"In reality, they are forcing the Iraqi government and the Shia and the Kurds to reconcile with the Saddamists," the official added. "This is similar to going to the South in 1865 and forcing the Confederates to reconcile immediately with the Northerners. And this is not going to happen."
American military commanders involved in the partnerships with Sunnis say they intend to quickly train and register them under the aegis of the Interior Ministry, which oversees the police force. In Anbar province, tribesmen have received training and become policemen, and receive salaries from the Interior Ministry, according to U.S. military officials. The officials have said that as long as the Sunni groups are watched closely and kept from mistreating people, the intelligence they provide about al-Qaeda in Iraq makes them valuable partners.
Mithal Alusi, a secular Sunni lawmaker, said he supported the U.S. military efforts because "al-Qa’ida is danger No. 1 in Iraq."
"The prime minister has to understand this is not a one-man show," Alusi said. "We cannot trust the government to deal with al-Qaeda, to play this game alone. We are very thankful for the American process and the American point of view."
Sadiq al-Rikabi, a political adviser to Maliki, said the government would like to absorb anyone who wants to decrease violence as long as they accept the political process and are recruited in a systematic way to ensure that they are not using their newly official status for nefarious purposes." WAPO
The post Civil War analogy is interesting. The government member speaking still thinks of the Shia majority as the underdogs when confronted with the Sunni Arab minority. (20% maybe?)
The present government of Iraq is lopsidedly Shia Arab and Kurd in allocation of power and resources. These formerly dominated communities have been liberated from Sunni Arab rule. Not surprisingly, they like the new situation and want to keep things the way they are. One is reminded of Ben Franklin’s comment to a bystander in Philadelphia, "We have given you a republic, if you can keep it.." The Shia and Kurds are not at all sure that they will be able to continue to hold power in a new Iraq. The Sunni Arab, Islamist and Shia secular forces arrayed against them are relentless and the insurgent strategy they are following has some chance of success in restoring, if not Sunni Arab rule, then a balance of state power that favors them in a way disproportionate to their numbers, but, perhaps, not disproportionate to their actual political weight in the state. After all, there are more ways of allocating political and economic power than "constitutional" elections.
– Government complaints about American cooperation with non-jihadi insurgents and tribes should be seen for what they are, pleas for protection against those whom the Shia and Kurds fear.
– It is the policy of the US government to seek reconciliation amongst the Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Shia Arabs. Thus far admonitions to the government to "play nice" with the other "children" have been met with public stalling and private amusement at the gullibility of the Americans. An effective performance by the groups with whom the US is seeking "alliance" against the jihadis would shift the actual balance of power toward a situation in which the government may find it necessary to share the "goodies." Expect to hear more and more frantic protests from Maliki et al. pl