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jAZ
03-25-2009, 11:43 PM
This is too serious to make a "falling asleep" joke.

The most important element of the improved conditions in Iraq... the success of our payoffs to the Sunni militia to stop killing our soldiers... is facing a challenge to continued success.

I was going to bold the key segments, but just about everything is important to read.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/24/world/middleeast/24sunni.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all

March 24, 2009
Sunni Fighters Say Iraq Didn’t Keep Job Promises
By ROD NORDLAND and ALISSA J. RUBIN

BAGHDAD — The American military marked another milestone the other day in the initiative perhaps most responsible for taming the violence in Iraq: All but 10,000 of the 94,000 Sunni militiamen — many of them former insurgents who agreed, for cash, to stop killing American soldiers — had been turned over to the control of the Iraqi military.

Significantly, the militiamen themselves were not celebrating.

The same day, one group of the fighters north of Baghdad announced they were resigning from their Awakening Council, the Iraqi name for what the Americans call the Sons of Iraq. And in the town of Salman Pak, councils in southern Baghdad and its suburbs, an area once called “the ring of death,” met to denounce Iraqi efforts to integrate them.

These are among the signs that the fighters’ patience is fraying badly at a difficult moment. After months of promises, only 5,000 Awakening members — just over 5 percent — have been given permanent jobs in the Iraqi security forces. Those promises were made last year when Iraq was flush with oil money.

Now with Iraq’s budget battered by falling oil prices, the government is having trouble paying existing employees, much less bringing in Sunni gunmen already regarded with suspicion by the Shiite-led government.

In interviews with leaders from a dozen local Awakening Councils, nearly all complained that full-time jobs were lacking, that pay was in arrears and that members were being arrested despite promises of amnesty.

Perhaps most ominously, many expressed concern this might drive some followers back to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a largely Iraqi group with some foreign leadership, at a time when both Iraqi and American military commanders say that the group seems to be making gains, small but worrisome, around Baghdad.

The complaints are not completely new, as Awakening members bargained for power and cash, but the threat to rejoin the insurgency has grown more fervent as more time has passed without government jobs.

“Until now, promises are all we’ve gotten,” said Adil al-Mashhadani, a leader of the Awakening Council in the Fadhil neighborhood in Baghdad, where 12 of the 180 members have been able to join the police. “When the government does not even pay them enough to stay alive, Qaeda and armed groups are ready to pay them generously.”

Maj. Gen. Mike Ferriter, deputy operations commander of the American-led forces, gave a press briefing at Camp Victory Saturday at which he declared the Awakening “the leading edge of reconciliation.” He added, “I predict success.”

At the same time, he conceded that in the past year, only 5,000 fighters had been integrated into the Iraqi security forces, mostly in the police. That is well short of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s pledge to bring 20 percent of them into the police. Mr. Maliki also pledged that the other 80 percent would get jobs in other government ministries.

Coinciding with the American military’s “surge” over the last two years, the Awakening movement is given broad credit for helping quell most of the violence in Sunni communities.

The program was never meant to be permanent, however; the idea always was to find them jobs and bring Sunnis into the security services and government.

General Ferriter said he was not concerned about the low number integrated so far, predicting that all 94,000 members would have government jobs by the end of this year. He said that so far, 3,000 jobs had been promised by the Health Ministry, 10,000 by the Education Ministry and 500 by the Oil Ministry.

But other American officials are not so sure, given the far weaker financial condition of the Iraqi government because of falling oil prices. “Do we really think the Iraqi government is going to bring 100,000 new employees in at a time when their revenue stream is taking a nosedive?” asked an American military official knowledgeable about the program, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

“You have to realize the Iraqi government may have an S.O.I. transition program, but Al Qaeda and all those groups have their own S.O.I. transition program,” the officer said, using the abbreviation for the Sons of Iraq.

No one has ever doubted that many of the recipients of the American money were once insurgents, some aligned with Al Qaeda at one time. Essentially, they were paid to change sides. They have paid a price: More than 500 were killed in the fighting that ousted Al Qaeda from their neighborhoods and villages in 2007 and 2008.

Now they continue to be the victims of assassinations by extremists, most recently on Monday, when an Awakening leader in Abu Ghraib was killed.

The Awakening members’ willingness to lose their lives fighting Al Qaeda gradually persuaded Iraqi leaders around Mr. Maliki to soften their distrust and to bring these local fighters into the fold. Many Awakening leaders praised Mr. Maliki, but said other factions in the Iraqi government were undercutting his efforts.

“The Iraqi Army considers us members of Al Qaeda, not Awakening Council leaders,” said Sheik Awad al-Harbousi, who lost a son, a father and four other close relatives to Al Qaeda, and who still leads the council in Taji, just north of Baghdad. “We sacrificed to kick out Al Qaeda, and this is their thank-you?”

