2010: 'Year of Achievements' for Iraqi forces

Iraqi forces are now equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry. [Saad Salash/Reuters]

Iraqi forces are now equipped with state-of-the-art weaponry. [Saad Salash/Reuters]

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Iraqi security leaders have described 2010 as the "Year of Achievements" due to the string of successes made by Iraqi forces in protecting citizens and preventing terrorist attacks that would have killed hundreds -- if not thousands -- of civilians and security forces.

Security operations across the country last year killed and arrested scores of terrorists, many of whom were top al-Qaeda leaders.

"These steps and achievements were made after security forces controlled Iraqi soil, and out of their determination to put an end to security instability and start a new page for the future," said Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari.

Major arrests

According to Defense and Interior Ministry records, Iraqi security forces arrested more than 1,400 terrorist suspects in security operations across the country. The individuals who were detained in 2010 included scores of terrorists described as top leaders of various terrorist groups.

One of the most prominent operations was launched in Kirkuk province on January 11th in which Mekki Abdullah al-Izzawi, described as the "emir of al-Qaeda in northern Iraq," was arrested together with two of his aides.

Also in January, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of Ali Hussain, "the mastermind of the attack on UN offices in Baghdad in 2003". The suspect was arrested in a well-planned attack by Iraqi forces on an al-Qaeda stronghold in northeastern Baghdad. A statement by the Ministry of Defense released at that time described the arrest as a "major victory for Iraqis and all world countries".

February saw the arrest of Abu Jaafar -- the so-called "emir of al-Qaeda in Anbar" -- by Iraqi forces in the city of Fallujah, along with two of his aides. In addition, the "finance minister of the Islamic State of Iraq" -- Hashim al-Anzi -- was caught in a western Anbar security operation at an al-Qaeda training camp. Eleven individuals known for training snipers and detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were also arrested.

In March, Iraqi forces arrested 39 suspected terrorists of Ansar al-Sunna and al-Qaeda in three different operations in the north and east of Babil.

By April, Anbar police command announced the arrest of the Hameed Hulail al-Obeidi and two of his aides; al-Obeidi was known as the "wali of al-Qaeda in southern Baghdad." Furthermore, Diyala provincial police announced the end of a security operation with the arrest of 123 wanted individuals, "including Sheikh Abu Massoud, emir of al-Qaeda organization in Diyala".

On April 19th, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced on state television that top al-Qaeda leaders Abu Ayyoub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi had been killed in Salah al-Din province during an Iraqi military operation in conjunction with the US Army near al-Tharthar. Salah al-Din also saw the arrest of Abu Khalil al-Mujahid, the commander of al-Qaeda-affiliated Birds of Paradise organization who was responsible for recruiting children as suicide bombers in the Salah al-Din, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninawa provinces.

In May, the "wali of wilayat Mosul" and Saudi national Mahmoud Salama Bekhit was arrested together with a number of his aides following violent clashes in mid-town Mosul, ultimately leading to the seizure of large quantities of explosives and weapons.

By May 26th, the local government in Anbar announced the arrest of Emad al-Issawi, as known as the "Anbar cutthroat" who is accused of killing more than 200 citizens and security force members during his work with al-Qaeda. Al-Issawi was finally arrested in Anbar after three years on the run in an ambush by Iraqi forces.

In Baghdad, Tikrit, Fallujah, Mosul and other Iraqi cities, security forces arrested five individuals billed as leaders of the Sharia Council of Ansar al-Sunna organization in Iraq, as well as Iskandar Obeid, executive leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq who was also serving as the official in charge of the military wing of al-Qaeda in the northern regions.

On November 27th, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced the arrest of the terrorist cell responsible for the Sayedat al-Najat Church attack in central Baghdad, in which scores of people were killed and wounded. The detainees included Sheikh Hudhaifa al-Batawi, the man seen as the military leader of al-Qaeda in Baghdad.

Foiled plots, weapons cache discoveries

On January 25th, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced the arrest of 67 suspects in connection with terrorism charges following a security operation launched in the provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Salah al-Din and Babil. During the maneuver, Iraqi forces seized 70 landmines, 34 IEDs, 18 sticky bombs and seven explosives vests.

