Tag Archives: Awakening Council

Iraq Sunni Leader Accidentally Killed

American troops in Iraq accidentally killed a Sunni leader of the Awakening Councils that have played an important role in reducing violence in the country. Jassim al-Garnout was killed when he rushed to the site of an ambush and in the ensuing exchange of fire between the opposing forces, he was shot. American troops said they had warned their Sunni allies to stay clear of the area but Garnout went to the assistance of US troops. The incident is not important in the general frame of events in Iraq but it does highlight a shift that is occurring in Iraq. The US funded Sunni movement has encountered several such incidents in which friendly fire results in the death of their soldiers.

The Sunni Awakening Councils are growing restive, not simply because of such incidents, but due to the attitude of the Shiite Iraq government which has refused to accord respect to the Sunnis who have played such a key role in lowering the level of violence. The real question is what will happen once American soldiers leave if the Shiites refuse to share power and jobs with the Sunnis.

Civilian Deaths Continue In Iraq

The deaths of nine civilians, including a child, further haunted efforts by American troops to win over the support of Iraqis. Witnesses and Iraqi police said helicopters strafed a house due to confusion between US forces and their allies over the source of what some troops thought were enemy militants. As American troops battle in urban areas, they increasingly encounter the problem of getting innocent civilians caught in the cross fire. A similar problem arose during fighting in Vietnam. The use of planes and helicopters only makes matters worse because they are flying at high speeds and dropping bombs which invariably will hit civilians in a densely populated area.

American soldiers thought a mortar attack came from the headquarters of friendly Awakening Council forces and then ordered in an air attack. The US military said “only” a child and eight other civilians were killed and three children wounded. The problem is undoubtedly al-Qaeda will use such incidents to play on fears of the Iraq population. There is simply no way to avoid death of innocent civilians. War is not pleasant or fair.