Sunday, August 24, 2008

Iraq's national government pledges roles for Sahwa members

BAGHDAD, Aug. 23 (VOI) – The Iraqi government will not turn its back on the Sahwa tribal fighters, according to the official spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command (BOC), adding applicable Sahwa fighters are still being incorporated into the Iraqi security agencies.

"The Iraqi government has set up an ad hoc committee from the BOC and the Committee on Implementation of National Reconciliation to incorporate the Sahwa recruits into security authorities. Administrative orders were given to include 13,000 Sahwa recruits into the interior ministry agencies," Maj. General Qassem Atta told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI).
Sahwa councils formed up in a number of Iraqi provinces like al-Anbar, Diala, Ninewa and Salah al-Din with the aim of mustering political and local tribal powers to fight armed groups, particularly al-Qaeda network, in those areas.

(Aswat Aliraq)

Either the government is belatedly telling the whole story, or belatedly realizing that cutting off Sahwa (Sunni Awakening) fighters would be politically stupid.

The government's reluctance to employ former Sunni insurgents is perfectly understandable on the one hand. After all, how do you know they can be trusted? On the other hand, the Sunni Awakening itself represented a commitment to a united Iraq. The government made the right move in looking to incorporate the Sahwa fighters into the general Iraq security forces. Some of them will end up being rejected, but that's OK. The effort--which Iraq can certainly afford as a result of its oil revenue--will serve the same sort of notice as al-Maliki's willingness to confront the Sadrist militias.

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