Lifestyle & Belief

Awakening councils

The Sunnis of Anbar became a neighborhood watch group, paid for by the U.S., and were successful in driving Al Qaeda in Iraq out of the province. But it's unclear what will happen come next month when the Awakening council members start getting their checks from Baghdad instead of Washington. This analyst thinks the Iraqi government not pay some Awakening council members and there might even be some arrests, which could lead to violence. This violence would speak to the deep ethnic divisions which run across the country, especially between the Shia government members in Baghdad and the Sunnis in Anbar. This analyst says it's time for the Iraqi President to prove he can look past ethnic divisions. But initial indications show otherwise, as Maliki has transitioned the Awakening council members into the central government very slowly. Without the trust and support of the Awakening council members, Iraq's security could be in question. Sunnis have boycotted past provincial elections, but they've expressed interest in taking part this time around, which could help bring Sunnis into the government. Beyond that, the issue of Sunni's support for the Iraqi government is anyone's question.

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