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The Emergency Response Brigade (ERB), the counter-terrorism unit here comprised of elite Iraqi Police officers, continues to act proactively against Iraq's insurgent groups to foster a safe and secure region.
"The Emergency Response Brigade had a very small change in their operations," said ERB Commander, Staff Brig. Gen. No'aman Jewad, about his brigade’s mission following the June 30 withdraw of U.S. forces from Iraqi cities. “The type and frequency of missions are the same and have continued without issues.”
The commander admitted that prior to the Security Agreement's highly-publicized milestone, the operational approval process was simpler.
"There was a new system in place," Jewad explained. “Not only did they have to obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior, they now had to obtain notification from the Iraqi operational coordination group.”
Besides the new approval process for combat operations, there have been a few basic changes on the ground level. "When we were walking the streets, [Americans] would be leading us before and now it's the Iraqi vehicles that are leading," said Jewad.
Since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities, the ERB has been focusing on areas where American forces once engaged. Jewad said that the last thing he wants is for special groups [terrorists] to re-emerge in these unoccupied pockets throughout Iraq.
"These areas will need continuous missions," claimed Jewad.
Although the areas of focus have been altered by the current guidelines surrounding the placement of American forces, the unit's objective has remained constant since the beginning - metaphorically cemented in stone the day they were formed.
"Our main mission is to get rid of terrorists from north to south to east to west without any discrimination," Jewad said. "It doesn't matter what religion, what sects, what ethnicity he is - a terrorist is a terrorist."
Although a criminal is a criminal, the brigade's leadership enforces the ideology of treating everyone – even insurgents – with a sense of dignity and civility.
"I respect his family, I respect their human rights and my brigade treats them with total professionalism," the general declared. "I don't accept mistakes."
The brigade, which is comprised of six battalions, has had little to no time to slow down. Jewad said the brigade's work load is continuous.
"Sometimes they don't even have time to just sit and rest," he said. Nonetheless, the elite police force has harvested many successes from hard work.
According to Jewad, the element of success in each mission is different. The greatest successes can be found when you look at the larger picture. He noted the unit's quality leadership, the rigorous training events, the logistical structure, and the brigade's dedication to challenge any form of sectarianism and racism within their ranks as true successes.
"The most important thing is the good relationship we have with our friends, the Americans," Jewad said. "They have had a hand in making all these successes a reality."
Jewad spoke with a sense of patriotism and pride as he discussed the history of his brigade.
"We support the government and as an officer it is my duty to do so," he said. He also said that he trusts the Iraqi government to make the best possible decisions for the country.
"People are feeling now that it is secure and stable. They no longer have that fear that they had before," he said. "Now it's a civilian life and we have good relations with people all over the world, especially with the United States."
Obviously, he continued, everyone wants their country to feel safe and stable and this is something that any regular person desires no matter what country he or she calls home.
"My wish is bigger than this," Jewad clarified. "I want the Iraqi person to understand what democracy and freedom means and I want to see them apply and implement it. We want our country to be successful. I want Iraq to make advancements in its agriculture, industry, education, and every field."
Even though Jewad wants the country to continue its path of progress, many improvements have already taken place.
"Now children are happy. Life has truly changed," he said. "This is the truth that the American people should know about the people here."