The Iraq Question

Leaving aside propaganda, the critical question, in many ways the only question, is whether the Sunni Awakening groups can be integrated into the overwhelmingly Shiite national army and security forces. The answer is that we do not yet know, and that we will only find out once we create a security vacuum for the Baghdad government to fill. The news yesterday was both good and bad: good in as much as Awakening leaders in Diyala were meeting to discuss greater cooperation; bad in as much as one of their own tribal members attended as a suicide bomber:

Friday’s bombing occurred during a lunch meeting at the Yusufiya home of the tribal leader, Mohammed Abdullah Salih al-Qaraghuli, for nearly 1,000 members of the Qaraghul tribe, who had traveled from around Iraq to be there, guests said. The tribe includes Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.

Some of those in attendance were former Sunni insurgents who had become leaders of Awakening Councils, groups allied with the government against Al Qaeda.

After Friday Prayer, the tribe ate a communal lunch in a large yard adjacent to the sheik’s house to discuss which 20 members would represent them at a meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki.

Maybe this will help unite the country against Jihadists. Maybe it won't. But this violence is happening with 130,000 US troops still in the country and al Qaeda at an ebb. Do the math.