Iraq Pessimists may be in for a Surprise
|There are paradoxes and ironies aplenty in the complex web of Iraqi factions and violence. One relatively new trend in the violence may be a positive one, and if it grows, could be key to Iraq claiming a future for itself and ending the insurgency. This development is Sunni tribal groups beginning to form a front to attack Al-Qaeda, and foreign insurgents.|
The reason for this turn of events is simple. Al-Qaeda has gone too far in it's indiscriminate killing of civilians and officials while trying to foment the situation in Iraq. It began in Ramadi, a Sunni city that has long hosted local Sunni insurgents and initially supported Al-Qaeda and Zarqawi. The popular local leader, Sheikh Naser Abdul Karim al-Miklif, had become a central figure in the efforts to lead Anbar into the political process. He also encouraged tribal leaders to commit Sunni recruits to the Ramadi police force. In early January, Al-Qaeda blew up 80 Sunni police recruits in Ramadi. Days later the Sheikh was murdered. In addition, they killed the chief of the Naim tribe and his son. Then they killed a top tribal sheik who headed the Fallujah city council.
The result has been the formation, in some cases through secret meetings, of a resistance in Kirkuk, Hawijah, Fallujah, Ramadi, and other areas that has declared war against Al-Qaeda. The resistance coalitions include tribal chiefs, politicians, clerics, security officials and other community leaders. The groups claim to have killed many Al-qaeda members, and have vowed the "the shedding of blood" of anyone involved in "sabotage, killings, kidnappings, targeting police and army, attacking the oil and gas pipelines and their transporters, assassinating the religious and tribal figures, technicians, and doctors."
"We have killed a number of the Arabs, including Saudis, Egyptians, Syrians, Kuwaitis, Syrians and Jordanians," said one member, "We were also able to foil an attack by Zarqawi's men who were trying to attack an oil pipeline outside Ramadi. We killed four Iraqis trying to plant the bomb under the pipeline." Several leaders have specifically said that Zarqawi is their enemy.
“There is a hatred for Zarqawi in Ramadi now,” a resident said. “People are exhausted by what he has done. Six months ago he was still accepted, though not 100 per cent. Now we see him continue to target locals and their sons and kill our leaders, and we reject him totally.”
The situation puts the U.S. military in a bit of an awkward position. Spokesman make statements about actions needing to take place through “legitimate structures”, and deny any support being given to these groups. At least one leader states that the military has given them "all kinds of financial support."
Whether this is true or not, the new opposition to Al-Qaeda, Zarqawi, and foreign insurgents is heartening news. Ultimately, it will take Iraqi's being fed up with the attacks to defeat insurgents. They are beginning to realize that insurgent violence does nothing but hurt their own country and prolong the stay of American troops, which they do not want.
It seems likely that the escalation of attacking mosques is a symptom of Al-Zarqawi's realizing his support within Iraq has not only been shrinking, but former supporters are actually fighting against him. It's still too early to say that recent acts of desperation will fail to incite civil war, but so far Iraqi's are resisting taking the bait. It could be that the events being pointed to here in America as proof for failure in Iraq, will in fact turn out to have been a part of Iraqi's achieving victory for themselves.