Sakset/Fra hofta

Amerikanerne forsøker noe nytt i Irak: de bevæpner sunni-opprørere som tidligere har kjempet mot dem, men som nå har fått nok av Al Qaida og er villig til å samarbeide mot en felles fiende.

Det har helt av seg selv oppstått en reaksjon i sunni-triangelet mot Al Qaidas brutale metoder. Det er denne reaksjonen amerikanerne forsøker å kapitalisere på.

American officers who have engaged in what they call outreach to the Sunni groups say many of them have had past links to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia but grew disillusioned with the Islamic militants’ extremist tactics, particularly suicide bombings that have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. In exchange for American backing, these officials say, the Sunni groups have agreed to fight Al Qaeda and halt attacks on American units. Commanders who have undertaken these negotiations say that in some cases, Sunni groups have agreed to alert American troops to the location of roadside bombs and other lethal booby traps.
The strategy of arming Sunni groups was first tested earlier this year in Anbar Province, the desert hinterland west of Baghdad, and attacks on American troops plunged after tribal sheiks, angered by Qaeda strikes that killed large numbers of Sunni civilians, recruited thousands of men to join government security forces and the tribal police. With Qaeda groups quitting the province for Sunni havens elsewhere, Anbar has lost its long-held reputation as the most dangerous place in Iraq for American troops.

Men tiltaket vekker motvilje blant shiaene, for de har ikke merket noen større samarbeidsvilje fra sunniene.

Although the American engagement with the Sunni groups has brought some early successes against Al Qaeda, particularly in Anbar, many of the problems that hampered earlier American efforts to reach out to insurgents remain unchanged. American commanders say the Sunni groups they are negotiating with show few signs of wanting to work with the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. For their part, Shiite leaders are deeply suspicious of any American move to co-opt Sunni groups that are wedded to a return to Sunni political dominance.

Hvordan hindre at våpnene blir vendt mot amerikanerne selv?

One of the conditions set by the American commanders who met in Baghdad was that any group receiving weapons must submit its fighters for biometric tests that would include taking fingerprints and retinal scans. The American conditions, senior officers said, also include registering the serial numbers of all weapons, steps the Americans believe will help in tracing fighters who use the weapons in attacks against American or Iraqi troops. The fighters who have received American backing in the Amiriya district of Baghdad were required to undergo the tests, the officers said.

Noe er på gang i sunni-områdene. De har fått nok av Al Qaida.

on Sunday, 130 tribal sheiks in Salahuddin met in the provincial capital, Tikrit, to form police units that would «defend» against Al Qaeda.
«They say, ‘We hate you because you are occupiers’ » he said, » ‘but we hate Al Qaeda worse, and we hate the Persians even more.’ » Sunni militants refer to Iraq’s Shiites as Persians, a reference to the strong links between Iraqi Shiites and the Shiites who predominate in Iran.

Regjeringen til Nouri al-Maliki klager over at amerikanerne bevæpner sunniene, men får til svar at de heller ikke har gjort noe for å avvæpne shia-militsene.

U.S. Arming Sunnis in Iraq to Battle Old Qaeda Allies