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Bad News For al-Qaeda in Baghdad

In Baghdad, Sunni tribal leaders met with Iraq's Shi'a PM Nuri al-Maliki and pledged their support in cooperation to drive out al-Qaeda. This is a very significant step for Iraq, especially within the context of sectarian violence raging since the bombing of the Shia's Golden Mosque in Samara.

Sattar al-Buzayi, a Sunni sheikh from Anbar province who has emerged in recent weeks as a leader of a tribal alliance against Osama bin Laden's followers, said he and about 15 other sheikhs bq. had offered their cooperation to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

"We agreed to cooperate," Buzayi told Reuters. "We haven't agreed to anything specific, but we agreed to cooperate."

Maliki's office issued a statement praising the chiefs for their committment to fighting the militants.

"This is admired and respected by all Iraqis. We are fully prepared to back your efforts," the prime minister said.

Also see previous ThreatsWatch coverage on this here:

RapidRecon: Anbar Tribes Take Arms Against Insurgency / al-Qaeda
InBrief: Anbar Sunnis Turn on al-Qaeda

2 Comments

This is cause for cautious optimism. The tribal leaders want weapons in return for their cooperation. The question is, if they are provided with weapons, will they use them against Al Qaeda, or will they use them against our troops?

It's great to see the alignment and cooperation happening between the different groups. It would seem that the avenue for our exit is forming.

Although the U.S. will be blamed for it, I think when we leave that the violence may increase and heavy-handed tactics will be applied by the Iraqi military to curb daily violence. Heavy-handed tactics that we would be internationally crucified for.

Steve, I'm sure you've read the recent news article about a poll conducted in Iraq. The poll showed that the average Iraqi is against sectarian violence but is sympathetic towards attacks against U.S. troops. Do you think that the poll was scewed? I'd be interested in your thoughts on that.

I have a question in retrospect: When we originally took over Baghdad, was it impossible to disarm the city? Meaning...was it logistically impossible for the U.S. to have evacuated the entire city of Baghdad to a location outside the city and gone through the city with some type of technology to identify and remove arms caches? and then monitor coming and going from the city? I think we did that earlier with another city and I realize we couldn't do that now. But I've often wondered if that's a logistical possibility.
The news today of the 40 bodies found tortured and killed by sectarian violence has made me think of what more we could have done to disarm the people and also control the coming and going from the city of Baghdad. I do believe that once the Iraqi government is in complete control and we are gone, that this type of violence will end if not decrease.