Highlights

 
Quotable
This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.
Plato
Original Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
March 6, 2008

Sahwa Forces Challenge Govt, and Win


by Jim Lobe

BAQUBA - The conflict between Sahwa forces and the Iraqi government in Diyala has resulted in more power for the Sahwa.

Tensions rose in early February when men dressed in Iraqi security personnel uniforms kidnapped two women. Their naked bodies were found later.

Before and after that incident, Sahwa forces have accused the police chief of Diyala province, Ghanim al-Qureyshi, of allowing Shi'ite militiamen and death squads to operate with impunity against Sunnis.

The Sahwa, referred to as Concerned Local Citizens, and Awakening Groups, by the US military, were formed to battle al-Qaeda. Members are paid 300 dollars a month by occupation forces, and now number over 80,000 across Iraq. The Sunni-dominated groups form a counterweight to the government security apparatus, which has long been known to comprise primarily Shi'ite militiamen.

After the case of the women, the Sahwa in Baquba, 40 km northeast of Baghdad, gave Qureyshi a deadline to apologize, and to arrest the men responsible.

"We hereby declare suspension of all cooperation with US military, Iraqi security forces and the local government," Abu Abdullah, spokesman for the Awakening Council in Diyala province announced after the deadline passed.

Shortly thereafter hundreds of members of the Awakening Council shut their offices and held three separate demonstrations in Baquba. The government in Baghdad promised to send a committee to investigate the incident, following which the Sahwa of Diyala resumed security duties in the city.

This did not last long, as the Sahwa accused government security forces of carrying out further attacks against Sunni people in and around Baquba. Sahwa forces then cut all ties with government and occupation forces, and left their security posts.

But after March 1, the provincial government seems to have agreed to many of the demands made by the Sahwa. This development shows the increasing power the Sunni group has against the Shi'ite-dominated government.

A Sahwa member said they have been promised the resignation of Qureyshi, the nomination of four Sunni assistants to be available to the new police chief, employment of 5,000 members of the Sahwa as government security personnel, and for the government police to stay out of predominantly Sunni districts.

Sahwa members returned to their posts and security duties, and have held street parties featuring a popular music band, in a show of defiance to police chief Qureyshi.

Recent comments by Iraqi security officials underscore the wide gap between them and the Sahwa.

General Mahdi Subeih from the interior ministry told the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper in London Mar. 3: "The growth of the security role of members of the Awakening Councils has made them a third security force in the country alongside the army and the police."

Subeih said "the rebellion by some of the members of the Awakening Councils and the confrontations that erupted between them and the security forces reveal the depth of the chasm between the two sides."


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • US Jews Open to Palestinian Unity Govt
    3/26/2009

  • Bipartisan Experts Urge 'Partnership' With Russia
    3/17/2009

  • Obama Administration Insists It's Neutral in Salvador Poll
    3/14/2009

  • NGOs Hail Congressional Moves to Ease Embargo
    3/12/2009

  • Call to 'Resist and Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support
    3/7/2009

