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  1. #1
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    Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army



    Iraqi Army Colonel Ali Jassimi, commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army division, speaks proudly of the ethnic and cultural diversity within his unit. Despite claims by liberal media that the IA is one-sided, Jassimi said, his battalion is a perfect example of strength in diversity. Photo by U.S. Marine Sgt. Andy Hurt.


    BAGHDAD — The strength of any democracy is the equal representation of various cultural interests; thus, the power of a military force can be measured by diversity as well. American culture takes pride in boasting equal opportunity in public service roles.
    Iraqi culture mirrors this attitude, and the warriors of the Iraqi Army’s 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division – currently conducting a force integration with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines – are a simple, flawless example of strength in diversity.

    Speaking from an office at Combat Outpost Golden in Al Anbar Province here, Iraqi Army Col. Ali Jassimi, 1st battalion commanding officer, explained the cultural representation within his unit.

    “My staff is Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish. We have officers from many different areas of Iraq; Mosul, Baghdad, Ramadi – and we’re all here working together,” he said. “There are many people around the world who would think this would be a problem. We are a perfect example that it is not.”

    Jassimi, a native of southern Iraq, said there is a preconceived notion in some global media circles that various sectarian issues create problems within the new Iraqi Army. To combat this, he said, he avoids prejudice by ignoring religious preference altogether.

    “When I get a new officer, I do not ask him if he is Shiite or Sunni. I don’t care,” he said.

    The recent history of the diverse organization’s success in Falluja (a primarily Sunni area), conducting security and stability operations is a testament to the camaraderie of junior enlisted troops (Juundis) who come from all walks of life, said Jassimi.

    “We’ve had great success in Falluja, and it’s because of the Juundis-- they’re all brothers,” he said.

    The colonel went on to explain that junior enlisted troops in his battalion ignored sectarian issues during operations.

    “If anyone needed help, we helped them. We visited mosques, and no matter if it was Shiite or Sunni, we prayed with them,” Jassimi said.

    Iraqi Army Captain Mustafa Al Jaaf, a Kurdish staff member of 1/2/1, echoed his commander’s sentiments.

    “We are from all over Iraq, and it makes a stronger force. You can see now Falluja is a much safer place,” Jeaf said.

    Originally from Ramadi, Iraqi Army Capt. Basim Ashumari said his anger over foreign fighters – Al Qaeda subordinates historically from Egypt, Jordan and Syria – caused him to join the new Iraqi Army and fight for his countrymen, no matter what religion they were.

    “In Ramadi, I saw men from another country come and kill civilians, so I decided to join the new Iraqi Army. No matter what religion they are, these officers here are on a mission to keep the Iraqis safe. We are one team with one goal,” Ashumari said.

    U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Woody Hesser, Military Transition Team commander, said within the MTT, the ethos of “one team, one fight” is clearly evident during joint operations. Hesser and his team have shadowed 1st Battalion since January, and he says with each patrol a shared interest in Iraqi security is obvious.

    “We’re here fighting a war, and when we go on patrol, it’s one fight. There have never been any sectarian issues,” Hesser said. “Really, it’s almost like another Marine unit taking over, but it’s not about Marines and Iraqis, it’s about good guys versus bad guys.”

    As Marines have always kept close the ethos of “brothers in arms,” the Iraqi Army shares the exact ideal. During a nightly dinner with 1st Battalion staff, uniforms and language are the only visible difference between 3/1 Marines and Iraqi Army forces here. The staff laughs, jokes and singles out members with good-natured scrutiny. At the end of the night, they shake hands and go on with business. Officers constantly duck in to the commander’s office to have forms signed and plans authorized. The parallels between US and Iraqi forces are striking.

    For the Iraqi Army, however, it is not a mimicking act – it is an old way of life.

    “I’m from the north and I’m a Sunni,” began Iraqi Army Maj. Istabraq Ashawani. “That man over there,” he gestured, “is a Shiite. That man over there is Kurdish … everyone in this battalion is a family. We eat together, sleep together and pray together. Anything you hear on the news about us being different is not true,” he exclaimed. “Ask any Juundi or officer … we’re all the same.”

    (Story by U.S. Marines Sgt. Andy Hurt 13th MEU)

  2. #2
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    What paper is this from, the Coalition Provisional Authority Gazette? Is Talon News still around?

  3. #3
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Ah, glad you asked... www.mnf-iraq.com. I guess it wouldn't be Provisional Authority ever since the new government took over. I realize in early August the government lost the Sunni contingent, but I suspect they'll be back. There will certainly be some Sunni leaders who want to see progress and will look to recall the elected officials if they don't do what they are potentially being paid to do. It would be a rare thing if the Sunni sentiment that caused the split was equally endorsed by all rank and file Sunnis.

  4. #4
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    So they found a few Sunni/Shia/Kurdish traitors to side with the invaders and form a small unit. When America pulls out of Iraq these guy lives won't be worth spit.

  5. #5

    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawud
    So they found a few Sunni/Shia/Kurdish traitors to side with the invaders and form a small unit. When America pulls out of Iraq these guy lives won't be worth spit.
    Their siding with the iraqi government, and thats a bold prediction to make; making an opinion like that when you don't even have a good idea of what the general public opinion is. The only way you can get that is if you actually lived their (which i havnt). im not saying its wrong but im saying its bold.
    Bring peace into this world while you can

    Cant fight Terrorism with IDIOTS

  6. #6
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Quote Originally Posted by K.I.S.S
    Their siding with the iraqi government, and thats a bold prediction to make; making an opinion like that when you don't even have a good idea of what the general public opinion is. The only way you can get that is if you actually lived their (which i havnt). im not saying its wrong but im saying its bold.
    Just think back to Vietnam. When we left Vietnam the thousands of people who worked for the Americans were either killed or jailed for lengthly sentences.

