Anbar Residents Promise to Wipe Out Al Qaeda By Year's End

The Sunnis in Anbar Province vow to exterminate Al Qaeda by year’s end.

Men carry the coffin of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, a Sunni Arab tribal leader and his bodyguards, who were killed by a roadside bomb attack on Thursday, during a funeral in Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad, on September 14, 2007. (REUTERS/Stringer)

The following is a translation by Iraqi-American Haider Ajina translation of an article in Iraq’s paper Sot Aliraq from September, 19 2007:

“Anbar awakening committee vows to eradicate Alqaida before the end of the year”

Sheik Ahmed Abu Reeshah, who became tribal chief and head of the Anbar awakening committee after the assassination of his brother Abdul Satar, promised that Alqaida will be eradicated before the end of the year. He reaffirmed that the committee will avenge the killing of his brother and take revenge on Alqida. This he said in an interview with Alarabiah Chanell on Tuesday the 18th.

Sheik Ahmed added ‘All of Anbar has to avenge the killing of the Sheik, within a year no one will hear of Alqaida any more.

It has become clear that Alqaida has nothing to tie it to Islam nor does it have any thing to do with Islam. Islam builds and cements good relationships between people. Alqaida blew up children and schools. He added. Alqaida is the reason that American forces continue their presence in Iraq. He said, “If it was not for Alqaida the American forces would have returned home by now, Alqaida has extended the stay of American forces in Iraq.”

Abdul Satar AbuReeshah chairman of the Anbar province awakening committee, which fights Alqaida in the mostly Sunni Anbar province, was killed in a bomb explosion in his village near the city of Ramadi west of Baghdad.

Alaqida in an Internet message has claimed responsibility for the assassination of Abdul Satar AbuReeshah. The Anbar awakening committee had promised to avenge the killing of the dead tribal chief AbuReeshah on the eve of his assassination.


Iraqi children wait for food at the Abdul Khader al-Kilani mosque in Baghdad, Iraq on Monday, Sept. 17, 2007. The mosque provided food to poor families on the occasion of Ramadan, a time when Muslims fast during daylight hours, but due to security reasons, the donated food was distributed during the day.(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

And, from MNF-Iraq.com

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Security Forces have made much progress toward readiness in the past year within Multi-National Division North’s area of responsibility, a top official in the region said Tuesday.

Speaking to military analysts via teleconference from Baqubah in Diyala province, Army Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy-commanding general for operations of Multi-National Division North, called the change “significant.” Baqubah is about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad on the Diyala River. Four Iraqi Army divisions are in the region, which is about the size of Pennsylvania.

“We are starting to see the key measure of effectiveness… which is independent operations — being able to plan, coordinate and execute operations on their own, standing and fighting against an adversary that is trying to kill them,” he said. “Only a year ago, there were times… where they would be engaged by a demanding adversary, they’d drop their weapons and head in the other direction. Not the case any longer.

“I’m not painting a lilacs and roses picture, but in the broader perspective, clearly, we are seeing improvement from the readiness perspective of the Iraqi Army,” Bednarek said.

Officials in northern Iraq launched Operation Lightning Hammer II at the start of the month. The offensive partners 12,000 Coalition forces with 14,000 Iraqi Security Forces to drive al Qaeda out of the provinces of Salah Ad Din, Ninewa, Diyala and Kirkuk. Officials are supporting the forces with attack helicopters, close-air support, Bradley fighting vehicles, Stryker vehicles, and tanks.

“The reaction of the citizens has been very positive. I think, not only in Diyala province, but also in our other provinces where the citizens are starting to stand up and take a position on their own,” the general said. “They have seen what al Qaeda has to offer, which is nothing. They have seen that the horrific acts of violence against women, family, children, infrastructure is not the future. They see that they can have a future of prosperity and security without al Qaeda and are starting to fight back.”

Locals also are starting to trust the local Iraqi Security Forces, he said, which was a problem in the past. Locals are starting to report weapons caches and emplaced bombs to security forces patrolling the areas.

“Engaging the tribal sheiks, coming together to be part of the future as opposed to the dark past is something that we’re putting huge amount of senior-leader energy in every day,” Bednarek said. (Story by Fred W. Baker III American Forces Press Service)

Haider Ajina comments:

The above two articles show that the average Iraqi is fed up with Alqaida and is taking increase ownership of their villages, towns, cities provinces and country. Whether in Anbar through the awakening committees, in the Shiite south or in the North and Kurdish areas, the population is turning against the enemy of democracy and rule of law. This is what we have been waiting for. It appears we have reached the point where the population joins the fight against Alqaida and its allies.

I have read for some time now in a number of Iraqi papers articles that Iraqis are turning to their own forces for help and protection. This was never the case while I was growing up in Iraq. We feared the military and security forces. All they did was oppress and control and had no respect for the law. What a dramatic change.

In just four short years, we have helped change the mentality of a people from distrust of their security forces to trusting them and feeling protected by them and the law. Iraqis want democracy and the rule of law, they have tasted it and will not give it up with out a fight.

Regards,
Haider Ajina

And… It is not just in Anbar Province where the US and Iraqis are building and strengthening alliances. USA Today just reported that most of the major tribes in a strategic province northeast of Baghdad have signed agreements to support U.S. and Iraqi forces.

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