Tag Archives: Awakening Councils

Dozens More Die In Iraq

Another market explosion in Iraq. Estimates are that about 56 people are dead and over a hundred are wounded. We are now days before American troops leave Iraq cities and transfer power to the Iraqi army in terms of law and order. The explosions are mainly directed at Shiite areas in large cities and undoubtedly are being conducted by Sunni or al-Qaeda groups which intend to destabilize the Iraq government. The question which must arise is whether th goal is to compel the return of US forces or is the goal to demonstrate the current Iraq government is unable to maintain law and order? The other unknown is what would be the response of President Obama if he was requested to return American forces to Iraq cities.

A major issue is the failure of the Maliki government to integrate Sunni forces which were working with American troops in order to reduce the power of al-Qaeda. The Awakening Councils were successful, but instead of cooperating with them, the Maliki government has not recruited Sunnis into the armed forces and does not cooperate with Awakening Council leaders. Perhaps, if the Iraq government cooperated to create a united Iraq these bombings would be reduced.

Will Awakening Councils Awake To Iraq Nightmare?

The Shiite led government of Iraq has assumed control over the Sunni led Awakening Councils and is transferring members of the Councils into the regular armed force of the nation. It is estimated about 100,000 Sunnis who belong to the Sons of Iraq or Awakening Councils will soon find themselves under control of Shiites. The Iraq government has pledged to respect the Sunnis and integrate them into the army, police or help them find jobs. However, most Sunnis do not trust anything told them by the Maliki government. Saalah al-Ageidi, a member of the Awakening Council, expressed the feelings of many when he declared: “I consider the transfer an act of betrayal by the U.S. Army. I think the government will start to target me and may people after the transfer.”

On the other hand, some Sunnis look forward to being part of an Iraqi army and ending their relationship with Americans. Ali Abdul Jabar, said he preferred taking orders from fellow Iraqis rather then “take orders from the occupation army.” The key aspect ingredient that will determine success or failure of the transfer lies with the ability of the Shiite Iraq government to respect the integrity of Sunnis. If they fail to obtain their loyalty, terrorism may well assume with ferocity.

Iraqi Sunni Leader Arrests Raise New Fears Of Violence

The Iraqi government is in danger of igniting new Sunni violence if it continues its policy of refusing to acknowledge the work of Sunnis who cooperated with Americans in fighting al-Qaeda. Many tribal leaders who were part of the Awakening Council(al Sahwa) movement switched sides on the basis of promises they would be provided assistance, and eventually government positions. But, in Diyala province as well as in the Baghdad area, Iraqi police and the army have arrested dozens of al-Sahwa leaders on grounds they previously supported al-Qaeda. Talriq al-Hashimi, who heads the Iraqi Islamist party, “the government is very hesitant, and I’m afraid if those groups and individuals are frustrated they might change their minds and instead of fighting al-Qaida and terrorism they will be back to offering them a safe haven, as they did in the past.” His concerns were echoed by Sheikh Musafa Kamil Hamed, leader of the powerful Jibouri tribe whose 3,500 men took an active role in fighting militants.

There are many such tribes and groups who still retain the arms given them by the Americans to fight terrorism and it would not be out of the realm of possibility for them to return to their former views. The harvest of spring can become the winter of discontent unless the Shiite government respects the rights of Sunnis.

Al-Qaeda Foes Now Foes Of Iraq Government

There has been a great deal of boasting by John McCain and the Bush administration regarding the “success” of the surge, but less attention is being paid to the prospect of a renewed outbreak of violence due to anger on the part of Sunni members of the Awakening Councils who played a key role in the surge. Many Sunni Arabs who fought against al-Qaeda say their future is bleak because of refusal by the Maliki government to offer them positions either in the Iraqi military or police. Abdullah Al-Samarraie told reporters he has submitted dozens of applications without any response to his request to serve the Iraqi government in their fight against extremism.

Instead of rewarding those who fought, the Maliki government is disbanding the Awakening Councils. Sunnis who fought against al-Qaeda are both being disarmed and made jobless. The Iraq government regards them as enemies of the state not allies in the fight against extremism. Can we expect these Sunnis will one day resort to violence against the government which has treated them in violent ways?