    In any country that is being occupied. People who help the occupiers are labeled as traitors. Plain and simple!

  7. #7

    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    There is a lot more 'sides' then Vietnam. Its just not that plain and simple.

    Yes i would be worried as well for them; im not saying your wrong its just (to me) to quick to say what will happen to them.

    But its your opinion and i understand what your saying and i partially agree.
    Bring peace into this world while you can

    Cant fight Terrorism with IDIOTS

  8. #8
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    When America pulls out of Iraq these guy lives won't be worth spit.
    That is a prediction which has to be predicated upon our premature withdrawl as envisioned by the likes of Senator Harry Reid :eek:. Otherwise, if we "stay the course," there should be no opportunity for such a circumstance.

    You think it's isolated? Here is another example:


    [more...]

    Hobbs said the predominately Shiite Army has been received with open arms by the Anbari locals, who are mainly Sunni. One reason may lie in the idea of getting his team of advisors to stress the importance of making the population comfortable with Iraqi leaders. It is his philosophy that if the people are happy and satisfied with their life, then the terrorists will no longer have the ability to move freely within the community. He said the company and platoon leaders have begun to buy into the civil affairs mindset. As a result, the city has not seen any escalation in force in more than two months.

    [more...]

    http://www.mnf-iraq.com/index.php?op...13731&Itemid=1

  9. #9
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Just one small area. So what?

    The artical says there hasn't been an "escalation" of hostilities in that enclave.

    Notice he didn't say there had been any "reduction" of hostilities.

    Same old propaganda!

  10. #10
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawud
    Just one small area. So what?

    The artical says there hasn't been an "escalation" of hostilities in that enclave.

    Notice he didn't say there had been any "reduction" of hostilities.

    Same old propaganda!
    Why so pessimistic? Why do you want things to go further south in Iraq than they already are? Do you hate the Iraqis so much that you can't pray for the success of this operation? Or is it as long as you have your freedom you don't give a gnats a$$ about anyone else?

    In truth, you generally don't strike me as that kind of person, but some of your responses really seem pro-al Qaeda, pro-sectarian violence, pro-chaos.

  11. #11
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    He's a fundamentalist Sunni muslim.

  12. #12
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Quote Originally Posted by Photobones
    Why so pessimistic? Why do you want things to go further south in Iraq than they already are? Do you hate the Iraqis so much that you can't pray for the success of this operation? Or is it as long as you have your freedom you don't give a gnats a$$ about anyone else?

    In truth, you generally don't strike me as that kind of person, but some of your responses really seem pro-al Qaeda, pro-sectarian violence, pro-chaos.
    Sorry for any confussion. I am an American who is also a Muslim.

    I am also a Vietnam Era Vet. who has seen all of this same nonsense before.

    Things can go much further south than they already are going.

    No people of any country wants to be occupied. Period.

    All we are doing is killing Muslims and causing mass chaos.

    We are creating insurgents faster that we can kill them, and have turned Iraq into a terrorist training camp.

    We will reap this harvest in about 20 years.

    Just like we did 20 years after our clandestine activites in Afghanastan. (9/11)
    Last edited by Dawud; 09-04-2007 at 05:43 AM.

  13. #13

    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    so now what? i know iraq is screwed and we are to, any ideas to get out or fix it? thats the real topic we should discuss.
    Bring peace into this world while you can

    Cant fight Terrorism with IDIOTS

  14. #14
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    I think pretty much we have to leave the Sunnis and Shiites to fight over the pieces for 10+ years and it will eventually stabilize on its own, after much, much bloodshed. It may, no matter our efforts, eventually become much more of a terrorist state than it ever was before, as Saddam was a lot of things, but he wasn't stupid about letting people hang around if they threatened his power.

    This just seems like the inevitability whether or not we stay, or how long we stay. The question is how many Americans do we sacrifice in the meantime?

    It's not defeatism, it's the realistic way to look at a situation that was thrust upon us by the most inept and elective foreign policy blunder of the past century. Cut your losses and get out.
    Last edited by ianmatthews; 09-04-2007 at 06:07 AM.

  15. #15

    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    god we're dumb
    Bring peace into this world while you can

    Cant fight Terrorism with IDIOTS

  16. #16
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    Re: Diversity is Strength for New Iraqi Army

    Quote Originally Posted by K.I.S.S
    god we're dumb
    I don't buy it... there is some method to the madness here. Dubai was trying to cozy up to us in a post 9-11 world, Saudi Arabia is starting diplomatic relations with the new Iraq, Iran is talking out of any side of their mouth to keep them in the mystery corner... I think the "invasion" of Iraq was genius on a variety of levels. Admittedly it took some serious unforeseen turns, but that is true in all of life, in every endeavor. I'm still hoping that Iraq offers us a remote stretch of desert for a forward operating base. That had to be one of the long-term unsaid goals of this operation.

    Anbar was one of the worst provinces, now it is one of the best. Even Hillary has arrived at that conclusion. Iraqi security units are operationally more independent while it's still early in the surge, al Qaeda appears to be seriously off balance, however temporarily that may be.

    Put PROGRESS and ANBAR in a search engine and start reading. What happened their can happen elsewhere.

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