View Full Version : Al Qaeda's Outrages Swing Sunnis to U.S.

02-17-2007, 12:35 PM
17 February UPI via Washington Times - Al Qaeda's Outrages Swing Sunnis to U.S. (http://www.washtimes.com/world/20070217-123319-5645r.htm) by Pamela Hess.

Sunni tribes in troubled Anbar province have begun working closely with U.S. and government forces, contributing nearly 2,400 men to the police department and 1,600 to a newly organized tribal security force, authorities say.

U.S. troops are training and equipping the new tribal forces, which are called Emergency Response Units (ERUs), and are charged with defending the areas where they live, according to the local U.S. commander.

By a U.S. count, 12 of the Ramadi area's 21 tribes are cooperating in the security effort, six are considered neutral, and three are actively hostile. That is almost the reverse of the tribal posture last June, when three were cooperative and 12 were hostile.

For nearly four years, the tribes around Ramadi survived by playing both sides, working with U.S. forces when it suited them, while at the same time helping or tolerating Sunni insurgent groups and al Qaeda in Iraq -- the terrorist organization once led by Jordanian Abu Musab Zarqawi.

That changed in August, according to U.S. Army Col. Sean MacFarland, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, which has been responsible for security operations in Ramadi since June...

02-17-2007, 10:34 PM
This is a good answer to all those who I have heard calling for us to "take the gloves off" in al-Anbar. I have seen a number of people who seem to think that the key to victory in al-Anbar is to essentially be more brutal than the terrorists. The idea being that we could intimidate them into submission. AQ thought the same thing and it apparently isn't working out for them as well as they had hoped. I have read in other places that some of the insurgent groups a learning that being indiscriminate in their targeting is counterproductive. I hope it is a lesson they learn slowly.


02-18-2007, 08:08 AM
Check out:http://talismangate.blogspot.com/
His most recent post talks about this.

02-18-2007, 10:10 AM
In the blog "Healing Iraq" the author makes the suggestion that the US quit fighting the "bad guys" and cut a deal that they will live with, instead. It seems that he has decided that the fighting is worse than political oppression in Iraq.

So, what "deal" can we make that will prop up the most "bad guys" that we can live with?

CPT Holzbach
02-19-2007, 04:39 AM
Tribal security force? Sounds like another militia.

02-19-2007, 07:02 AM
I know I kind of sound like a broken record, here, but in nearly every successful COIN effort that I'm aware of, sooner or later the "good guys" break down and make use of "militias" as part of the solution.

I think "peace" in Iraq will be relative; and we will have to incorporate some former "bad guys" in the political solution. Including their "militias".

I also believe the solution will involve forced resettlements; but whether that will be a de facto recognition of ethnic cleansing, or a planned effort on our part is yet to be seen. I'm starting to doubt whether the political leadership has EVER had the stomach to do what needs to be done to finish this thing. (Not meaning to sound ominous.)

02-19-2007, 08:27 AM
19 February AP - Anger at Foreign Arabs Builds in Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/19/AR2007021900112.html) by Bassem Mroue.

... Suspicion toward foreign Arabs stems, in part, from the fact that the Sunni-led insurgency has included many foreign fighters, most of them Arabs, who are blamed for deadly attacks that have claimed thousands of Iraqi lives.

Foreign Arabs who live in Iraq often try to hide their identities by faking an Iraqi accent or staying silent. Iraqis are usually suspicious when they hear a person speaking Arabic with a non-Iraqi accent.

An Associated Press reporter riding a public bus last month heard one of the passengers telling the driver in conversational Egyptian Arabic to drop him at a stop. After the man, carrying a bag, left the bus, Iraqis began arguing with the driver about why he had let the man on. Several passengers searched the seat where the man had been sitting to make sure he had not left a bomb.

The suspicions have shown up in official pronouncements from the Arab Shiite Muslim-led government of Iraq, too...

02-19-2007, 08:47 AM
19 February LA Times - U.S. Forces Try to Win the Trust of Iraqis (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-embed19feb19,0,4653346.story?coll=la-home-headlines) by Tina Susman.

The chunky man in the beige velour tracksuit emphasized that he wanted to help the U.S. troops, who politely sipped the Pepsis he had produced after they arrived unannounced Saturday night at his modest home in the northeast neighborhood of Shaab.

Without the Americans, the man said, kidnappers and killers who have terrorized Sunni Muslims in the Shiite-dominated area would resurface. Drawing his index finger across his neck in a slicing motion, he indicated what happened to Sunnis when U.S. forces were not around.

But when U.S. Army Spc. Rany Grizz pressed the man for details, he encountered one of the most stubborn enemies facing American and Iraqi forces attempting to carry out the latest security crackdown in violence-racked Baghdad: Iraqis' paralyzing fear and distrust of virtually everyone, including the Iraqi army, their next-door neighbors and their own relatives...

02-19-2007, 09:00 AM
18 February The Belmont Club - Degrees of Freedom (http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2007/02/degrees-of-freedom.html) by Wretchard.

