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tequila
06-08-2007, 10:20 AM
In Diyala, U.S. aligns with tribal leaders - USATODAY, 8 June.



U.S. military officials say they are making progress in negotiating with tribal leaders in a turbulent region north of Baghdad, using a formula that helped reduce violence in western Iraq.

"Within the last three or four months we've seen a much greater interest in tribal reconciliation and we've seen a shift in tribal attitudes," Maj. Tim Brooks, a staff officer for the Army brigade based in Diyala province, said in a telephone interview from Iraq.

The efforts to form alliances with tribes highlights a new emphasis on local initiatives aimed at political reconciliation. Iraq's central government has been slow to take steps aimed at ending sectarian divisions. Iraq's parliament has yet to pass laws on the distribution of oil revenue and other issues that have divided the country on sectarian lines.

"One of the concerns that I've had was whether we had focused too much on central government construction in both Iraq and Afghanistan and not enough on the cultural and historical, provincial, tribal and other entities that have played an important role" in both countries, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said recently.

Iraq's central government has struggled to provide services and money to the provinces, said Army Col. Mike Everett, the political division chief of the U.S. command in Baghdad. "The greatest challenge in this country is how do you make national government effective."


By contrast, local initiatives have had a better record of success. "There is great effort at both levels," Everett said. "Arguably, we're probably making more progress at the local level ..."

tequila
10-17-2007, 02:18 PM
Drawdown begins in Diyala (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/10/ap_diyalabrigades_071016/)- AP, 17 Oct.


Commanders in Iraq have decided to begin the drawdown of U.S. forces in volatile Diyala province, The Associated Press has learned.

Instead of replacing the 3rd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division, which is leaving in December, soldiers from another brigade in Salahuddin province next door will expand into Diyala, thereby broadening its area of responsibility, several officials said Tuesday.

In this way, the number of Army ground combat brigades in Iraq will fall from 20 to 19, marking the start of what President Bush has billed as a shift in the American military mission away from fighting the insurgency toward more support functions like training and advising Iraqi security forces ...

tequila
11-02-2007, 10:12 AM
In key Iraqi area, U.S. starts pulling back (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1102/p01s06-woiq.htm)- CSMONITOR, 2 Nov.



The end of the US surge is in sight here. In two key central Iraqi provinces, American units will soon reduce their forces and modify their role in a region that is a microcosm of the fractured nation. There are Sunnis and Shiites in this Baathist heartland. Al Qaeda fighters have fled here from Anbar Province. This region is home to one of Iraq's three major oil refineries.

It's a risky move, both US and Iraqi officials say, but a necessary test of the strength and ability of Iraqi security forces.

The US is pulling out one of its brigades (about 3,500 soldiers) in December without replacing it. As the Americans leave, the US plans to give Iraqis more responsibility, an overall strategy the US will employ as it pulls out five brigades the bulk of the surge forces by next summer.
"Are they ready to go it alone? No. We understand that," says one senior US Defense official. "But if you keep them in spring practice, they will never gain confidence."

The region includes Diyala and Salahaddin provinces, which have large Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish populations. Salahaddin's capital, Tikrit, is Saddam Hussein's hometown, and residual support for the deceased dictator can be seen spray painted on walls throughout the city ("Long live the hero Saddam") ...

SabreXray
11-02-2007, 01:46 PM
I used to live in Diyala (Ba'qubah, FOB Gabe) in 2004, beautiful place. I loved the scenic palm groves (we had several artillery targets in the palm groves, the insurgents used to love to mass in there).

JP
Proud member of the "Dukes of Diyala" (Duke Brigade (3BCT), 1st Infantry Division).