He said his members voted Saturday to leave the Awakening movement, though they would keep their posts. “This is a message to the prime minister,” he said, suggesting that the move was only symbolic so far.

The United States military says that only 164 Sons of Iraq members have been arrested in the past year, “many of them for good reason,” said Col. Jeffrey Kulmayer, who runs the program under General Ferriter.

Awakening members, however, complain that the real number is much higher. Mahmood Abdullah al-Jbouri, security chief for the Awakening Council in Madaen, said in that district, there were arrest warrants out for hundreds of Awakening members, “including me.” He was in hiding and reached by telephone.

The Awakening members have a strong practical motive for seeking government positions. Their pay, which ranges from $250 to $300 per month, is less than half that of police officers and soldiers. Police officers earn $600 per month, and soldiers about $750, plus benefits.

Even that meager pay is often late. Of the seven Awakening Councils contacted in Diyala and Baghdad, where the Iraqi Army is the Awakening Councils’ paymaster, six reported that their pay was overdue by as much as two months.

An Iraqi government official said the pay problem was temporary, because of the delay in enacting a new budget. “The Iraqi government will deal faithfully with the Awakening Councils,” said Zuhair al-Chalabi, a member of the reconciliation committee in the prime minister’s office.

The American official also blamed “bureaucratic confusions” for the payroll delays. “There are problems,” he said, “but it’s not a crisis yet.”

Reporting was contributed by Suadad al-Salhy, Mudhafer al-Husaini, Atheer Kakan, Abeer Mohammed and Tariq Maher from Baghdad, and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times from Diyala.

BigRedChief
03-25-2009, 11:45 PM
uhhh the surge worked because we paid these guys not to kill us. We stop paying and they are going to want to kill us again.

jAZ
03-25-2009, 11:51 PM
uhhh the surge worked because we paid these guys not to kill us. We stop paying and they are going to want to kill us again.

Getting people to admit this has been like pulling teeth.

I hope they find a way to make this work, but whether Bush is running things or Obama. I say the same thing.

The "surge" was nothing without these payoffs, and these payoffs were doomed to provide only temporary success without something else changing.

Maybe we should just stay addicted to ME oil so they can continue to afford to pay off these guys.

patteeu
03-26-2009, 12:08 AM
Obama's already losing Iraq? Everything he touches goes bad. :shake:

jAZ
03-26-2009, 12:08 AM
Obama's already losing Iraq? Everything he touches goes bad. :shake:

Dumbass.

SBK
03-26-2009, 12:12 AM
Dumbass.

Yes he is, not at all prepared for the job.

Taco John
03-26-2009, 12:12 AM
uhhh the surge worked because we paid these guys not to kill us. We stop paying and they are going to want to kill us again.

This.


I can only laugh at the line of logic that "Bush had the war under control." He didn't. This war is still his failure. It always will be.

jAZ
03-26-2009, 12:17 AM
Yes he is, not at all prepared for the job.

patteeu is more than prepared for the job. He just has no shame and has proven a willingness to say anything, no matter how baseless, distorted, or detached from reality it might be. As long as it fits his prefered world view.

SBK
03-26-2009, 12:26 AM
patteeu is more than prepared for the job. He just has no shame and has proven a willingness to say anything, no matter how baseless, distorted, or detached from reality it might be. As long as it fits his prefered world view.

I thought you were referring to Obama. Oops. :D

jAZ
03-26-2009, 12:40 AM
I thought you were referring to Obama. Oops. :D

:D

jjjayb
03-26-2009, 01:10 AM
This.


I can only laugh at the line of logic that "Bush had the war under control." He didn't. This war is still his failure. It always will be.

I still laugh at the thought of this war as a failure. How often do you see a Country roll in and dismantle the power structure of another country in such a short time? This is a country that was run by a dictator that is now working at a democracy. There have been less than 5,000 American deaths in the 5 years we've been there. Compare those numbers to other wars and conflicts we've fought in. I wouldn't have been surprised if there were 5,000 American deaths in the first 30 days, yet it's still under 5,000 even now?

You call that failure? What exactly would it take for you to not consider this a failure?

Taco John
03-26-2009, 02:20 AM
There have been less than 5,000 American deaths in the 5 years we've been there. Compare those numbers to other wars and conflicts we've fought in. I wouldn't have been surprised if there were 5,000 American deaths in the first 30 days, yet it's still under 5,000 even now?



Tragic. It's sick to see war mongers disrespect our fallen soldiers by trying to minimalize their losses. Worse are the broken families that they leave behind. Who knows how many kids have lost parents to this senseless war that Americans don't even care about.

