Operation Marne Fortitude II
Operation Marne Fortitude II is the follow-on to Operation Marne Fortitude I and represents the new overarching plan for Multi-National Division – Central (MND-C) in the belts south and east of Baghdad that comprise its area of operations. Because of Marne Fortitude I's success in promoting local security during the previous six months, MND-C has shifted its focus towards promoting governance and development. Operation Marne Fortitude II's aims are to achieve growth in economic and government capacity by rebuilding critical infrastructure and linking the various cities and villages in the area.
Operation Marne Fortitude II’s involves efforts in capacity building that have brought a new government center and new street lights in Arab Jabour, health clinics in Tunis and Madariyah, and a program to develop a viable poultry industry for the region’s farmers.
On the economic front, a major part of Operation Marne Fortitude II is to revitalize the Iskandariyah Industrial Complex, which once employed 36,000 locals but now only provides 1,200 jobs. Beyond this, MND-C hopes to continue to find success in revitalizing the local economy through microfinance projects which aim to help get local small businesses off the ground.
On the political front, Task Force Marne (which runs MND-C) recently hosted a tribal leaders’ council that discussed the Sons of Iraq (SoI) program. The conference sought to incorporate Iraqi suggestions of how to incorporate SoI groups into the Iraqi Security Forces or other government-sponsored jobs as an interim measure while the country’s economy and security services continue to develop.