Jun 7, 2007

The Myth of the Supportive Sunni Insurgents

The U.S. command in Iraq, administration officials, and the devoted cadre of war supporters have been for the last several months lauding what they insist is a very positive development: a supposedly coordinated effort by tribesmen and other Sunni insurgents against "Al Qaeda in Iraq."

This is being trumpeted as proof that the Iraqis really are trying to make an attempt to salvage their beleaguered country.

However, some analysts have said quietly that the whole point of the Sunni campaign against "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is to ameliorate some of the terrorist group's counter-productive tactics in order to make the insurgency more effective against the American occupation.

The skeptical analysts are certainly right.

A Sunni insurgent group that waged a deadly street battle last week against the rival group al-Qaeda in Iraq in a Sunni neighborhood of west Baghdad announced Wednesday that the two forces had declared a cease-fire.

The Islamic Army of Iraq, a more moderate and secular Sunni group, said it had reached the cease-fire with al-Qaeda in Iraq because the groups did not want to spill Muslim blood or damage "the project of jihad."

Last week, the two groups fought for several days in the Sunni neighborhood of Amiriyah, leaving about 30 of their fighters dead. Residents of the neighborhood and leaders from the Islamic Army, which reportedly is made up of mostly Sunnis from the disbanded army of Saddam Hussein, said they had risen up against al-Qaeda in Iraq because it was imposing strict rules on the neighborhood and killing fellow Sunnis without evidence of wrongdoing.

In a statement posted on the Internet, the Islamic Army said the groups had agreed to end all military operations against each other, stop criticizing each other in the media, and stop taking prisoners. The groups would create "a judicial committee" to resolve differences, the statement said.

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