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.