Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

November 2009
Sunni Awakening Crackdown?

"Regrettably, the Iraqi law is being used by the government as a tool to settle old scores with the people who helped to stabilize the country."

—Sunni legislator Mustafa al-Hiti, after a leader of a Sunni Awakening Council was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murder.

The Awakening Councils, local Sunni groups (including former insurgents and Baathists) who were paid to turn against the insurgency, are credited with helping reduce much of the sectarian violence since 2006. So it came with mixed reaction that Sunni leader Adil al-Mashhadani, who led the Awakening militia in the impoverished Fadhil neighborhood of Baghdad, was sentenced to death on charges of terrorism in November. The ruling left some worrying that the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government was trying to weaken the Sunni movement. Meanwhile, Iraqi Interior Ministry officials reported the civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level in November since the 2003 invasion.