Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Diyala Turning

KHALIS, Iraq – Approximately 75 tribal sheiks and local leaders gathered at the Iraqi Army Headquarters in Khalis, Iraq, to discuss grievances between tribes, determine solutions for security and services, and unite to defeat al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in the Khalis area.

“Our goal is to be united and cooperate between us to stand between any force that wishes to challenge our unity,” said one tribal sheik. “We have to show the people that we are honest and serious about fighting against al-Qaeda.”

The meeting, led by Staff Maj. Gen. Abdul Kareem, commander of Iraqi Security Forces in Diyala; Staff Maj. Gen. Ghanem Abass Ibraham al-Qureshy, the Provincial Director of Police; and Col. David W. Sutherland, commander of Coalition Forces in Diyala, resulted in the signing of a peace agreement between 18 of the tribal leaders in attendance.

“The sheiks are the backbone of Diyala,” said Sutherland. “We are not 25 major tribes with 100 sub-tribes; we are one tribe – the tribe of Diyala.” As stated in the Quran, “And hold fast, all together, by the rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves,” the sheiks agreed to eight conditions.

Story here.

Add this to the three developments I wrote about yesterday.

“You are not out there trying to defeat your enemies wholesale. You are out there trying to draw them into a negotiated power-sharing agreement where they decide to quit fighting you. They don’t decide that their conflict is over. The reasons for conflict remain, but they quit trying to address it through violence. In the end, we hope that that alliance of convenience to fight with Al Qaeda becomes a connection to the central government as well.”