Sunni Awakening Leader Killed

The leader of a US-allied Sunni group was killed yesterday, along with six of his men:

A man who was wounded in a bomb attack receives treatment at a hospital in Kerbala, 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Baghdad August 4, 2008. Four civilians were wounded when a bomb inside a minibus expolded in Kerbala on Monday, police said. Picture taken August 4, 2008. REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed (IRAQ)Unknown gunmen attacked the convoy of Sheik Ibrahim al-Karbouli in Youssifiyah on Monday, said the group member who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fears for his own security. The sheik was a senior leader of the so-called awakening council in the town, which is a former al-Qaida stronghold about 12 miles south of Baghdad.

Al-Qaida has frequently mounted reprisal attacks against awakening councils because of their success in cutting into support for the terror movement among Iraqi Sunni Arabs.

Police also discovered the bodies of three awakening council members who were abducted several days ago, police Brig. Gen. Sarhat Qadir said.

This goes along with an apparent upsurge in suicide bombings. The news on the political reconciliation front isn’t much better:

Meanwhile, Iraqi leaders remain deadlocked in talks over a power-sharing dispute that is blocking U.S.-backed provincial elections. The disagreement over the oil-rich city of Kirkuk forced parliamentary officials to delay a planned vote on the provincial elections bill until Tuesday, at the earliest. The United States considers provincial elections, which are expected to redistribute power at the local level, essential to reconciling Iraq’s rival ethnic and religious communities.

But Kurds object to a measure that would equally distribute provincial council seats among Arabs, Kurds and Turkomen in Tamim province, which lies just south of their own semiautonomous region in Iraq’s north.

Some political violence may simply be a fact of life; after all, the Israelis continue to endure it and nobody contends that they’re a failed state and almost nobody calls what they have there a “civil war.” But reaching a meaningful political accord that addresses the most serious concerns of the three dominant groups is simply crucial. Otherwise, a massive resurgence of violence is possible at any time.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Hal says:

    Some political violence may simply be a fact of life; after all, the Israelis continue to endure it and nobody contends that they’re a failed state and almost nobody calls what they have there a “civil war.”

    So, you think that even what the current rate of suicide bombings and such is in Iraq is even remotely comparable to what Israel experiences? If you do, I think you’re smoking something. Your logic is pretty seriously flawed here. Israel has incredible control over their situation. The Iraqis? Not even remotely in the same league.

    Also, let’s just point out the straw man your arguing against. Pretty much everyone thinks the civil war is largely over – i.e. it’s past tense. I would really like to see who you have on the record stating that Iraq is currently in a civil war… I would really be surprised to see any quote at all you can dig up affirming your implied assertion.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Hal: I’m neither saying that Iraq is currently at a level of stability comparable to Israel’s or countering anyone in particular’s charge that Iraq is in a civil war (although I do continue to see that term bandied about). Rather, I’m continuing my ongoing musings about how to define “good enough.”

    Clearly, we’re not going to turn Iraq into Sweden anytime soon. Just as clearly, things aren’t as good as they could be at this point.

  3. Hal says:

    Okay. I can’t remember the last time I saw the term “civil war” applied to Iraq in anything but the past tense and I probably frequent lefty blogs more than you.

  4. Tlaloc says:

    Some political violence may simply be a fact of life; after all, the Israelis continue to endure it and nobody contends that they’re a failed state

    There you go, attacking my ego again…