Awakening in Babil
A pro government tribal leader is targeted in Babil; the four provinces around Baghdad have established an Awakening movement
The formation of the regional Awakening movements--the groupings of anti-al Qaeda tribes, community leaders, and insurgent groups--threatens to stymie al Qaeda in the largely Sunni regions of Iraq. Al Qaeda has targeted the leaders of the Awakening movements in Anbar, Diyala and Salahadin provinces, and has now taken a shot at the newly minted Awakening movement in Babil province.
Military and intelligence sources have informed us that the formation of the Babil Awakening is underway, however there was little information to confirm this via open source. Omar Fadhil, one of the two authors of Iraq the Model, informed me today that he has seen reporting on the formation of a Babil Awakening in the local Iraqi press. Also, the Kuwaiti News Agency provided confirmation today when it reported an assassination attempt on Sheikh Obeid Al-Masoudi, the chief of the Al-Masoudi clan in the city of the Iskandaria. "Unknown gunmen" stormed Al-Masoudi's home, and "targeted him and his wife with volleys of automatic gunfire." He and his wife are reported to be in critical condition.
"Sheikh Al-Masoudi has recently established an alliance with several tribes in Babel Governate, south of Baghdad, reminiscent to the pro-government tribal alliance in the province of Al-Anbar, west of the Iraqi capital," KUNA reported. "He, along with other tribal chiefs, signed an accord prohibiting spilling of Iraqi blood, rejecting any breach of person's honor and barring aid to insurgents. They have also prohibited attacks on religious sites and supported the government's national [reconciliation] process."
Today's attack on the leader of the Babil Awakening follows an assassination attempt on Sheikh Hamad al-Hasan, the leader of the Salahadin Salvation Council, on Tuesday. Four of his family members were killed in the attack.
Awakening movements have now been effectively established in the four provinces surrounding Baghdad. The Government of Iraq is funding the military arm of the movements, and incorporating the local tribal forces into provincial police forces. This movement is an integral part of the attempt to secure Baghdad and the outlying belts, where al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents have established networks from which they launch deadly suicide attacks inside the capital. The movements in Babil, Diyala, and Salahadin are still in their infancy, and the Iraqi government and Multinational Forces Iraq must take care to protect their leaders and support their efforts in the military, political, economic, and reconstruction spheres.