The Sons of Iraq program in southern Arab Jabour is managed by troops from 5th Squadron of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, the 5/7 Cav. The villagers of southern Arab Jabour, around the towns of Sayafiyah and Al Sur, were trying to start a Sons of Iraq program before Coalition forces even secured their village. The Sons of Iraq program got under way almost immediately, and has paid constant dividends, as Sons of Iraq members continue to report improvised explosive devices, al Qaeda in Iraq members, and weapons caches.
Feb. 16 was another day in a string of big days for cooperation between US troops and the Sons of Iraq. Sons of Iraq members turned over a cache that included seven heavy machine guns. As recently as January, some of these weapons were almost certainly used to shoot at American helicopters. As al Qaeda fled the area, they left most of their heavy weapons behind. Sons of Iraq are prohibited under their contract to keep or use heavy weapons, and so these were turned over to the 5/7 Cav.
Turning over weapons, as the Sons of Iraq have done, is significant. American troops have a difficult time locating caches. Most are buried, and there is a lot of dirt to cover and few men. The Sons of Iraq would have had no trouble hiding weapons and storing them against the eventual departure of Coalition forces, to use against whoever tried to take their land.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.