Thursday, September 27, 2007


President Bush on September 13:

Diyala province is the site of a growing popular uprising against the extremists. And some local tribes are working alongside coalition and Iraqi forces to clear out the enemy and reclaim their communities.

Or, er, maybe not:

Sunnis May Stop Work With U.S. in Diyala

A U.S. effort to recruit former Sunni insurgents north of Baghdad -- considered crucial to expanding the fight against extremists -- is in danger of collapse because the government has been unable or unwilling to accept the volunteers into Iraqi security forces.

...The Interior Ministry says it's about numbers. It has capped Diyala's force at 13,000 -- which is already over the limit -- meaning there is no room for the "concerned local nationals," known as CLNs.

But there are accusations that Iraq's sectarian rifts are playing a role.

...Some CLN members claim the Shiite-led government is worried about handing Sunnis too much influence and power in the province.

...U.S. and Iraqi officials say 5,000 more Iraqi police are needed in Diyala, one of the most dangerous parts of Iraq for U.S. and government forces. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also endorsed the idea of incorporating the volunteers into Diyala's security forces when he visited Baqouba in July.

"If I could, I'd hire 1,000 more CLNs in Baqouba alone, but my hands are tied," said Gen. Ghanim al-Qureyshi, director general of Diyala police. "The central government will not give me the budget," he added with a shrug....

"I worry this (tension) is going to explode, and we'll revert back to these individuals supporting al-Qaida," said Col. David Sutherland, the U.S. military commander in Diyala province. "It weighs heavily on my mind." ...

Well, Colonel, your commander in chief won the only battle that matters to him -- the battle of Washington, earlier this month -- so I bet it doesn't weight heavily on his. Not anymore.

(Via LeftLink.)

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