General Officer Commanding (GOC) Multi-National Division South East, Major General Andy Salmon, walked around the town of Al Qurnah near Basra this week, and shared a meal with the market traders.
Al Qurnah is a large town some 45 miles (72 kilometres) north west of Basra and is the administrative centre for the area. It sits at the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and acts as the main hub for routes into Maysan province.
Maj Gen Salmon's visit can be seen as another sign of the ever increasing security improvements in Iraq. He met with local traders in the Alwat fish market and on the streets during his walkabout around the town.
A locally-cooked lunch of rice and fish was prepared and shared with the local elders, and members of the Military Transition Team drawn from UK Forces.
At the lunch the GOC emphasised to key leaders that they had a pivotal role, along with the Iraqi Army, in maintaining the security of the area.
The improved situation then allows reconstruction efforts and economic activity to flourish, as evidenced by the bustling market.
The visit was hosted by Colonel Kathem, the Commanding Officer of the 4th Battalion, 52nd Brigade Iraqi Army, and - illustrating the confidence now placed in the Iraqi Army - this unit provided the protection for Maj Gen Salmon's visit.