HOW THE "SONS OF IRAQ" STABILIZED IRAQ
By Mark Wilbanks & Efraim Karsh
Initially known as al-Anbar Awakening (Sahwat al-Anbar), the movement made its appearance in the Summer of 2006, when local sheikhs, disillusioned with the insurgency that had ravaged the province during the past two-and-a-half years, offered their support to the Coalition forces. While pundits and commentators have varyingly acknowledged the significance of the movement, less is known about the motives and the thoughts of its key participants, including those members of the Coalition forces with whom the Awakening worked.
What motivated these Sunni tribesmen to sign loyalty oaths to fight for an Iraqi government with whom they had only recently battled viciously? What were U.S. officers thinking when they provided military training and money for arms and equipment to men who, more often than not, had been their enemies just a short time before?
While the program was successful in reducing violence and quickly spread throughout Iraq, it did not prevent the ruling Shiite elites from viewing the Sons of Iraq with suspicion. Nor have the achievements of the recent past guaranteed that a true reconciliation between feuding sides has been reached. Through a fascinating series of interviews held in late 2008 and 2009 — as the program was being unwound — the outlines of this unlikely social and military development can be glimpsed.
While some of this sectarian violence was perpetrated by Islamist Shiite militias that sprang up in southern Iraq in the immediate wake of the invasion, the main instigator was the minority Arab Sunni community, about 20 percent of the total population, which had dominated Iraqi politics for centuries and which resented its exclusion from the new state structures established by the victorious powers.  In no time, the "Sunni Triangle" — the vast area between Baghdad in the south, Mosul in the north and Rutba in the east, where most of Iraq's Sunni population resides and consisting of the four governorates of Baghdad, al-Anbar, Salah ad-Din and Ninawa — was in flames.
For some insurgents, notably members of Saddam's regime and tribe, the overriding motivation was loyalty to the fallen tyrant. For others, such as the tens of thousands of soldiers and officers who had lost their jobs when the predominantly Sunni army was dissolved in May, 2003, it was a desire for revenge. There was also a deep sense of humiliation felt by those who had long considered themselves the only people capable of running the affairs of the Iraqi state. All feared and resented their possible domination by the despised Shiites and their perceived paymaster — Iran's militant Islamist regime — and all wished to regain lost power and influence.
These grievances were further reinforced by tribal interests, values, and norms. The Sunni Triangle is a diverse mosaic of hundreds of small and medium-sized tribes, as well as a dozen large tribal federations, notably the Dulyam and the Shammar Jarba, each comprising more than a million members. Under Saddam, many of these tribes, especially the Dulyam, had been incorporated into the regime's patronage system. With such material benefits and political prestige curtailed after the U.S.-led invasion, many tribesmen joined the insurrection.
Such was the tenacity of the insurrection that, in September, 2006, Lieutenant General Peter W. Chiarelli, commander of U.S. and Coalition forces in Iraq, questioned the U.S. ability to defeat it. "It is our job to win," he said. "But it is not the kind of fight that is going to be won by military kinetic action alone … I think the real heart of [the matter] is that there are economic and political conditions that have to improve out at al-Anbar, as they do everywhere in Iraq, for us to be successful." 
Al-Qa'ida's overreaching was coupled with a growing awareness that the Americans, who did not interfere with traditional sources of revenue or seek to change tribal custom, would eventually leave. AQI, on the other hand, was determined to impose its version of Shari'a (Islamic law) on the entire population, as a stepping stone to the creation of the worldwide Muslim community (umma).
It was this realization that led to the advent of the Sahwa or Awakening movement. With the Coalition anxious for local allies who would help defeat the insurgency and prevent its retrenchment, and a growing number of ordinary Sunnis and tribal leaders increasingly disillusioned with the mayhem and dislocation occasioned by the fighting, a meeting of minds was only a question of time. The Acting National Security Advisor to the Iraqi government, Safa Hussein al-Sheikh, explained:
On most occasions, however, the tribes made the first offers to cooperate. A U.S. Army captain related his experience with a first contact:
A former insurgent-turned-Sahwa fighter gave his side of the story:
By mid-August 2006, such low level contacts had led to a formal meeting between Colonel Sean MacFarland, the newly appointed commander of U.S. forces in Ramadi, and Sheikh Abd as-Sattar Abu Risha, a prominent tribal leader, who had just issued a manifesto denouncing al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI) and pledging support to U.S. forces. MacFarland described the scene at Abd as-Sattar's home:
Soon an agreement was struck, and by November, an estimated 1,500 recruits sent by the sheikh had joined the revamped police training program for Ramadi. In comparison, a mere forty men had previously signed on to the Ramadi police force, then numbering only 150 officers in total. 
