Sunday, December 30, 2007

Paying protection in Iraq 

Nice little country you've got here, General Petraeus. Be a shame if something were to happen to it . . .
Dahr Jamail says that a more peaceful Iraq has been achieved by paying what could basically be described as protection money to the former resistance fighters:
Late in 2007, the U.S. military began paying monthly wages of 300 dollars to former militants, calling them now "concerned local citizens."
This explains some of the odd terminology I have been reading in the Associated Press and AFP cutlines for recent photos from Iraq:

Here are "security volunteers" checking vehicles entering the primarily Sunni Azamiyah neighborhood of north Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Dec. 23.

This AFP photo describes "A Sunni Arab awakening member" as he patrols a market in Baghdad's al-Adhamiyah district, 08 December 2007.

And here is a "concerned local citizen" standing guard over a weapons trafficking suspect during a joint patrol with U.S. and Iraqi troops in Hawr Rajab, a predominantly Sunni area of southern Baghdad, Iraq in this Oct. 9, 2007 file photo.
But it isn't going to be a permanent situation, oh no. The idea is that these "volunteers" are going to be disbanded just as soon as the security situation in Iraq allows it. Jamal continues:
While this policy has cut violence in al-Anbar, it has also increased political divisions between the dominant Shia political party and the Sunnis – the majority of these "concerned citizens" being paid are Sunni Muslims. Prime Minister Maliki has said these "concerned local citizens" will never be part of the government's security apparatus, which is predominantly composed of members of various Shia militias.
Its a civil war waiting to happen.

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