Sunni Awakening

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Déjà Vu: Iraq Turns to Sunnis to Fight al-Qaeda

US urges Maliki to pass arms to militias

(Newser) - As Iraqi forces struggle to retake Anbar from al-Qaeda affiliated militants, the government is turning to the same tactic the US used to end the Iraq war: Allying itself with local Sunni tribal militias. The US is urging Nouri al-Maliki to pass the guns it's shipping him to the... More »

Afghan Amnesty Deal Has Won Just 3% of Taliban

So much for Anbar Awakening II

(Newser) - It’s been a year since NATO launched the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program, hoping to win over Taliban fighters in much the same way it won over Sunni fighters in Iraq. But so far, it ain’t going so well. Fewer than 800 insurgents have signed up—which is... More »

Iraq Fighters Ditch US, Rejoin al-Qaeda

Sunnis are quitting 'Awakening Councils' for al-Qaeda

(Newser) - A wave of Sunni fighters whose alliance with the United States has been critical in turning the insurgent tide in Iraq have rejoined al-Qaeda, or are acting as double agents, finds the New York Times . Though the number of defections is unclear, several hundred members of the Awakening Councils have... More »

Al-Qaeda in Iraq Plots Comeback as US Departs

Disgruntled Awakening forces offered raises to switch sides again

(Newser) - Al-Qaeda in Iraq is trying to make a comeback, by luring Awakening Council fighters to defect. Awakening leaders tell the Guardian that the terrorist group is offering to pay its fighters more than the $300 a month militia members get from the government. One says he believes 100 of his... More »

Afghan Tribe to Fight Taliban in Deal for US Aid

US hopes for similar deals throughout Afghanistan

(Newser) - In a groundbreaking pact, an entire Afghan tribe has pledged to join with the US-backed government to fight the Taliban. The 400,000-strong Shinwari tribe, which controls key areas on the Pakistan border, will battle insurgents, burn down homes harboring Taliban fighters, and contribute one military-aged male from each family... More »

With Paychecks Scarce, Iraqi Awakening Unravels

(Newser) - The imminent withdrawal of US troops and the lack of funds to keep Sunni Awakening members on the payroll has led to rising violence there, the Wall Street Journal reports. The steep decline in oil revenues has left the Iraqi government broke, and former insurgents hired by the US to... More »

Suicide Bomber Kills 9 Sunni Fighters in Iraq

(Newser) - A suicide bomber walked into a crowd of US-allied Sunni paramilitaries in Iraq this morning and detonated his explosives belt, killing nine and wounding 30 others waiting in line for their salaries, Iraqi police said. The explosion took place outside the military headquarters in the town of Jbala, about 35... More »

Smaller, Fiercer Insurgency Has Iraq Worried

(Newser) - As the US military prepares to withdraw from Iraq's cities, security officials in both countries have observed that a smaller but more lethal insurgency seems to be gaining ground. Several recent bombings, believed to be orchestrated by al-Qaeda in Iraq, have killed 123 people in Baghdad and elsewhere, while members... More »

In Iraq, US Allies Fight Each Other for Control

Arrest of Sunni leader fuels tension

(Newser) - A showdown this weekend between Iraqi security forces and Sunni fighters known as the Awakening, both US allies, could signal challenges facing Iraq as the US prepares to leave, the Washington Post reports. After Iraqi and US forces arrested an Awakening leader Saturday, Sunni fighters swarmed a Baghdad neighborhood. "... More »

Maliki Charts Post-Sectarian Politics in Iraq

Shiite PM teams with secular Sunnis and even militant cleric

(Newser) - The Shiite party of PM Nouri al-Maliki has allied itself with Sunni political figures and even Moqtada al-Sadr, a major departure from earlier politics that followed ethnic and sectarian lines. writes Anthony Shadid in the Washington Post. All support a strong central government and advocate a united Iraq over a... More »

US Hands Anbar Province to Iraqis

Military cedes control of largest region in Iraq

(Newser) - The American military is finally handing over control of Anbar province, once the center of the Sunni insurgency, to Iraqi forces today. Once one of Iraq's most dangerous regions, Anbar was transformed as Sunni militants allied themselves with the US. The transfer of Anbar, delayed several times, brings the number... More »

McCain: I Didn't Mix Up Surge Timeline

Counterinsurgency tactic began before it began, he says

(Newser) - John McCain insists that he did, indeed, have his facts straight when he said Tuesday that the US troop surge had made the Sunni Awakening movement possible. Barack Obama’s camp was quick to point out that Sunni tribesman had begun their revolt against al-Qaeda months before Bush announced his... More »

Al-Qaeda Is Losing Allies Over Muslim Bloodshed

Backlash building against bin Laden

(Newser) - The Muslim world is getting fed up with al-Qaeda, the Los Angeles Times reports, questioning its bloody tactics and ideology. Even former allies are criticizing the group for killing fellow Muslims, relying on suicide bombings, and its occasional hostility toward Palestinian groups. Second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri was concerned enough to attempt... More »

Petraeus: Iraq Has Stepped Up; Gains Still Fragile

The surge is working, but things are still rough in places

(Newser) - Iraq's security has greatly improved since September, Gen. David Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee today, thanks largely to Iraqis themselves. “Iraq has also conducted a surge,” Petraeus said, pointing to the improved Iraqi army and the contribution of Sunni Awakening groups. But he warned that those... More »

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