The cheerleading right this last few weeks have been full of what they say is the very latest good news from Iraq. They call it The Awakening - the tale of Sunni tribes and native Sunni insurgents in Anbar province turning on Al Qaeda and allying themselves with US forces, even joining the local police force.
Over at major cheerleading blog Red State, Pejman Yousefzadeh wrote back in March that:
the progress in Anbar province is very real and very palpable and if the plans undertaken there end up working, they can be transferred to other parts of the country as well, much as General Petraeus's counterinsurgency plan, so successful in Mosul, is being implemented in Baghdad.Of course, Petreaus' plan was so successful in Mosul that now, the local Sunnis have the time to do some ethnic cleansing of Kurds in the city.
Sunni Arab militants, reinforced by insurgents fleeing the new security plan in Baghdad, are trying to rid Mosul of its Kurdish population through violence and intimidation, Kurdish officials said.And Anbar? Well, there's a problem there too. Ascendant local Sunnis who have been praised by the US military and rightwing bloggers alike are turning out to be downright nasty pieces of work.
Mosul...was recently estimated to be about a quarter Kurdish, but Sunni Arabs have already driven out at least 70,000 Kurds and virtually erased the Kurdish presence from the city’s western half, said Khasro Goran, the deputy governor of surrounding Nineveh Province and a Kurd.
The militants “view this as a Sunni-dominated town, and they view the Kurds as encroaching on Mosul,” said Col. Stephen Twitty, commander of the Fourth Brigade, First Cavalry Division, which is deployed in Nineveh. Some Kurdish and Christian enclaves remain on the east side, though their numbers are dwindling. Kurdish officials say the flight has accelerated in recent months, contributing to the wider ethnic and religious partitioning that is taking place all over Iraq.
Nineveh is Iraq’s most diverse province, with a dizzying array of ethnic and religious groups woven into an area about the size of Maryland. For centuries, Arabs, Kurds, Christians, Turkmens, Yezidis and Shabaks lived side by side in these verdant hills, going to the same schools, bartering in the same markets, even intermarrying on occasion.
But what took generations to build is starting to unravel in the shadow of the Sunni Arab insurgency, which is tapping into several wells of ethnic resentment.
A Sunni police chief praised by U.S. forces for clearing his city of insurgents has been arrested following an investigation into alleged murder, corruption and crimes against the Iraqi people, the U.S. military said Wednesday.Back in March, Red State approvingly repeated the words of Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of day-to-day war operations in Iraq:
Col. Hamid Ibrahim al-Jazaa, his brother and 14 bodyguards were taken into custody Tuesday in the city of Hit, 85 miles west of Baghdad, according to a statement by the public affairs office of Multinational Corps-Iraq.
"The apprehensions were the result of an investigation which alleges murder, corruption and crimes against the Iraqi people. The apprehension of this group was authorized and coordinated with local Hit city officials," the statement said. "All the accused are currently being held in coalition force custody."
...Al-Jazaa was lauded by the U.S. military for leading "Operation Police Victory," a crackdown on insurgents in the Sunni Arab city in February...Following the operation, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, visited the city on March 10, strolling through the outdoor market alongside a beaming al-Jazaa and other local officials.
"One of the things I worry about in Baghdad is we won't have the time to do the same kind of thing."I dunno, maybe they should worry about the exact opposite. How much more wrong can these supporters of Bush's plan get?
What they don't get is that the various factions are trying to use US forces as heavy-firepower backup as they settle scores with each other - and that as soon as they have finished off their weaker enemies and consolidated their hold on the populace by ethnic cleansing, torture and intimidation they will go back to attacking the stongest one - those very US troops who they have so used.
It's exactly the same in Baghdad itself, inside the government heirachy. As The Guardian notes today, senior US officials have been claiming that 135,000 Iraqi policemen have been trained. "As what? Policemen or militia gunmen?" Take the kidnapping of 5 Britons from a Finance Ministry building yesterday. The kidnap was conducted by 40 or more men dressed in the uniforms of Interior Ministry police commandos, driving up to 20 Interior Ministry SUVs, flashing official badges and saying they were acting on behalf of the Integrity Commission. An Interior Ministry spokesman dismissed suggestions that the kidnappers, dressed in police commando camouflage uniforms and driving official vehicles, were a renegade unit from his ministry. The Foreign Minister, a Kurd, blamed the Shiite Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr, who managed to both claim and deny responsibility in two statements from different parts of Iraq. Finance Ministry guards who did what they were told by the kidnappers have been taken to the Interior Ministry for questioning. It is still possible that a Sunni group, Al Qaeda, a criminal gang - or even actual rogue Interior Ministry police (gasp) - might be responsible. No-one knows. Everyone is blaming everyone else hoping the US and UK special forces will descend on their rivals with deadly force.
And we are supposed to hope that the Bush administration get the time to do in Baghdad what they've done in Anbar or Mosul? How does fifty years sound? Not good.