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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 05:27 AM
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Some Tuz leaders oppose citizens groups

Sheiks in the northern Iraqi city of Tuz Khurmato listen as their colleagues voice concern about forming a concerned local citizens group in their area. Some sheiks spoke out against the plan, saying it would provoke ethnic and religious strife in the region.

Some Tuz leaders oppose citizens groups
By Drew Brown, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, December 14, 20077

TUZ KHURMATO, Iraq Tribal militia groups operating under U.S. authority have helped improve security in many areas of Iraq and are one of the primary reasons why insurgent attacks have plummeted in recent months.

But in this city of mixed ethnicities and religions in northern Iraq, many tribal leaders are saying no to the formation of U.S.-backed concerned local citizens groups in their area.

In a meeting Tuesday with Lt. Col. Darren Ricketts, commander of the 10th Mountain Divisions 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, the majority of the 80 or so district and tribal officials said forming the groups would provoke ethnic and religious strife in Tuz, which is composed of 40 percent Kurds, 40 percent Turkomen and 20 percent Arabs.

There are three different ethnicities and two religions in our area, said one sheik. Increasing the Iraqi army is the answer. The CLCs will provide security only for the members of their tribe.

The formation of the concerned local citizens groups, as the U.S. military calls the militias, has occurred primarily among Sunni Muslim Arabs. As Sunnis across Iraq have revolted against al-Qaida, U.S. commanders have responded by placing tens of thousands, many of them former insurgents, on the payroll under security contracts negotiated with local tribal leaders.

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