Via Ilan Goldenberg, we see that Shiites don’t like our new insurgency-arming plan: “The largest Shiite political coalition in Iraq demanded Tuesday that the U.S. military abandon its recruitment of Sunni tribesmen into the Iraqi police, saying some are members of ‘armed terrorist groups’ and are engaged in killing, kidnapping and extortion under the guise of fighting the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq.”
I’m in no position to say exactly what the true facts of the matter are, and probably nobody in the United States is (which is, of course, part of the problem) but the existence of the controversy, rather than the merits of anyone’s arguments, is the crux of the issue here. Absent political reconciliation, forming opportunistic alliances with disparate Iraqi groups just amounts to fueling the civil war. Iraq’s government doesn’t like our new Sunni allies, and our new Sunni allies don’t like Iraq’s government either. At this point, there’s little or nothing we can do to make them work out their differences peacefully, but for the love of God we could at least stop pouring gasoline on the conflict.