There are more and more signs of the Awakenings strategy hitting turbulence, if not going off the rails. The drumbeat of assassinations of Awakenings leaders and attacks on their men continues. Joseph Galloway reported yesterday of the growing tension over allegations that Shia militias are behind the recent upsurge of attacks. Patrick Cockburn reported from Falluja that an important local commander warned that if his people aren't integrated into the Iraqi military and police in three months they are prepared to stand down and let al-Qaeda back in. The Anbar Salvation Council declared that it would not fly the new Iraqi flag, meaning that for a while these local militias would literally be operating under a different flag than the national institutions from which they remain excluded. Today, al-Hayat reports that 230 Awakenings fighters north of Baghdad quit because they hadn't been paid in two months. And then, there's been a series of public eruptions between Anbar Salvation Council leaders and between the ASC and the Baghdad-based Awakening militias.
And hard-line Sadrists agitate to end the cease-fire, and tension grows between the Sunnis and Shiites and the Kurds (though animosity towards the Kurds does serve to at least unite the Shiites and the Sunnis on something) and the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces chase Al Qaeda around Mosul. And twin suicide bombings in Baghdad killed fifty people, in the type of attack the capital city has already seen far too many of since 2003. When it comes to Iraq, it's difficult to do anything but adopt the universal creed of the pessimist: hope for the best, expect the worst.