Friday, 20 July 2007

The Iraqi Resistance: Interesting Happenings

This is absolutely the most important news to come out of Iraq in the last two years.
Seven of the most important Sunni-led insurgent organisations fighting the US occupation in Iraq have agreed to form a public political alliance with the aim of preparing for negotiations in advance of an American withdrawal, their leaders have told the Guardian.

I had started a blog post a couple of days ago which I never managed to finish in which I was writing about the significance of the Islamic Army of Iraq's split, with a breakaway faction disagreeing with the IAI's increasingly confrontational posture with regard to Al Qaeda in Iraq. This followed on reports that the 1920 Revolution Brigades, some of whose members had been targeted by Al Qaeda in Iraq had started actually helping the American forces against AQ.

Here's a very interesting interview with some of the leaders of the Iraqi resistance.

Many of the Iraqi insurgent groups have become increasingly critical of Al Qaeda's bloody, indiscriminate bombings of civilians and disregard for Iraqi life. They've also been very suspicious of their pan-Islamist agenda and non-Iraqi leadership, which doesn't have Iraq's best interests at heart. What's interesting is that the American government has been hammering on and on about Al Qaeda, boosting their popularity (and funding) outside Iraq, even while it is the nationalist Iraqi groups that are causing the most damage to the Americans and American-backed Iraqi government forces.

The recent report on the increasing condemnation of Al Qaeda's tactics from a number of groups within Iraq, as well as a fatwa from a prominent pro-insurgency cleric in Kuwait saying that Muslims should not support Al Qaeda because they were indiscriminately targeting civilians, were indicators of a growing split in the insurgency as a large part of it has started considering the political aspect of things and is thinking about how to influence events after American troops leave. What's interesting is that most groups (including the smaller Baathist groups) are thinking about participation in elections. Al Qaeda is different because their focus is not on rebuilding Iraq but on killing Shias and Americans in Jihad. A post-American Iraq for them would still be a war zone in which to kill Shias.

Abu Aardvark has some interesting articles about all this up on his blog.

I remain sceptical about the ability of this group to work with Shia militias though, especially as AL-Qaeda and pro-AQ groups will continue to inflame sectarian violence through their bombings etc. But perhaps this is one dim ray of hope that all will not collapse into complete chaos following the impending American withdrawal.


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