The Ministry of Defense displayed the confessions of nine terrorists arrested in Ninawa and Baghdad. They included Arab nationals who were involved in attacks against security forces and civilians, and who were also involved in business extortion to finance their terrorist operations.

In early February, Iraqi border-guard forces announced the arrest of six individuals billed as suicide bombers who entered Iraq to launch terrorist attacks against citizens during the parliamentary election. The operation also led to the discovery of a secret passage used by al-Qaeda terrorists to move from and to Iraq.

Former Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Bahaa al-Karkhi announced the launch of a preemptive security operation billed as the largest in the province. The operation led to the arrest of 74 suspects and the seizure of nine explosives vests, 780 kg of explosives and 234 various weapons.

Success continued in Ninawa province where a provincial police force arrested 15 individuals, described as al-Qaeda's missile launch company, and destroyed seven missile launchers, according to Col. Khalid Naji of Ninawa police. The governor of Ninawa also announced last March the arrest of 12 individuals accused of bombing churches and attacking popular markets in Mosul.

Also last March, Anbar police announced the arrest of 14 suspects who security officials said were involved in the assassination attempt against the governor of Anbar, the infiltration of foreign suicide bombers into Iraq, as well as the detonation of seven car bombs in various areas across western Iraq.

Ministry of Defense officials also announced that 43 individuals who constituted a communication and coordination cell between terrorist groups across Iraqi provinces were arrested. Moreover, al-Qaeda's Sharia mufti and six other wanted individuals were detained.

Besides arresting and killing a large number of terrorists, Iraqi security forces also managed to close many security files after arresting suspects and bringing them to the Iraqi judiciary. Iraqi security officials take pride in the advanced stages that were reached by the intelligence cells within the Iraqi security forces that thwarted a large number of terrorist attacks that could have otherwise killed hundreds of citizens.

One of the most prominent terrorist attacks that were thwarted includes a major operation targeting government ministry buildings and many security sites in Baghdad. After Iraqi forces received intelligence, they carried out a security operation in different areas across Baghdad that led to the arrest of 25 suspects accused of planning the attacks, in addition to the discovery of large quantities of explosives, rocket-propelled grenades and weapons.

New advancements for security forces

Beyond capturing suspects and uncovering terrorist plots, the achievements of the Iraqi forces in 2010 include the introduction of new equipment for maintaining security. During the past year, Iraqi security forces introduced modern technologies and military equipment into the police and army, including US-made Abrams tanks and helicopters, thermal cameras to protect Iraqi borders and detect infiltrators, and police dogs units to assist the Iraqi police in searching vehicles and buildings for bombs.

Scores of police centers and security headquarters have also been opened in provinces across the country. A river police force was created for the first time in the history of Anbar, with 400 security personnel assigned the task of protecting rivers and lakes against their use as routes for launching terrorist attacks.

Iraqi forces also took over a number of military bases from US forces, including the bases of al-Shuabia, Scania and Bucca. The handovers came in implementation of the security agreement that was signed between the Iraqi and US governments.

On July 21st, the Iraqi Army in Tikrit celebrated the graduation of 20 fighter pilots who had completed their training in the United States.

By October 17th, sectors of the Iraqi Army conducted a military drill using live ammunition in the city of Najaf for the first time. The drill was attended by a number of Iraqi Army leaders and was conducted under the supervision of US Army training experts.

Military praise

Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesperson Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari told Mawtani that "we can describe 2010 as the year of achievement for the Iraqi forces and year of disintegration for the terrorists."

"The most important achievement of the Iraqi forces was self-denial and loyalty for homeland. We are sure that these successes will continue into the next year," he said.

