Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Nov. 28 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.
This sort of thing is a two birds, one stone deal. Not only do our forces get the aid of these fighters, but they won’t have to worry about facing them in battle. If they can be trusted, of course. That remains an issue, but results lately have been pretty positive in this area. Everyone wants to play on the winning team.
Well, almost everyone:
Female Bomber Wounds Seven U.S. Troops
A woman wearing an explosives belt blew herself up near an American patrol northeast of Baghdad – a rare female suicide bombing that wounded seven U.S. troops and five Iraqis, the U.S. military said Wednesday.
What we’re going to have keep in mind is that this sort of thing is going to happen more or less forever. No matter how many deals are brokered, no matter how many agreements are made, no matter how much time passes with Iraqis enjoying peace and security, there are going to be those willing to trade their mortal lives for a bit of terror and violence.
Hopefully we can get to the point where these attacks are uncommon enough to seem unusual.
Over the past six or eight months there have been complaints that our alliances with various tribes and militias are nothing more than bribery. And in some cases that’s probably absolutely true. We agree to stop killing them and give them some cash, they agree to stop attacking us and to help provide security against the dead-enders and terrorists. Cash is one thing we have plenty of. We just need to make sure it’s getting spent on the right things.
That said, not everyone is doing it only for the money:
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.
Most Iraqis have more to gain from peace than war, and as the fighting dies down more and more of them are going to work harder to make the peace a lasting one.