Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Al-Hayat: Non-Qaeda resistance groups talking to the government about tactical cooperation around Baghdad

Al-Hayat says there have developments in the relationship between the Maliki administration on the one side and armed groups and/or ex-Baathists on the other.


First, the paper says "talks are ongoing between the government and seven armed-group factions that are active in the governates around Baghdad (including Anbar, Salahuddin and Diyala), following an announcement by these groups that they oppose the 'Islamic State' which AlQaeda is promoting," attributing this to sources both in the government and "close to the armed groups".

The journalist quotes an Iraqi army officer, Riyadh al-Shamari who said representatives of "seven well-known factions" were in Baghdad last week for talks with the government "that centered on cooperation in fighting AlQaeda in the outskirts of Baghdad." And the journalist explains that the government thinks the outskirts of Baghdad is currently the originating source of all terrorist activity. The same army officer said these groups have had some success in limiting the activities of Al-Qaeda in areas including Abu Ghraib and Falluja, and he said this has been an important support for the Baghdad security plan that Maliki has been carrying out for the last month.

The sources said the recent Baghdad discussions "went beyond the differences" that separate the armed groups from the government, which (differences) include the question of revising Sunni representation in the government. In other words, according to this account, they focused on a common interest in fighting AlQaeda in the area around Baghdad, leaving the political discussions for another day.

In the same vein, the writer quotes a government official in Salahuddin who said the Islamic Army in Iraq opposes the Islamic State of Iraq, and is supported in this by local tribes that have refused to pledge allegeance to AlQaeda, and they have faced AlQaeda in Tikrit and in Samarra and Al-Dawra, and in other areas adjacent to Diyala governate. And this Salahuddin official said the local government is trying to act as an intermediary in arranging for an agreement between the [Islamic] Army and the government.

By way of background, the writer reminds readers of a recent announcement of an attempt to form an alliance of non-Qaeda armed groups, including Islamic Army, Brigades of the 1920 Revolution, Army of the Rashidin and others, to offset the "Mujahidin Shura Concil" which they say is controlled by AlQaeda, itself recently morphed into the "Islamic State of Iraq". The writer describes the non-Qaeda alliance as an "attempt to redraw the map of the resistance."

So the gist of this part of the report is the reported polarization of the armed resistance into a Qaeda-affiliated part and a non-Qaeda-affiliated one, with the latter now (according to this report) actually talking to the government about tactical cooperation in fighting the Qaeda groups in the area around Baghdad.


This same Al-Hayat piece also takes up the question of Syria and the Baathists. Here the writer sources the story with a little less assurance, writing only that "some reports indicate" that Syria has been sponsoring Iraqi negotiations with Baathist leaders, including Mohamed Yunis al-Ahmad, and other Baath leaders from the Saddam era. (This is the group that the Saddam loyalists led by Izzat al-Douri consider traitors). Ssomeone in the Yunis camp said they have succeeded in winning over some from the Douri camp, but he says this is in exchange for action of the full list of Sunni demands including "re-drawing the political map", constitution-reform, de-Debaathification, and so on, and including "finding a suitable formula for requiring the foreign forces to leave Iraq..." so there seems to be some wishful thinking involved, at least in this part of the report.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reports in papers like Al-Hayat are not a source of neutral information. Rather, they give an insight into the mischievous strategy pursued by the intelligence services of various Arab regimes on behalf of their American masters. Al-Qaeda is not a bone fide resistance organisation, but an instrument of various intelligence services.

To quote a recent Ba'ath party statement, "The Baath has ascertained and in particular by the mouth of the master of martyrs, the beloved leader Saddam Hussein, that the belonging plurality of the people of Iraq (Arabs, Kurds, Turcomens, Muslims, Christians, Sunnis and Shias.. etc) is a source of strength and creativity and not a source of weakness as the enemies imagined...We see the US using its dearest reserves, preciously kept until the decisive day and the most important being to unleash the most dangerous factors in amongst sectarian forces from both sides Shia and Sunna to divide the armed Resistance and make the sectarian strife the number one problem. The sectarian terminology practiced by some elements which say they belong to the Resistance is nothing but the other side of the US Iranian coin and which completes the role of Badr brigade and Mahdi army. The Resistance will triumph as long as it strengthens its patriotic character and avoid falling into the sectarian trap encouraged by both the US and Iran and some other parties.

That is why our Party draws everyone's attention in particular within the Resistance to isolate the elements with sectarian orientations and to have a spirit which overcomes sectarianism and to hold on to patriotic and Islamic unity cleaned from the despised sectarianism. Otherwise the only beneficiary will be the occupation.” (Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party, 20 March, 2007).

10:23 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home