Commander of Mid-Euphrates Operations Lt. Gen. Othman al-Ghanemi said, "We have succeeded in removing fears away from the hearts of citizens. I consider this the most important achievement in 2010."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    هيثم

    2012-1-11

    Congratulations for the heroic officers in al-Anbar police for the great operations you havecarried out in protecting the governorate. They re-established safety and security in al-Anbar governorate. Despite all the difficulties they have faced and the terrorist attacks committed by al-Qaeda, they succeeded in their mission. Al-Qaeda committed crimes that nobody can imagine. They kidnapped and attacked people and they used car bombs in addition to many cowardly actions. Thank God, the ardent brave Iraqis in al-Anbar succeeded in protecting the area in an amazing way. They pursue terrorists of al-Qaeda to end terrorist attack in the area. The security forces succeeded to a great degree in arresting the criminals and handed them over to the Iraqi jurisdiction to be put them on trial. It is our duty to sincerely thank the security forces. We have to reward them for the security operations they accomplished in the governorate. We hope they will do a lot more to totally eliminate terrorists so that we don’t have any of their traces in the governorate. God willing, we will hear more good news about the success of the heroic security forces. Al-Anbar is one of the most attacked governorates by al-Qaeda which commits horrible violent actions. The security forces were able to provide safety and security in the governorate. Thank God, their efforts are not exerted in vain.

  • و.العاني

    2011-9-1

    May God bless you and Iraq cannot be protected by anyone except its people.

  • شعيب كرم

    2011-1-25

    Every day, the Iraqi security forces launch a raid for the sake of the truth in the face of falsehood, and to serve the Iraqis and provide them with security and stability at the hands of these heroic forces. They pledged to protect the home and go forward until they succeed in eliminating all the strongholds of terrorism and sabotage that target Iraq and the Iraqis. They do their best to enforce justice and the truth, and contribute to the campaign of reconstruction by maintaining peace, security and prosperity for the citizens.

  • كميل الجنابي

    2011-1-25

    All Iraqis thank the security forces, because they realize the greatness of the efforts invested by the heroic security forces.

  • شامل نصر

    2011-1-24

    Security is now available and evident, particularly in 2010, as citizens now enjoy security, stability and prosperity, which are evident and clear. All this security improvement is the result of the strenuous efforts made by the Iraqi armed and internal security forces, which have become the focus of all the Iraqis' admiration. Iraqis look at these forces with loving eyes, as they have contributed to restoring smiles and hopes to the lips and hearts of many people, so they can perform their work without fear or worry. The security stability is a message directed to all Iraqis outside of Iraq, to invite them to come back to Iraq and contribute to the campaign of reconstruction, to create a new, ideal Iraq that is prosperous in all fields of life.

  • سمير ايوب

    2011-1-24

    To start off my comment, I would like to give thanks and the utmost respect to the people of the Iraqi armed forces and the internal security forces. These brave forces took it upon themselves to secure all means of protecting the Iraqi citizens, thus sacrificing all they have, including their money and their lives, to achieve the sublime and noble end of serving the home country, protecting it from all violations and preserving its security, to restore the march of reconstruction and to serve the common good. On this occasion, I cannot miss sending a greeting of homage and respect to the heroic fighters who fell as martyrs during the performance of their sacred duty. Their sweet, pure blood has been mixed with the soil of the land of Iraq, to add a good smell to that soil, for their memory to remain immortal through generations, for the coming generations to learn lessons in benevolence, redemption and self-sacrifice, through the outstanding and sincere work done by those brave heroes, which has illuminated the road for the coming generations with the light of martyrdom and heroism.

  • سلام اسعد

    2011-1-24

    Our appreciation is not enough gratitude to the efforts of the Iraqi armed and internal security forces, including officers from different rankings, as they constantly worked day and night in the cold and in the heat, in the cities, mountains and deserts during the past years, especially during the year 2010.

  • ياسين الياس

    2011-1-24

    The security leaders have been carrying out great work, as they fight terrorism with one hand and build the security forces with the other hand, to preserve the restoration of security to the country, and to fight gangs and paid terrorist organizations, which have subjected Iraq to sabotage. These leaders have stopped terrorism and its various evil acts against innocent unarmed civilians, and its terrorizing of people and threatening their lives, as terrorism has created a state of fear and panic among the people of the society, and destroyed the possessions of the citizens and the infrastructure of the country. All this was to halt the process of development and reconstruction that every country and every society needs for life to go on, and for a new civilization to be created. These terrorist organizations have also murdered scientists, leaders, patriotic political figures and honorable people who are keen on serving the country and defending it.

