A reader writes:
The New Yorker report you cited is so bad it is scary. If this is what you are reading to figure out what is going then you need a better source. This article is riddled with incorrect facts and easements. It doesn't just get things sorta wrong, it gets them 180 degrees wrong.
Unfortunately I can't go through every part of the article, because much of what I would say is classified. I'll just comment on the part you quoted from a Sheikh Zaidan. Sheikh Zaidan is not a "prominent Sunni tribal leader" at all. Actually, he is a nobody with no tribal power or constituency who probably isn't even a Sheikh and who is likely still involved with the insurgency. The insurgency has been beaten so bad in Anbar that he is forced to cool his rhetoric. Of course they didn't make us "crawl on our stomachs". What happened was, we were killing insurgents like it was cool and the insurgents were killing Iraqis like it was cool. The tribes realized they were getting wiped out at both ends.
They also realized they didn't much care for the hard core insurgents, so they decided to join us. With the tribes and US forces working together, it simply left no room for the insurgents. They either had to die, quite or leave. Zaidan is not in the Awakening movement and doesn't know anything about it. I'd be willing to bet my next three paychecks that the Awakening movement would put a bullet in Zaidan without too much prompting because of his insurgent activities. So his analysis of what the Awakening movement is and what it is doing is laughable. Also, Sunnis aren't clearing out Baghdad. They are working with Shia Awakening movements to clear out Baghdad of both AQi (Sunni) and JAM (Shia) insurgents.
Also, just in case you were not aware - the Awakening movement, although Sunni based, has been explicitly and strongly non sectarian since its inception. Now that the Awakening movement has largely cleared Anbar of Insurgents they have shifted focus in a major way to Shia outreach. Clearly Zaidan is a Sunni extremist which make his opinions all the more laughable. People like him are marginalized even in Anbar which is strongly Sunni.
Of course AQI is a "spent force" because we killed it. Remember that 14 Months ago everybody was saying that Anbar was lost to AQI and the US should leave the province immediately. Now it is the safest place in Iraq. The same is currently happening in the rest of Iraq just with a lag. A year from know everybody will be talking about how JAM is a spent force and there is nowhere left for insurgents to go.
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