"[Maliki] announced a seven-point plan to stabilize the area, including recruiting 10,000 more police and army forces from local tribes." - Associated Press.
Um, haven't we been told for the last year that it's simply impossible to hire more than 20% of the Sunni Awakenings fighters into the army and police, even if the increasingly urgent need to find jobs for these Sunni fighters is the single thing which keeps David Petraeus awake at night? Those 10,000 army and police jobs for local Shia tribes sure did materialize mighty fast. I guess it's easier to find jobs for certain tribesmen than others. I'm sure this will help with national reconciliation and the consolidation of a non-sectarian state. Jeebus.
... to be clear, I'm not actually criticizing the decision. If the recruitment is done in a reasonably transparent and fair way, i.e. not just bringing more militias on board, it could be quite appropriate for the task of building up the capacity and sovereignty of the state in the Basra area. My point is that the same is true of the Awakenings, who remain conspicuously unhired and evidently unhirable.
UPDATE: if this al-Zaman story is correct and the 10,000 inductees are in fact from ISCI's Badr brigades and Dawa militias and not from local tribes, then this story becomes far, far worse. That's particularly the case if this other al-Zaman report is correct: that the new Badr inductees are meant to replace the ""thousands of police members and officers who allegedly refused orders to take part in the fight against the militiamen of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr." Instead of strengthening the state's capacity in Basra, this would become simply another move in the intra-Shia power struggle: exacerbating not just the sectarian but the factional identity of the security forces, alienating rather than reaching out to the Mahdi Army, and all while doing nothing to bring Basra residents closer to the state. While this wouldn't be much of a surprise, given the way Maliki has always operated, it would radically reduce the prospects that anything constructive can be salvaged from the last week's bloodshed.
What's more, if al-Zaman is correct about this, it will have a sharply negative effect on the Sunni-Shia front, as well. Al-Zaman explicitly frames it as "when the Sunnis who fought against al-Qaeda remain blocked from joining the army and police, the Badr militias get fast-tracked into the security services." This was bad enough as sectarian or regional discrimination (Shias in the south get in, Sunnis in the West and in Baghdad need not apply)... but if Shia militias are rapidly inducted while the former Sunni insurgency factions are left cooling their heels, get ready for the kindling to catch.