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Tip Line: effective voice against insurgents

25 Mar 2005 | 1st Lt. Kate S. VandenBossche

Marines with the 2nd Marine Division are employing the assistance of local Iraqis to crack down on insurgent activity in the Al Anbar Province.Since assuming authority of the province from the 1st Marine Division, they have continued a tip line they created nearly a year ago. The tip line is a phone line providing an anonymous way for Iraqis to report insurgent activity in their communities. "They [insurgents] are cowards, who resort to intimidation and the indiscriminate bombings of their own citizenry," said Col. Bob Chase, chief operations officer for the 2d Marine Division. "Each day they are being defied by those proud Iraqis who envision a better future." The tip line, which was slow to catch on, is gaining popularity with the citizens of Ramadi. The tip line now receives more that 37 calls a week, leading to the detention of insurgents, criminals and terrorists as well as the locations of improvised explosive devices and weapons caches."With their assistance and participation, more insurgents are exposed and tracked down for judgment and punishment by the new government," Chase explained."I think the rise in the number of substantial tips we've received recently proves that the citizens here know that the information they give us is truly anonymous," said Col. Richard B. Fitzwater, the acting chief of staff for 2d Marine Division. "Also it shows that citizens in Al Anbar are beginning to realize that these foreign terrorists are only slowing progress in the province."Fitzwater went on to say that he believes the important thing is that the Iraqi people have begun to speak out against terror and that the reconstruction efforts might be giving the average Iraqi tangible proof of the progress being made."In conjunction with the provincial government and with help from our Navy corpsmen and Seabees, we've worked tirelessly to restore electricity, drinking water and health services to our friends," explained Fitzwater. To inform the local citizens, the tip line is being advertised on local radio stations, as well as printed on posters and handbills distributed throughout the province.