I've got one thought here: This reminds me of how Gen. Casey got fired as the commander in Iraq. I think Petraeus and Gates are behind this, and the message is: Bigger changes are coming in the war than you think.
From an article over the weekend in good old Stars & Stripes about the Baghdad government not paying and otherwise disrespecting the Sons of Iraq:
I think the Iraqi government is not capitalizing on the momentum," said U.S. Army Capt. Jason Dudley, who works closely with "Sons of Iraq" leaders in northeast Baghdad. "I think it's a huge blow to the momentum we've created."
This quotation also echoes the findings of the Silverman study I blogged the other day that concluded that there is widespread distrust of the central government not only among Sunni leaders but also among Shiites:
All the politicians who are working with Iran are controlled by Iran, who tells them to create problems with the 'Sons of Iraq,'?" said Sheik Ali Mijbil al-Ghrayn, a Shiite "Sons of Iraq" leader in the Baghdad neighborhood of Kuwaiti Village.
By the way, here is what General Odierno had to say Friday about how this ends:
And it's not going to end, okay? There'll always be some sort of a low-level insurgency in Iraq for the next five, 10, 15 years. The issue is, what is the level of that insurgency? And can the Iraqis handle it with their own forces and with their government? That's the issue. "
I think that is a good summary of the issue.