What's next for the Sons of Iraq?

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Thursday, August 05, 2010                                                                                                                          

With the U.S. troop drawdown deadline rapidly approaching, all eyes are focused on Iraq and what may transpire after U.S. combat forces withdraw to 50,000 troops on August 31st, 2010. A new ISW publication, Uncertain Future for the Sons of Iraq by Michal Harari, addresses the critical issues facing the Sons of Iraq (SoI), also know as part of the “Awakening”, on the eve of the US military’s mission change in Iraq:
"SoIs have been a primary target for al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in Iraq, making them feel increasingly threatened yet under-protected. A bitter and resentful Sunni population spells danger to future Iraqi stability."'
Uncertain Future for the Sons of Iraq documents the rise of the SoIs and the current problems plaguing them: low levels of SoI integration into government agencies, lack of private sector infrastructure for job creation, and targeted attacks against SoIs by AQI and other extremists groups. It is a must-read given the August 31st troop withdraw deadline. To learn more about the development of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), be sure to read the newly-released transcript of Lieutenant General Michael D. Barbero’s discussion on ISF, hosted by ISW.
In other news, ISW has been busy hitting the airwaves to discuss the troop drawdown in Iraq and the process of government formation. ISW Deputy Director and former Command Historian in Iraq, Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, sat down with Hearst Media’s Nicole Killion to talk about the new role of U.S. forces in Iraq. See it here. Marisa also guest blogged at the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog where her commentary on President Obama’s Iraq remarks appeared of the front page of the NYT website. ISW Communications Director Megan Ortagus also visited Fox News’ Strategy Room to talk about the troop withdraw and forging a new partnership between the U.S. and Iraq.
Of course, ISW’s Afghanistan Project is also hard at work this summer with the recent publication of Fact Sheet: The Kabul Conference. The 2010 Kabul Conference, co-chaired by the United Nations and Afghan Government, took place on July 20th, 2010. This conference is the ninth international conference on Afghanistan, but the first held within the country. It was the largest gathering of foreign leaders in Afghanistan since the 1970s. For more on combat forces in Afghanistan, be sure to check out our brand-new interactive map set Disposition of Forces: Afghanistan.
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Very respectfully,
Maggie Rackl
Communications, ISW