The NY Times is reporting that tribal and militia leaders have joined forces with the US military in rooting out Al Qaeda in Iraq. Why? Because as much as they may dislike us Al Qaeda has proven itself far worse. I am wondering if they aren’t looking ahead to a time when the US isn’t there and Al Qaeda finds itself with too much free time and ammo on its hands. How long till they start punishing/terrorizing the citizens and leaders wantonly for violations of Shariah law? An insurgency can only be effective if it has the support of people in the area in which it operates. Al Qaeda has apparently lost that in Anbar.

Uneasy Alliance Is Taming One Insurgent Bastion

RAMADI, Iraq � Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.

“Many people are challenging the insurgents,� said the governor of Anbar, Maamoon S. Rahid, though he quickly added, “We know we haven’t eliminated the threat 100 percent.�

Many Sunni tribal leaders, once openly hostile to the American presence, have formed a united front with American and Iraqi government forces against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. With the tribal leaders’ encouragement, thousands of local residents have joined the police force. About 10,000 police officers are now in Anbar, up from several thousand a year ago. During the same period, the police force here in Ramadi, the provincial capital, has grown from fewer than 200 to about 4,500, American military officials say.

At the same time, American and Iraqi forces have been conducting sweeps of insurgent strongholds, particularly in and around Ramadi, leaving behind a network of police stations and military garrisons, a strategy that is also being used in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, as part of its new security plan.”

more at Dyre Portents

Politics Seeds of Hope Being Sown in Anbar?