Awakening Councils Demand Expulsion of Iranian Ambassador
Awakening units go out on patrol
Here's a story I didn't see in the English-language press:
It's hard to tell exactly what's going on here. The idea that there is extensive cooperation between Iran and al-Qaeda is ridiculous. Members of al-Qaeda believe that Iran's Shiite leaders are heretics, and Iran is much more vulnerable than the United States to attacks by al-Qaeda and other Sunni terrorist organizations. Al-Qaeda is thought to be behind numerous bombings near Iran's border with Pakistan. Iranian officials would have to assume that any materials or training given to al-Qaeda would one day be used against Iran.
The “awakening councils” in al-Anbar have demanded the expulsion of the Iranian Ambassador, saying that he and al-Qaeda had coordinated attacks against them in the governate.
So, have the leaders of the Awakening Councils become convinced by American officials that Iran is helping al-Qaeda? Or are Council leaders pretending to be convinced, in order to justify their calls for the ambassador's expulsion? Sunni leaders have been concerned about Iranian influence on the Iraqi government for quite some time, but it would be impolitic to accuse Prime Minister Maliki of being an Iranian puppet at a time when the US is aiding both the Maliki government and the Awakening Councils.
In any case, one has to wonder whether the Awakening leaders have been goaded by their American sponsors into accusing the Iranian government of aiding al-Qaeda, as part of the ongoing American effort to force a confrontation with Iran. Because if that's not the case, then it would appear that Awakening Councils are trying to pit the Americans against the Iraqi government in an effort to force the government to cede more autonomy to the Councils. If that's the case, they've picked a good time to make their play. Muqtada al-Sadr is perilously close to starting an all-out revolt against the Iraqi government and the American occupiers. If he does, and if the Awakening Councils re-join the insurgency, then Iraq will be right back to where it was in the summer of 2007: in total chaos, with gun battles, and car bombs erupting every day, all over the country.
And just in time for the American election.
(cross posted at appletree and Liberal Avenger)