"Dramatic, unexpected" increase in Iraqi police recruits in Anbar

Every now and then a ray of light pokes through the huge, dark cloud. Only to be quickly swallowed up as the cloud gets bigger and darker.

I wonder how long it’ll take to swallow this one.

The U.S. military is reporting a dramatic and unexpected increase in the number of police recruits in Anbar province, the center of Sunni insurgent activity in Iraq…

U.S. commanders attribute the sudden increase in police applicants to the support of local tribal leaders and a deepening rift between Sunni tribesmen and extremist groups such as al-Qaeda in Iraq… [A.k.a. the Patriquin plan. — ed.]

The U.S. military said Sunday that it had secured the support of four tribes in Ramadi after a month-long security operation there. In western Anbar, police ranks grew from zero a year ago to more than 3,000 today, said Col. William Crowe, the U.S. commander there.

They’re going to try this in Fallujah next, per INDC’s Bill most recent piece for the Examiner:

Much will depend on an upcoming police recruiting drive, which will signal the willingness of the local tribes to back the government, the willingness of the police to develop a relationship with the Army, and the degree to which individual Iraqi police step up and display effective leadership.

Fallujans are watching and waiting, and will undoubtedly back the strong horse.

I hope he’s wrong about that last part. According to the Times of London, the Sunni jihadis are delighted with Bush’s admission of mistakes and are playing it to the hilt as propaganda. I’m also not sure what happens to the “tribal police” model in Anbar once we leave. It’s better than nothing, but you’re not going to build a nation by staffing its security forces with units organized by tribe. Baby steps, though, I guess.

I leave you with this piece from the WashTimes. Ever wonder what it’s like to ride the bus in Baghdad these days?

Any journey can turn out like Ali Makki’s recent commute to morning classes at Nahrain University, when his bus came upon the aftermath of a roadside bombing. The vehicle had to detour along the outskirts of the city, where it passed — without incident — a wandering gang of militants armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades.

On his trip home the same day, Mr. Makki survived a firefight between the Iraqi military and insurgents. Later, a masked Shi’ite militiaman boarded the bus at a fake checkpoint and led all the Sunni men off the bus to an unknown fate…

“What can I do?” Mr. Makki said of his treacherous daily commute. “I’m an engineering student. This is my future. I have to go to my classes.”