Sunni clerics in Iraq surprised Coalition forces — and likely their followers — by urging Sunnis to join the security forces supporting the interim government:
Influential Sunni Muslim clerics who once condemned Iraqi security force members as traitors made a surprise turnaround Friday and encouraged citizens to join the nascent police and army.
If heeded, the announcement could strengthen the image of the officers and soldiers trying to take over the fight against the Sunni-led insurgency. …
Ahmed Abdul Ghafour al-Samarrai, a cleric in the Association of Muslim Scholars, read the edict during a sermon at a major Sunni mosque in Baghdad. He said it was necessary for Sunnis to join the security forces to prevent Iraqi police and army from falling into “the hands of those who have caused chaos, destruction and violated the sanctities.”
Iraqis across all divisions will welcome this development. It shows that the Sunni resistance to representative democracy has faded as the new government has turned out not to be the Shi’ite theocracy they feared. The reversal also comes at a time when the ex-Ba’athist elements of the insurgency have almost given up their efforts altogether and may be looking for a face-saving way into the new political system. Joining the security forces ensures that Sunni representation will restrain the new army and police forces from becoming a Shi’ite bludgeon on the Sunnis that brutally dominated them for decades.
Once again, the Iraqi elections keep forcing the terrorists to give up their weapons and accept the new move towards self-determination. The Sunni clerics understand that the window will soon close on the opportunity for their people to get the representation they need to secure their rights in the future, liberated Iraq. Only full participation and a sense of shared purpose will allow them to seize that opportunity, and sharing the risk of providing security will give them the credibility they need to do so. (via Politburo Diktat)