ISF, MND-B Soldiers secure Iraqi National Parliament, Iraqi Council of Representatives convenes in International Zone

Blackanthem Military News, BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 24, 2006 2:51


Iraqi President Jalal Talabani addresses standing members of the Iraqi National Parliament during an acceptance speech Saturday. Talabani was re-elected president by the Iraqi National Parliament’s Council of Representatives Saturday. Also chosen to lead the nation’s newfound government is the speaker of the COR Mahmoud al-Mashadani, and Khalid al-Attiya and Aref Tayfour as his deputies. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brent Williams, 4th BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.)

Iraqi army and police forces partnered with Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldiers to secure the International Zone as the Iraqi Council of Representatives convened Saturday to elect the nation’s top government leaders.

Working with Iraqi Security Forces, the 4th Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team headed a coordination cell at the Iraqi Convention Center, located within the nation’s capital.

Soldiers from the 5th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, worked with Iraqi police to form a protective cordon around the building where the nation’s top leaders took the next step in the forming of their government.

Soldiers from 4th BCT and the Georgian Army’s 22nd Light Infantry Battalion, working as part of the Coalition Forces deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, maintained entry control points while their Iraqi counterparts guarded the IZ as Iraq’s national parliament elected its first president and national speaker of the permanent government.

"No longer do we have U.S. forces guarding the ICC," said Lt. Col. Troy Smith, deputy commander, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div. "The security of the IZ is done by IPs, IA and Coalition Forces combined."

Iraqi police officers greet and pose with former Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari after the meeting of the Iraqi Council of Representative’s at the Iraqi Convention Center April 22. Iraqi army and police forces provided security for the Iraqi National Parliament session at the ICC in Baghdad’s International Zone. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Brent Williams, 4th BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.)

Leading a team of governance officers and Civil Affairs Soldiers, the coordination cell led by Smith is responsible for monitoring security operations within the ICC and surrounding IZ checkpoints.

"The Iraqis are in the lead on security," Smith said. "In their plan, we are augmenting them at the ECPs. Eventually, the Iraqis will secure this thing in its entirety. They have already started taking over the responsibility in certain areas."

The coordination cell also serves as a conduit for the 4th Inf. Div., bringing any concerns the ministries might have to MND-B, said Capt. Walter Dunn, governance operations officer, 4th BCT.

The role of the governance team is to provide assistance to elements with the Iraqi government dealing with issues of security, said Dunn.

"More than 260 of the 275 Council of Representative members attended the session and, through a free and democratic process, voted to elect a Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish representative government," he said.

As the new government takes its first steps to solidify its tenure within the Iraqi political process, MND-B is prepared to assist the democratically elected republic of Iraq with any issues that should arise in the IZ, said Dunn.


By Staff Sgt. Brent Williams
4th BCT PAO, 4th Inf. Div.




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