Monday, March 30, 2009

Push-back on the "Awakenings"

The arrests of [Raad] Ali and [Adel] Mashadani showed how much the nationwide Sunni paramilitary movement has fallen. When the former insurgents first struck alliances with the Americans, the hope was that the U.S. military would help broker their entrance into the political mainstream and ensure that their fighters would be given jobs in the police force or army.
Instead, some have fled into exile; others have been arrested or slain. Those not in jail worry that they could be detained at any moment.
The Iraqi government promised to put 20% of the Sons of Iraq movement, estimated at nearly 100,000 individuals, into security jobs. But so far, only an estimated 5,000 have been hired.
The government has treated some Sunni leaders well, notably in western Anbar province, but others have been dealt with harshly. The U.S. military appears to be struggling to protect the men.
In Fadhil, at least seven fighters were detained Sunday, said one of Mashadani's deputies, Abdul Razzaq. The army blockaded the neighborhood with Humvees and personnel carriers. Some fighters handed in their weapons after negotiations, the day after Mashadani's supporters and the Iraqi security forces clashed following their leader's arrest.
The government accused Mashadani of running a secret wing of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, and his supporters of abusing their power.

The above is from Ned Parker and Caesar Ahmed's "Sons of Iraq movement suffers another blow" (Los Angeles Times). While the US military attempts to repeatedly claim it was an Iraqi operation and minimize (to the point of denying) their own involvement, reports continue to call it a US and Iraqi operation. Iraq's Alsumaria reports:

Baghdad security spokesman Qassem Ata announced after police forces and army surrounded the region backed by tanks and US Forces that security forces arrested 14 wanted and seized quantities of weapons. He added that the operation has been carried out peacefully. Ata asserted that Adel Al Mashhadani is an outlaw and is accused of killing innocent people.
In his turn, Cabinet spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh declared that these incidents do not mean that awakening councils are targeted. Al Dabbagh explained that the arrested is an outlaw and has been involved in terrorism and blackmail against Al Fadel residents who affirmed that they are relieved for Al Mashhadani's arrest.
"Al Mashadani was arrested under a warrant issued by the Iraqi government because he is suspected of ... crimes. He was not detained because of his involvement with the (Sahwa)," U.S. military spokesman Colonel Bill Buckner said.

Sudarsan Raghavan and Anthony Shadid's "In Iraq, 2 Key U.S. Allies Face Off: Government Riles Sunni Awakening With Leader's Arrest" (Washington Post) continues the reporting pattern of noting the US involvement and also provides an overview of possible longterm fallout:

The struggle, which played out in fierce weekend clashes, pits two vital American allies against each other. On Sunday, Iraqi soldiers backed by U.S. combat helicopters and American troops swept into a central Baghdad neighborhood, arresting U.S.-backed Sunni fighters in an effort to clamp down on a two-day uprising that challenged the Iraqi government's authority and its efforts to pacify the capital.
But the fallout from the operation is already rippling far beyond the city's boundaries. Both the Iraqi security forces and the Sunni fighters, known as the Awakening, are cornerstones in the American strategy to bring stability. The Awakening, in particular, is widely viewed as a key reason violence has dramatically dropped across Iraq.
Many leaders of the Awakening, mostly former Sunni insurgents who joined hands with U.S. forces to fight the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, have long had a contentious relationship with Iraq's Shiite-led government. But the weekend battles have sparked fresh frustration and mistrust of both the U.S. military and Iraq's mostly Shiite security forces, according to interviews with Awakening leaders across the country.

Meanwhile in Germany, George Frey (AP) reports Sgt 1st Class Joseph Mayo entered a guilty plea to "premeditated murder and conspiracy to commit premeditated murder" in the 2007 murders of 4 Iraqis US forces had taken into custody and that this follows Sgt Michael Leahy's conviction last month for his role in the murders.

British troops are drawing down from 4,000 to 400. They were based predominately in Basra. Deborah Haynes (Times of London)offers a survey and reflection as the draw down takes place:

Known as the birthplace of civilisation, Iraq is estimated to have between 20,000 and 100,000 historic sites, which should keep history-hungry travellers, as well as professional archaeologists, entertained for decades.
Among its landmarks is the Assyrian capital of Nimrud in the north, while to the south lie the sites of the ancient city of Ur (believed to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham) as well as Babylon, once the greatest city on Earth. Anyone interested in religion is also in for a treat. Iraq has some of the most sacred sites in Islam, including the golden-domed al-Askari shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad. Unfortunately, the dome, like many of the country's treasures, was destroyed in a bomb attack in 2006, although it is being rebuilt.
Judaism and Christianity also have deep roots in Iraq. Just outside Basra sits the tomb of the Hebrew prophet Ezra, while travellers who enjoy visiting churches will find them tucked away in side-streets in Baghdad and scattered across the north.
Years of war and sectarian conflict on top of decades of neglect during Saddam Hussein's regime have taken their toll on many of the country's prizes. The Baghdad Museum was looted after the 2003 invasion, and US troops were accused of harming artefacts when they built a base at the site of Babylon.

Bonnie notes Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Swinging Prez" went up last night and, on that, if there are links in Isaiah's text, it's at his request. However, enough drive-by e-mails are coming in that I've added links to the text:

Isaiah's latest The World Today Just Nuts "Swinging Prez." Barack, in Hef robe, declares, "Yeah, I proved Friday I'm the third term of George W. Bush. So what? In the campaign, I started off claiming troops out by March 2008 -- 11 months, then I moved it to 16. Now I'm saying maybe three years. Promise 'em anything and then do what you want." An excited Little Dicky squeals, "Barry! I love you!"

The specific "Not true!" being screamed is March 2008 end of Iraq War. See, the Cult of St. Barack is pretty damn stupid and never learned to read. They only know how to say "Praise Barry." Barack's always changed the date but his groupies were too busy wetting their shorts to notice. Re: March 2008, the link added is Jake Tapper's Feb. 2007 report on the then new candidate Barack Obama who loved to tell a crowd one thing (to huge applause) and then run to the press and say, "I didn't mean it." As you read Tapper's report, you will see that the plan Barack first pushed was March 2008. Also in "And the war drags on . . ." this appears: "US President Barack Obama appeared today on CBS' Face The Nation with moderator Bob Schieffer (here for text report with video option and link for transcript)." "Here" goes to a report by Michelle Levi. I wasn't aware there was an author listed for the report (I got the link over the phone from a friend at CBS News). Had I known the text report of the appearance had a byline, it would have been included. We'll note it now and my apologies.

Iraq's Foreign Ministry notes:

28 March, 2009

Foreign Minister Attends Foreign Ministers Preparatory Meeting of League of Arab State Council in Doha

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari headed a high-level delegation from the ministry at the meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss the draft resolutions and ratify them before the Arab summit in its next session (21), which will be held on the 30th of this month.

Foreign Ministers discussed in a closed meeting the draft resolutions and the agenda of the (21) Summit to be submitted for approval.

The meeting adopted a series of resolutions, including resolution on Iraq, which emphasized the respect, unity, sovereignty and independence of Iraq and supporting the will of the Iraqi people in all its components to determine their political future, and commended the efforts of the Iraqi government in restoring security, stability and development of the political process. Iraq will be ready to host the summit in the next 22nd session in Iraq.

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