  • وميض سعدون

    2011-1-24

    The mission of combating terrorism and standing up to it is a humanitarian mission, which is part of the responsibility of the honorable people of Iraq, who love their home country and consider its safety and its security as their patriotic responsibility. As such, they were determined and swore that none of these gangs would remain to desecrate the land of Iraq and to spread fear and terror among the people of the homeland. With that, they took a united stance with their military leadership to defend the honor of the precious homeland. They have sacrificed themselves for the sake of the homeland's security, and to do that, they found everything that had been precious and invaluable merely cheap, when it comes to sacrificing them for the sake of launching attacks against the aggressors with strength and steadiness. They have achieved one victory after another, and were able to control the security situation during the past year of 2010; thanks to the heroes of Iraq, then.

  • نجيب عبدالرضا

    2011-1-24

    I believe that 2010 has been one of the best recent years for Iraq, especially since it is the year when the security forces had the greatest success in crushing the terrorists and in achieving big successes, as they directed fatal strikes against terrorism and the Al-Qaeda organization and prevented many terrorists from carrying out their terrorist attempts to launch attacks against civilians and innocent people everywhere. The security forces have arrested a large number of terrorists and conducted many quality operations, for which they take credit, because they have been directed against the networks of the terrorist Al-Qaeda, and crushed many of them and dismantled others. They obtained some very useful information through these operations, which has been a reason for the arrest of a larger number of terrorists.

  • راضي /بغداد

    2011-1-24

    Thanks to all the heroic security forces of Iraq, and may mercy and glory be upon their martyrs, who have been giving and who sacrificed themselves for the precious homeland, to preserve safety and security for the Iraqi people. The year 2010 was full of successes for the security forces, which achieved much on every occasion and at all levels. They were the ones attacking every time. I believe that 2010, which has elapsed, was the year which exhausted the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization and largely destroyed it. None of its agents will be able to move the way they used to before, and no possible support can reach the terrorists; not even weapons or any other such things. All roads have been closed, as the security forces extended their control and tightened their grip everywhere. The result was achieving a great amount of security in an ideal time frame, killing many terrorists and targeting the leadership of Al-Qaeda, as the criminals, Abu Umar Al-Baghdady and Abu Ayub were killed, along with the first and second "governors" of Baghdad. These are all successes counted for the security forces. Also, every terrorist who committed a crime this year has been arrested.

  • شهاب عادل

    2011-1-23

    The year 2010 was one of the safest years for Iraqis. It was also a year of achievements, since elections were held, a new government was successfully formed, and some terrorist leaders and icons which belong to al-Qaeda and other similar organizations were arrested. Thus, I want to salute our brave security forces, which managed to develop their performance very quickly, win the support of the people and activate the role of intelligence. In so doing, they have made many achievements through well-studied plans. For instance, they eradicated terrorism and prevented the targeting of the innocent and claiming their lives once again. We hope that the year 2011 will complete the success achieved in the previous year. More than that, we hope that terrorism will be eradicated once and for all in Iraq.

  • علاء السعدي

    2011-1-22

    Personally, I thank the Iraqi government for its services to the Iraqi people and the Iraqis, especially the security stability, through directing the armed forces and the Iraqi security forces to hunt and eliminate the terrorist organizations and cells in the country. The government forces succeeded in implementing the right directions of their leaders, and they achieved security stability during 2010. As a result of the security stability, the engineering and technical cadres renovated the quays of the Iraqi ports in Basra, as well as the levels and unloading machines for the ships and steamers that come from abroad. They have also built and furnished the government headquarters and provided them with technical cadres and employees. The technical and engineering cadres have also carried out the works of dredging and removing the alluvium, to increase the level of the draft in the Shatt Al-Arab waters, in such a way that would allow the large steamers with large cargoes to enter Shatt Al-Arab and be unloaded and re-loaded easily. A few days ago, the Ports Institution contracted with an Iraqi company to raise a sunken ship in one of the Iraqi ports in Basra, in the presence of the new Minister of Transport, Prof. Hadi al Amri. These efforts aim at using the port after reconstructing it, for it to be added to the other ports that form a great economic resource for Iraq, in addition to helping provide the necessities of the children of the home.

