Sunday, December 23, 2007

Al-Hayat: The GreenZone fears the awakening movement as a potential Sunni-Shia nationalist alliance

The Central Council of Iraqi Arab Sheikhs (representing tribes--mostly Sunni--in the West and North of Iraq) issued a statement in support of the nationalist, anti-federalism stance adopted by Arab tribes--mostly Shiite--in the South of Iraq, and Al-Hayat says it was this emerging sign of Sunni-Shiite solidarity on the tribal level that frightened Hakim and the Maliki government into their new-found opposition to continued organizational existence/expansion of the awakening-council movement.

To put it another way: Where the recent Nahrainnet reports pointed to a plan by the Americans to organize the awakening councils into fighting units in the interests of the occupation (whether contra resistance movements or contra a recalcitrant Iran-leaning GreenZone administration), this Al-Hayat account says Hakim and the government have a quite different fear: namely that the awakenings could end up joining together as a nationalist front against major parts of the American/Hakim scheme.

After summarizing the statements of Hakim and the Defence Minister against any institutional existence for the awakenings, the Al-Hayat reporter says this:
This new government attitude on the "awakening councils", which enjoy American support and now have over 71,000 members, comes in the wake of a political and public-relations campaign led by the Supreme Council and other influential parties in the South rejecting the formation of awakening councils in the South. ... These parties that hold the reins of power in the South [meaning local-government control] fear the emergence of councils of tribes because they could be political and military rivals who reject the implementation of a federal [region] in the Center and South, which is considered the [flagship] strategic project of powerful Shiite forces.
In other words, the Supreme Council, and the other GreenZone powers that be, are adopting this "new" stance of reining in the awakening council movement, because they fear it could turn into a nationalist and anti-federalist ("federalist" in the Supreme Council sense of a large nine-governate region of the Center and South) alliance between the Sunni Arab tribes of the North and West, with the Shiite Arab those of the South. By way of indicating a likely trigger for this new concern, the journalist quotes from a declaration issued recently by the Central Council for Arab Tribes (mostly West and North, mostly Sunni) which reads as follows:
The stance of the Arab tribes of the South of Iraq in opposition to the proposals for the partition of Iraq and the dissipation of its culture and natural resources, and in opposition to the blatant Iranian intervention in the affairs of Iraq aimed at spreading fitna among the people of a single house--this is an expression of the essential nature of the noble Iraqi tribal personality, and it refutes all of the proposals [or claims or propaganda] and all of the lies that they have they have tried to get our people of the South to adopt.
The isn't any further detail (apart from a summary of the government's plan of absorbing only a portion of the Sunni awakening fighters into the police and army). But the journalist does take the trouble of earmarking the whole tribal-awakening issue as a major challenge for the coming year. He notes the possibility that this could end up threatening the recent "security progress" in Iraq, and he also refers to what he calls an "escalation in coordination between Shiite and Sunni tribes to work out a common stance".

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are about 77 tribe and 600 sub-tribe.

They are mostly Shiite from Basra, Samawa, and Ammara provinces

There are very few Sunnis from Abu Al-Khasib area in Basra [there are no Sunnis in these provinces].

The leader is Kadhim Al-A'Anizan [Shiite name] recently went to Egypt and met Egyptian officials there.

They are pro-al-Sadr, not in the religious sense but the Arabism-Shiite sense.

I hope these information are useful.

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