Nir Rosen: End of the Sunni Insurgency
I've had my issues with Nir Rosen's past reporting, but his piece slated for tommorow's issue of The National (UAE) requires careful mulling over by those who've followed Iraq closely over the past few years. For long-time readers of Talisman Gate, this article may come to be viewed as a vindication for what I've been arguing since autumn 2006.
Excerpts from 'The Big Sleep':
What has not followed the drop in violence is a political settlement: for the past year analysts have worried that the failure to disarm or integrate the Sunni Awakening groups into the state risked sowing the seeds of a new insurgency. But the tepid response to the arrest of Mashhadani and other Awakening men suggests that a political reconciliation may not have been necessary. The burgeoning Iraqi state, embodied by Maliki himself, can simply continue to expand its power and crush any rivals. One US Army Iraq expert, who worked closely with General David Petraeus to plan and implement the surge, told me in 2008 that the civil war would end when the Shiites realised they had won and the Sunnis realised they had lost. Based on the conversations I had during a trip through Iraq last month, both sides seem to accept that this is the case...
There is nothing the Awakening groups can do. As guerrillas and insurgents they were only effective when they operated covertly, underground, blending in among a Sunni population that has now mostly been dispersed. Now the former resistance fighters-turned-paid guards are publicly known, and their names, addresses and biometric data are in the hands of American and Iraqi forces. They cannot return to an underground that has been cleared, and they still face the wrath of radical Sunnis who view them as traitors. They have failed to unite and as their stories demonstrate, they are on the run.