  • رشيد الخزعلي

    2011-1-22

    The Iraqi armed forces and internal security forces have performed their duties to the fullest in restoring security in all governorates of Iraq. They managed, through teamwork, to prepare the necessary plans and collect information in various ways to locate the dens of the evil terrorists, and they curtailed their movements. Then, they attacked these dens, sacrificing their pure blood in order to preserve Iraq's security and the happiness of its people, making the dignity of Iraq their main goal in life. We know that the city of Tal Afar was one of the cities that have suffered from the problem of security instability because of the acts of the terrorist organizations that created chaos and made life in the city of Tal Afar almost impossible. However, the honorable sons of Iraq in the army and the security forces pledged to protect Iraq and its people. They succeeded in offering extraordinary examples of sacrifice, depending on their strong determination and legacy of the ancestors, and they confronted the terrorist organizations in the city of Tal Afar. They fought the terrorists bravely and chased them in every alley and lane, until they arrested large numbers of them, while others escaped, chased by the curses of God, the angels and all mankind.

  • امير مصطفى

    2011-1-21

    God bless all those who are making huge efforts and honestly working day and night in order to maintain the unity of Iraq and make it safe, stable and free from terrorism and terrorists. All Iraqis know the tremendous efforts made by the Iraqi forces in order to maintain security and safety in Iraq. They take the necessary measures and precautions before any national event or festive gathering because, certainly, and as everyone knows, these groupings are targeted by Al-Qaeda and terrorists in order to kill the largest possible number of innocent people. Our heroic security forces have always thwarted all the terrorists’ plans by putting preventive plans in place before such gatherings, in order to foil any attack. God bless the members of our heroic Iraqi forces.

  • سهيل نجم عبدالله

    2011-1-18

    Thankfully, a lot of things have changed in Iraq. Safety and security have become better than they were in the past, in spite of all the circumstances experienced by Iraq. The Iraqi government has accomplished many important works by providing safety and security and stability for the Iraqi people. The hopes of terrorism and the terrorists have been foiled, because Iraq has many brave men whose only interest is the defense of the sanctity of the homeland and the honor of the people. Iraqis are as one man, and they have elected the Iraqi government, led by the Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, again, because people have seen good things from this government. That prime minister was able to earn the trust of Iraqis and the Iraqi street, and God has granted him success because he made more than one concession that were required for Iraq and the Iraqis. The heroes of the police and the army won many battles in 2010 in the maintenance of security, and we, as Iraqis, should thank them and praise them for all the heroic actions that they took, as they have sacrificed for the sake of pleasing the Iraqi citizens and preserving their security and stability. We hope our government honors these protectors of the homeland, and encourages them more to make their best effort during the current New Year. We ask God to guide them to do what is best.

  • يحيى عبداللطيف

    2011-1-18

    Dear brothers, how can I join the Iraqi army, keeping in mind that I am a graduate of the Faculty of Arts, Department of Arabic Language? May God bless your parents for your help.

  • شاكر علي

    2011-1-18

    Obviously, the Iraqi security forces have worked remarkably well on insuring security in all the governorates, and people have started to enjoy relief by being able to leave their houses freely, without any fear of the dangers that could afflict the citizen at any moment, when he leaves his house at any time. Hence the positive role of the security forces has become very clear, as proved by the significant decrease in terrorist attacks, due to the strong control over the situation in the Iraqi street through mobilizing the security forces, who handled the situation seriously and kept an eye on the saboteurs who want to harm the Iraqi citizen. Therefore, many of those elements were arrested, and their cowardly plans to kill more people through the explosions and cowardly attacks were foiled.