The Small Wars Council has an interesting set of comments on the counterinsurgency campaign in Anbar. It raises several questions without quite answering them, but the questions themselves are valuable to consider, whether or not we know the answers. First: apparently the Anbar tribes have quit "playing both sides" and come down on the side of the US. What does that suggest about who tribes think is going to win? And why do they think that? Another commenter at Small Wars Council shrewdly understands, from the apparent progress in Anbar, that the correct interpretation of "changing the rules of engagement" doesn't mean "taking the gloves off" but increasing the degrees of freedom that the commanders in the field are allowed to exercise. Mandatory severity may be just as damaging as compulsory leniency. Perhaps the real lesson of Anbar is to let men on the ground do what they think is right. But the real gem is buried in a link to the blog Talisman Gate, which relates how a Jihadi satellite TV station has gone from broadcasting Islamic Internet attack video to criticizing al-Qaeda...

CPT Holzbach
02-19-2007, 09:31 AM
nearly every successful COIN effort that I'm aware of, sooner or later the "good guys" break down and make use of "militias" as part of the solution.

I think "peace" in Iraq will be relative; and we will have to incorporate some former "bad guys" in the political solution. Including their "militias".

I agree completely. Ive been an equally broken record on this forum in support of a CAP-like program, which should include some kind of arming-of-the-people, militia style defense. Im a huge supporter of the 2nd Amendment here in the US and a person who LOATHES gun control. I know that people must be able to protect themselves since the authorities cant be everywhere at once. Im just very skeptical of militias in Iraq. They dont have a very good track record.

I also agree on the relativity of peace and the incorporation of militias, but the real question is how relative are we willing to get? Most militias in Iraq are as bad as the old regime, they just havent had enough time to rack up an equivalent body count. I would view acceptance of some of these groups as outright failure of the mission.

02-19-2007, 11:51 AM
I'm just as skeptical, especially as far as a long-run solution. Relying on and building up the Ramadi tribes into the security forces is, IMO, a long-run nightmare in waiting if the Shia-dominated government ever tries to extend its power over Anbar.

Anyway, AQI appears to be hitting back (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070219/wl_nm/iraq_bombs_dc;_ylt=Akir_iXfW3qkiAPbRB9jpYPMWM0F).

In Monday's deadliest attack, suspected al Qaeda militants pulled the family of mourners from a minibus in daylight and gunned them down, including two young boys, after finding out they were from a Sunni tribe opposed to al Qaeda, police said.

The western city of Falluja is in the Sunni Arab insurgent bastion of Anbar province.

In Ramadi, capital of Anbar, two suicide bombers killed 11 people when they targeted the house of Sattar al-Buzayi, a tribal leader who has led a government-backed effort to fight al Qaeda.

One suicide car bomb hit the blast walls outside his house, then a bomber blew up his truck near the house, witnesses said.

03-17-2007, 04:27 PM
GuardianFilms penetrates Iraq's most dangerous province to report on how the Iraqis themselves have turned on al-Qaida.

This film first appeared on Channel 4 News on Tuesday March 13.


03-17-2007, 04:29 PM
That good video clip is connected to these reports:

Iraqi Tribes Launch Battle To Drive Al-Qaida Out Of Troubled Province

The fighting also comes as the Iraqi government has said it believes it is close to capturing the organisation's new leader in Iraq, Abu Ayoub al-Masri. Although the power struggle has not reduced the number of attacks against the US-led coalition in Anbar province, it points to a complex reordering of the lines of conflict in the so-called "Sunni Triangle".

The conflict's underlying causes were highlighted by the leaking of a letter from al-Qaida's leadership to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the organisation's former leader in Iraq, who was killed earlier this year.

In the letter, written in December and found at the house where he died, Zarqawi is rebuked by Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, who is allegedly close to senior al-Qaida figures. He is warned "against attempting to kill any religious scholar or tribal leader who is obeyed, and of good repute in Iraq from among the Sunnis, no matter what." Zarqawi is told to improve relationships with other Sunni groups, use the al-Qaida name more judiciously and told ominously that he might be replaced.

It is these issues that have been at the heart of the rift between al-Qaida and the tribes, many of whose members support the nationalist resistance.


An Iraqi Tribal Chief Opposes The Jihadists, And Prays

Part of the sheik’s mission is rooted in the tribal law of revenge. His father was killed by Al Qaeda in 2004 for opposing its kind of fundamentalism. Two brothers were abducted and never heard from again, and a third brother was shot dead, he said. He has survived three car bombs outside the home he shares with his wife and five children.

Residents in parts of Anbar say the split in the Sunni insurgency is widening, with moderate tribal leaders and nationalist guerrillas pitted against fundamentalist warriors and rival tribes. That has led to a sharp increase in Sunni-on-Sunni violence across Anbar, especially in the past week, deepening the chaos of Iraq’s civil war.

Al Qaeda remains a major force, and the relentless violence from all sides has turned the province into a failed region, according to a classified Marine intelligence assessment that was leaked to reporters last year.

As part of a broad review of options in Iraq, President Bush is looking at whether to give greater support to Sunni Arab tribal leaders who have grown disillusioned with the radical arm of the insurgency. It is a strategy long urged by officials in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and now vigorously backed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The effort would have echoes of the American military’s promotion of South Vietnamese “village militias” during the Vietnam War, which some American counterinsurgency experts say was a relative success.

Sheik Abdul Sattar and the Anbar Salvation Council, the group of 25 tribes that the sheik said he had helped pull together to fight Al Qaeda, would be central to any such move by the Americans.

The sheik said he and his allies, who also call themselves the Anbar Awakening, had recruited 6,000 fighters from the tribes into the Anbar police, helped appoint a new provincial police chief and formed a 2,500-member “emergency brigade” answering to him.