Dec 22 2007
The New York Times is shifting gears and providing some actual real reporting on the Awakening movement in Iraq which, along with The Petraeus Surge, as turned Iraq from a rolling failure into a smashing success. For those interested in the make up of the various Awakening groups that have stood up in Iraq check out this article on the breadth and scope of the rising tide of Muslims against al-Qaeda.
These groups are known by many names including: Awakening Councils, Concerned Local Citizens and Iraqi Sunni Volunteers; in Arabic they are known as Sahwas.
As of Dec. 10, 2007, the Americans had signed up 73,397 men, according to the Multi-National Force-Iraq. Of those, about 65,000 are receiving monthly salaries from the American military of $300; a few who are leaders, receive slightly more. The remaining 9,000 men are being vetted or are not yet on active duty in their neighborhoods. Those numbers do not reflect an additional 23,000 who have already been added to the police force in the western province of Anbar.
….Attacks in the province have declined to a tenth of what they were a year ago….
…In areas where the Awakening movement is already in place the Americans are using the Sunnisâ€™ local expertise to man checkpoints, deprive Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia of ground and to squeeze the last pockets of hard-core insurgents out of the Euphrates River valley. By doing this they hope to end the intimidation in remaining areas and establish new Awakening groups…..
Nineveh and Salahuddin Provinces, and Tamim
…With a total of only about 10,000 Awakening Council members in these three sprawling, predominantly Sunni northern provinces, which in the last several months have seen incidents of terrorism rise, there are still too few security forces to control the violence. … [note: this is the area al-Qaeda has been pushed into as they are forced out of Iraq through the North]
… The Awakening movement in this mixed province northeast of Baghdad began last summer when members of the 1920 Revolution Brigades … Later, a second Awakening Council formed that was tribally based and included sheiks from a number of areas of the province.
Despite these efforts, Diyala today remains one of the most violent areas of Iraq … [note: this is the other area al-Qaeda is attempting to make a stand]
…The Baghdad councils began in June in the Amiriya, a neighborhood near the airport, and now have spread all the way to the Sunni neighborhoods on the eastern side of the river. Those inside the city limits have no more than a few hundred members each. Those outside the city, but within Baghdad Province, have, several thousand members in some cases….
It is a heartening year-end read.