Last night, a US warplane attacked members of the Awakening Council north of Baghdad, killing one and wounding two others. Officials claim the men were seen planting a roadside bomb, which prompted the attack and the capture of the wounded men.
Major General Daniel Bolger says that “while we value our Sons of Iraq (another name for the Awakening Councils) brothers, these men had broken faith with their fellow Sons of Iraq, the Iraqi people and us.”
The attack comes less than a week after Iraqi government forces launched a gunbattle against the US-backed militia in a Sunni slum in Baghdad, whose protest over mistreatment by government forces had turned into a full-blown uprising. It also comes just after reports that al-Qaeda had been attempting to recruit disenfranchised members of the Sunni militia.
The growing tension between the US-backed Shi’ite-majority government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the exclusively Sunni Awakening Councils that the US played such a huge role in creating threatens to spawn a much larger conflict in the war-torn nation. But if there was any question which of their two allies the American forces would eventually side with, today’s attack seems to have removed any doubt. America stands with the Maliki government, and the Sunni fighters will be faced with a choice of accepting that or rejoining the insurgency that most of them came from in the first place.