Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Al-Hayat reports progress in unifying the domestic resistance versus AlQaeda

Al-Hayat says:
High level sources expect the establishment soon of an "alliance of Sunni armed groups" to be led by the Islamic Army in Iraq, and the formation of a front to include most of the major forces that are resisting the occupation. The sources, which are close to these groups, said the aims include, in addition to resistance itself, the aim of replying to the heterodox ideas that the AlQaeda organization is spreading around in Iraq, and [replying to] the armed operations they carry out against various sectors of the Iraqi people. The groups have decided to meet and to join together under a single point of view, and to commit to legitimate and true jihad, as determined by the clerics of the ummah and the main imams; it is fitting that they should nurture the Sunni people as a whole, and that they should be qualified to lead them, and to extricate them from the serious crisis that they are in. The sources said this is a major project, participated in by several jihadi factions. It grew out of meetings between the leaders, and it has now reached a very advanced stage.
By way of background:
(1) There was a recent report, from Amman I believe, about formation of a new association of Iraqi Sunni scholars where it was stressed they would be issuing rulings that keep away from the "takfiri" approach. I regret I can't find the text or the link for that right now. It seems clear that was part of the same movement reported on today.
(2) Another related and explanatory document is the recent statement by the Islamic Army in Iraq setting out its principles, and on that basis criticizing AlQaeda for intolerance and lawlessness. The most complete summary of that document in English is to be found on a resistance web-site called I think the first 17 points, where the IAI sets out its operating principles, are particularly worth keeping in mind in connection with this ongoing story of conflict conflict between domestic-nationalist aspirations on the one side and the more grandiose transnational ambitions on the other. To me, the analogy is this: It is as if the James Baker wing of the Republican Party had the political courage to issue a manifesto against the neo-cons.
(3) It is true that Al-Hayat has recently had a penchant for focusing on the two somewhat related issues of fighting AlQaeda and reorganizing the resistance, starting last fall with repeated reports of successes by the anti-AlQaeda tribal confederation in Anbar province that are still a little uncertain, at least insofar as the news doesn't seem to have been picked up elsewhere. The Anbar-tribal issue is a separate issue from today's topic, or at least a sub-issue, but still, the uncertainty of the earlier reporting suggests not jumping to conclusions.

For me, as I said, I think for people trying to follow the thread of this, a useful thing at this point is to study the IAI document linked to above, because it really does break new ground in the area of resistance ideology. I would have posted something elaborate on it, but the original Arabic text is filled with Quranic texts and commentary, and I am not up to that. The summary is a good substitute.

(And there's more discussion in a three earlier posts on this by Marc Lynch, and one more today. See the comments for links).


Anonymous Yohan said...

Those interested in some context should take a look also at some of Abu Aardvark's recent posts on this topic:


Jaysh al-Islami vs Al-Qaeda

IAI: the most dangerous document

And then another one today about the same unsigned al-Hayat article you reference in this post.

These are some of the most important questions about the insurgency today, who are they really and what are their real goals? If this Iraq-first coalition of anti-American yet anti-Qaeda Iraqi nationalists unites and becomes dominant, it would completely undermine the "Iraq will become a haven for terrorists who will follow us home if we leave" argument for continuing the war. Even if the bloc opposing al-Q doesn't achieve hegemony, it will undoubtably turn on al-Q the second the occupation ends, thus putting the international takfiris even more on the run than they are now, meaning no safe haven.

For these reasons, as well as the fact that it's too complicated to fit into a small, simple box, we won't be hearing anything about these developments from American media sources. Thank you so much for bringing this to English speakers' attention.

7:59 AM  
Blogger badger said...

You're definitely right about the major importance of this.

And thanks for sending along the links to the Aardvark blog. I should have mentioned them in the post.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is at least a placemark for the new Sunni formation you mention.

1:53 AM  
Blogger annie said...

thank you thank you

2:35 PM  

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