Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Three Councils of Anbar.

A lot has been said about the Awakening, Salvation and Revolts councils of Anbar and I noticed there was some confusion about which is which, this is why I think this short report from Al-Mada could be useful:

A member of the Anbar Awakening Council said that forces loyal to the council are close to clear Ramadi from terrorists who destroyed the city with the sabotage acts against society and infrastructure, adding that these forces are almost done clearing Heet, Kubeisa, Rutba, Barwana and Baghdadi while progress toward Fallujah, Huseiba and Haditha remains slow because the formations of the Awakening are still humble (in those areas).
This member explained that the Awakening relies essentially on the residents of the towns themselves to deal with terrorists since they know the routes and places they use to move and hide as well as other factors that make the locals much better than others at chasing down the terrorists.

The member, who's close to Sheik Sattar chief of the Awakening Council, denied any connection or cooperation between their fighters and the Anbar Rebels organization pointing out that the mission of the latter is to take revenge upon criminals who had murdered people related to the members of the group.
He stressed that the Awakening forces do not use assassinations or unnecessary killing but rather tries to establish rule of law through putting the elements they capture in jail until they get what they deserve under the law, yet he said it wasn't unlikely that some mistakes were made by some of the council's elements but also asserting that the council holds accountable anyone who makes mistakes.

On the other hand the member said the council is planning to form a political body that will have independent elements—judges, intellectuals, and people who possess the ability to run the country. This council will participate in future elections under the title "Iraq Awakening Council" and will be headed by Sheik Sattar followed by the Anbar Salvation Council whose chief if Sheik Hameed al-Hayis.
The council member clarified that the council itself will not practice actual leadership, instead it will be left to the technocrats to assume positions of leadership, adding that the political platform isn't complete yet and would be announced soon.

One of the reassuring things is that the fighters in the Awakening and Salvation realize what their role is about. I think announcing that they will transform into a political body when the war with al-Qaeda is over reflects maturity and consciousness about the nature and requirements of the next phase. Even better we hear them say they want to include technocrats and men of law and even give them the lead, and this is a healthy attitude because it shows that this group recognizes that the next phase will need qualified civilians, not rebels.

The other pleasing part of the news is that the council prefers handing detainees over to the authorities so the law can take its course instead of assassinations and unsanctioned killing and this is essential for rule of law to take root.

It looks like the evil and violence that gripped Anbar was truly an awakening provoking experience; it awakened them from the illusions of the past years and showed them a better way.
All in all the news from Anbar sounds quite good but it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the Anbar Rebels who while are fighting al-Qaeda it seems they can use some guidance so as they stop being rebels longer than necessary.

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