Three months into the "surge," barely half the promised American troops have arrived, and most have been deployed in Shia areas. That doesn't stop the Sunnis complainingby Nibras Kazimi / May 26, 2007 / Leave a comment
A surge in slow motion
When the current Baghdad security plan was announced in February, there was a fairly widespread sense of hope among Baghdadis that their city might be given a degree of security at last. Nouri al-Maliki’s government pledged to park a tank on every street, an Iraqi twist on the British political promise of a constable on every corner.
But almost three months into the “Imposing Law” plan, as it has been dubbed by Iraqi generals, less than 60 per cent of the promised American troops have arrived in Iraq, whereas more than 80 per cent of the promised Iraqi forces have already been deployed. The available forces have been concentrated on the eastern portion of Baghdad or the left bank of the Tigris river, historically called the Resafa. This Shia-dominated area encompasses Sadr City, the bastion of militant Shiism, but also contains Sunni pockets such as Adhamiya.
The Karkh district of Baghdad, on the right bank of the river, becomes more Sunni as one heads west towards a rural belt of predominately Sunni towns, long considered incubators of the insurgency. Most attacks on US forces originate and occur in these Sunni areas, but during the surge they have witnessed only minor US-led forays hunting for arms and militants, followed by the establishment of a few outposts to challenge the insurgents on their own turf. So it seems the first priority of the generals is to halt the activity of Shia death squads before moving on to the Sunni neighbourhoods. Already fewer corpses of young Sunni men are appearing in Baghdad’s back alleys.
But that doesn’t stop all sides from complaining. One liberal Sunni MP, Mithal al-Alusi, tells me, “The people of Karkh say that they’re getting the worst of it while their enemies, the people of Resafa, are left alone. And in Resafa, they say they are being targeted whereas the real offenders, the people of Karkh, are unfettered.” But, says al-Alusi, when everyone sees himself as the victim, “it’s a good thing—it shows fairness.” Another Sunni opposition MP, Dhafir al-Ani, a hardliner, has been telling the western press that the plan “seems to be directed only against those who oppose Iran’s hegemony.” What he is implying is that the homes of Sunnis such as himself are being raided to placate Maliki’s Shia and allegedly Iran-friendly government. Al-Ani ignores the fact that US forces…