  • تحسين محمد

    2011-1-18

    The terrorists were trying to attack our Christian compatriots and repeat what happened in the Lady of Salvation Church. They were planning to commit the same crimes on Christmas Eve, but all their plans were thwarted, thanks to the presence of the Iraqi forces and the police, as well as the National Guard. They succeeded in maintaining security in the Iraqi street and foiled all the terrorist plans, in addition to arresting many of the leaders of the dirty terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda, which has killed many people who are not guilty of any crime. Hence, I would like to thank the heroic Iraqi security forces for performing their duty perfectly, precisely and heroically. The heroic and magnanimous elements of the Iraqi security forces, who have the Iraqi zeal, have proved their entitlement, efficiency, courage, good training and strong abilities. They really proved that they are the iron fist that deters all the aggressors who intend to harm Iraq or violate the honor of the Iraqis. We hope that this will continue, in order to protect Iraq and its sovereignty. We also hope that the Iraqi security forces will continue to be free from the terrorist groups and the malicious organizations, in addition to the militias. We should eliminate and defeat them forever, God willing.

  • نزار غانم

    2011-1-18

    I would like to thank the Iraqi security forces for their strenuous efforts in order to spread security and stability, as well as promoting peace in Iraq, especially during the last year, 2010. They have done a great and heroic job by arresting a large number of terrorist groups, by following and hunting them down to thwart their malicious plans that aim at undermining the security of the Iraqi citizens and their safety. They have sacrificed many of their colleagues and faced death at the hands of the terrorist groups, which have targeted and assassinated them or killed them during confrontations, or even used car bombs and suicide attacks. The Iraqi security forces have exerted great efforts in order to make Iraq free from the internal terrorist attacks against the unarmed citizens, who are not guilty of what is going on.

  • عقيل كاظم

    2011-1-16

    The Iraqi police are among the most competent Iraqi forces, because they are doing their job to the fullest in order to arrest criminals, wherever they are. They are exposing themselves to serious dangers in order to preserve safety and security for Iraqis, who have suffered a lot because of terrorists and their destruction and vandalism. The presence of these forces has become necessary, especially in the province of Diyala, which has witnessed a lot of violence, brutality and injustice. Therefore, the Iraqi government should show more interest in this issue and work on blocking terrorist sites that use religion in order to incite people to murder members of the police, guards, army, Iraqi forces and anyone who works with the government, claiming that they are apostates and that they only want to harm people. These terrorist groups are killing everyone without exception in order to create an atmosphere of sedition and sectarianism among people, and to push them to kill each other and thus find the opportunity to occupy Iraq and dominate the world. They are working on disseminating terrorist ideologies and malicious rumors to create division among people, on the grounds that they have different religions. They are trying to convince them that they should eliminate the infidels at the hands of Muslims, who are trained and directed under the name of religion and the banner of Jihad, and who consider themselves to be the liberators of mankind as a whole.

  • مجيد مسعود

    2011-1-15

    I feel very delighted when I read such headlines on various Iraqi websites. We really need to hear such good news that will cheer up Iraqis, who have suffered a lot because of the wicked terrorism. O terrorists, you will not live long, as long as there are strong and proud soldiers who are ready to fight you and kick you out of my country, Iraq, which you have disgraced with your dirty feet. There will come a day when the organization named Al-Qaeda will disappear and God’s wrath will fall upon you in this world and in the Hereafter; and you will be remembered by history with shame and disgrace.

  • كاظم

    2011-1-15

    We must commend and respect the Iraqi security forces because they have made a lot of wonderful achievements in 2010. These achievements played an important role in improving the security situation and stability in the country. They also helped eradicate terrorism, together with its cursed takfiri organizations, and curb its activities and topple it. Thus, we can consider 2010 the year of victory over terrorism through the successive blows which were delivered by our brave security forces to the criminal terrorist groups, and the arrest of most of the terrorist leaders and members.

  • أسماعيل مهاوي

    2011-1-15

    The Iraqi security forces have done their utmost in 2010 in order to thwart terrorist organizations and the plans of their criminal members, which affectedall segments of society with their heinous acts. In fact, the Iraqi armed forces have carried out many operations which thwarted the criminal acts of criminal terrorist members and groups. The latter aimed only to destabilize Iraq through continuous bombing acts, using booby-trapped cars which targeted public places, namely popular markets and places of entertainment. Terrorism has also targeted places of worship and everything that relates to the life of the citizens.

  • حيدر

    2011-1-15

    We cannot deny the great role played by the brave Iraqi security forces throughout 2010, in thwarting terrorism and eradicating criminal organizations, which wreaked havoc in Iraq by carrying out criminal acts against the innocents of this great country.