August 15, 2006

Desert Lions

lions.jpg Taking care of business, old school:

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces took control of another area of Baghdad on Monday after the latest in a series of transfer of authority ceremonies near the capital.

Army Col. Claude Ebel, commander of the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division said responsibility for Forward Operating Base Mahmudiyah South, a base of operations for security forces south of the capital, was transferred to the 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division, dubbed the Desert Lion Brigade. The Iraqi unit will have full responsibility for the Baghdad areas of Mahmudiyah and Rutifiyah, Ebel said.

“They’re a superb unit. They’re the most developed unit since we first arrived,� Ebel said of the Iraqi brigade.

“What really makes (the brigade) special is their soldiers. These are the sons of average Iraqi citizens who choose to fight for all of Iraq.�

Ebel said the brigade has taken initiative by bringing supplies to schools and clinics without Coalition prodding. He also said the brigade has been recognized for their good behavior and humane treatment of detainees.

“That’s a difficult task when you recognize that many of these individuals (detainees) actually tried to kill them,� the colonel said.

Army Lt. Col. Eric Conrad, the military transition team chief advising the Iraqi brigade, said Coalition troops and members of the brigade have been conducting operations together for some time.

“We’ve learned their culture and become brothers in arms. Once they get the resources and the confidence, they can do anything. Back in the United States we take a year to establish a new brigade. These guys are doing the same thing under combat conditions. It’s truly remarkable what they have been able to accomplish,� Conrad said.

Conrad gives a lion’s share of credit for the Iraqi unit’s success to Iraqi Army Col. Ali Jassim Mohammed Hassen Al-Ferajee, commander of the Desert Lion Brigade.

“These guys aren’t just sitting on (traffic control points). They’re also going out and doing offensive combat operations,� Conrad said.

But this is nothing new for the Desert Lions. They've been on the ramparts for some time now. Flash back to December, 2005 and the Iraqi elections:

The 4th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division commander, Brig. Gen. Mahde Allami, said that he was pleased by the security provided on election day by his brigade, the so-called “Desert Lions.�

“This is a clear message to the terrorists and the evil forces,� he said through an interpreter.

“By the great effort of the Desert Lion soldiers, they secured the area and people came with confidence.�

But, he said he could not have accomplished such a feat without help from American forces.

“In my area, which is a very disturbed area, there are no other forces but my brigade and the friendly forces,� he said. “In Baghdad, they have the police force, the special forces, and then the third line of defense is the Iraqi army. Here, we’re the front line.�

They are no longer the third line of defense. Last year, a U.S. Army Major described Iraq as "baby-steps" land.

They've come a long way. Well done.

Via CENTCOM: one-stop shopping for all your tinfoil hat needs.
Seriously, good stuff if you are tired of the gloom-and-doom parade from the lamestream media. We're doing good work over there. Check them out.

Or I'll question your patriotism... heh :)

Posted by Cassandra at August 15, 2006 03:46 PM | TrackBack