This is precisely the sort of information that makes me want to dance with joy when it comes to Iraq. I've been waiting to read this article for years!
Fed up with being part of a group that cuts off a person’s face with piano wire to teach others a lesson, dozens of low-level members of al-Qaeda in Iraq are daring to become informants for the US military in a hostile Baghdad neighbourhood.Brilliant. I love it.
The ground-breaking move in Doura is part of a wider trend that has started in other al-Qaeda hotspots across the country and in which Sunni insurgent groups and tribal sheikhs have stood together with the coalition against the extremist movement.
“They are turning. We are talking to people who we believe have worked for al-Qaeda in Iraq and want to reconcile and have peace,” said Colonel Ricky Gibbs, commander of the 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, which oversees the area.
The sewage-filled streets of Doura, a Sunni Arab enclave in south Baghdad, provide an ugly setting for what US commanders say is al-Qaeda’s last stronghold in the city. The secretive group, however, appears to be losing its grip as a “surge” of US troops in the neighbourhood – part of the latest effort by President Bush to end the chaos in Iraq – has resulted in scores of fighters being killed, captured or forced to flee.
This is more than just good news, however. Agents turning from their organization, betraying it to their arch-Nemesis, represents far more than the individual arrests and shootings we're able to carry out from their information. For Sunni to turn in Sunni, for AQ to turn in AQ, there must be an awakening of the evils of irhabism -- and, perhaps, the fledgling beginnings of Iraqi nationalism.
And therein lies the key. When (and if) Iraqis develop a sense of identity that relates to their nation rather than their social, religious or regional self, then they will be able to weather any sort of attack.