U.S.-affiliated Awakening Council members joining Qaeda ranks in Iraq.
The defections have been driven in part by frustration with the Shiite-led government, which Awakening members say is intent on destroying them, as well as by pressure from al Qaeda, said the Times according to Agence France Presse. The defections have accelerated since Iraq's inconclusive parliamentary elections in March, which have left Sunnis uncertain of retaining what little political influence they have in the country. The switch in loyalties by Awakening members poses a new threat to Iraq's social and political balance as the US military prepares to withdraw next year, The Times noted.
Lt. Gen. Tariq al-Assawi, commander of security in Diyala province, said Awakening members are increasingly less reliable. "They are not warning us about car bombs that go off in places they are responsible for securing," he said. "A lot of them are definitely helping the insurgents." In July, U.S. officials estimated there were 94,000 Sunnis in Awakening groups.
The United States established regional Awakening Councils for Sunnis to participate in and rebuild their communities for a salary. However, Nathum al-Jubouri, who recently quit as an Awakening Council leader in Salahuddin Province, told the Times there was a deadly incentive to leave the groups. "At this point, Awakening members have two options: Stay with the government, which would be a threat to their lives, or help al-Qaeda by being a double agent," he said, UPI reported.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Daily Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)|
|Date:||Oct 18, 2010|
|Previous Article:||Iraqiya confirms talks with State of Law still an option, but not Maliki premiership.|
|Next Article:||Lebanon-Premier resignation.|