Featured News

U.S. Embassy, Marines meet with western Al Anbar leaders

20 Jul 2004 | Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.

Local civilian and military leaders met with Marines from 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment and America's U.S. Embassy representative for Al Anbar Province.

Keith Kidd, a 33-year-old from Dallas, joined Marines in the region's first meeting with an American government representative to discuss plans to further Al Anbar's role in Iraq's government and ways to improve the communities.

Local leaders expressed concerns over what they saw as disproportionate representation in the region with larger cities such as Ar Ramadi and Fallujah.  Smaller western city leaders were concerned about the larger cities holding most of the council seats.

"I think we can all agree, life isn't fair," Kidd said.  "Even in America, when we first started out as a country, not everyone was able to vote.  It's going to take hard work and determination from the people of the region to get its fair share."

Many of the leaders asked Kidd to explain to the provisional government their concerns.  Still, they were reminded Americans are only here as advisors and no longer hold authority over the country.

"We're here only as advisors now," Kidd told local leaders.  "We made a promise to your government to stay for as long as it takes for the country to be able to run itself.  But, after June 28 Iraq got its sovereignty back.  It will be up to you and your people to make the changes happen."

Kidd will make trips to most of the region's major cities in hopes of learning some of their concerns and giving advice to fix the problems. 

The meetings with the local leaders and Marines are a monthly event according to Cpl. Vipulkumar N. Patel, a 24-year-old from Nutley, N.J., serving with the civil affairs team.

"It was really good having Mr. Kidd here," Patel said.  "It gave the locals someone new to speak too, someone from our government.  Although he reinforced everything we've been saying for months, I think his visit was a success.  They seemed to respond to him well."

Kidd ended the meeting with promises of more to come and offered a little advice as he did throughout the meeting.

"We're here to help guide you," Kidd said to the Iraqi leaders.  "But it's up to the bright, hard working people such as yourselves to get what is fair and right for the people of this big region."