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1,200 Tarmiyah citizens vow to fight al-Qaeda
By Multi-National Division - North PAO
Sep 22, 2007 - 1:54:57 PM
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More than 1,200 Iraqi men from Tarmiyah, Iraq, a city about 30 kilometers north of Baghdad, stand in line Sept. 12 for more than five hours to volunteer for Iraqi Security Forces in an effort dubbed "The Awakening," to drive al-Qaeda from their city. (U.S. Army Photo)
TAJI, Iraq - More than 1,200 Iraqi males from in and around Tarmiyah stood in line for hours to join Iraqi Security Forces, local sheiks and Coalition Forces in the fight against al-Qaeda and other insurgent militias in Tarmiyah Sept. 12.

Local sheiks and CF from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment reached out to the Iraqi people, asking the citizens of the small town of Tarmiyah to volunteer to defend their homes and neighborhoods against the terrorist insurgency in their town.

This concept of the people standing against al-Qaeda and other insurgents has been dubbed an "awakening," or the mental realization that the terrorists offer nothing but fear and injustice. 

"We really see now how this movement, this awakening movement, has really started to take off," said Lt. Col. William Prior, commander, 4-9th IN.  "Just a flicker at first, it's turned into a full-fledged flame, not just here in Tarmiyah, but also in other parts of my area."

Iraq's people becoming self-sufficient in providing their own peace and security has been an ongoing strategy for 4-9 IN, said Prior.

"The awakening was the local tribal leadership and the local populace deciding that they were not going to let al-Qaeda operate in their area anymore," said Capt. Jason Pardee, 4-9 IN battle captain. "They took a vested interest in the security of their own city, working closely with Coalition Forces in Tarmiyah."

Some of the volunteers were previously members of the Iraqi Army and Iraqi police, but had stopped working after al-Qaeda moved into their city. Many will work as IA and IP again, and others will become part of the local security neighborhood watch. 

Operations in Tarmiyah began Sept. 7 with Operation Headhunter when Company B and Company C of the 4-9 IN, along with Iraqi Army forces, moved in with the objective of clearing the city.

Tarmiyah was cleared by Sept. 9, after 21 objectives in and around the city were searched and cleared. Twenty eight people were detained and two improvised explosive devices were found and one detonated. 

Pardee said the people of Tarmiyah were very standoffish when it came to interacting with CF in the area.

"They were cautious about giving us information and would only talk to us behind closed doors, usually only at night," said Pardee.

Pardee said within two days of Operation Headhunter, the locals opened up a little more and appeared to feel more comfortable again. The populace felt safer with the increased security presence.


Hundreds of Iraqi men stand in line in Tarmiyah, Iraq, Sept. 12 with their citizenship paperwork to volunteer for Iraqi Security Forces after local tribal leaders and U.S. commanders announced an awakening to the city of Tarmiyah. (U.S. Army Photo)
More than 1,200 Iraqi men stood in line in Tarymiyah, Iraq, Sept. 12 waiting their turn to volunteer to protect their homes and families from the al-Qaeda presence that had been driven from their city by Iraqi Security Forces and the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, from Fort Lewis, Wash. (U.S. Army Photo)

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