Michael Yon, an independent journalist on the ground in Iraq, submits on his website today that the people of the embattled town of Baqubah, just north of Baghdad, now see the American military less as invaders or occupiers. In what has been a slow and gradual shift, they view the American soldiers as members of a tribe – the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”
“I’ve seen this kind of progression in Mosul, out in Anbar and other places,” Yon writes. “And when I ask our military leaders if they have sensed any shift, many have said, yes, they too sense that Iraqis view us differently. In the context of sectarian and tribal strife, we are the tribe that people can—more or less and with giant caveats—rely on.”
We can only hope that this kind of limited trust spreads throughout Iraq.