There are growing signs of hostility between secular Iraqi insurgents and Muslim extremists — some of them foreigners — fighting under the banner of al-Qaida.
The factions have exchanged threats and are increasingly divided over the strategy of violence, much of it targeting civilians, that aims undermine the fragile new government.[…]
In Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province and a stronghold of the insurgency, homegrown Iraqi fighters have begun recently to air their differences in menacing fliers plastered on walls and distributed in mosques — making threats and denouncing the tactics of the extremists, according to witnesses who have seen the fliers.
Some of the fliers threaten reprisals against the militants or threaten to inform police of their identity and whereabouts. The extremists have not publicly responded, but residents say the fighters have kept a low profile since the appearance of the fliers in the Euphrates-side city and that some of them may have moved to the outskirts to avoid clashes.
Ramadi’s insurgents argue that al-Qaida fighters are giving the resistance a bad name and demand they stop targeting civilians and kidnappings. Al-Qaida militants counter that Iraqis who join the army and police are “apostates” — Muslims who renounce their faith — and deserve to be killed.
“They have tarnished our image and used the jihad to make personal gains,” said Ahmed Hussein, a 30-year-old mosque imam from Ramadi, speaking of al-Qaida fighters. “They have no legitimacy,” said Hussein, who claims insurgency links but says he’s not a fighter himself.
In Baghdad’s mainly Sunni Azamiyah district, another insurgency hotbed, residents have repeatedly brought down from walls and street light poles the black banners of al-Qaida in Iraq.
The rift also involves Sunni Arab tribal leaders frustrated by the continuing violence. And it is being encouraged by Iraqi authorities in the hope that it would isolate the militants. Iraq’s local TV channel, Al-Iraqiya has recently been showing nightly interviews with captured Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters, many who speak of alleged links to Syrian intelligence.
Iraq’s newly elected president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, urged insurgents to sit down and talk with the new government, but he’s made it clear his offer is exclusively available to homegrown Iraqi insurgents and not to extremists or foreign fighters.
“We must find political and peaceful solutions with those duped Iraqis who have been involved in terrorism and pardon them, and invite them to join the democratic process,” Talabani said Thursday as he was sworn in at parliament. “But we must firmly counter and isolate the criminal terrorism that’s imported from abroad and is allied with criminal Baathists.”[…]
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed news reports in Arab media that factions of the insurgency may be indirectly negotiating with authorities to lay down their arms in return for amnesty, jobs and reconstruction money. The Iraqi government has not commented.
There is a growing feeling among Sunni Arabs that boycotting the landmark Jan. 30 election may have been a mistake. Shunning the vote left Sunni Arabs, who make up 15 percent to 20 percent of Iraq’s estimated 26 million people, with less than 20 of parliament’s 275 seats.[…]
In the most striking example so far of the shifting Sunni ground, the Association of Muslim Scholars — which has tacitly supported the insurgency — made a surprise about-face last week and appealed to supporters to join Iraq’s nascent army and police.
If heeded, that move could improve the perception of Iraq’s U.S.-trained army and police as the exclusive domain of Shiites and Kurds. it also could — significantly — lure away from the insurgency any fighters looking for a regular income and a less perilous life.
Let’s all remember that there was one particular event that has caused the insurgency to weaken so dramatically. And that was the successful election in January.
Kerry, had he been elected, would have indefinitely postponed the election, and would have gone on a trip around the world, groveling and begging the French and Germans for a few extra troops in Iraq. It is unlikely they would have complied.
But even if they had sent a handful of military personnel to Iraq, without the successful election, the insurgency would have only grown stronger. And instead of a fledgling democracy in an increasingly stable Iraq, we would have more chaos and death, and a new President desperate to get the hell out of there ASAP.
And the media, along with their Democrat friends, would have blamed it all on Bush, and said that Kerry was handed an impossible mission by his incompetent predecessor. And that cutting and running was the only sensible thing to do.
But that’s not going to happen now. Instead, we are seeing the birth of a great democratic movement in the Muslim World.
You can compare our President to a retarded chimp or a NAZI dictator all you want. But history will speak much more kindly of him…Powered by Sidelines