:shake:

BucEyedPea
03-26-2009, 07:38 AM
'Er well I guess we ran out of money. The economic crises is affecting everything.

HonestChieffan
03-26-2009, 07:44 AM
I like the solution they talk about. Give em all government jobs. Next they will discuss the answer to the lack of governmental income will be to run up some real big deficits and start an Iranicorps program for the youth.

Radar Chief
03-26-2009, 07:56 AM
I’m a bit surprised you guys want to go with the “government jobs” = “payoff to keep people from revolting” line of rhetoric.
From what I’ve read here all you commies seem to think that jobs flow from the government like honey from golden buckets of sunshine. :Poke:

jjjayb
03-26-2009, 07:57 AM
Tragic. It's sick to see war mongers disrespect our fallen soldiers by trying to minimalize their losses. Worse are the broken families that they leave behind. Who knows how many kids have lost parents to this senseless war that Americans don't even care about.

:shake:

Disrespecting our fallen soldiers? I'm stating a fact. Wars bring casualties. There is no sugar coating that. It's more disrespectful to minimize the accomplishments of those who've fallen and call what they died for a failure. How many military personel do you deal with in your life? I'm former military. I come from a military family. I deal with military families on a daily basis. I talk to people everyday who've actually served in Iraq. I can tell you this, more soldiers would feel disrespected by your attitude about this war than by my statement of it's successes.

stevieray
03-26-2009, 08:05 AM
Disrespecting our fallen soldiers? I'm stating a fact. Wars bring casualties. There is no sugar coating that. It's more disrespectful to minimize the accomplishments of those who've fallen and call what they died for a failure. How many military personel do you deal with in your life? I'm former military. I come from a military family. I deal with military families on a daily basis. I talk to people everyday who've actually served in Iraq. I can tell you this, more soldiers would feel disrespected by your attitude about this war than by my statement of it's successes.

I'm sure they'll walk up to vets and say they had nothing to do with the success in Iraq..right after they try to lay some psuedo claim on their oath .

jAZ
03-26-2009, 08:12 AM
I’m a bit surprised you guys want to go with the “government jobs” = “payoff to keep people from revolting” line of rhetoric.
From what I’ve read here all you commies seem to think that jobs flow from the government like honey from golden buckets of sunshine. :Poke:

See what I mean about pulling teeth?

We paid them to stop killing us and didn't give them government jobs.

A lack of government jobs is why they may be going back to killing us again.

It's not rocket science, but sometimes you might not ever notice that fact.

BigRedChief
03-26-2009, 08:17 AM
See what I mean about pulling teeth?

We paid them to stop killing us and didn't give them government jobs.

A lack of government jobs is why they may be going back to killing us again.

It's not rocket science, but sometimes you might not ever notice that fact.
No kidding. This is basic undisputed facts. The surge worked not because of some great military strategy to outflank the militants but that the people who were building road side bombs and shooting at us were paid to stop being militants. Now, not all the militants are just poor and looking to feed their families, some are true believers. But the majority were just needing money to feed their families. When you lose the majority of your soldiers its easier for our soldiers to fight and defeat the hard core militants.

Same thing is happening in Afganistan right now in theose remote villages. The Taliban are paying soldiers to fight us. If they have another economic means to earn a living where it won't get them killed or we pay them to not kill us like we did in Iraq we might be able to get out of there.

jAZ
03-26-2009, 08:22 AM
It's more disrespectful to minimize the accomplishments of those who've fallen and call what they died for a failure.

I'm sure they'll walk up to vets and say they had nothing to do with the success in Iraq..right after they try to lay some psuedo claim on their oath .

The soldiers honor isn't rooted in the success or failure of their commander's chosen policy. Their honor is in the sacrafices they make to defend this country as part of the best military on earth.

Just ask the 99% of employees of AIG who did an outstanding job every day what it means to have the senior leadership at the top of the organization make bad decisions that no amount of their hard work can undo.

I won't let you muddy the waters and turn the failures of Dick Cheney and George Bush into the failures of the soldiers on the ground.

Anyone doing that is an asshole and a dirtbag for even trying.

Radar Chief
03-26-2009, 08:48 AM
See what I mean about pulling teeth?

We paid them to stop killing us and didn't give them government jobs.

A lack of government jobs is why they may be going back to killing us again.

It's not rocket science, but sometimes you might not ever notice that fact.

“Like pulling teeth” to get others to go along with your particular twisted brand of rhetoric? Yea, go figure. ROFL

Radar Chief
03-26-2009, 08:53 AM
No kidding. This is basic undisputed facts. The surge worked not because of some great military strategy to outflank the militants but that the people who were building road side bombs and shooting at us were paid to stop being militants. Now, not all the militants are just poor and looking to feed their families, some are true believers. But the majority were just needing money to feed their families. When you lose the majority of your soldiers its easier for our soldiers to fight and defeat the hard core militants.

