Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wearing Out Their Welcome

I noted that the jihadis fleeing Baghdad and Anbar have few places to run.

We've taken another step to block off the Kirkuk region by enlisting local Iraqis to function as a local defense force to assist us in tracking and killing jihadi enemies trying to find sanctuary in the region:

Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.

The new alliance — called the single largest single volunteer mobilization since the war began — covers the "last gateway" for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias — mainly Sunnis — that had turned against al-Qaida and other groups.

So now we appear to have well over 60,000 Sunnis working for us in concerned citizen or awakening movement local defense forces. Contrast this with the 20,000 full-time shooters that the various insurgencies were thought to have at their peak. For all who insisted that the Baathists and jihadis represented legitimate national Sunni resistance, who represents the Iraqi Sunni Arabs more?

Other than just dying in place, the jihadis might only be able to run west to Syria. Be a damned shame if they decided Bashar Assad was as good an infidel as any to attack.