Iraq Shiite Government Cracks Down On Sunnis

The Iraq government has begun to impose its will on Sunni groups which played an important role in reducing the power of al-Qaeda. The Sunni Awakening Councils were vital to the success of the American”surge” efforts but it appears the presence of armed Sunni groups is threatening to the Iraq government. The United States military which placed many of the Sunni fighters on its payroll has urged Prime Minister Maliki to incorporate them within the regular Iraq army, but this suggestion apparently has been rejected.

Maliki’s decision to wage war on Sunni fighters raises the possibility of a resurgence of militant action once American forces leave the nation. An important belief behind the “surge” was uniting Sunni and Shiite as a combined force to deal with terrorism. it may well be the failure to achieve this goal will result in more terrorism.

Iraqi Troops Move Against US Backed Sunni Forces

The Shiite government in Iraq had begun cracking down on US supported Sunni Arab fighters in the turbulent area of Diyala province. The Sunni groups known as Awakening Councils have played a key role in dealing with militant insurgents, but apparently, they now face being attacked by the very government they were defending. A Sunni official said his forces had been evicted from all but seven of about 100 offices in Diyala. American military sources have confirmed the Shiite assault on Sunni forces.

A major problem facing Iraq is failure on the part of the Shiite Iraq government to support efforts aimed at incorporating Sunni fighters into the armed forces. This raises new possibilities for instability if the Sunnis become estranged from the current government and once again support militant insurgents. Iraq can not have a stable government until Sunnis become part of the armed forces as well as serving in key leadership positions.

Sunnis Strike US Over Pay

The success of the famous “surge” may be under threat due to threats by Sunni militia to go on strike against their American pay-masters. Leading members of the 80,000 strong Sahwa, or, Awakening Councils, vowed to cease fighting unless payment of their $10 a day wage was resumed. The fighters accuse the US military of allowing them to do the dirty work of routing al-Qaida, and when that appeared to be successful, of then dumping the fighters. A telephone survey by Guardian Films for Channel 4 News reveals that out of 49 Sahwa councils, four with more than 1,400 men have already quit, 38 are threatening to go on strike and two already are on strike. Improved security in Iraq was a combination of more US troops, the decision of Moqtada al-Sadr to impose a unilateral truce, and the work of Awakening Council units.

Abu Abdul-Aziz, head of the Council in Abu Ghraib told the Guardian: “The Americans got what they wanted. We purged al-Qaida for them and now people are saying why should we have any more deahs for the Ameicans. they have given us nothing.” Sunnis are complaining at failure of the Iraq government to provide jobs for their fighters in the police and armed forces since the Shiites don’t want more armed Sunnis in the nation.

The Awakening Councils, in many ways, provided the backbone of recent effort to curtail violence in Iraq. The flip side of America’s failure to ensure those who fought were rewarded is knowledge there are now 80,000 well armed Sunni fighters in Iraq. What if they decided to use those arms against the Iraq government?

Iraq Sunni Councils Under The Gun From Iraq Govt.

There is increasing evidence the Sunni “Awakening Councils’ in Iraq, which are supported by US money, are feeling pressure from members of the Iraq Shiite government that may eventually result in an outbreak of violence between the oppposing groups. Sunni tribal leaders who oppose al-Qaida claim they are becoming the target of Shiite militias as well as their al-Qaida foes. There is no doubt the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki opposed the formation of the Awakening Councils and is dneying them financial support or recognition. According to Thamer al-Tamimi, one of the Council’s top leaders, the Sunni militia groups are under threat due to the upsurge in volence directed at their leaders and offices. Several recent al-Qaida car bombings were directed at these leaders.

There are moments when discussing Bush policies in Iraq when one can only wonder if anyone is in charge of the process. General Petraeus has led an American military effort to bring peace to Baghdad, but there are still many areas in Iraq where the level of violence is still high. From day one of the Iraq war there has been a failure to develop an overall long term plan for peace in the country.

A vivid example of the confusion surrounding Iraq policy is the recent agreement between Baghdad’s Mayor Saber al-Aisawia and the Iranian government for assistance in upgrading the level of municipal services. On one hand, Bush threatens Iran, on the other hand, the Iraqi government works with it. Is anyone in charge?