Sadr City Shows Recovery
Along a road a man sells hot, fresh rotisserie chicken under a string of lights. Nearby, two men stand in warm coats and knitted caps casually sipping a hot drink at a store front where another man in a blue â€œUSAâ€ sweatshirt moves quickly back and forth behind a glass counter tossing fresh ingredients in warm pitas for a growing line of patrons.
Itâ€™s just a typical evening Dec. 18 along the street market near the Jamilla and Al Quds Road in Baghdadâ€™s Sadr City district.
â€œItâ€™s really bustling isnâ€™t it,â€ said Lt. Col. Michael Pemrick deputy commanding officer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division Baghdad.
Pemrick is excited when he walks this street now because only seven months ago his Soldiers along with their partners in the Iraqi Army, fought a pitched battle on this street, and others like it to take control of this once volatile district.
â€œBefore, when you heard the word Sadr City, you pictured an urban war zone,â€ he said. â€œNow, the people are relaxed, they are comfortable around Americans, and the IA have a good relationship with the people.â€
Today, store fronts once littered with broken glass, and doorways that once covered U.S. and Iraqi Soldiers from sniper fire and rocket propelled grenades are home to barber shops, clothing stores and restaurants.
â€œLooking back on it, it just doesnâ€™t seem like the same street,â€ said Staff Sgt. Jason Condreay, a military policeman for 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. and patrol leader for Pemrickâ€™s command security detachment.
He believes the change in Sadr City is largely in part to the rise in confidence and professionalism displayed by the Iraqi Army who patrol the streets there.
â€œThe IA have become very productive. They have a real sense of pride in what theyâ€™re doing,â€ Condreay said.
Pemrick spoke with Iraqi Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 42nd Brigade, 11th Iraqi Army Division before touring the street and talking to citizens.
â€œWeâ€™re glad youâ€™re here,â€ he tells an Iraqi company commander. â€œYouâ€™re doing a great job.â€
The Iraqi Army have controlled Sadr City north of the wall along the Jamilla and Al Quds Road since May, and they partner with Multi-National Division â€“ Baghdad Soldiers south of the wall where many of Sadr Cityâ€™s markets operate and thrive thanks to the reconstruction efforts of 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div.
He said he thinks the efforts of the IA have effectively defeated the criminal elements that once terrorized Sadr City and have now set the conditions for a much better future for all of Sadr Cityâ€™s residents.
â€œThe cooperation between the U.S. and the IA has turned this place around,â€ Condreay said.
This entry was posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 10:00 am and is filed under War on Terror, Iraq, War on Terror, Iraq, Rebuilding, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.