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Old 05-21-2008   #1
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Default Iraqi Elections Must Consolidate Security Gains of 'Sons of Iraq'

Upcoming Iraqi Elections Must Consolidate Security Gains of 'Sons of Iraq' by Dr. David Ucko, Small Wars Journal.

The editors would like to share the following article with the SWJ community. Published in World Politics Review on 20 May 2008, this piece examines the challenges and opportunities to arise from the Sons of Iraq phenomenon. It also seeks to debunk some of the myths to have been spun from this remarkable development. The article is also the forerunner of a longer piece on the political integration of irregular armed groups in Iraq since 2003 to the present day. Republished here with permission from the author; comments, criticism and feedback would be most appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2008   #2
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Good article and good analysis. Success of the SoI or Awakening movements has always depended on national level reconciliation and legitimacy.
"A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
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Old 05-23-2008   #3
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Interesting article. I suspect that some of the analysis is slanted based on the intended audience. For example, the sentence

The tribes, meanwhile, are not sectarian but rather secular nationalists, concerned over all with their local power base and community. {emphasis added}
really appears, to me at least, to be aimed at an audience that has little or no understanding of what tribal identities and politics are all about. A sharp distinction between the "evil" sectarians and the "good" secular nationalists should play well with many Western audiences.

His point about integration, I don't think "re-integration" is the right word for this situation since that implies a previous integration, is well made as is his noting of the potential problems with the Sh'ia and Kurdish extant power blocks.
Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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Old 09-15-2008   #4
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Default The Challenge of Political Reintegration in Iraq

Conflict, Security & Development, Oct 08 (hat tip to the Insurgency Research Group):

Militias, tribes and insurgents: The challenge of political reintegration in Iraq
This article examines the different approaches employed by the United States toward the political reintegration of irregular armed groups, from the policy vacuum of 2003 to the informal reintegration seen during the course of the so-called “surge” in 2007 and 2008. The case study has significant implications for the importance of getting political reintegration right—and the long-term costs of getting it badly wrong.....
Complete 33-page article at the link.
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Old 09-25-2008   #5
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USIP Special Report, Sep 08: Reconciliation Strategies in Iraq

- A window of opportunity now exists for post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq despite the resurgence of violence in the spring of 2008. The creation of Sunni Awakening Councils, the ongoing presence of sufficient U.S. troops, and the decrease in combat activity by the Mahdi Army provide a real, though tenuous, opportunity to continue building on the gains of the past year.

- In all societies emerging from conflict, reconciliation efforts are the glue that holds the post-conflict reconstruction process together. Reconciliation must be pursued not only on national but also on local levels and not only in the political but also in the social domain. At all points within a society, people and groups must be encouraged to work together constructively for the common good.

- Reconciliation in Iraq must be approached with sensitivity to its shame-oriented culture, which emphasizes community, authority, honor, and hospitality. Reconciliation must also be approached with an awareness of the importance of primary identity markers—religion, ethnicity, tribe, and family—and the possibilities for creating bonds based on secondary markers—class, profession, internally displaced persons (IDP) status, and so forth.

- Moving toward reconciliation in the context of severe and widespread violence requires that special attention be given to steps one can take to break the pattern of revenge and transform relationships. These steps include mourning, confronting fears, identifying needs, acknowledging responsibility, envisioning restorative and operational justice, and choosing to forgive.

- When good groundwork has been laid in relationship building, then groups in conflict are better able to engage in constructive dispute resolution. Seven elements form the basis for this process of negotiation or problem solving: identifying interests, alternatives, options, and criteria, and working on relationships, communication, and commitments.

- Internationals need to develop programming that focuses on process, rather than substance, to train and equip local Iraqis to be more effective mediators and facilitators. This programming should include conflict assessment, psychosocial and spiritual healing, conflict resolution training, facilitated dialogue, and problem solving.
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Old 10-31-2008   #6
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Default When friends leave

it is not a good thing. Iraq needs more like this guy. Now he is here and for understandable reasons.

RTK do you know him?


Another success? Iraqi mayor Bush once hailed flees to U.S.

By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Two years ago, President Bush hailed Najim al Jabouri as a symbol of success in the battle to curb Iraq's sectarian violence. Today, Jabouri is a symbol of how uncertain that success is.

Last month, Jabouri quietly left Tal Afar, an ancient city near Iraq's desert border with Syria where he was the police chief and the mayor, collected his wife and four children and flew to safety in the United States.

"There was no other choice," Jabouri, 52, a retired Iraqi army lieutenant general, said in a recent interview that was translated by his eldest son, Omar, 21. "I had been serving my homeland, the Iraqi people and Iraqi soil my whole life. I decided I had to do something for my own family. I saw that their lives were in great danger."
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Old 10-31-2008   #7
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I especially wish people would recognize the truth behind this-

Jabouri remains confident that Iraq can flourish as a stable democracy, but he said it would take years to become one. He expressed deep concern over a proposed U.S. troop withdrawal by the close of 2011, calling it too soon.

"Iraq is a big cake right now. Everyone wants the biggest slice, and they are just waiting for that opportunity," he said. "If the guard, the United States, is gone . . . they will take what they want."
Our forces must leave and the sooner the more comfortable for us, unfortunately not necessarily the better for the Iraqi people. We have to be very cautious on how it is done and I for one would love to see several of the leaders in the current govt there quit taking advantage of that fact in order to reinvigerate some of the fence sitting towards their own ends.

Also unfortunate the fact that as Ken likes to say,
Been that way for a while and not likely to change too quickly

He said that his "heart wanted to burst from my chest" when he and his family left Iraq, but he thinks that they'll return eventually.

"The future of Iraq will be good, but it needs time," he said. "We need more education, more election education, and we need to make the right choices."
I guess he would know better than most.
Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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Old 11-08-2008   #8
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The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 7 Nov 08: Persuading the Uncertain and Punishing the Recalcitrant: Al-Qaeda Seeks to Absorb Iraq’s Awakening Councils
....While Awakening Council forces have played a major role in decreasing al-Qaeda’s activities in Iraq, it is possible that the same forces will play a role in re-activating al-Qaeda unless their demands are considered by the U.S. and Iraqi governments. For this to be achieved, it seems essential to emphasize the importance of an Iraqi secular state based on re-establishing a national identity which has been beset by sectarian violence over the past four years. This is a long term project, which can be launched by integrating Awakening Councils members into the Iraqi state and finding ways to fund this procedure, as it will serve to promote the overall integration of Sunnis, a process essential to the survival of the new Iraqi state.
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Old 09-27-2010   #9
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Iraq's Awakening stripped of their police ranks - Washington Post, 27 Sep 2010:

Hundreds of police officers, formerly members of an American-backed Sunni paramilitary force, will be stripped of their ranks in the Sunni Arab province of Anbar, tribal leaders and Anbar police said Sunday.

The officers called the move by Iraq's Interior Ministry, which oversees police, a threat to security in Anbar, once a stronghold of Sunni insurgent violence.

In 2006, a group called the Awakening, some of them former insurgents, rose up with tribal and U.S. backing to battle al-Qaeda in Iraq. The same strategy was mirrored across the country with American backing and funding, and what became the Sons of Iraq is credited with helping calm Sunni Arab areas ...
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