In Ramadi, Distrust Threatens Iraq’s Gains

The area’s mostly Sunni residents see the soldiers here, who answer to the Shiite-led central government, as heavy-handed occupiers.

Comments: 18

  1. Iraq is showing signs of an unraveling (civil war) the foundations of which were laid several years ago. Within a year Muktada Sadr (Iran) will be in charge. We never really understood Iraqis or the region despite how much the generals told congress they did. Just one more comparison of mistakes in both Iraq and Vietnam.

  2. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda... At what point do we recognize that no matter how long we stay, or how soon we leave, the governement there will fall into disarray, civil war will follow, and the last man standing will be the new Saddam. Everything else is silly chatter.

  3. Such a rift could have been predicted from the very moment the Bush Administration invaded Iraq.

    Having the same Administration inflaming such a sectarian animosity across the Arab world in order to isolate Iran and thwart its nuclear program was doomed to backfire.

    The biggest danger to the Middle East region is coming for the centuries-long Shiite-Sunni schism.

    The best way to pacify the region was to do our best to smooth out those historic tensions and animosity, not to exploit it in order to enforce naïve and useless short-term political goals of the neocons.

  4. After all the blood money I havent seen anything that would keep an Iraqi military strongman from marching on Baghdad and taking over the government just like Saddam. No matter what the government feed popular press propaganda tells you the Arab world is ruled by strong leadership not democracy. Our continued presence may prevent that so long as we are there but sooner or later like Vietnam we will have to let it happen or when things get just as corrupt as Egypt.

  5. What one asks did we gain in "mission accomplished" Iraq. The Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds with assistance from the real winner in this mess, Iran, will be going at each other in a feverish pace shortly with control of oil in the North and South of that Land the price. Our casualties and wasted National Treasury supporting no known strategic end makes us the losers in this mess. We leave no rule of law behind safe that of the gun in an ethnic, religious morass of tribal allegiance and corruption that is a Nationstate in name only..

  6. If we are learning anything this year (decade), it's that Sunnis and Shiites can only live together in peace when one side is oppressed fully by the other. It seems most people in the region cannot and will not see past primitive loyalties and remain at least two generations away from achieving a civilized, modern secularism so desperately needed in the region.

    Perhaps some day there will be a kumbaya moment between Shiites and Sunnis, but we need to get the heck out the way in the meantime.

  7. We are going to see more and more of these articles on the "deteriorating security and sectarian situation" in Iraq until the Iraqi government "asks" the US military to stay in Iraq as Mr. Gates "expects" them to do. NY Times role in acting as the propaganda tool of the US foreign policy is too well established to surprise any one. Despicable!

  8. The Byzantine world of Iraqi politics is here to stay. The question is, why are Americans continuing to die there. Why?

  9. An interesting article to read about what's happening in Ramadi. I bet similar things were happening there for a thousand years and will continue whether we are there or not. Why are we wasting billions of dollars to change these people's behavior toward each other when they don't want to do it themselves? Let them be. Leave them to their own devices. May be you can do an article every now and then on how things are over there. I am sure it will be an interesting read but not much different than this article.

  10. The Shitite army is everywhere. Sure they are, getting ready for the massacre that's coming when the US troops leave and Iran gives OK to start. What will George W. 0buma say when it happens?

  11. 2009 terrorism warrant, which American officials confirmed was valid. When Mr. Shahab bolted for his car, soldiers shot him in the back.

    The Iraqi Army would not identify the charges against Mr. Shahab, but they said they found two guns in his car. The Iraqi military official called his killing “the right thing” to do.

    But his death deepened the distrust and discord between military officials and tribal leaders, and touched off several protests. Mr. Shahab’s relatives said the Iraqi Army had killed a brave police captain who had lost two brothers to Qaeda attacks, then joined American forces to hunt down insurgents in 2007.

    Two Marines who fought among the palm groves and irrigation canals of the village of Juayaba, just outside Ramadi, confirmed the relatives’ version of events, saying that Mr. Shahab — also known as Abu Ali — played a critical role in leading a tribal revolt against Al Qaeda that gained momentum and spread.

    “He basically created this revolution on his own,” said Capt. Thomas P. Daly, who chronicled his tour in Anbar in “Rage Company,” a memoir. “I can name terrorists that this guy killed. This dude hated Al Qaeda. He hated them with a passion.”

    Right, he was a leader of the sunni awakening, but he was a terrorist. Americam armed forces confirm he was on our side, but stated the warrent was valid though three years old.

    Ring any familar bells people? Send in members of often times opposing groups one to police the other & expect harmony, How many Sunni army units are patroling shite communities?

    Remember Bush / Rummy there's no civil strife, no civil war? And most Americans will never openly admit that the whole thing was a disaster from start to end, amy more than they can admit that we sent thousands of our young to their deaths for why? I need it explained to me again. Then we wonder why our soldiers heads are messed up.

