Monday, November 19, 2007

From Stryker News

This is Daniel's squadron and FOB (Forward Operating Base).
BAGHDAD — Middle eastern culture experts are helping 2nd Cavalry (Stryker) Regiment soldiers better understand Iraqis they meet and work with in West Baghdad.
Soldiers from 2nd Cav’s 2nd Squadron are working closely with a four-person Human Terrain Team (HTT) out of Forward Operating Base Falcon in Baghdad’s violent East Rashid neighborhood.
The team of academics, which includes a social scientist, two cultural analysts and a military liaison officer, is charged with bringing cultural awareness to the Army and studying the ethnic makeup of Iraqi populations so commanders can plan courses of action, governance, patrols and provision of essential services accordingly, said HTT member Fouad Lghzaoui.
The Moroccan-born cultural analyst, who studied geography and Arabic literature at the University of Morocco, said the team helps units deal with some of the unfamiliar quirks of Iraqi culture.
“For example, for an infantryman (the Iraqi practice of) holding hands or kissing another man cheek to cheek is a hard thing to get used to,” he said.
The team helps bridge the gap between the squadron and key Iraqi players in its area of operations, said Capt. Travis Cox, 30, of Salem, Ore., 2nd Squadron’s fire support officer tasked with civil military affairs.
“They (the HTT members) are a second set of educated eyes who we can talk through what happens based on Arabic culture,” Cox said, “and aspects of different middle eastern things that being from Oregon I don’t know a lot about.”

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