Same thing is happening in Afganistan right now in theose remote villages. The Taliban are paying soldiers to fight us. If they have another economic means to earn a living where it won't get them killed or we pay them to not kill us like we did in Iraq we might be able to get out of there.

Sorry that I’m :LOL: at your “undisputed facts”.
Actually the “undisputed facts” are that the everyday Sunni had become disgruntled with the militants and were ripe for turning. Part of that was providing them with jobs policing their own areas with the help of our military.
Of course, I notice you didn’t bother denying that “government jobs = payoffs” is just a line of rhetoric so I fully realize I’m wasting bandwidth explaining this to you.

RINGLEADER
03-26-2009, 10:08 AM
Tragic. It's sick to see war mongers disrespect our fallen soldiers by trying to minimalize their losses. Worse are the broken families that they leave behind. Who knows how many kids have lost parents to this senseless war that Americans don't even care about.

:shake:

Historically speaking it was a great military victory of unparalleled efficiency. It will also be viewed historically by a majority as being a worthless endeavor that was incredibly counter-productive.

Fritz88
03-26-2009, 10:14 AM
Money will not stop them from killing anyone.

Many of those insurgents are joining for other reasons (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Oh1DDFx6Kk).

Watch the entire video to the end.

jAZ
03-26-2009, 10:30 AM
Historically speaking it was a great military victory of unparalleled efficiency. It will also be viewed historically by a majority as being a worthless endeavor that was incredibly counter-productive.

The invasion was an outstanding across the board. We won that phase of the war.

But we lost the more important pre-and post-invasion phases and killed some 4000+ soliders unnecessarily since the invasion as a result.

patteeu
03-26-2009, 11:17 AM
Dumbass.

Obama inherited a relatively peaceful Iraq with a great chance of continuing to integrate the Sunnis into greater Iraqi society and now we get this report after only 60 days in office. I was optimistic that I might have been wrong about Obama at first, but now it's looking more and more like I was right all along. If he loses Iraq, it will be a disgrace and those who apologize for his bumbling, like yourself, will be disgracing themselves.

Taco John
03-26-2009, 11:23 AM
Obama inherited a relatively peaceful Iraq with a great chance of continuing to integrate the Sunnis into greater Iraqi society and now we get this report after only 60 days in office. I was optimistic that I might have been wrong about Obama at first, but now it's looking more and more like I was right all along. If he loses Iraq, it will be a disgrace and those who apologize for his bumbling, like yourself, will be disgracing themselves.

How long should we continue to pay them to keep the peace? Should Obama just spend and spend and spend until they're all friends?

patteeu
03-26-2009, 11:26 AM
How long should we continue to pay them to keep the peace? Should Obama just spend and spend and spend until they're all friends?

We should do what it takes to finish the counter-insurgency job. The heavy lifting was done by the previous administration.

jAZ
03-26-2009, 11:27 AM
Obama inherited a relatively peaceful Iraq with a great chance of continuing to integrate the Sunnis into greater Iraqi society and now we get this report after only 60 days in office. I was optimistic that I might have been wrong about Obama at first, but now it's looking more and more like I was right all along. If he loses Iraq, it will be a disgrace and those who apologize for his bumbling, like yourself, will be disgracing themselves.
Like I said.

Dumbass.

patteeu
03-26-2009, 11:32 AM
Like I said.

Dumbass.

Brilliant. :drool:

trndobrd
03-26-2009, 01:06 PM
Despite jAZ's simplistic assesment that the SOI was a payoff program, the reality is that the SOI program, along with more US ground forces, greater capabilities on the part of the Iraqi military and police all played a role in the success, both in a security and political sense, of the surge strategy.

The SOI was more than a payoff as jAZ's talking points suggest. By the elections of 2005, the population had made it clear that they were tired of Al Qaeda and foreign jihadists destroying their country. Through out 2007 the SOI beckoned young unemployed men, away from Al Qaeda. It also, provided a means for local tribal leaders to reassert control over their areas.

During the same period, the Iraqi military and police made great strides in training and leadership. Culminating in the Iraqi Army victory at Basra which was entirely an Iraqi run operation. Iraqi military and police now control of most parts of the country. The political progress, as evidenced by the recent provincial elections is further evidence that the surge strategy, was not simply a series of payoff.



Interesting quote in the article:

“Do we really think the Iraqi government is going to bring 100,000 new employees in at a time when their revenue stream is taking a nosedive?” asked an American military official ....

If a government job for the Sons of Iraq is a payoff, how shall we describe all the new government jobs in Obama's new budget?