This collaborative pattern spread rapidly throughout the province, and before long Coalition forces were providing training opportunities, first in Jordan then in Anbar, to the growing number of volunteers, who often had previous army or police experience, although not to Western standards. A senior Marine officer described the recruitment and training process:
After a probationary period, the volunteers were allowed to carry their own weapons, which many of them bought with money provided by the Coalition. There was also an effort to train Iraqi women — the "Daughters of Iraq" — to replace female Marines responsible for female body searches at checkpoints.
Being "concerned local citizens" (CLC, as they were initially called by the Coalition), rather than professional soldiers, the Sahwa volunteers were not allowed to carry out offensive operations. Instead, they were tasked to perform defensive missions such as manning checkpoints and providing intelligence on insurgent activities and locations. The dividing line between these activities and actual participation in fighting was, however, more often than not, blurred. A junior U.S. officer recalled:
"I was on a roof, and I'm talking to F-16s that are flying around, and we've got air weapons teams, and there is a lot of activity ... we're getting ready to move out. Maybe four or five CLCs, a couple of IPs [Iraqi Police], a couple of SWATs [Special Weapons and Tactics], ISF [Iraqi Security Forces]. It is just this big mix of dudes."
"I talked to the [Sahwa leader] ... who spoke English: 'I'm going to be bounding up this way, and we're going to get there. You'll provide over watch, we'll go in and take it. When we say it's clear, then we'll pull you guys in, and then we'll leave you guys up there to control the area.'"
"And he maneuvered his guys up there. And it was just an amazing day." 
The new recruits proved particularly efficient in the fight against the al-Qa'ida jihadists and their local allies. The Sunnis knew where al-Qa'ida fighters lived and worked because they had harbored them initially, and they had no qualms about using the same brutal methods in fighting back. This resulted in a swift routing of al-Qa'ida in a revenge-based frenzy:
An Iraqi official recalled how a tribal sheikh gleefully told him how he had a certain al-Qa'ida operative beheaded:
At times, the savage war against al-Qa'ida pitted members of the same tribe against each other. A U.S. colonel recounted this example:
No less importantly, the Sahwa eventually became a tool for promoting sectarian reconciliation and weaning fighters away from sectarian militias. This process began in Fall, 2007, in the Baghdad suburb of al-Jihad, a Shiite neighborhood aligned with the radical militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, where the government sought to elicit mass participation in the Awakening program. Working with these Shiites was difficult because Sadr forbade anyone from dealing with the Americans. Yet, he would broker a cease-fire and enforce it by passing the names of Mahdi Army leaders whom he could not control to the Iraqi government for arrest or elimination, with the knowledge that this information would be shared with Coalition forces. An Iraqi official recalled:
"There was a funny discussion with the leaders there of the Sadrists when I told them. [Usually with] Shiite people, I try to appease their fears and their concerns. [But] I did the opposite there. Increased their fears."
"They are not the majority, and they do not have the upper hand. So this is one point. The other point is that the Sadrists, in general, do not have good financial support. And the payment in the Sahwas is pretty good for them. But they have a problem [in] that their leadership will denounce any person who talks to the Americans."
The general concern was that the balance of Sunni-Shiites would change. So I said to them:
And it was a very hard time for them because they couldn't say, yes, because of Muqtada al-Sadr. So they tried to give me a message that "If we don't know and something is arranged, it is okay."
Once the Jihad area went, the rest of the Sadr areas wanted the money, and they followed suit. But other things happened, and this project wouldn't continue as we wished. When al-Basra operation came, in their minds, the process [ended. Still] al-Jihad was maintained as a quiet area. 
