Iraqi Government & Advisors Help Shape Provincial Security

It’s Friday and time for more good news from Iraq by Iraqi-American Haider Ajina.

An Iraqi from the religious Sabian Mandaean group, who consider John the Baptist their greatest teacher, pours water on the head of a boy during the annual baptising ceremony in the River Tigris in Baghdad. (Flickr)

The following is a Haider Ajina translation of an article from Iraq’s ‘Nahrain’ of Oct 18, 2007:

Iraqi VP Adil Abdul-Mehdi affirms the importance of free thought and freedom of belief to all Iraqis as guaranteed by the constitution.

While hosting a Mandaen-Sabian (which considers St. John the Baptist to be its greatest teacher) delegation from south central Iraq, Iraq’s VP Abdul-Mehdi said, Alqaida’s plans to create divisiveness and rancor amongst Iraq’s sects has failed. Thanks to the alert citizens and condemnations from religious leaders. The meeting addressed the condition of the Sabian community and the difficulties faced by them. The VP expressed his full support and backing for members of Sabian community. The delegation delivered well wishes for the end of Ramadan celebrations.

Haider Ajina comments:

A community of Mandea–Sabians have existed in Iraq since before Jesus and certainly before Mohamed. The Koran declares them as fellow believers as are Christians and Jews and all those who believe in God. Now that Iraq has a constitution which protects its people and a representative government, these minorities are protected, accepted and supported by the government. In this new democracy and rule of law of mostly Muslim country, non-Muslim minorities are accepted, protected and Takfiries and Hirabah’s are condemned for their evil acts of violence and disruption. This condemnation is beginning to resonate throughout many Arab Gulf states and western North Africa, where Governments are offering more freedom and Rule of law to their citizens. Not only does this freedom and protection by rule of law breed hope, it defeats disenfranchisement and oppression thus drying up the recruiting grounds for al-Qaida Takfiri and Hirabah groups. What better example of this than current day Iraq.

Captured Hirabah terrorists pictured in the Sunni Azzaman newspaper.
From Iraq’s Azzaman (a strong Sunni paper and often Anti-Multi National Forces), October 17, 2007:

Tribes playing vital role in fight against terror, says officials

A year ago, the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda was the kind of scourge which not only U.S. occupation troops feared but a source of terror for the population at large. Today al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia the appellation the terror groups has given itself in Iraq is in retreat. Thanks for the dramatic slump in devastating Qaeda car-bombings and suicide operations go to Iraqi tribes. The man who is rallying the tribes, both Sunni and Shiites to help bring some semblance of normalcy to violent and restive areas is none but Shaikh Maad Muzher al-Samrawi, the Emir or prince of the Zubaid tribe in Iraq.

Samrawi is Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s adviser for tribal affairs and has been spearheading efforts to mobilize Sunni tribes particularly in the restive provinces of Anbar and Diyala against Qaeda. His efforts have borne much fruit so far to the extent that the government has now come to believe that one important way for it to exercise its authority in the country is in the hands of Arab tribes. Maliki now has a special committee headed by Samrawi comprising representatives from major Iraqi tribes whose main role is to liaise between the government and tribal chiefs.

“Iraqi tribes have nothing to do with sectarian strife and feuds from which the society suffers. The composition of Iraqi tribes demonstrates the unity of Iraq as tribal memberships crosses sectarian divides with Sunnis and Shiites belonging to one tribe and vowing allegiance to it,” Samrawi said in an interview. He said tribes in Iraq were one of the main “symbols of national unity and if they are given the full opportunity they will certainly eliminate all these alien phenomena (sectarian killings and al-Qaeda) that have entered the society.” Samrawi was hopeful that the tribes, if given the chance, will play a pioneering role in reconciling disparate and warring Iraqi sects and factions.

Many tribes in southern Iraq have complained to Samrawi about the practices of some of these factions and attempts to impose their own strict religious interpretations of Islam on the population.

Samrawi’s first major achievement was the formation of the ‘Anbar Awakening,’ a movement in which tribes in the region have come together to purge their areas of Qaeda elements. Once one of the most violent provinces in Iraq, Ramadi, Anbar’s provincial center now enjoys relative quiet. So is Diyala where a similar tribe-related ‘Awakening’ movement has been established. Samrawi said similar movements should be set up in various areas of the country so that Iraqi tribes, reputed for their loyalty, honesty and generosity, will have the opportunity to rid the country from “the claws of terror.”

Samrawi said the tribal ‘Awakening’ movement was not confined to central Iraq where Sunnis are the majority. Tribal movements, he added, were being formed in southern Iraq which is predominantly Shiite “to buttress efforts by the state to reinstate stability.”

Haider Ajina comments:

Iraqis are taking ownership of their villages, towns, cities provinces and country. As a result and thanks to our training and empowerment Iraqis are stepping up and taking responsibility to fight, contain and defeat the Alqaida Takfiries and Hirabah. Not only are Iraqis taking back their country from dictatorship and oppression they are also taking back their religion from those who twist and manipulate Islam for evil deviant goals.

When I phoned my father in Baghdad last week he told me that many neighborhoods he would not dare enter are now safe enough to walk through. Shops open and people walking the streets. ‘Haider you will not believe it’ he said ‘the situation and especially security has vastly improved in Baghdad’.

Haider Ajina

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