As many of you are aware, under the terms of the Bi-Lateral Security Agreement or SOFA, all CF are to be out of Iraqi cities NLT 30JUN09. While the definition of cities does allow for some leeway, CF are supporting our Iraqi partners and re-positioning our own forces so we can best support the Iraqi Ground Force Commanders. My Battalion's movement to FOB ________ was just part of a larger plan to best position US Forces to adapt to the changing environment of post-30JUN09, but also to support our Iraqi partners to the best degree possible.
30JUN09 is a great day for Iraq, because they truly are taking the lead in all security operations in the country and CF take yet another step to the rear. We will still be there to support, train, and mentor the Iraqis, but the fight is increasingly becoming their own, with CF merely serving as an important enabler. We bring many tools to the fight that the Iraqis do not yet have in their own right (Attack Aviation, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Military Working Dogs, etc), but we can leverage those assets to provide the critical support necessary to assisting the Iraqis in their own combat operations. It is indeed a great day for Iraq and a momentous step forward.
There will be growing pains and conflicts and disagreements over interpretation of the SOFA. Despite those, this remains an important moment for Iraq and the U.S. Mission in Iraq.
There will likely be violence ahead as Anti-Iraqi Forces seek to take advantage of perceived weakness, but that should not be construed as incredible strength on the part of the terrorists and insurgents. The ISF is making progress and we will continue that path of partnership together for the rest of our deployment.