This example was, however, more of an exception to the rule, as the Iraqi government was slow to acknowledge the merits of the Awakening movement. In fact, as the Coalition accelerated recruitment and institutionalized regular salaries to its members, the government remained wary of this large and predominantly Sunni force — which had grown to some 80,000 members by early 2008 — and its future political intentions. A senior Iraqi advisor to the Coalition forces recalled the situation:
After much haggling, the Americans managed to persuade Nuri al-Maliki's government to take over the Awakening program and to incorporate it into the newly established security and state structures. In the words of a political advisor to General Raymond T. Odierno, second ranking officer in Iraq at the time and source of much of this behind-the-scenes wrangling:
"There ... were three groups. One we called the classic camouflage because they were all in the same uniform. They all had T-shirts with … a regular woodland camouflage print on it, and it also had the text that read 'Classic Camouflage.'"
"The next group that comes in we called them the Headlamp Platoon because, for some reason, every single one of those guys had a headlamp. So they had no uniform, but they had headlamps. And the last group we called the AQI group because they came in, and … they looked just like jihadists. There was one guy Hassam ... He was a natural leader. … he looked American ... He spoke English pretty well, and he was [a] teacher."
"I don't know what [their agenda] was ... But, for a period of time, their agenda and our agenda were perfectly aligned, and we all worked together pretty well to secure that place. And we formed pretty tight relationships and we earned their trust ... they earned our trust." 
Respect was mutual. Officers who attempted to speak Arabic and who attended Iraqi events and participated in tribal customs were respected. As an Iraqi general and former Sons of Iraq member recalled:
"This is our tradition. This is our culture, and he was doing the same thing. He would go into the funeral, and he would say salam aleikum. And he would recite al-Fatiha. I'm sure he doesn't know what it means, al-Fatiha, or he cannot read, but after he finishes, he would do this [wipes his hand over his face]. Exactly how the normal Iraqi people do it. And he would also pay and contribute [to] the funeral reception. The people, the sheikhs, the tribes, they liked him. They were impressed. He was Lawrence of Arabia, Silverman. If we had tribal conflicts, he would sit, and he would judge. … The tribes liked the hookah [water pipe]. He would sit with them, and he would have his hookah with them. You would say this guy, he is an Eastern man. He is Iraqi, but in an American uniform. 
The Iraqi general continued:
"We named one of our police stations after him. We called it Hisham Police Station because all the policemen knew him by the name Hisham, not Patrick. Until nowadays Sheikh Sattar insists that we call the Police station Hisham, so, until now we call it 'Martyr Hisham's Police Station.' Hisham, who is Patrick." 
Colonel Richard Welch, an Army reserve officer with counterinsurgency training and a Special Forces background, did not stand out in a crowd, but that belied his intensity and tenacity. He took a pay cut from his job as a prosecutor in Ohio and missed his grandchildren's birthdays and had been in Baghdad for four of the five years from 2004 to 2009. This put him in a unique position to develop relationships that kept people alive. One such relationship was with Sheikh Ali Hatem of the Dulaym tribe, whose grandfather had allegedly ridden with T.E. Lawrence against the Turks. Welch recounted his experience:
"Most of the other groups out of Baghdad came out of these meetings with the tribal leaders and the community leaders … getting them connected with the brigade commanders and battalion commanders. And they began to work with them ... [Those sheikhs interested in reconciliation] would call and say: 'Colonel Welch, al-Qa'ida is attacking us and we need help. We need supplies.' [During] many of those phone calls you could hear gun shots in the background. You could hear the fighting going on. …"
"I was out at Camp Liberty [near Baghdad airport] walking to the dining facility with my deputy and my cell phone rang. I noticed that it was Sheikh Ali Hatem so I answered it immediately. He said, 'Colonel Welch, I need your help … Al-Qa'ida overran Sheikh Hamed Village up in the Taji area, north Taji. And our tribe is getting ready to counterattack and take back the village. But we need you to contact the unit up there because we've seen helicopters flying around, and we don't want them to engage [attack] us ... So we need to let you know which ones.' So I said, 'Okay, we will take care of it.' So I kept Ali Hatem on the line and sent [my deputy] back. I said, 'You've got to get the G3 [operational commander on duty] you know.' ... Because I couldn't move. I had to get the coverage for my cell phone where it was out at Liberty. So we finally were able to contact the unit, and literally, the helicopter pilot was ready to pull the trigger on them ... The commander told us that later. They were ready to engage these guys. But then instead they flew over watch and supported them taking that village back." 
