More on how the American forces keep the pot boiling: The view from Baquba
Local civic and tribal leaders in Baquba, capital of Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, accuse the US of trying to promote and revive sectarian and racial divisions in the region, rather than working for stability. They say the main tool the Americans are currently using is the arrest of persons in Shiite areas on charges--often malicious charges--of belonging to the Mahdi Army (one tribal leader complaining that the charge of belonging to the Mahdi Army today is just like the charge of belonging to the Dawa party under Saddam), and then turning the areas over to "popular committees" composed of American-armed fighters formerly loyal to takfiiri organizations. An AlHayat journalist explains:
The final paragraph says this:
Civic notables and tribal sheikhs in Baquba accuse the American forces of using a double standard in dealing with the security situation in the city, where a Sunni militia loyal to them [meaning loyal to the American forces] controls most of the areas and neighborhoods, while [in Shiite areas] arrests continue of members of the Mahdi Army loyal to the Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr.So the first point has to do with arbitrary arrests of persons on often trumped-up charges of belonging to the Mahdi Army, with Iraqi forces following the lead of the Americans in this, rather than having regard to local requirements and circumstances. This AlHayat piece is headed: "Baquba: Tribal sheikhs accuse the Americans of turning over Shiite areas to "popular committees". So the next question is: What are these "popular committees", and why do these tribal leaders say they are an American instrument for promoting instability?
Sheikh Abdullah Salam al-Hamidawi, one of the leaders of the Hamidat tribe in Diyala, told AlHayat: "The arrest operations that are being carried out by the occupation forces in [various parts of the province of Diyala], on charges of belonging to the Mahdi Army, have as their aim the summoning-up [he means the promotion] of new armed formations, and consequently the keeping of the security situation in a state of uncertainty in Baquba, and the stirring up of sectarian and racial differences." He added that "The arrests are not based on the well-known legal basis, but rather are based on malicious accusations by agents of the American forces. And most of the people being arrested are people who have fled to Baldruz (one of the Diyala-province districts in question) to escape the terror of AlQaeda.
Sheikh Asaf al-Saadi [another tribal leader] said: "The charges of belonging to the Mahdi Army have become just like the charges of belonging to the Dawa Party under Saddam Hussein". And he urged the Iraqi forces to follow local and district [leadership] rather than following the American Forces, which are trying to instigate them by every possible way and means, not to mention their ignorance of the concepts and traditions of the Arab tribes.
The final paragraph says this:
[A security source] who asked that his name not e disclosed said: "The security situation in Diyala has ecome fragile since the permission for armed-group members who were formerly loyal to AlQaeda to take over and control certain areas in spite of the existence of the Awakening Councils. He warned that once these militias armed by the Americans are able to control these majority-Shiite areas, the result will be a return to sectarian hatred and assassinations and kidnappings. The security source said there have already been official turnovers of control from the Americans to so-called "Popular Committees" of [some of these majority-Shiite areas], a process facilitated by having popular-committee people hired by the provincial security apparatus.