  • Washington Ends Diplomatic Embargo of Syria
    3/4/2009

  • Diplomatic, Aid Spending Set to Rise Under Obama Budget
    2/28/2009

  • Many Muslims Reject Terror Tactics, Back Some Goals
    2/26/2009

  • Lugar Report Calls for New Cuba Policy
    2/24/2009

  • U.S.-Israel Storm Clouds Ahead?
    2/20/2009

  • Calls Mount for Obama to Appoint 'Truth Commission'
    2/20/2009

  • Washington's Praise of Venezuelan Vote Suggests D├ętente
    2/19/2009

  • Rightward Shift in Israeli Polls Creates New Headaches
    2/13/2009

  • US Advised to Back Somalia Reconciliation Efforts
    2/12/2009

  • Hawks Urge Boosting Military Spending
    2/5/2009

  • More Troops, More Worries,
    Less Consensus on Afghanistan
    2/4/2009

  • Report: Most Citizens Kept in Dark on Govt Spending
    2/2/2009

  • Obama Raises Hopes of
    Mideast Experts
    1/28/2009

  • Obama Picks Israel-Arab, Afghanistan-Pakistan Negotiators
    1/23/2009

  • Rights Groups Applaud Move to Halt Gitmo Trials
    1/22/2009

  • Obama Offers Internationalist Vision
    1/21/2009

  • Around the World, High Hopes for Obama
    1/20/2009

  • Liberals, Realists Set to Clash in Obama Administration
    1/19/2009

  • Obama Urged to Take Bold Steps Toward Cuba Normalization
    1/15/2009

  • Clinton Stresses 'Cooperative Engagement,' 'Smart Power'
    1/14/2009

  • Bush Foreign Policy Legacy Widely Seen as Disastrous
    1/14/2009

  • Networks' Int'l News Coverage at Record Low in 2008
    1/6/2009

  • Amnesty Calls on Rice to Drop 'Lopsided' Gaza Stance
    1/3/2009

  • Israeli Attack May Complicate Obama's Plans
    12/30/2008

  • Report: Recognizing Hamas Could Help Peace
    12/19/2008

  • Business Groups Support Dismantling Cuba Embargo
    12/8/2008

  • Mumbai Massacre Seen as Major Blow to Regional Strategy
    12/5/2008

  • Obama Urged to Quickly Engage Iran, Syria
    12/3/2008

  • Diplomacy, Multilateralism Stressed by Obama Team
    12/2/2008

  • Obama Foreign Policy: Realists to Reign?
    11/28/2008

  • Hemispheric Group Calls for Major Changes in Americas Policy
    11/25/2008

  • Greybeards Urge Overhaul of Global Governance
    11/21/2008

  • Intelligence Analysts See Multi-Polar, Risky World By 2025
    11/21/2008

  • Obama Urged to Strengthen Ties with UN
    11/20/2008

  • Obama-Tied Think-Tank Calls for Pakistan Shift
    11/18/2008

  • Obama Advised to Forgo More Threats to Iran
    11/17/2008

  • First, Close Gitmo,
    Say Rights Groups
    11/11/2008

  • Obama's Foreign Policy:
    No Sharp Break From Bush
    11/11/2008

  • Coca Cultivation Up Despite Six Years of Plan Colombia
    11/7/2008

  • Obama to Seek Global Re-engagement, But How Much?
    11/6/2008

  • Two, Three, Many Grand Bargains?
    11/3/2008

  • Moving Towards a 'Grand Bargain' in Afghanistan
    10/19/2008

  • Top Ex-Diplomats Slam 'Militarization' of Foreign Policy
    10/16/2008

  • Bush Set to Go With a Whimper, Not a Bang
    10/15/2008

  • Pakistan 'Greatest Single Challenge' to Next President
    10/8/2008

  • Senate Passes Nuke Deal Over Escalation Fears
    10/3/2008

  • Brief Talks With Syria Spur Speculation
    10/1/2008

  • Iran Resolution Shelved in Rare Defeat for AIPAC
    9/27/2008

  • Bipartisan Group Urges Deeper Diplomacy with Muslim World
    9/25/2008

  • White House Still Cautious on Georgia
    9/6/2008

  • US' Somalia Policy Likely to Bring Blowback
    9/4/2008

  • Iran Could Reap Benefits of U.S.-Russian Tensions
    8/28/2008

  • A Really Bad Couple of Weeks for Pax Americana
    8/24/2008

  • Success of Attack on Iran's Nuclear Program Doubtful
    8/9/2008

  • US Gets No Traction in the Middle East
    8/5/2008

  • Gates Strategy Stresses Unconventional Warfare
    8/1/2008

  • Air Force Think Tank Advises Against Iran Attack
    7/31/2008

  • Pakistani PM May Be Pincushion for U.S. Frustration
    7/26/2008

  • Realists Urge Bush to Drop Iran Precondition
    7/23/2008

  • McCain Knee-Capped by Maliki
    7/22/2008

  • Jim Lobe, works as Inter Press Service's correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau. He has followed the ups and downs of neo-conservatives since well before their rise in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2003 Antiwar.com