  12. Most of the comments here are the usual racist stereotypes of Arabs 'not wanting democracy (freedom) but 'needing strongmen' as though it is some racial characteristic.
    I will no doubt be accused of being naive even though I live in and have a majority muslim friends from every part of the Muslim world; both Sunni and shiite, Arab and African.
    There is no doubt truth to the fact that our 'invasion applied democratic revolution' is a false hope; just as our vile invasion of Libya is going to only lead to the 'strongman' type leader WE in the West WANT to have there; as in Saudia Arabia.
    It is true that they do have a differnat culture and want some things differantly than us (and in some of their desires; ala alchohol and our sex obsessed filth shallow corporate led sensation culture I can only applaud.
    But their society; if given the space and time it needs WILL evolve in an arabic progressive way IF WE GIVE THEM A CHANCE! Lie supporting the Saudia Arabian women challenging the driving sexism.
    But look at our distorted media world. Bangladesh is run by a woman and the leader of the opposition is also a woman. Doesn't fit with our warped view of them; but then our hypocacy in supporting the sources of the most intolernat Muslim varieties; Saudia Arabian Whahibianism or Pakistan or even worse our deaf , dumb and blind ignoring of the worlds #1 human rights abuser India: leaves me breathless.
    5 MILLION dead starved CHILDREN EVERY YEAR. A death toll equal to the 26 poorest nation of Africe COMBINED! A holocaust of 'racial inferiors' (that is the 'untouchables') in a nation known as a global economic giant.
    NYT do your duty and report on this SHOAH! The West kills more non westerners at a 1-100 ratio just as Israel does the Palestinians. There are good and bad in EVERY society but we have NO right to moralize to others when we in the West feel we can invade nations based on baselss lies and then feel we have the right to moralize to others!

  13. Here is a sad commentary on American policy. First, So few comments. Does anyone care? America has spent over a trillion dollars and over four thousand of our soldiers lives in Iraq. Yet we cannot be sure the Iraq adventure will result in a successful democracy.

    Yet I am sure the Iraqi people do not want another Saddam. They dared to vote under threat of terrorist bombings.

    What should we in the West, particularly America, do?

    If you want to discuss what we can to to change this terrible situation, contact me at [email protected] (no attachements please)

    There is power in numbers. Let's work together.

  14. The thinly-veiled racism evident in the comments by correspondents #1-#4 here is very striking. Apparently, Arabs can't handle democracy, the thinking goes. Dictatorship is inevitable. "Bush" and "the neocons" and "the generals" were all wasting our time, blood, and treasure.
    Democracy in the Middle East is a pipe dream.

    Our correspondents have placed themselves on a very slippery slope. Why, then, are we bothering with Libya? And if we are bothering with Libya, why not several other countries like Libya?

    Why, for that matter, would we bother with Africa? Isn't Africa ruled throughout by [in the words of Correspondent #4] "strong leadership not democracy"?

    It seems that the guiding principle for NYT readers (besides this thinly veiled elitist-racism) is the pathological need to blame everything on neocons, Bush, and the military.

    In the same breath, they'll tell us that we should continue to pour billions down the paternalistic black hole of welfare, because it is "our fault" that our "oppressed" minorities continue to be unable to work for a living.

    The inconsistency is breathtaking.

  15. This article fails to provide any valuable information about the IP Hamid Ahmad Shahab. Just because he's not al Qaeda doesn't mean he's not a terrorist. In fact, it would help to understand the story more if the author gave Hamid's sect. If he's Shia then OBVIOUSLY he would fight against al Qaeda regardless if he's a terrorist. Al Qaeda is a Sunni terrorist organization. Also, in most cases the iraqi police are often Shia and the Iraqi Army of often Sunni. Further, the Iraqi Army units are completely random like our U.S. Army units. We dont have whites in some units and blacks in others... Same as they dont split the ranks of Shia's and Sunni's. With that said, this story is losing its credibility rather quickly.

    Not to nitpick either but I'm 99% sure he never went by Mr. Shahab; the third name is simply his grandfather's first name. His middle name Ahmad is simply his father's first name.

    To address some of the other comments - I dont have time to display my full feelings about how someone with a lack of knowledge on the subject can comment based on what the "think" to be true. Kenan for example, the fact that you believe "administration inflaming such a sectarian animosity across the Arab world in order to isolate Iran and thwart its nuclear program" might be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Never has this ever been a strategy for the Bush administration. Simply read a book on Operation Iraqi Freedom - reasons we went to Iraq and I can almost garuntee you will NEVER find this. Please understand.

  16. So, what have changed? Facebook "revolution".

  17. It sounds as if a major avenue in Ramadi should be named after Hamid Ahmed Shahab.

  18. Sadly, this is a window onto a millennia-old situation, not a new development. Saddam kept a lid on this kind of violence by monopolising thuggery for himself. The Israeli – Palestinian conflict is a side show to the Sunni – Shia conflict. Recent events in Northern Ireland demonstrate how such sectarian divides never end. Like a dormant volcano, never growing extinct, they just smoulder away, until…