Monday, May 4, 2009

Iraq security at risk in crackdown on militias who fought al-Qaeda

May Allah (SWT) restore the hearts of those aligned to these so-called Awakening Councils to the side of the mujahideen!!!
Courtesy of Times Online

Iraq’s impressive security gains over the past 18 months are looking increasingly fragile as the government cracks down on US-backed Sunni militias who turned on al-Qaeda.
Government forces arrested another commander of the so-called Sunni Awakening Councils over the weekend, even as senior officials warned that al-Qaeda and the ousted Baath Party of Saddam Hussein were trying to launch new attacks to coincide with a planned US army withdrawal from inside Iraqi cities by the end of next month.
The Awakening Councils are largely made up of former Sunni insurgents who started fighting their erstwhile al-Qaeda allies in 2006, angered at the extremists’ bloody attempts to spark a civil war with the Shia community.
On Saturday, Iraqi police and US forces arrested Mullah Nadim al-Jabouri and his two brothers, the leaders of the Awakening Council in Balad, just north of Baghdad, on terrorism charges. It was the latest in a string of arrests of militia leaders whose forces, combined with the US Army’s troop escalation, halted a civil war that was tearing Iraq apart.

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Now leaders of the militias, who still guard their communities against al-Qaeda attacks, are accusing the Government of trying to undermine them, playing into the hands of the terrorists.
“We signed a ceasefire agreement with American forces, just as we signed an agreement to grant us immunity from the courts, even if we killed half the American army or shot down a plane,” Mullah Jebouri said from his jail cell. “The case has been raised because I was in armed groups before ... The complaints have been raised against us because we were in armed groups falsely accused of killing and kidnapping.”
Many Awakening leaders accuse the families of al-Qaeda members they have killed in fighting of trying to have them arrested now for those very killings. In Iraq, an arrest warrant can be issued if two people level accusations at a suspect. Some leaders who were detained by Iraqi forces have since been released after the US Army raised objections.
The head of a powerful Awakening group in west Baghdad said the arrests were politically motivated by parties loyal to Iran, long accused of trying to exert its hegemony. “It’s Iran targeting us, I don’t think any decent Iraqi would target us,” Abu Ibrahim said. “It’s because the Awakening Councils stopped the Iranian expansion into Iraq.”
He said that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, was trying to prevent the Iranian-backed parties from sabotaging the reconciliation process, adding that the Shia premier had promised to have the mullah released.
Raad Ali, the Awakenings leader in the war-torn west Baghdad sector of Ghazaliyah, said the Americans had now abandoned the Sunni militias they once nurtured. “I think there’s a deal between them and the Government. We don’t have a real Government, we just have political parties, and some of them have good ties with Iran and Syria and they have a special agenda,” he said. “The truth is, they are trying to destroy us.”
While the militia leaders said none of their men were preparing to revert to their insurgent ways, a Kurdish member of the Iraqi parliament’s defence and security committee said defections were certain if the Government did not support the armed groups.
“I definitely expect some to go back [to fighting the American army and government forces]," Adel Barwali said. He added that part of the problem in the Iraqi Government, rather than the Americans, paying them, was finding the money in a budget hit hard by the economic crisis and the slump in oil prices. Militiamen frequently complain of delayed or cancelled salaries.
Mr Barwali also warned that Iraqi security forces are not yet ready to take over full control of Iraqi cities, and echoed the concerns of US commanders that the US withdrawal should be delayed in some areas. “Al-Qaeda can creep back in, especially in Baghdad,” he said.
However, the Government refused yesterday to make any change to the schedule for the departure of US troops, even as two more car bombs killed four people outside the Oil Ministry in Baghda

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