Friday, August 22, 2008

“The state cannot accept the Awakening”

I can understand why many Iraqis are reluctant to integrate the Sahwa (Awakening) into Iraq's security forces, since so many Sahwa members were allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq at some point and presumably participated in crimes against Iraqi civilians. But what if their rejection does lead to renewed civil war? What is the solution to this problem?

Iraq Takes Aim at Leaders of U.S.-Tied Sunni Groups

Published: August 21, 2008

BAGHDAD — The Shiite-dominated government in Iraq is driving out many leaders of Sunni citizen patrols, the groups of former insurgents who joined the American payroll and have been a major pillar in the decline in violence around the nation.

In restive Diyala Province, United States and Iraqi military officials say there were orders to arrest hundreds of members of what is known as the Awakening movement as part of large security operations by the Iraqi military. At least five senior members have been arrested there in recent weeks, leaders of the groups say.

West of Baghdad, former insurgent leaders contend that the Iraqi military is going after 650 Awakening members, many of whom have fled the once-violent area they had kept safe. While the crackdown appears to be focused on a relatively small number of leaders whom the Iraqi government considers the most dangerous, there are influential voices to dismantle the American backed movement entirely.

“The state cannot accept the Awakening,” said Sheik Jalaladeen al-Sagheer, a leading Shiite member of Parliament. “Their days are numbered.”


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