Unexpected Allies Emerge in Diyala

Local Sunnis in restive province lend a hand in rooting out insurgents
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2007 10:38 AM CDT
A US soldier patrols a street in the restive city of Baquba in...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Unexpected cooperation from frustrated residents has led US troops in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad, into an unlikely arrangement. Local Sunnis' default reaction to the Americans has long been uncooperative at best, but a group called Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has so escalated violence that residents are seeking help from the troops they once saw as occupiers, the Times reports.

The locals have relaxed their opposition now that they anticipate troop reductions. Some of the Sunnis are former militants, but the Americans look the other way beacuse they desperately need the help against the hard-line jihadists who have littered Diyala's roads with explosives. Says one US commander: "It is the only way that we can keep Al Qaeda out."