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1 Year Ago: Maliki Opposed ‘Awakening’

A timely flashback to an Associated Press article we posted back on one year ago to the day:

Blindfolded terrorist suspects are brought to an Iraqi army base in Baqouba, 60 kilometers (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, Saturday, June 23, 2007.

U.S. makes improbable Sunni ally in Iraq

By LAUREN FRAYER, Associated Press Writer

BAQOUBA, Iraq – Two months ago, a dozen Sunni insurgents — haggard, hungry and in handcuffs — stepped tentatively into a U.S.-Iraqi combat outpost near Baqouba and asked to speak to the commander: “We’re out of ammunition, but we want to help you fight al-Qaida.”

Now hundreds of fighters from the 1920s Revolution Brigades, an erstwhile Sunni insurgent group, work as scouts and gather intelligence for the 10,000-strong American force in the fifth day of its mission to remove al-Qaida gunmen and bomb makers from the Diyala provincial capital…

Each U.S. Army company in Baqouba, an hour’s drive northeast of Baghdad, has a scout from the Brigades, others have become a ragtag intelligence network and still others fight, said Capt. Ricardo Ortega, a 34-year-old Puerto Rico native of the 2nd Infantry Division.

The Army has given some of the one-time insurgents special clothing — football-style jerseys with numbers on the chest — to mark them as American allies.

U.S. commanders say help from the Brigades operatives was key to planning and executing the Baqouba operation, one of a quartet of U.S. offensives against al-Qaida on the flanks of the Iraqi capital.

The informants have given the American troops exact coordinates of suspected al-Qaida safe houses, with details down to the color of the gate out front, said Lt. Col. Avanulas Smiley, 40, commander of the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and a Tacoma, Wash., native.

Most of the Brigades members, whom U.S. officials call “concerned local nationals,” hail from eastern Baqouba, while the bulk of the fighting has so far raged in western Baqouba.

But with contacts among fellow Sunni fighters on the city’s west side, they have fed American soldiers critical information about al-Qaida positions.

The American decision to bring insurgents into the mission has angered Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who told visiting Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week that the tactic — getting too cozy with former enemies — would backfire.

But U.S. officials defend the strategy, first tested in Iraq’s once-volatile western Anbar province, where U.S. officials tout success in turning Sunni tribal leaders against al-Qaida

Get it? Maliki was dead set against the ‘Sunni Awakening.’ He is a Shiite.

Prime Minister Maliki worked adamantly against the very strategy that has helped to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Funny, though, how our media will suddenly forget that now that he is an Obama supporter.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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