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Iraq Report: The Salahadin Awakening forms

The most important event to occur in Iraq over the weekend was the formation of the Salahadin Awakening, which opposed al Qaeda's attempt to Talibanize Iraq and erode the power of the tribal leaders. Stars & Stripes reported that the Baghdad tribes met to form a front, however the information in the report indicates this was a meeting of the tribes in Salahadin province. The meeting occurred in Taji, and the tribes are from the northern portion of Baghdad province and Salahadin. recently, the tribes from Diyala formed the Diyala Awakening, which was built on the same principle as the Anbar Salvation Council, which has led to a dramatic turnaround in the security situation in Anbar province.

Evidence of the formation of the Salahadin Awakening was seen earlier last week, when Iraqi civilians in Duluiyah in Salahadin province came to the aid of Iraqi police as they were attacked at their checkpoint in the city. "In response to the attack, 20 armed men from a nearby neighborhood assembled and quickly came to the aid of the policemen manning checkpoint," Multinational Forces Iraq stated. "This grass roots effort contributed a significant impact in thwarting the attack... local citizens also responded according to a plan they developed for neighborhood defense."

Elsewhere in Salahadin, Coalition forces nabbed "the alleged leader of an Al-Qaeda affiliate group" along with "eight other suspicious individuals," weapons and bomb making equipment. Also, the curfew and shut down of Samarra, which went into effect after a suicide bomber killed 11 police and wounded 12 in an attack on a checkpoint, has been lifted.

Task Force 145 is continuing the hunt for al Qaeda leaders and operative. On Sunday, Coalition forces killed 8 al Qaeda and captured 34 in raids in Baghdad, and Karma and Fallujah in eastern Anbar province. Coalition forces also killed or cpatured two high value targets. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell also reported that Coalition forces killed Azhar al-Dulaimi, the "masterminded" behind the assault on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center in Karbala, which resulted in the kidnapping and murder of 5 American soldiers. The attack was carried out by the Iranian supported Qazali network. Iraqi security forces announced they captured "Hassan Hadi Jar Allah, alias Abi Khattab, a leader of the al-Tawhid wal Jihad group, in the Tunis district of Baghdad."

In Anbar province, al Qaeda in Iraq conducted its eleventh successful chlorine suicide attack in the town of Zangoura, which is north of Ramadi. The suicide bomber drove his truck into a police checkpoint near the town, and 11 were treated for chlorine poisoning.

Multinational Forces West, which owns Anbar province, recently completed a large scale operation in western Anbar province. "We uncovered over 250 caches, arrested over 250 suspected insurgents and discovered over 100 improvised explosive devices," said Lt. Col. Michael Manning, operations officer for RCT-2. "We clearly surprised them, the number of caches and detainees attest to that but more importantly, we let the enemy know that they can™t hide from us."

U.S. and Iraqi security forces continue the search for the 3 missing U.S. soldiers who were captured 8 days ago in the Triangle of Death south of Baghdad. In an interview with the Army Times' Sean Naylor on Friday, General David Petraeus stated he has information on who conducted the attack and kidnapping, and that at least two of the missing soldiers are believed to be alive. Major General William Caldwell again stated two of the missing soldiers are thought to be alive. Al Hesbah, a jihadi website, reported "American forces have discovered the headless bodies of two of the kidnapped American soldiers" and "Mahmudiyya police force stated that the bodies were found near one of the parks in the city and bear signs of severe torture." This report has not been confirmed, and the date is prior to General Petraeus' remarks.

On the political front, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the newly renamed Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, Iraq's largest Shia political party, is in the United States undergoing a medical evaluation. It is rumored Hakim "has been found to have lung cancer and is in the United States for further tests and to develop a treatment plan." SIIC has distanced itself from Iran by turning to Najaf based Ayatollah Ali al Sistani for religious guidance and dropped the word "revolution" from its name.

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