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By Benjamin A. Roberts

2010 International Conference on Archaeology in Conflict Vienna, Austria

This presentation provides a first person summary of United States Army activities during Task Force Iron Gimlet (TFIG) formed in December, 2008 to encourage community improvement efforts in the Abu Ghraib and Nassar Wa Salaam communities and surrounding areas west of Baghdad, Iraq. TFIG was intended to empower Iraqis to conduct many of the community development projects themselves, with funding largely provided through Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) initiatives at the Battalion and below levels. Included in the projects TFIG conducted was a contract for improving the tourism infrastructure around the historic Ziggurat at Aqar Quf. Lessons learned from this intervention are reported in this presentation.

Stability and Support Operations (SOSO) and Civil-Military Operations (CMO) call for complex strategies for both cultural heritage preservation practices and economic development activities. The U.S. Army's CERP is one such program and was developed in Iraq in 2003 to allow rapid response to localized problems at the lowest level possible. CERP is successful because it provides opportunities for the local populace to obtain steady employment while at the same time encouraging shared cultural heritage identity through the protection of cultural heritage sites in a classic win-win scenario.


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