Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Professor Marc Lynch (George Washington University), "Abu Aardvark," writes about the reality of the Majalis al-Sahwa (Awakening Councils or Councils of the Awakening) in Iraq....Far from a "success," the so-called surge (read: escalation) in Iraq which John McCain fantasizes about, the U.S. military has primarily benefited from temporary shifts in alliances among different Iraqi groups. The largely Sunni Awakening Councils, who have significantly reduced violence in their areas, are not opposed to foreign organizations such as al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers because they are U.S. allies. Al-Qa'ida, rather, overstepped its bounds in carrying out wanton attacks in heavily populated civilian centers and carrying out assassinations of Sunni tribal leaders.
The councils also do not trust Iraq's central government, which is dominated by Shi'i Arab Islamist parties and their Kurdish allies. [By "Islamist" I mean parties which seek to establish, to some degree, a political and social system based on their understanding of Islam as a religion.] It should be said that based on the sectarian nature of the current central government and actions which it has taken vis-a-vis the Sunni Arabs, the Awakening Councils' mistrust is understandable. It has now been firmly established that between 2004-2006 the Iraqi security forces were manned by members of Shi'i Arab militias including the Badr Corps of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Iraq's largest Shi'i political party which is closely allied with Iran's hardliners, and the Sadr movement led by Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr [see below]. Shi'i members of the security forces have targeted Sunni Arabs, murdering perhaps hundreds or even thousands of them in cold blood.