American and Iraqi troops have taken part in a ceremony transferring security control of the province of Anbar to the government of Iraq.
Anbar was once the centre of the Sunni insurgency, with more than a quarter of all US soldiers killed in Iraq having died in Anbar. The province has been relatively stable since late 2006, after local Sunni leaders turned against the insurgents and set up their own security patrols, known as “Awakening Councils”, with US support. These patrols began the task of driving Al Qaeda from Iraq. Iraqi forces will now control security in 11 of the country’s 18 provinces. The commander of US forces in western Iraq, Major John Kelly, said security must be matched by economic development to prevent a return to violence. – bbc
Economic development is difficult when different groups are fighting for the area’s resources.