Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quagmire: Payments for Protection Aren't Relationships

Great encouragement is taken by our war criminals in the reduction of violence since The Surge, and much is being made of our working with former 'insurgents' in the form of Sunni peacekeeping in Iraq. The fact that they are accepting handouts to make our peace hasn't been made so much of.

The Shi'ite ruling forces are making it clear that this militarization of their former oppressors is not going down all that well, anyway. But now it seems we're losing control of the very program our warmongers were taking such pride in.

In Iraq, it is big news when a Shi'ite leader extols the virtues of Sunni fighters. But that is what happened just a few days ago, on Dec. 21, when Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of Iraq's largest Shi'ite political party, offered some praise for the mostly Sunni volunteers who have been key to this year's dramatic drop in insurgent violence. "They are practicing an honorable role, they are expressing the unity of Iraqis in confronting the enemies of Iraq."

Hakim, however, mentioned them in the same breath as the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi army and police. And he stressed that the ultimate legitimacy of the so-called "Concerned Local Citizens" (CLC) program hinged on incorporating its members into the government's security forces. Echoing the view of the Iraqi and American governments, Hakim insisted that the program should "not be a substitute for" the Iraqi Army and Police.

But that is precisely the problem. According to the U.S. military, the vast majority of CLCs — about 50,000 out of more than 70,000 — have no interest in joining Iraq's police force of army. They joined the program for the prospect of a steady paycheck in Iraq's moribund economy, and remain mistrustful of the Shi'ite-dominated government and its security forces.
Grigsby is aware that some Iraqi leaders are tempted to treat CLC groups as a way to provide employment to men in their communities. He stressed that it was not designed to be a jobs program. "The intent of the program is not economic development," Grigsby said. "The intent of the program is security." That distinction, though, is lost on many Iraqis.

The Americans say they are already looking ahead to what will happen to CLCs who do not become police or soldiers. On the afternoon of Dec. 23, Ambassador Ryan Crocker emphasized to reporters that the U.S. has already begun a $155 million program designed to provide vocational education and job training to CLCs. But, as with many initiatives in Iraq, the jobs program will, in the end, depend on the Iraqi government. It has pledged $155 million of its own. But Iraq's corrupt and sectarian government has so far been unable to move forward on basic issues like how to share oil revenue. Its willingness and ability to administer a jobs program for Sunni men is questionable to say the least.

So sad that Rent-A-Sunni is not working out for the occupied White House. Although finally the highly placed bumblers have begun to work with the Evil Axis types in order to create a peace which they may find better for getting votes than their wars, it isn't impressing the recent targets they're now making nice with.

The lack of developing relationships has taken a pretty big bite out of the White House efforts to show itself as being in control. It will improve our country's relationships, and standing, mightily when the change coming in 2008 comes about.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this true? From what sources was this information obtained?

5:12 PM  

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