Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another lesson in civil-war creation: The Gaza model in Sadr City

The Maliki government confirmed that there will be Awakening-like council(s) set up in Sadr City, moving quickly to replace the sectarian-war implications of yesterday's announcement on a sectarian website (see prior post) with the politically correct version. The objective, according to the government, will not be to "hang Mahdi Army members from lampposts if they resist government forces", but rather to provide the residents with food and security. AlHayat reports:
The government is working on establishment of Awakening Councils in Sadr City, to combat outlaws....The spokesman for the Baghdad Law-enforcement Plan [the surge document], Tahsin al-Sheikhali, announced that the government is determined to establish a Law-support Council, on the model of the Awakenings, in Sadr City, to combat outlaws. He explained that the government's attention will first of all be focused on disarming those members who constitute a security-danger to the residents of the area, and to offer basic services to the citizens such as food and medicine. He indicated that [the idea of] support councils in Sadr City falls within the National Reconciliation initiative, which includes support councils to work simultaneously with government policies to support security and offer basic services, and he suggested that a lot of residents will be interested in volunteering for these councils.
On the question who will take the lead role in setting these up, AlHayat offers this hint:
The leader of the American forces in Baghdad, Major General Jeffrey Hammond, stressed that there is a plan for the formation of "Sons of Iraq" councils in Sadr City, for the protection of residential neighborhoods, on the model of what was done in Anbar.
This is the Gaza model: The occupier besieges and harasses militarily the stronghold of the resistance faction (Gaza/Sadr City), then offers relief to residents on condition they renounce the resistance faction (Sadrist/Hamas) and join hands with the collaborators (Awakenings/Fatah), who are more intent on hanging their sectarian rivals from lampposts, on behalf of the occupier, than in acting as a relief agency.

What about it, Juan Cole and Marc Lynch? The liberal blogosphere won't mention any of this unless they have one of the two of you to rely on as an authority. The Americans are starting another phase of the "civil war". How long will you be silent?

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