Of al-Qaeda’s insanity, and now more and more Iraqis are forming local defense forces allied with the Iraqi and US armies. They line-up in the hot sun for hours by the thousands for a chance to kill al-Qaeda:
More than 1,200 Iraqi males from in and around Tarmiyah stood in line for hours to join Iraqi Security Forces, local sheiks and Coalition Forces in the fight against al-Qaeda and other insurgent militias in Tarmiyah Sept. 12.
Local sheiks and CF from 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment reached out to the Iraqi people, asking the citizens of the small town of Tarmiyah to volunteer to defend their homes and neighborhoods against the terrorist insurgency in their town.
This concept of the people standing against al-Qaeda and other insurgents has been dubbed an "awakening," or the mental realization that the terrorists offer nothing but fear and injustice.
"We really see now how this movement, this awakening movement, has really started to take off," said Lt. Col. William Prior, commander, 4-9th IN. "Just a flicker at first, it’s turned into a full-fledged flame, not just here in Tarmiyah, but also in other parts of my area."
This "awakening" movement began in Anbar province, once dubbed Iraq’s "Wild West" because of the strength of al-Qaeda and the Sunni rebellion there. Even the Marines considered the province lost. In recent months, however, the tribes of Anbar have turned their guns on al-Qaeda and, in conjunction with Coalition forces, have turned Anbar and its capital Ramadi into one of the safest places in Iraq.
Now the movement is spreading to other parts of Iraq that too are sick of al-Qaeda, denying them cover and shelter among the population, something almost every guerrilla army depends on. Thanks to the change in American strategy implemented by General Petraeus that emphasizes population security and bottom-up reconciliation, Iraqis who hate al-Qaeda feel more confident about cooperating with us and taking up arms against our common enemies.
Don’t kid yourself: This represents a sea change in Iraq. In spite of ourselves, we may yet win this thing and Iraqis may yet have a chance at a better life.
(hat tip: The Strata-Sphere)
LINKS: More at Atlas Shrugs.