Wide Awake

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"Wide Awake"

The New York Times‘ look at Concerned Local Citizens getting blown up and the prospect that some of their recruits are going to start deserting is interesting, but for my money the most interested part is in the eighth graf (emphasis added):

Officials say that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has a two-pronged strategy: directing strikes against Awakening members to intimidate and punish them for cooperating with the Americans, and infiltrating the groups to glean intelligence and discredit the movement in the eyes of an already wary Shiite-led government. “Al Qaeda is trying to assassinate all the Awakening members that support the government, but I believe that criminal militias are also doing this,” Mr. Bolani said during a recent interview in Taji.

This infiltration issue was, as I recall, the fatal flaw in what was really Version 1.0 of the Awakening strategy several years ago when we were first trying to build up the Iraqi police force. We wanted to get Sunni personnel to join the police in Sunni areas, but what would up happening was that Sunni insurgents just signed up to join the police. Our trust-based approach to recruiting and arming our new CLC allies seems to be vulnerable to the precise same flaw. Since the whole point is to sign up former insurgents, there’s no real way to screen out tell the difference between an insurgent infiltrating the operation and an ex-insurgent who’s decided to change his ways.

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