US Hands Over Karbala Province to Iraqis

Karbala Province makes 8 of 18 provinces handed over to local control!

Iraqi army soldiers jubilate during a handing over ceremony in Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 29, 2007. The U.S. military turned over security responsibilities on Monday to Iraqi authorities in the mainly Shiite province of Karbala, the eighth of the nation’s 18 provinces to revert to Iraqi control. (AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani)

US Forces handed over the 8th of 18 Provinces to local authorities in Iraq in ceremonies today.
The BBC reported:

US forces have handed control of the mainly Shia province of Karbala in central Iraq to local authorities in a tightly-guarded ceremony.

Karbala is the eighth of 18 provinces to be transferred to local control since the US-led invasion in 2003.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki speaks during a handing-over ceremony in Karbala, 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, Oct. 29, 2007. (AP)

Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and General David H. Petraeus released a joint statement for the occasion:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq welcome the transfer of security in Karbala Province to Iraqi responsibility as a positive step on the path to Iraq’s self-reliance.

Karbala is the eighth province to be transferred to Iraqi security responsibility as the Government of Iraq and its security forces continue to develop and assume greater responsibility for governing and providing security for the citizens of Iraq. The first province transferred to Government of Iraqi security control was Muthanna in July 2006, followed by Dhi Qar, An Najaf, Maysan, and most recently Irbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Dahuk in May 2007.

The transfer of provincial security responsibility is particularly significant because it includes the city of Karbala, a center of Shi’a Muslim worship, pilgrimage and religious instruction. Saddam Hussein once restricted religious observances at this city and non-Iraqi Shi’a were not allowed to travel there. Today, Karbala is again an international center of worship, pilgrimage and religious instruction.

Iraqi Security Forces in Karbala have been successfully operating independently, maintaining their own security for the past three months. Working with local government officials, they have demonstrated their readiness to assume responsibility for the province. Today this responsibility is theirs.

The transition of responsibility for security in Karbala Province represents the most recent step toward a future of improved security, self-reliance and increasing prosperity that will benefit all Iraqi citizens. The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq congratulate the Government of Iraq on this important milestone.

What say you, Harry Reid?

In other good news from Iraq… Iraqi troops freed the kidnapped tribal leaders today.

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