“Awakened” Sunnis Returning to Insurgency

Timothy Williams and Duraid Adnan suggest that the key security gains of the “surge” period in Iraq are starting to unravel:

Members of United States-allied Awakening Councils have quit or been dismissed from their positions in significant numbers in recent months, prey to an intensive recruitment campaign by the Sunni insurgency, according to government officials, current and former members of the Awakening and insurgents.

Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.

Which is all just to emphasize that nothing in Iraq has really been solved. We were able to stitch together some kind of peace and quiet that’s allowing the United States military to withdraw while holding its head high and claiming victory, which is fine as far as it goes. Still, there’s no genius “counterinsurgency” method here ready to be successfully deployed around the world.