Some of you know what the Anbar Salvation Council and the Anbar Awakening are, but if you don't, it's pretty vital for you to have that knowledge if you are going to make any kind of an educated analysis of whether General Petreaus's "surge" strategy is making progress, or has any chances of bringing security to Iraq. Here's the way I understand it after watching it happen 6 or so months ago and piecing all the different post references of it together:
The first part of the strategy was for the Coalition leaders to get out into the Iraqi communities and establish relationships with the local leaders, in order to win their trust and cooperation in running out the anti-Iraqi forces in their area. The first instance of this that I caught wind of was in al Anbar province. Al Qeada had taken the province over and the Coalition leadership had written off the province as a "lost cause" in mid 2006. In late 2006, the tribal Sheiks started meeting and a handful decided to band together and turn on Al Qeada. From my best estimates, there are approximately 30 or so tribes in al Anbar, which is physically the size of Utah. They called themselves "The Anbar Salvation Council" and joined with the CF in attacking and attempting to run off Al Qeada. After some initial successes, more tribes started joining the Council and eventually 27 or so were members. Al Qeada was pretty much run out of Anbar province and most of the Iraqi's there returned to a peaceful life. The coalition, not wanting to have an armed militia uncontrolled laying around convinced the Sheiks to roll the Anbar Salvation Council militia into the local police department. The did and then they were trained at the IP training camps and are to this day mostly providing their own security in Anbar province. The Coalition still needs to be there and handle instances of Al Qeada trying to come back in to retake any part of the province, but are augmented by having the tribes doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
The Anbar Salvation Council can be considered the military branch of this model and the political branch named themselves "The Anbar Awakening". The Awakening started to deal with the Iraqi national government to get economic recovery going and to improve the conditions in the province for the Iraqi people.
This model appears to have been an overwhelming success and is being replicated now in other provinces. This is critical information the mainstream media should have been reporting to you if any of them had an interest in providing you with any kind of unbiased reporting. Unfortunately, they and the anti-war surrender monkeys are apparently heavily invested in a defeat in Iraq.
See also Militias by Teflon Don at acutepolitics