In addition to monthly salaries, the Coalition also paid for results. One Sons of Iraq member reported:
"I saw gangsters trying to kidnap a girl. She was driving her vehicle, and I was watching them. I started to shoot and shot one of them. I released her and that is why I got the reward and letter of appreciation. 
Such letters of appreciation, on tattered pieces of paper and blurry from being copies of copies with the previous recipients names blanked out, were more valuable than money. A signed letter by the Coalition, regardless of whether the words were level on the page, was a sought after status symbol.
In other places, where the security situation was relatively good, Coalition funding of Sahwa activities was effectively little more than a jobs program. In the words of a local sheikh:
"When we joined the Sahwa, we had to remind each other why most of us were insurgents ... Either get us a job or Iraq will go back to the way it used to be." 
By January, 2009, the U.S. government had invested more than $400 million in the Awakening program, with a median monthly cost of more than $21 million, peaking at nearly $39 million in March, 2008.  For Petraeus, this was a worthwhile investment that not only saved lives in Iraq but also U.S. taxpayers' money. As he told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee:
As with other fields of U.S. activity in Iraq, the overriding preoccupation with security and stability often resulted in mismanagement and waste. Being totally result-oriented, the Coalition forces were primarily interested in having all checkpoints manned, arms caches uncovered and the violence decreased, leaving the methods for achieving these goals at the sheikhs' discretion. This, in turn, resulted in serious accountability problems, such as ghost employees and poor control over the distribution of cash payments, as the sheikhs habitually rotated people around and took a cut for managing the program. The program was also vulnerable to corruption and embezzlement on the American side, as demonstrated in December, 2009, when a U.S. officer was convicted of stealing approximately $690,000 from funds allocated to the Sahwa program and local relief and reconstruction.  The Implementation and Follow up Committee for National Reconciliation (IFCNR) cleaned up the program when they took over payments in late 2009 by paying the Sahwa directly. However, this did not prevent the sheikhs from taking their share ten feet from the payment point.
The practical implications of this change, however, were far more elusive. Although the Iraqi government undertook to integrate approximately 94,000 SOI personnel (from the 100,000-plus membership list provided by the Americans) into the Iraqi security forces (ISF) or other Iraqi ministries by the end of 2009, by April, 2010, only 9,000 had been absorbed by the ISF, and another 30,000 had been hired by non-security ministries.  These delays were partly due to the fact that many SOI possessed rudimentary educational credentials (in Baghdad, 81 percent of SOI members had only elementary or middle-school educations) and were, therefore, unfit for many government positions. But this also reflected the government's residual suspicion of the group — as well as other former militias — alongside lingering disagreements with Washington regarding the movement's size and the attendant funds required for its absorption.
While ordinary Sahwa members were slowly incorporated into the state apparatus, the movement's leaders, whose sense of honor prevented them from taking menial government jobs, were looking forward to political careers as part of the national reconciliation process. Their hopes were bolstered by the fact that the Maliki government, knowing that its treatment of the SOI would be viewed by many Sunnis as a litmus test for their future integration into the country's sociopolitical system, assigned the process to the IFCNR.
In what turned out to be a stroke of genius, the head of the committee quickly appointed one of its members, Major General Muther al-Mawla, to oversee the transition. An open and affable person, who wore tailored Western suits and readily shared pictures of his grandchildren, Mawla brought a paternal sense of security and calm to the process that put everyone at ease. He would bring in pastries that his wife had baked or share a feast with his Coalition colleagues late into the night. At the same time, as former commander of the National Guard and the Iraqi Special Forces for the new government, he was more than capable of holding his own in the bare-knuckle world of Iraqi politics and conducting negotiations with those who, on many occasions, had been on his Special Forces' most wanted list. 
The statements of Abu Azzam al-Tamimi, a former Sahwa leader in the Abu-Ghraib area, are most instructive on the issues surrounding ongoing efforts at reconciliation. Sounding hopeful and relaxed at the al-Rashid hotel in Baghdad's International Zone, he expounded on the integration of the neighborhood's SOI in government jobs, his personal safety, and the forthcoming March, 2010, elections:
"I have no relationship with [Brig. Gen.] Nasser [al-Hitti, commander of the Muthanna 3rd Brigade, Abu Ghraib]. He knew that he had no capability to arrest me, but he was trying to do that."
