FALLUJAH, Iraq -- Marines with 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, recently completed another phase of Operation Alljah here June 30. The Marines, working with Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi Police, worked attentively to fortify an abandoned Iraqi home that later became one of many Iraqi Police precincts in the city.
The mission of Operation Alljah is to provide stability and protection for the citizens of Fallujah. Sectioning the city into precincts, Marines work with the Iraqi Police and Army to set up police stations where Iraqi civilians come in to receive identification cards, food, reimbursements and a chance to join the neighborhood watch program.
One of the goals for the Spartans of 2/6 is to change the terrain within the city to throw off the Anti-Iraqi Forces. In doing so, it will allow the citizens of Fallujah to support and defend themselves when U.S. forces leave the area of operation.
“Our ultimate goal is getting the enemy out of the city,” said Capt. Mark C. Cameron, assistant operations officer for 2/6. “Or at a minimum, not allowing them to operate in the city without dire consequences, such as being arrested, captured or killed. We’ve changed the terrain to favor the defenders.”
Operation Alljah is a multi-phased operation, with different portions of the city targeted for partitioning by Coalition Forces at each phase of the operation. Erecting blockades and barriers to control the vehicle traffic of each area is the first step. Once established, forces move in, gain a foothold and begin assisting the residents within the respective districts.
“We’re giving (the residents) a certain amount of security that will allow the operation to be conducted,” Cameron said. “At the most fundamental level, we are building up a neighborhood watch. It’s not the same kind of neighborhood watch that you would see in the States though. Here, they are involved in actual operations and assist the Iraqi Police in dealing with the anti-Iraqi forces.”
The operation itself is a borrowed concept from what 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, did in the city of Ramadi.
“We’re basically doing the same thing,” admitted 1st. Lt. Justin Hunter, commanding officer of 4th Platoon, Company C, Combat Engineer Battalion, attached to 2/6. “It’s great in theory and it’s bold. Hopefully this will give that last little bit of pressure onto the local population to go ahead and take charge.”
The neighborhood watch was created to help security for the residents in the city. “Who better to defend a certain piece of terrain than the people who live there? They have a greater appreciation for the area and also have more situational awareness and understanding of who lives within that area. They are a large asset in this operation,” said Cameron.
Marines with Company E, 2/6, have an established area, Observation Post Fenton, located next to the new precinct that provides added security against terrorists from within and outside Fallujah.
“For our end state, we want to hand over the city to the Iraqi Police when their level of capability in dealing with consistent, multiple planned attacks is steady,” Cameron said. “In time they will be able to stave off any AIF without the aid of 2/6.”
Other entities, such as combat engineers, police and military transition teams, and civil affairs Marines attached to 2/6 assisted in the development of the precinct.
“The enemy hasn’t and won’t be able to effect our level of success or our will,” Cameron admitted. “We’re not slowing down our pace anytime soon.”