« | »

Shocker: 6K Iraqi Sunnis Join Pact With US

From a despondent Associated Press:

Sunni tribal leaders sign a security pact in Hawija, 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2007.

6,000 Sunnis Join Pact With US in Iraq

By LAUREN FRAYER

HAWIJA, Iraq (AP) — Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.

The new alliance — called the single largest single volunteer mobilization since the war began — covers the “last gateway” for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias — mainly Sunnis — that had turned again al-Qaida and other groups.

Extremists have sought new footholds in northern areas once loyal to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party as the U.S.-led gains have mounted across central regions…

The ceremony to pledge the 6,000 new fighters was presided over by dozen sheiks — each draped in black robes trimmed with gold braiding — who signed the contract on behalf of tribesmen at a small U.S. outpost in north-central Iraq.

For about $275 a month — nearly the salary for the typical Iraqi policeman — the tribesmen will man about 200 security checkpoints beginning Dec. 7, supplementing hundreds of Iraqi forces already in the area.

About 77,000 Iraqis nationwide, mostly Sunnis, have broken with the insurgents and joined U.S.-backed self-defense groups

Village mayors and others who signed Wednesday’s agreement say about 200 militants have sought refuge in the area, about 30 miles southwest of Kirkuk on the edge of northern Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Hawija is a predominantly Sunni Arab cluster of villages which has long been an insurgent flashpoint.

The recently arrived militants have waged a campaign of killing and intimidation to try to establish a new base, said Sheikh Khalaf Ali Issa, mayor of Zaab village.

“They killed 476 of my citizens, and I will not let them continue their killing,” Issa said…

The Iraqi government has begun resettling some of those Arabs to their home regions, making room for thousands of Kurds who have gradually returned to Kirkuk since Saddam’s ouster.

Tension has been rising over the city’s status — whether it will join the semi-autonomous Kurdish region or continue being governed by Baghdad.

“Hawija is the gateway through which all our communities — Kurdish, Turkomen and Arab alike — can become unsafe,” said Abu Saif al-Jabouri, mayor of al-Multaqa village north of Kirkuk. “Do I love my neighbor in Hawija? That question no longer matters. I must work to help him, because his safety helps me.”

More good news from Iraq for our media to ignore.

For about $275 a month — nearly the salary for the typical Iraqi policeman — the tribesmen will man about 200 security checkpoints beginning Dec. 7, supplementing hundreds of Iraqi forces already in the area.

Of course the Associated Press had to point out the venality of it all.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, November 28th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Shocker: 6K Iraqi Sunnis Join Pact With US”

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.


« Front Page | To Top
« | »