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Marines cite growing Iraqi Security Force capabilities for progress

11 Aug 2004 | Cpl. Macario P. Mora Jr.

Marines from Regimental Combat Team 7 met with local Iraqi leaders from western Al Anbar Province to reassure them that Iraqi Police and National Guard are taking on the mantle of security, despite recent attacks.

The daylong meeting began with discussion of detailed attacks by enemies and the responses by Iraqi Security Forces.

"The attacks have increased in the month of July," said Staff Sgt. Anthony Binkowski, 27, the regiment's intelligence chief from Fridley, Minn.  "So have the amount of response by the security forces."

According to Col. Craig Tucker, the 44-year-old regimental commander, from Yucca Valley, Calif., the security forces response to attacks has been effective in keeping the region safe.

Binkowski cited on particular incident.

Iraqi Security Forces found a child and a fellow police officer after they were kidnapped.  He added there have been dozens of cases in which the forces took charge of their own investigations and successfully arrested criminals.

"Crime is being dealt with and there are less insurgents coming across the borders," Tucker said.  "But now the shift in attacks have been turned towards the security forces rather than the Coalition Forces."

Binkowski explained that while attacks continue, Marines see the fact that Iraqis are taking matters into their own hands as a positive step.  He said they are growing stronger and more independent as a force of law every day.

"The security forces have been able to conduct operations with little assistance from the Marines," Binkowski said.  "We've been there only when asked for, but much has been done without our help."