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Iraqi tribes begin to assert themselves

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This is actually somewhat encouraging. Iraqi tribes have been largely overlooked in the political process, but in many parts of the country, especially the rural areas, they are the most vital influence on daily life. Many of them fight each other, but relatively few are overtly Islamist, so when confronted with fundamentalists (like those in Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army), some tribes are beginning to push back. The U.S. should be scrambling to engage tribal leaders and supporting detente among tribal elements.

If tribes can help secure rural areas, the support for insurgents and/or Islamist Shia forces may decline, giving them less room to operate and less national legitimacy.

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