The so-called Sunni awakening began in Anbar province in Iraq, with tribal leaders leading the way, "encouraging thousands of their followers to join the hated Iraqi police and make common cause with the equally reviled US military. Anbar, once the heart of the infamous Sunni Triangle, is now one of the safer provinces in Iraq," Martin Fletcher wrote September 10, 2007, in the UK's Times Online.
"The US military is now trying to replicate the success of Anbar in other Sunni areas by recruiting thousands of Sunni males into groups of 'concerned citizens' determined to take back their neighbourhoods," Martin wrote.
This "is an astonishing development," Martin wrote, "but as far as bragging rights go it has its limits. For a start, it began months before the 'surge', though the deployment of an additional 30,000 US troops probably emboldened more ordinary Sunnis to tackle the extremists in their midst.
"More importantly, it has done little to remedy Iraq’s most pressing problem – its sectarian civil war. The anti-American insurgency may be finally losing heat, and al-Qaeda may be off-balance, but those Shia-Sunni emnities that al-Qaeda ignited through deliberate slaughters of Shias show no sign of abating.
"The surge has managed to contain those emnities. It has reduced the sectarian violence significantly by moving US troops out of their huge bases and into 29 combat outposts in Baghdad’s worst troublespots. But while it has largely frozen the battle lines in place, there has been little corresponding effort to reconcile Shia and Sunni and heal those festering hatreds," Martin wrote.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Sam Dagher, "Sunni Muslim sheikhs join US in fighting Al Qaeda. Iraqi tribal support is linked to drop in violence in Anbar Province," Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2007.
- Martin Fletcher, "A ‘Sunni awakening’ – and a recurring nightmare," Times Online (UK), September 10, 2007.
- Leila Fadel, "Security in Iraq still elusive," McClatchy Newspapers, September 10, 2007.
- Bill Roggio, "The Sunni Civil War," The Long War Journal Blog, March 27, 2007.
- David E. Sanger, "Bush hopes to reward Sunni areas in Iraq aligned with U.S.," International Herald Tribune, September 2, 2007.
- LithiumCola, "The Myth About the Anbar Awakening," The Daily Kos, September 10, 2007.
- Spencer Ackerman, "Petraeus: What Sunni Insurgency?" TPMmuckraker, September 11, 2007.
- Bill Roggio, "The Sunni Awakening," The Long War Journal Blog, May 3, 2007.
- Jim Lobe, "Sunni Sheikh's Assassination a Blow to Bush," Inter Press Service (AlterNet), September 17, 2007.
- beachmom, "Sunni Group Bush endorsed may have killed WaPo reporter," The Daily Kos, October 16, 2007.
- David Mays, "Concerned Iraqi Citizen Movement Saves American Lives," American Forces Press Service, November 2, 2007.
- Brandon Friedman, "The Real Story Behind the Falling Casualty Rate in Iraq," The Daily Kos, November 5, 2007.