Sahwa, What Next After Al-Qa'eda?

Sahwa, What Next After Al-Qa'eda?

Produced by Nabeel Kamal

BAGHDAD, IRAQ–The Sahwa Councils or what are also known as “Sahwa Forces” had a strong impact and important role in bringing stability to some areas of Iraq such as Anbar province, Ramadi, Fallujah, and some other areas in Baghdad. Those forces were created after Sattar Abu Risha suggested the idea of creating local forces recruited within the same area the forces will be responsible for.

However, some Sahwa Forces succeeded in protecting their areas while others did not. There have been some rumors spread about cooperation between the Sahwa forces and Al-Qaeda, in some areas of Baghdad. Some Iraqis began to be afraid of the Sahwa Forces due to some accidents happening in Baghdad such as kidnappings and robbery under the Sahwa protection. In some cases the lack of training of Sahwa Forces has also caused problems.

On other hand many Iraqis welcomed the idea of Al-Sahwa; they considered them their sons due to the fact all Sahwa members are living within the same neighborhood where they live. Some of the Sahwa members are relatives or friends of the residents they are responsible for, and it became something common to see the neighbors providing food and greeting the Sahwa soldiers constantly.

The Iraqi government took control over the Sahwa forces recently, that garnered a strong fear among Sahwa members and pushed some of them to leave their work with the Sahwa, due to their belief that the Iraqi Government and Ministry of Interior is controlled by Shia militias. Despite this change, some of them stayed working with the Sahwa although the Iraqi Government technically controls the Sahwa now.

Alive in Baghdad has previously produced shows about the Sahwa forces in Adhamiya, Taji, Hawr Rajab, and now brings you Iraqi opinions on the Sahwa’s progress and its future form.

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Editor's Note: The concept for Alive-in/ began in 2005 with the launch of Alive in Baghdad. Many of the stories produced by our team of Iraqi reporters were taken offline with the closure of

In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the United States war against Iraq, we are republishing as much of Alive in Baghdad's original content as possible here on Alive-in/. Each story has been given its original date so that these posts don't overwhelm our current stories, and tagged as relevant.