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1st Lt. Raymond Ashworth 64th Armor Regiment
BAGHDAD — A promising new year comes to the Khadra neighborhood in northwest Baghdad, as the partnership between Khadra’s Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) and the 1st Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi National Police (INP) Division continues to grow.
“We are very pleased with the progress the CLC have made this past month,” said Col. Ra’ad Isma’il, the battalion commander of 1st Bn. 6th Bde. 2nd INP. “I look forward to seeing even more progress from them and the security of Khadra over the next few months.”
The Khadra CLCs were hired in December, 2007 as a way to further involve the local citizens with the security of the city. The CLC groups are similar to a Neighborhood Watch program in the United States. They first arose in Iraq’s Al-Anbar province in rejection of Al-Qaida extremist ideology, and have since spread to nearly every province in the country. The idea was to train local men and then give them berths into the Iraqi police academies or other government employment. Once they graduated from the academies they would return to their own city as an Iraqi police officer or an employee of the Iraqi government.
Since their formation in December, the Khadra CLC has been trained by the 1-6-2 INP, the Iraqi security force responsible for security in Khadra. They have learned how to patrol as a team, clear buildings, and search vehicles. For the past month, the Khadra CLC worked with the National Police on the different traffic control points (TCP) along Khadra’s main roads.
“They [the CLC] have proven to be a valuable asset,” remarked Ocala, Fla., native, Capt. Daniel Cannon, the commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, attached to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Since we and the National Police started working with them, we’ve arrested six al-Qaida members from intelligence the CLC provided.”
Cannon further explains because of their success on the TCP, he and his counterpart, Ra’ad, have decided to expand the CLC use into the neighborhoods of Khadra. In fact, earlier this month the National Police and the Khadra CLC jointly established a new TCP inside of Khadra proper.
The Khadra CLC program has not only proved successful in security, but as a program. Sixty-one of the 155 Khadra CLC members already reported to the Iraqi Police Academy in Yarmuk and should graduate in the middle of March.