"We are trying to create or establish our own political entity. And that is why we are going to set up a meeting tomorrow here in this hotel to discuss this issue with all the Sahwa leaders."
"We have a joint committee now and are negotiating with [Prime Minister] Maliki. Yesterday [Sept. 4, 2009], we met with the main people from the Da'wa party ... Maybe we are going to establish the one front together, or we will have other options." 
Some former Sahwa leaders, such as Sa'ad Uraibi Ghafuri (aka Abu Abed), a major and intelligence officer in Saddam's armed forces, are not able to run for office or form political alliances for fear of being arrested. He is in Jordan waiting to get a visa, based on glowing recommendations from American officers who knew him, and seeks a new life in the United States. Some in the Iraqi government, however, see him differently, as he wanted to control an area that the government also sought to control. Abu Abed, while in Jordan, discussed his past as sheikh of the Adamiya area in Baghdad:
"After that ... the Iranian ambassador in Iraq gave an announcement. And he said [that] all those Sahwas were like gangsters. They are bad people, and we need to get rid of them. … I told him, 'If the ambassador has an issue in Iran, let him go and solve his issues in Iran. He is not supposed to be involved in Iraqi matters. He has no right to do that.' And, after that, I got the result. I paid for that because I got a phone call from the colonel [Welch], and he told me, 'You need to leave your home because there is an arrest warrant against you for your disagreements with the Iraqi government.' So I asked him why? … I have been fighting al-Qa'ida, and we defeated al-Qa'ida, and the Iraqi government they just gained everything, the benefits of that."
"[Gen. Eric E.] Fiel, [Brig.] Gen. [Donald M.] Campbell, and even Gen. David Petraeus, and Gen. Odierno, he visited me in my office too."
"During a reconciliation meeting, however, someone tried to kill Abu Abed."
"I left my office with eight vehicles, and I used to use my own vehicle. It was a Toyota Land Cruiser armored vehicle, very, very strong. And when I went to Amel al-Shabby Street, I saw those seven hummers there, and the Iraqi soldiers they [had] been walking in the street."
"[My security chief] said maybe the guard ... went to drink some chai. I told him no, this is unusual ... They [detonated] a big IED, and the sound of the explosion covered all [of] Baghdad ... I was flying, and I hit one of the vehicles, and I can still remember when I was covered by the rocks and the dust." 
The 100-plus violent attacks during the March 7, 2010, elections serve as a stark reminder that extremist elements — most notably AQI — continue to pose a clear and real danger to the nascent Iraqi democracy. Across the country, up to 367 people, including 216 civilians, were killed during March, and the pace of killing accelerated in April when more than a hundred people were killed during the first week of the month. 
Some senior Iraqi officials are still unable to see the writing on the wall. General Abud Kanbar Hashem Khayun al-Maliki, the Baghdad Operations Center commander, refused to allow the tidal wave of kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings that rocked the capital in the last quarter of 2009 deflect his determination to dissolve the SOI. On November 27, 2009, he stated:
Whether General Abud's forecast is accurate, and more importantly, whether the results of the Sons of Iraq's dissolution bode well for Iraq's future remains to be seen. It behooves Washington, which, after all, has sacrificed much blood and riches to secure and stabilize this nascent experiment in democracy within the Arab Middle East to reflect on these developments, as it seeks to remove its military presence from the Land between the Rivers.
 Time, Apr. 10, 2003.
 CNN, Aug. 30, 2003.
 "TIMELINE: Major Bombings in Iraq since 2003," Reuters, Aug. 22, 2007.
 Although the Kurds of northern Iraq are also predominantly Sunni, they had never been part of the country's ruling classes and have consistently been oppressed by their Arab co-religionists.
 Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, teleconference news briefing, Iraq, U.S. Department of Defense, Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2006.
 See, for example, James A. Baker, et. al., The Iraq Study Group Report (New York: Vintage, 2006), p. 4.
 Mahan Abedin, "Anbar Province and Emerging Trends in the Iraqi Insurgency," Terrorism Monitor (Washington, D.C.: Jamestown Foundation), July 15, 2005.
