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The "Concerned Citizens" Phenomenon Takes Hold


The Concerned Local Citizens phenomenon in Iraq has continued to grow throughout the year that General Petraeus and his counterinsurgency force have been on the ground in Iraq. At the Long War Journal, the indispensable Bill Roggio has posted a map showing the location and development of these citizens' groups which have mobilized themselves to fight against militias and terrorists for the purpose of protecting their tribe, their city, and their country.

When in the small village of Ja'ara, Iraq (between Baghdad and Salman Pak) this summer, I had the privilege of sitting in on the first meeting between an American officer and a Sunni tribal leader (Auth. note: The empty red chair in the foreground is mine). The prospect of establishing a prototype Concerned Citizens group -- the first ever in the region -- was discussed at that meeting.

That was at the end of August. As you'll see from the information provided at the Long War Journal, what began as the smallest of meetings has now become a literal phenomenon, with over 35,000 concerned local citizens participating just in that small region -- with almost 50% of the groups being combined Sunni and Shi'a.

If there's a term for this besides "unimaginable success," then I don't know what it is.


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