Meeting on the Awakening

LFIQ Joint President Dave Anderson MP will be chairing a meeting with Sheikh Tarik Al Abdullah on the Anbar Awakening: Lessons for fighting insurgency and winning the peace on 15th July 2009 with the Henry Jackson Society
Iraq – once the staple piece of foreign policy news in every media outlet – has now largely disappeared from regular discussion. And with good reason seeing as, somewhat belatedly and admittedly after much travail, a functioning democracy has emerged. One of the main reasons for this was of course a change in Coalition strategy, partly reflected in the implementation of the military Surge that turned the tables on the insurgency.
However, an equally important part of the new dynamic centred on the cooperation of local communities and the crucial support of leading public figures. Awakening Councils played a central role in maintaining stability and neutralising insurgent fighters. Most prominently the movement started in the Sunni province of Al-Anbar in Iraq, where Sheik Abdul Sattar Buzaigh al-Rishawi started the Anbar Awakening Council to counter growing Al-Qaeda influence, leading to tribespeople joining forces with the Coalition to restore stability.
Iraq has made considerable progress towards democracy and stability. Foreign investors have already committed to long-term contractual agreements to extract oil, and Iraqi security forces are now in control of all major towns and cities. Nevertheless, there are still several obstacles ahead, notably the question of Kurdish autonomy, growing Iranian influence and the preservation and maintenance of domestic peace and security.
By kind invitation of David Anderson MP, who is also the Joint President of Labour Friends of Iraq, the Henry Jackson Society is pleased to be able to welcome you to a discussion on: “Iraq’s Anbar ‘Awakening’: Lessons for fighting insurgency and winning the peace” by Sheikh Tarik Al Abdullah, Chairman of the Al-Anbar Central Council and Sheikh of Al Halabsa Tribes in Iraq. As a leading businessman, politician and public figure, Sheikh Al Abdullah played a central role in national reconstruction and development, and his unique experiences with the Awakening Councils, business and government, offer valuable insights into the future of Iraq.
His talk in London comes at a particularly relevant time as US troops continue to withdraw from towns and cities across the country and security is handed over to Iraqi forces, many of whom were trained and equipped by the US in the ‘Awakening’ movement. The Sheikh’s comments have a further relevance to the situation in Afghanistan, as the focus of international military strategy has shifted towards counter-insurgency warfare and the utilisation of local communities and fighting forces. How can we do better in this regard and crush insurgencies using local forces?
TIME: 7-8pm, 15th July
VENUE: Committee Room 8, House of Commons
To attend, please RSVP to denesha.brar@henryjacksonsociety.org
Sheikh Tarik Al Abdullah is the chairman of WATANEE (Unification OF National Iraqi Efforts Council), Political party and the chairman of Al-Anbar Central Council. He is a member of the High Council of Al Anbar and the Sheikh of Al Halabsa Tribes in Iraq. In addition, he is a member and founder of Iraqi tribe Leaders and a member and founder of Al Anbar tribe Leaders. Last year Sheikh Tarik Al Abdullah flew to North Carolina on a self-funded goodwill visit to the United States, where he met with officers from the II Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward) and briefed them on his insights to the current situation in the Al Anbar province.