 Wilbanks interview with U.S. Marine Col. Jeff Satterfield, Multinational Force West, Camp Ramadi, Fallujah, Nov. 12, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Safa Hussein al-Sheikh, former Iraqi deputy national security advisor, International Zone, Baghdad, Oct. 28, 2008.
 Wilbanks interview with Capt. Christopher P. Dean, Task Force 237, 1st Armored Div., Camp Echo, Diwaniyah, Sept. 28, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Gen. Tariq al-Asal, police chief of Anbar province, Ramadi government official and former Sons of Iraq leader, Nov. 12, 2009.
 Time, Dec. 26, 2006.
 Wilbanks interview with Satterfield, Nov. 12, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with U.S. captain, former platoon leader, 2-23 Infantry from 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Div., Muqdadiya, at Camp Victory near Baghdad Airport, Aug. 14, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with anthropologist David Matsuda, Baghdad, Sept. 14, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with S. H. al-Sheikh, Oct. 28, 2008.
 Wilbanks interview with Col. Kurt Pinkerton, former lt. col. and commander, 2-5 Cavalry Aviation Brigade, Abu Ghraib, Nov. 9, 2009.
 Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander, Multinational Force-Iraq, "Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq," Sept. 10-11, 2007.
 Farooq Ahmed, "Backgrounder #23: Sons of Iraq and Awakening Forces," Institute for the Study of War, Washington, D.C., Feb. 21, 2008, pp. 2-5.
 Wilbanks interview with anonymous Iraqi ministry secretary, International Zone, Baghdad, late 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with S. H. al-Sheikh, Oct. 28, 2008.
 Wilbanks interview with Emma Sky, political advisor to Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, International Zone, Baghdad, Oct. 28, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with former U.S. platoon leader, Camp Victory, Aug. 14, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Gen. Tariq Yusuf Muhammad Hussein al-Thiyabi, chief of police, Anbar province, former Sahwa leader, Provincial Government Center, Ramadi, Nov. 12, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Col. Richard Welch, Forward Operating Base Prosperity, International Zone, Baghdad, Oct. 1, 2009.
 Efraim Karsh and Inari Karsh, "Myth in the Desert, or Not the Great Arab Revolt," Middle Eastern Studies, Apr. 1997, p. 296.
 Wilbanks interview with S. H. al-Sheikh, Oct. 28, 2008.
 Wilbanks interview with Sons of Iraq member from Rusafa district, Baghdad, Forward Operating Base Prosperity, International Zone, Baghdad, Sept. 3, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Sheikh Wathak Ozet Latif of al-Daqr area, Salah ad-Din province, Camp Dagger, Tikrit, Oct. 6, 2009.
 "Information on Government of Iraq Contributions to Reconstruction Costs," SIGIR 09-018, Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Apr. 29, 2009, p. 6.
 Associated Press, Apr. 8, 2008.
 Stuart W. Bowen, Jr., Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, "Subcontracting in Combat Zones: Who Are Our Subcontractors?" testimony before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., June 29, 2010, p. 6.
 "Quarterly Report to the United States Congress," Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Apr. 30, 2010, p. 11.
 Wilbanks interview with Maj. Gen. Muther al-Mawla, International Zone, Baghdad, Oct. 15, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Abu Azzam al-Tamimi, International Zone, Baghdad, Sept. 5, 2009.
 Wilbanks interview with Sa'ad Uraibi Ghafuri, via Skype to Jordan, International Zone, Baghdad, Oct. 2, 2009.
 "Quarterly Report to the United States Congress," Apr. 30, 2010, pp. 47-8.
 Wilbanks interview with Gen. Abud Kanbar Hashim Khayun al-Maliki, Baghdad Operations Center, Nov. 27, 2009.
The Problem of Rogue States:
Iraq as a Case History
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
International Politics & World Disorder:
War, Peace, & Geopolitics in the Real World:
Foreign Affairs & U.S. National Security
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security
U.S. National Security Strategy
Mark Wilbanks, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, served as a staff officer with the Multinational Forces Iraq headquarters in Baghdad from May through December, 2009. Efraim Karsh is Editor of the Middle East Quarterly.
The foregoing article by Mark Wilbanks and Efraim Karsh was originally published in the Middle East Quarterly, Fall, 2011, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (URL: http://www.meforum.org//2788/sons-of-iraq)
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