Sep 30 2007
In an earlier post I noted how 1200 Iraqis lined up for hours to join the fight against al-Qaeda. As the picture shows the line wrapped around the block. This was in one town in one area of Iraq. But it was by know means isolated, as the Washington Post is reporting:
More than 30,000 tribal members in Iraq have come forward to work with U.S. and Iraqi forces over the past six months, a phenomenon that is spreading beyond Anbar province to Baghdad and other regions of the country, according to U.S. commanders.
In Baghdad, more than 8,000 primarily Sunni tribe members have volunteered so far in districts such as Mansour and Abu Ghraib and are undergoing the vetting process to become Iraqi police, Campbell said. About 1,500 hired as police in Abu Ghraib completed training in the past two weeks, said Maj. Gen Joseph F. Fil Jr., the commander for Baghdad.
South of Baghdad in central Iraq, more than 14,000 have come forward in recent months to provide local security, including about 12,000 Sunni and 2,000 Shiite residents, said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the U.S. commander for the area. That marks an increase over the nearly 10,000 who had volunteered as of August, Lynch said.
This is the blowback everyone should have expected after al-Qaeda’s bloody year of masscring Iraqi Muslims. Instead of showing their superiority to America and the democratically elected Iraq government al-Qaeda showed how dangerous and bloodthirsty they were. So instead of undermining American alliances with the Iraqi Muslim street they strengthened in manifold. And the final test will be Diyala Province, as I noted months ago:
A test will be the extent to which tribes and other volunteers can help pacify mixed-sect areas such as Diyala, where fighting escalated over the past year. Diyala, which lies between Baghdad and Iran, has about 25 major tribes, including six that are a mix of Sunni and Shiite.
The recent al-Qaeda attack on a reconciliation conference in Diyala has done the same thing there as everywhere in Iraq. It has strengthened the resolve of Iraqis to be free of al-Qaeda and keeps swelling the ranks of those willing to destroy al-Qaeda. And the result is the continued lowering of violence where the US has been able to clear out al-Qaeda. And it includes the continued decimation of al-Qaeda leadership in Iraq. While some wring their hands in perpetual pessimism, I tend to see a strong and unbending trend line that will eventually lead to al-Qaeda’s defeat in Iraq. It will include al-Qaeda being shunned in Iraq as well, not just defeated. But abhorred for what they did to Muslims.