This is excellent news [well, actually it's old, but the MSM is just starting to catch on] out of some of the most troublesome parts of
The WaPo reports:
Read it here.
Tribal chiefs in
Iraq's western Anbar province and in an area near the northern city of Kirkuk, two regions teeming with insurgents, are vowing to strike back at al-Qaeda in Iraq, a Sunni Arab-led group that is waging war against Sunni tribal leaders who are cooperating with the Iraqi government and the military. Anbar tribes have formed a militia that has killed 20 insurgents from al-Qaeda in U.S. , leaders said. Iraq
Separately, more than 300 tribal chiefs, politicians, clerics, security officials and other community leaders met last week in Hawijah, about 35 miles southwest of Kirkuk, and "declared war" on al-Qaeda in Iraq. In a communique, the participants vowed "the shedding of blood" of anyone involved in "sabotage, killings, kidnappings, targeting police and army, attacking the oil and gas pipelines and their transporters, assassinating the religious and tribal figures, technicians, and doctors."
And Greg Djerejian at the Belmont Club notes:
As the US increasingly (and rightly) engages in quasi-affirmative action programs for Arab Sunni Iraq police units and the like--it is not hard to sense the trend I cautioned about months ago continue to accelerate--namely, a (very relative) rapprochment between the U.S. and Sunni, and a growing chill/ distancing between the US and Shi'a.Read it here.
Djerejian sees this as a complication; I see it as a logical and necessary development. He sees this as portending the rise of a general anti-Americanism among the Shia; I see it as a healthy balancing. Till now the US has been perceived as working on the part of the Shia against the Sunni. That could not be allowed to continue if the Sunni Iraqis were ever to be brought into a unity government in any meaningful way.
These developments, coupled with announced troop reductions, are good news, not bad.
Djerejian, like many of the administration's critics, laments the supposed "blunders" committed in the past because he, like they, labors under the false notion that a successful operation would consist of the US marching in, suppressing all opposition, organizing everything, and turning it over tied up in ribbons to the Iraqi people. That was never going to be and the administration knew it all along.
What Bush and Rumsfield have been saying all along, although few have wanted to hear it, is that we are not imposing democracy on the Iraqi people, but rather presenting them with an opportunity to create, through democratic mechanisms, their own government. The process is not nice; it is not neat; but it is necessary if a legitimate government is to emerge on the Mesopotamian plains.
Djerejian also criticizes Rummy and other administration figures for denouncing the negative drumbeat from the MSM. He makes the obvious point that MoDo and Krugman have not created the situation on the ground in Iraq, and to infer otherwise is a blatant attempt on the part of government officials to evade responsibility. But that is not what the administration is saying. It is well aware that the crucial battle is being fought not in Iraq but in the US, and in that arena the administration is right to insist on fair and balanced coverage.
Wretchard at the Belmont Club makes this point in his discussion of Rummy's press conference here.