Three Marines Try to Build Trust in Iraqi Province

Capt. Ann Gildroy meets with tribal leaders in the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiyah. i i

Capt. Ann Gildroy meets with tribal leaders in the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiyah. She is one of three Marines sent to the area to help improve relations with local residents. Courtesy Team Phoenix hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Team Phoenix
Capt. Ann Gildroy meets with tribal leaders in the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiyah.

Capt. Ann Gildroy meets with tribal leaders in the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiyah. She is one of three Marines sent to the area to help improve relations with local residents.

Courtesy Team Phoenix
Capt. Seth Moulton and an Iraqi soldier take a break from training on a rooftop near a joint securit i i

Capt. Seth Moulton and an Iraqi soldier take a break from training on a rooftop near a joint security station in Diwaniyah, the provincial capital. Courtesy Team Phoenix hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Team Phoenix
Capt. Seth Moulton and an Iraqi soldier take a break from training on a rooftop near a joint securit

Capt. Seth Moulton and an Iraqi soldier take a break from training on a rooftop near a joint security station in Diwaniyah, the provincial capital.

Courtesy Team Phoenix

Various Shiite militias have almost completely taken over the southern Iraqi province of Qadisiyah, which also has become a transit route for weapons from Iran.

Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq, has dispatched three Marines to the largely ignored province — where the Iraqi army is stretched thin and the police are untrustworthy. The Marines' job is to try to glue the broken pieces back together.

Capt. Ann Gildroy, Sgt. Alex Lemons and Capt. Seth Moulton — all between the ages of 28 and 30 — have served multiple tours in Iraq, and all three have worked in this area of Iraq before. They bring that experience, as well as long-standing and hard-won relationships with people in the province.

The three Marines face significant challenges. They are fighting not only poverty and the mistrust that is the legacy of broken promises by the U.S., but also the influence of the Shiite militias. Their goals are to rebuild the trust of the local people, including forging ties with local tribes to counter the militias.

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