I just received this item from the commander, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor in Iraq after asking if he had a summary of his unit's operations in Samarra. The 3/69th has been conducting missions in & around that city for the better part of a year now & are preparing to return stateside. This summary was written by one of 3/69th Armor's captains whose company was stationed very near Samarra. He wishes to remain anonymous & I honor his request.
Samarra, Iraq, is a city moving decisively forward in its pursuit of effective governance and stability. In the near future, Ministry of Interior (MOI) Commandos and the Iraqi Police will assume responsibility for the security of the city. This is an important transition, not only for the city of Samarra, but for country of Iraq, in that this transition is representative of larger Iraqi and U.S. strategic initiatives to place Iraqi Security Forces in charge of Iraqi cities.
The essential element of this transition of authority is a redefinition of the relationship between U.S. Forces and Iraqi Security Forces operating in the city. This new relationship will place U.S. Forces in a follow and support role behind Iraqi Security Forces, specifically the MOI Commandos and the Iraqi Police.
More importantly, Ministry of Interior Commandos will assume the primary role in the command and control, and execution of counter—insurgency operations in the city. They will have the leading role in the training and employment of the local Iraqi Police force. The redefinition of responsibilities will come with a few tangible changes to include: a repositioning of U.S. and Commando forces inside the city and the doubling of Commando forces assigned to the city. However in many ways this transition will be transparent, as U.S. Forces and Iraqi Security Forces continue to work in partnership to defeat insurgents and provide security to Samarra.
The conditions for a successful transition are firmly in place. Insurgent activity inside the city is at a one—year low. The Iraqi Police in the city are growing in number and effectiveness. With the inclusion of additional MOI forces, MOI Commandos will now have sufficient forces to effectively stifle insurgent activity both inside Samarra and in the areas immediately outside Samarra.
More importantly the Commandos, being more effective than U.S. Forces at intelligence collection at the tactical level, will have an immediate impact on the ability of insurgents to operate in Samarra. While it is difficult to predict the response of insurgent forces to this transition, I can say with confidence that Iraqi Security Forces are prepared to deal with the ebb and flow of the current level of insurgent activity, to include an upsurge in activity immediately following the transition or months after the transition is complete.
An effective Iraqi Police Force is the long term solution to security in Samarra. However, the upcoming transition of authority to MOI Commandos is an example of the Iraqi government developing their own solutions to security problems in Iraq, both in the short term and long term. One of the primary functions of the MOI Commandos while in Samarra will be to build an effective police force; one that they can eventually make their own transition with in the coming year.
I have, along with my company, been conducting counter—insurgency operations in Samarra for over ten months. In the last year there has never been a better opportunity to make this transition and move Samarra forward.
John B. Dwyer 12 04 05