Monday, September 18, 2006

Tribal Militias in Both Pakistan and Iraq?

Curiously, the deals that have just been made in Pakistan and Iraq with their respective tribal elements seem very similar:
Pakistan's deal is with the Pushtun tribes in its Federally Administered Tribal Areas (but not with its Baluch tribes, as indicated earlier), and Iraq's is with the Arab Bedawin tribes of al-Anbar province. In both cases, the deal seems to entail the local tribes' agreeing to control "insurgents" (who are presumed to be outsiders and Arab). And it appears in both cases that the deal represents an admission by the respective governments that they are not getting control of the situation in those tribal areas. I have already expressed doubt that anything much will come of the deal in Pakistan. Juan Cole has similar doubts about the deal in Iraq:"Some tribes may develop feuds with some fundamentalists, but the likelihood of it amounting to much on a province-wide scale strikes me as low" (Informed Comment, 9/18/06).


Iraq Chiefs Vow to Fight al-Qaeda
Published: September 18, 2006 (BBC)

Iraqi tribal chiefs in the so-called Sunni Triangle have agreed to join forces to fight al-Qaeda, and have pleaded for US supplies of arms. One leader said tribes in the city of Ramadi had assembled 20,000 men "ready to purge the city of these infidels". Ramadi, in Anbar province, is one of the cities at the heart of the Sunni rebellion against US troops and Iraqis.

Pakistan 'Taleban' in Peace Deal
Published: September 5, 2006 (BBC)

Pakistan has signed a deal with pro-Taleban militants on the Afghan border aimed at ending years of unrest. The North Waziristan accord calls on tribesmen to expel foreign militants and end cross-border attacks in return for a reduced military presence.

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