Posted by Ilan Goldenberg
As I’ve written before, I’m skeptical of the Anbar strategy. My concerns are about whether or not it can actually be replicated in other parts of the country. Even more worrisome is that we just end up arming the Sunnis, who still hate the Shi’a and consider them public enemy number one. And that eventually the Sunni tribes end up fighting it out with the central government. Prime Minister Maliki has expressed his concerns about this strategy in the past. But now comes this
The largest Shiite political coalition in Iraq demanded Tuesday that the U.S. military abandon its recruitment of Sunni tribesmen into the Iraqi police, saying some are members of "armed terrorist groups" and are engaged in killing, kidnapping and extortion under the guise of fighting the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.
The statement by the United Iraqi Alliance, the Shiite bloc of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, is the most direct rebuke to a policy that U.S. military officers hold up as one of their most important achievements over the past year…
"We condemn and reject embracing those terrorist elements which committed the most hideous crimes against our people," the United Iraqi Alliance statement said. It also condemned "authorizing the groups to conduct security acts away from the jurisdiction of the government and without its knowledge."
The statement went on: "We demand that the American administration stop this adventure, which is rejected by all the sons of the people and its national political powers…"
Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, described these partnerships as a "success story" and said 1,700 volunteers from the town of Abu Ghraib graduated last week after a month of police academy training.
"Anbar now stands as an inspiring example to the rest of the country for what is possible, as citizens come together to reject extremist behavior," Odierno said.
This is a big deal. This is the largest bloc in the Central government openly condemning one of the cornerstones of American policy in Iraq. Not good