Monday, July 16, 2007

Trusting No-One In Iraq

By Cernig

The NY Times has an interesting article today on trust issues in Anbar. The Shia Army don't trust the new Sunni auxilliaries to the U.S. occupation. The Sunnis don't trust the Shias. Neither trusts the U.S. and the Sunnis are quite blatant about saying if they don't get what they want from the Americans, they will go back to killing them.

And the U.S. Troops on the ground? Two quick quotes tell the whole story.

On the predominatly Shia and mainly militia-penetrated iraqi Army:
“I could stand among 1,800 Sunnis in Abu Ghraib,” [Colonel Pinkerton] said, “and feel more comfortable than standing in a formation of Iraqi soldiers.”
And on the neocons new-found BFF's, the Sunni groups who happily admit to close ties to Islamists who have killed U.S. servicemen:
During an awards ceremony recently, Colonel Pinkerton asked the 40 soldiers before him how many trusted the Volunteers. None raised a hand. That is the correct way to think, he told his men, urging them to “stay focused.”

Afterward, First Lt. Tom Cherepko said: “We fully understand that maybe a few months ago they were attacking us. We don’t trust them, but we’ll work with them. That’s my way of not having to come back for a third rotation, getting them to stand up for themselves.”
Standing up for themselves against, of course, the Iraqi Army.

Anbar Awakening? It's aiding both sides of a civil war in the hope neither will shoot at you long enough for you to leave, pure and simple. It's not going to stop them shooting each other for very long. We could do with an Awakening in the pro-war conservative lobby but if they haven't figured it out yet then they never will.

Update Scarecrow over at Firedoglake highlights another section of the HY Time's interview with Colonel Pinkerton.
About a month ago, the Iraqi brigade, which is predominantly Shiite, was assigned a new area and instructed to stay away from Nasr Wa Salam, Colonel Pinkerton said. But he said he believed that the Iraqi soldiers remain intent on preventing Sunni Arabs, a majority here, from controlling the area. He cites a pattern of aggression by Iraqi troops toward Abu Azzam’s men and other Sunnis, who he believes are often detained for no reason.

Recently, and without warning, Colonel Pinkerton said, 80 Iraqi soldiers in armored vehicles charged out of their sector toward Nasr Wa Salam but were blocked by an American platoon. The Iraqis refused to say where they were going and threatened to drive right through the American soldiers, whom they greatly outnumbered.

Eventually, with Apache helicopter gunships circling overhead and American gunners aiming their weapons at them, the Iraqi soldiers retreated. “It hasn’t come to firing bullets yet,” Colonel Pinkerton said.
and notes:
Back in the EPU of Washington talk shows, Lindsey Graham, who, like Joe Lieberman, gets his information from Fox News and from what Webb calls “dog and pony shows,” assures us we have al Qaeda on the run, while Bill Kristol assures us there is no civil war in Iraq. Apparently, when the Shia Iraqi troops we’ve been arming and training are willing to confront American troops so that they can kill the Sunni militias our guys are trying to work with, and only back off when we call in Apache helicopter gun ships, that doesn’t count as evidence of civil war.
It's clear from the piece that Col. Pinkerton expects that, eventually, there's going to be shooting between U.S. and Iraqi troops as the latter try to get at Sunni locals. Will Bill Kristol and the other shills concede it's a civil war then?

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