12 December 2007

And Now a Snippet of Good News from Samarra

Saw this small article from AFP on the al-Askari shrine in Samarra and who's providing the security for the reconstruction.

Iraq's premier has formed a council of Sunni tribesmen from the town of Samarra to provide security so that a damaged Shiite shrine there can be rebuilt, the government spokesman said Tuesday.

Ali al-Dabbagh said the group, formed by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on the lines of Awakening groups that have sprung up in other Sunni regions, would be "responsible for maintaining security in Samarra, which always faces terrorist threats.

"This coucil could provide the suitable atmosphere to start rebuilding the shrine of Al-Askari," Dabbagh said in a statement.

Very interesting. It's good news because 1) It's a Shiite shrine being guarded by Sunni concerned citizen groups, 2) The al-Askari shrine is very symbolic since its bombing by al-Qaeda in Feb 2006 launched Iraq into sectarian violence which has only recently been tempered, and 3) This shows the Shiite-dominated central government is coming around on the idea of empowered Sunnis (aka reconciliation). I'm not saying the war is over, but it's better than the standard news of violence and strife coming out of northern Iraq which even I am guilty of discussing.