P1: JZPGNWD097-06 C36532/Fontan Top Margin: 5/8in Gutter Margin: 3/4in September 16, 2008 15:34
Moving beyond Humiliation 157
mostly due to a lack of sociopolitical and economic vision, both in theshort term and in the long term. An analysis of the Sahwa movementwill show how much the United States has learned from its past mistakesin Iraq. It will also enable us to look toward the future to ascertainwhether the United States has a role in the future of Iraq, and whetherthis role can be more effective for the sake of the Iraqi people. We willalso examine how this book’s ﬁndings and conclusions can contributeto a more effective and positive role. From being part of the problemto becoming part of the solution, a new role for the United States isenvisioned. Can and will it be up to the challenge?
In the fall of 2007, upon realization that the security predicament of post-Saddam Iraq could not be solved unless Iraqis themselves took partin the rebuilding of their own country, the U.S.-led Coalition formedgroups of mostly former Sunni insurgents. Soon, these groups, compris-inglocaltribeleaders,Sunniclerics,formernationalistinsurgentssuchasthe 1920 Brigades, former al-Qaeda militants, and so on, became activein eight provinces, including Baghdad.
The motivations for people tojoin these groups varied greatly, although most people involved agreethat they joined for three main reasons: money, the desire to crush astiﬂing al-Qaeda, and the prospect of being able to integrate into Iraqisecurity forces in a near future.
As of December 10, 2007, an unex-pected 73,397 men had signed up, 65,000 of whom were receiving a$300 monthly salary directly from the U.S. military.
Among these menwere also Shiites, an estimated six thousand, mostly from religiouslymixed areas of Baghdad and Diyala Province. These groups, referred toas Sunni Awakening Councils, or Sahwa, were in charge of maintaininglaw and order, and, more important, rooting out al-Qaeda from Iraq.Overnight, Iraqi insurgents became allied to the United States for thesake of a common cause: to annihilate al-Qaeda. Were they successful?It seems that they were. At the time of this writing in mid-2008, theinﬂuence of al-Qaeda in Iraq seems to have been severely hampered.Violence in all of Iraq is reportedly at its lowest since 2004.
In com-parison to optimistic past reports, these seem to match the reality on theground: al-Qaeda has been successfully booted out of all major citiesin Sunni areas of Iraq, including former caliphates such as Fallujah andDoloyia.The question remains, Did the councils win over al-Qaeda, or didal-Qaeda lose the battle on its own? While the immediate results of the Sahwa initiative are undoubtedly impressive, an analysis of its