Monday, April 09, 2007


Sunday, 08 April 2007
By Multi-National Division – North PAO

MUQDADIYA — A neighborhood watch program has begun to show sings of success since its formation March 5.

Photo: Iraqi National Police Col. Baha, brigade commander of the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, Iraqi National Police (5/2 NP), addresses the concerns of a local gentleman while on a dismounted patrol in the Karkh District of Baghdad, Iraq, March 28. The police are conducting a presence patrol of the neighborhood to foster a closer relationship with the residents of the area. Photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Foley, Joint Combat Camera Center.The program, which includes 15 villages throughout the Muqdadiya district, hires local villagers to protect their village and encourages the population to contact their security forces on criminal or terrorist activity.

“The idea is - to protect the village and to clear it from the armed people and insurgents,” said Dr. Abdulla al Jubouri, the former governor of Diyala and founder of the program.

Since the program began, Jubouri said there have been several signs of success to include roads free from improvised explosive devices, fighting stopped between what used to be rival villages, schools are re-opened, electric and water services have been repaired.

“The neighborhood watch program has put positive energy into the security of Muqdadiya,” said Lt. Col. Keith Gogas, 6-9 Armored Reconnaissance Squadron Commander, responsible for Coalition forces in the Muqdadiya area.

“People from all around Muqdadiya have been emboldened by the hard work and sacrifice of Dr. Abdulla, Mayor Najim and many local leaders working to secure this area of Diyala,” Gogas said. “This area is beautiful – full of hard-working, patriotic people who deserve the freedom this security plan gives them.”

Aside from providing security, the neighborhood watch program is important because it provides jobs for local citizens who are often poor and persuaded to turn to the terrorists to support their families, said Mayor Najim, Muqdadiya mayor.

“The cycle of violence that has existed in the province of Diyala is being defeated by the people who are disgusted and disillusioned by the hatred provided by the terrorists,” said Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and senior U.S. Army officer in Diyala. “The people recognize the fact that their place in a free and democratic society is their future and ultimately lies in their hands, and cannot be achieved unless there is stable security and government, which enable progress.”

The neighborhood watch program has also encouraged many citizens to join the

Iraqi Police and approximately 1,000 citizens want to join the Iraqi Army, Jubouri said.

“It’s a good idea and I hope it will be done in more than one area,” Najim said. “I hope once the security is improved and jobs start to open, that people will participate in the political process and other people will follow.”

The goal is to support the security plan by encouraging the districts to follow in the footsteps of Muqdadiya, Jubouri said.

And while attacks on Jubouri himself have shown that the terrorists dislike the neighborhood watch program, he and the people refuse to accept defeat.

“[Terrorist attacks] are not going to stop us,” he said. “[We will keep going] until we make sure Diyala is secured.”

But You Won't see this on your local or network news.

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