Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sunni distrust of Shii army in Iraq

Ned Parker's report in LA Times makes it very plain:

The room filled with mistrust as more than 70 tribal sheiks arrived Thursday to discuss the problem of violence with some of Iraq's army commanders.

The sheiks, dressed mainly in dark blue robes, had come by bus to the headquarters of the 24th Brigade of the 6th Iraqi Army Division. They were met by soldiers wearing red berets and forest green uniforms.

Tension was unavoidable, as residents of Abu Ghraib see the mainly Shiite army unit in the area as heavy-handed. The army, by contrast, believes the inhabitants of the rural region are actively or tacitly abetting Al Qaeda in Iraq insurgents.

Nonetheless, the sheikhs promised their cooperation . . . after the army commander used a bit of coercion:
Saidi brandished a folder of names and shook it in the air. He said it had more than 150 arrest warrants for violence-related acts, but he would forget them, if the sheiks all joined in helping stop the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq.

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