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A sea change for the Sunni?

From the Guardian (of all places): “Many Sunni insurgent leaders are beginning to doubt the wisdom of their alliance with al-Qaeda extremists.”  Also:

    Rami [a former Sunni insurgent] was explaining how the insurgency had changed since the first heady days after the US invasion. "I used to attack the Americans when that was the jihad. Now there is no jihad. Go around and see in Adhamiya [the notorious Sunni insurgent area] - all the commanders are sitting sipping coffee; it's only the young kids that are fighting now, and they are not fighting Americans any more, they are just killing Shia." …

    Abu Omar told me. "In my area some ignorant al-Qaeda guys have been kidnapping poor Shia farmers, killing them and throwing their bodies in the river. I told them: 'This is not jihad. You can't kill all the Shia!...Why provoke them?' … He was wrestling with the same dilemma as many Sunni insurgent leaders, beginning to doubt the wisdom of their alliance with al-Qaida extremists. … Another insurgent commander told me: "At the beginning al-Qaida had the money and the organisation, and we had nothing." But this alliance soon dragged the insurgents and then the whole Sunni community into confrontation with the Shia militias as al-Qaida and other extremists massacred thousands of Shia civilians. Insurgent commanders such as Abu Omar soon found themselves outnumbered and outgunned, fighting organised militias backed by the Shia-dominated security forces. ...

    Then he said: "I am trying to talk to the Americans. I want to give them assurances that no one will attack them in our area if they stop the Shia militias from coming." This man, who had spent the last three years fighting the Americans, was now willing to talk to them because he saw the Americans as the lesser of two evils.

via The Corner

This piece in the Guardian, a particularly lefty paper, is really interesting. It shows a change in the mentality of the Sunni insurgents as they ponder the effects of their several years of slaughter. They began fighting against the invading Americans, but when we made that much more difficult they just shifted fire to civilians, particularly Shia. This reminded the Shia that they were 60 % of the population and that they had some lovely, militias made up of young disaffected youths chock full of hate courtesy of the local mosque. Payback being a medevac, plenty of dead Sunnis were the fruits of the the insurgent's labor.

At some point the Sunni leaders have to look at the logical result of their efforts. They will not win back control of the country if we leave, they will be killed in bunches by the Shiite militias. Perhaps we could partition the country as we left, but I don't see any scenario that doesn't involve suffering for the Sunni. At any point in the past three years they could have determined that the only path that brings any security for them is a functioning unity government. Anything else leaves them a vulnerable minority. This is what has puzzled me most about the actions of the Sunni all along. Were they deranged enough to think they could win back power? Once Sadaam was deposed a light should have gone on for these folks saying, "Man we've been getting away with some pretty heinous stuff for quite a while now. Maybe we should do that reconciliation thing".

For some reason the message was garbled and they heard "Kill everybody". I just cannot fathom what they thought an insurgency would get them. The iron sandal was off the necks of the Shia and the Kurds had retreated back into Kurdistan, if they reject a unity government and kill in order to expel the US forces, WTF did they think would happen once we left?

If the Sunnis are finally opening their eyes and realizing they need a unity government more than anyone else, this could really change the whole game.