U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, Commanding general, Multi-National Securty Transition Command-Iraq and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman talked about recent events in Iraq and the road ahead. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Carl Hudson, Combined Press Information Ceter. August 30, 2007 BAGHDAD
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, Commanding general, Multi-National Securty Transition Command-Iraq and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman talked about recent events in Iraq and the road ahead. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Carl Hudson, Combined Press Information Ceter.Courtesy of Multi-National Force - IRAQ
August 30, 2007
BAGHDAD— Two Coalition representatives held a press conference at the Combined Press Information Center Wednesday.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. James Dubik, commanding general, Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, Multi-National Force-Iraq spokesman talked about recent events in Iraq and the road ahead.
Bergner opened the conference with an update on several Iranian citizens detained near the Abu Nuwas market in Baghdad Tuesday. They were observed possessing weapons and none had authorization to be armed.
“Those individuals were released early this morning after the Coalition had an opportunity to determine the circumstances that were taking place,” Bergner said.
Bergner also mentioned progress around Iraq. Operations in Tarmiyah resulted in the death of Abu Ibrahim, an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader who oversaw terrorists’ operations in the northern belts of Baghdad. He died after he grabbed a Coalition Soldier and attempted to detonate a suicide vest. Bergner said Ibrahim was an al-Qaeda emir for Tarmiyah who coordinated VBIED attacks in Baghdad and also led al-Qaeda in Iraq operations in the Taji area.
“He kidnapped and murdered Iraqis including a nine-year-old girl to intimidate local citizens,” Bergner said, noting that Ibrahim’s group is likely responsible for the April 12th bombing of the Sarafiya bridge in Baghdad.
“This operation is just another example of the importance of operating simultaneously against the networks in Baghdad and the belts outside the city where terrorists like this are positioning themselves,” Bergner said.
Bergner introduced Dubik, noting his achievements as commander for I-Corps and the 25th Infantry Division. Dubik took command of the Multi-National Security Transition Command-Iraq in June, where he oversees the Coalition's assistance to the Iraqi government in developing, organizing, training, equipping, and substantiating Iraqi Security Forces.
“There is no one better prepared to assist the Iraqi security forces to transform, to grow in capacity, and to continuously adapt to the new realities here on the ground,” Bergner said.
Dubik said his role in the war effort focuses less on fighting forces and more on “ministerial capacity.”
“That is the ability to raise, to equip, to train and sustain, to provide bases and to provide adequate funding for the security forces over the long term,” Dubik said.
Dubik said there has been progress and challenges on this front. From 2005 to 2006, the ministries of defense and interior spent more than $2.5 billion more on defense of Iraq than the year before. There was another $2 billion increase in 2006. The ministries continue to deal with many challenges, but Dubik said they, along with Coalition forces, will keep pushing on.
“These are all very hard problems. No doubt about it,” he said. “But as my boss had said sometime ago, ‘hard doesn't make it hopeless it just makes it hard.’”
(Story by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew McLaughlin, Combined Press Information Center)
In other developments throughout Iraq:
• Soldiers from the Multi-National Division-Baghdad and Iraqi Security Forces captured four suspected insurgents and recovered a small weapons cache during a security operation in the Karadah District of eastern Baghdad Tuesday.