iraq are led by Iraqi forces, with Amer­i­can troops act­ing in an advi­so­ry sup­port role. Lan­za said Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces have “grown and matured” and are con­duct­ing very sophis­ti­cat­ed mis­sions against al-Qai­da near Tikrit.

“We con­tin­ue the strate­gic part­ner­ship with them to increase their capac­i­ty, but more impor­tant­ly to make sure that we devel­op them into a pro­fes­sion­al force capa­ble of pro­vid­ing secu­ri­ty for the Iraqi peo­ple,” Lan­za said. “We have seen their capa­bil­i­ty increase, and with that we main­tain our pos­ture for our respon­si­ble draw­down.”

The cur­rent strat­e­gy calls for all but 50,000 U.S. troops to leave Iraq by Sep­tem­ber of this year; the remain­ing troops will be mov­ing from a com­bat mis­sion to a sus­tain­ment and sta­bil­i­ty mis­sion in part­ner­ship the Iraqi gov­ern­ment in August.

“We con­tin­ue to work with the embassies, agen­cies and oth­er ele­ments here of the U.S. gov­ern­ment, and also of oth­er gov­ern­ments and [non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions], in order to facil­i­tate the strate­gic frame­work agree­ment in the future — more impor­tant­ly, to devel­op Iraq and their capa­bil­i­ties into a secure, sta­ble and sov­er­eign nation,” Lan­za said.

Though news reports still are pep­pered fair­ly reg­u­lar­ly with sto­ries about attacks or fight­ing break­ing out in Iraq, Lan­za says the secu­ri­ty sit­u­a­tion has improved vast­ly over the past few years. He added that the attacks, some of which tar­get mosques, were like­ly meant to incite sec­tar­i­an vio­lence, and in that regard, they’ve been unsuc­cess­ful.

“While there have been sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges, and some­times we have had these attacks and spikes in civil­ian casu­al­ties, I would acknowl­edge that if you look at it in the con­text of over­all secu­ri­ty, we are still on a much bet­ter road and a bet­ter way ahead than we have in the past few years,” Lan­za said.

Fol­low­ing the recent report­ed killing of two top al-Qai­da-in-Iraq lead­ers, Abu Ayyub al-Mas­ri and Abu Umar al-Bagh­da­di, the insur­gent group is in a state of tur­moil. Attacks are less suc­cess­ful, less sophis­ti­cat­ed, and Iraqi secu­ri­ty forces are prov­ing to be a strong adver­sary.

“There’s been tremen­dous pres­sure put on the al-Qai­da net­work in the past few years, to the point that al-Qai­da has frac­tured into three dif­fer­ent groups,” Lan­za said.

Oppor­tunists will fol­low and work with al-Qai­da, in essence, to make a quick buck, Lan­za said. Some peo­ple sim­ply see the ter­ror­ist group as a source of income. Nation­al­ists who want to see a regime change in Iraq look to al-Qai­da and oth­er insur­gent groups as rev­o­lu­tion­ary enti­ties. Ide­alogues, the true believ­ers, still exist, but in few­er num­bers than before, Lan­za said.

“Iraq does con­tin­ue to move for­ward, there will con­tin­ue to be chal­lenges,” he said. “As our mis­sion con­tin­ues, it’s our goal and our desire to con­tin­ue to build capa­bil­i­ty and capac­i­ty of the ISF … we want to ensure that the con­di­tions are set here for a long-term rela­tion­ship here between the U.S. and Iraq.”

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →