Ilan Goldberg points us to two stories illustrating the problems with coopting local armed groups in the absence of big-picture political progress. First, US forces attack Awakening Council (aka Concerned Local Citizens) members:
But Awakening Council members, often lightly armed and poorly trained, say Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is not their only adversary in Diyala. Iraqi security forces remain distrustful of the former insurgents, and last week staged a raid with American forces against one of their headquarters in the town of Buhruz. The Iraqi police said the tribesmen killed a Shiite hostage during the raid and fired at the officers. United States helicopters returned fire and killed at least 10 council members.
Meanwhile, over here we see Awakening Council members trying to seize power from elected government officials in Anbar Province, threatening violence if their demands aren’t met. Indeed, it’s almost enough to make you think that Sheik Ahmed abu Risha isn’t just selflessly interested in helping the US military battle against al-Qaeda but is making his own power play for his own reasons. Shocking stuff, but true.
DoD photo by Specialist Kieran Cuddihy, U.S. Army