As the new year gains momentum, nothing seems to have changed — yet. The results off the “surge” has painted a heart-warming and optimistic picture of the hell that’s Iraq. The real weak-link of the so-called surge is the alliance between former Sunni insurgents now bearing arms for US dollars to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the reality of the position. The science-fiction, butterfly-swarm effect of the Ninewa Sahwa (“Awakening”) Councils and it’s US-sanctioned non-counterpart, the Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs) is a short shelf life.
- BAGHDAD — Persistent violence in volatile Diyala province prompted security forces to impose a daylong vehicle ban Friday in the provincial capital, Baqubah, as frictions grew over a U.S.-backed program to recruit Sunnis to fight the militant group Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets in two other Diyala towns, Muqdadiya and Buhriz, alleging that U.S. forces had detained at least two members of the local Awakening Council, the U.S.-financed citizen security groups, local police officials said.
The protests underscore the U.S. military’s tenuous position: Many of the volunteer fighters are former Sunni insurgents who joined forces with the Americans for $10 a day and the promise of a job in the security forces. Although the effort has been credited with a significant reduction in violence in the region, Shiite leaders are suspicious of the effort, and some military officials have said that the program’s success may be difficult to sustain.
– latimes.com (1/5/08)
In situations like Iraq, pouring cash into the hands of former enemies can be sustained only so long as the cash and the fire keep rolling inward. And in an insurgency campaign, friend or foe is the very big question. The Awakening Councils is an all Iraq kind of deal — a paramilitary political movement out in Iraq’s heartland where the crippled, ineffectual central government has no power. The CLCs are like US recruiters — sign a form and out you go.
- An Iraqi soldier shot and killed two American soldiers on Dec. 26 in Mosul. Their deaths had already been reported, but the details had not been released until today. The troops had been on a joint patrol when, for unknown reasons, the Iraqi soldier fired upon the Americans. Three American soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were wounded as well. The shooter fled, but was later captured along with another soldier. It is believed that the Iraqi had ties to a Sunni militant group that has yet to join forces with Coalition troops as other militant groups have already done.
– antiwar.com (1/6/08)
If one wanted to catch a glimpse into the reality of the surge and a right-this minute update of Iraq, view antiwar.com’s daily list of reported murderous goings-on and the result is a sense of continuing disaster.
There’s also some heroic, Hollywood-like situations:
- BAGHDAD – Two Iraqi soldiers three themselves on a suicide bomber who slipped into a crowd celebrating Iraq’s Army Day, but the attacker detonated an explosives vest, killing both soldiers and nine other people, US military and police said.
It was the deadliest of a series of attacks across Baghdad that left as many as 16 people dead.
About two dozen soldiers were in the street celebrating at an Army Day event hosted by a local non-governmental agency pushing for unity in Iraq. Several soldiers and civilians lay in pools of blood after the attacker struck, AK-47 machine guns and shoes scattered on the ground.
– Associated Press (1/6/08)
How can one give peace a chance when there’s no end in sight — good or bad, or even worse to come?