Thursday, January 12, 2006

More On Iraq

There appears to be anecdotal evidence that there is a split developing between the Iraqi insurgents and Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia (Iraq). Although the size of the split, and the potential for American forces to exploit that split, is still unclear, it has become violent recently, with the two groups doing battle in a number of Iraqi cities.

The New York Times article does a good job of describing the current state of the insurgency and the terrorist groups inside Iraq. Although Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is seen by Iraqis to be a mostly foreign force, evidence suggests it is largely made up of Iraqis. The biggest appeal to join Al Qaeda is its high level of funding – mostly foreign.

The two groups, united in their desire to end American involvement in Iraq, are divided on many other aspects. Al Qaeda’s mission is a religious one and wishes to battle Iraqi Shiites. Many of the insurgents are more nationalistic than religious and oppose fighting Shiites. There is also evidence that insurgents are tiring of Al Qaeda’s methods:

"The tribes are fed up with Al Qaeda and they will not tolerate any more," said a senior Iraqi intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The intelligence official confirmed reports that a Sunni tribe in Samarra had tried and executed Qaeda members for their role in assassinating a local sheik.

The article goes on to talk about insurgents’ anger over the number of Iraqi civilians that are killed during suicide attacks. The split was also apparent in the two most recent elections, the referendum on the Iraqi constitution and the parliamentary elections; Al Qaeda opposed the elections and threatened anyone who voted, while Sunni insurgent groups offered protections for the voters. Hopefully Sunnis will continue to grow tired of Al Qaeda’s tactics - and hopefully the Shiites won't give these two groups any more common ground.