Sunday, September 23, 2007

"The current realities of jihad in Iraq" (with an update)

There is an interesting debate going on at one of the jihadi websites (not one that hosts official announcements, but one that hosts discussions) concerning accusations against the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution and its offshoot "Hamas Iraq", to the effect that they have been cooperating with the American forces. My purpose isn't to try and track down what happened, which would no doubt be impossible anyway. Rather, what is of real interest is the clash of attitudes respecting the problem of unity versus fragmentation in the ranks, now that people are starting to think about an American withdrawal.

One recent post is headed: "Salafist jihad versus the [Muslim] Brotherhood": an expression that needs to be changed, O Islamic State", the commenter's point being that it is a grave tactical error for the ISI to put itself in a confrontational posture, not only with the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates (including Hamas Iraq) but also with respect to other islamist groups that don't necessarily consider themselves "Salafist". If there are people and events to be criticized, the criticism should be made very specific. The AQ program is supposed to be inclusive in the sense of leading all Muslims to the true religion. The Muslim Brotherhood people aren't evil, so what is the point of deliberately pushing them to be your enemy. And a commenter adds: "Treachery should be exposed, but generalizing and lumping together all who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood is what I don't see the point of. It serves to limit the Islamic State of Iraq to people who consider themselves Salafi jihadis and this is neither the time nor the place for that kind of limitation...[Ibn Taimiyya] against the Tartars didn't distinguish in the ranks of the jihadis between the shaariya and the salafiya."

They are responding to a lengthy post by someone who argued that the time is ripe for spelling out just where each of the various factions stand with respect to basic principles. If you eliminate the Baathists and the nationalists, this person says, you are left with three broad categories of islamist jihadi classifications: (1) "First, there are the factions that belong to the Muslim Brotherhood trend, and they are known for their doctrinal softness, and for their support of the concept of democratic elections, for which they claim legal status, and they permit participation in agent governments at the invitation of corrupt interests". (2) Second, there are groups that raise the banner of salafism, but inwardly they participate, whether knowingly or not, in many of the Brotherhood practices. They are known as "awakening (sahwa) Salafis". The unclarity of their program permits them to appear in many guises, and they are considered (among the three trends described here) as the "moderates". (3) "Finally there are the groups that hold to Salafist jihadi methodology that is clear and well-known in its theses respecting method, and law, and politics, all of which aim for the government by the law of God, and the establishment of this religion on earth".

The writer claims his purpose in spelling things out in this way isn't to classify people, or even to rule out the possibility of tactical cooperation with the deviant groups. Rather, he says, his motivation is that the current state of things in Iraq requires us at this particular time to be clear on these matters of principle:
The present realities of jihad in [Iraq] require us to explain the truth and to clarify [what is involved] for the ummah and not to dress things up. Because the present reality confirms that we are in a battle of methods with certain deviant methodologies, and it is necessary to explain this to the ummah. It is in this context that I would like to explain the truth of the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution and what happened by way of serious deviations in its path, because it has been converted from a faction of resistance to the occupation into a militia that fights against the mujadiheen, and goes along with the American project.
It seems pretty clear what this writer means when he talks about the "current realities of jihad". He is talking about idea of unity and compromise in the ranks of the resistance (see for instance the recent statement by the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq on this point), given all the talk about an imminent American "withdrawal". His point is that while tactical cooperation is still possible, this broaching of the idea of compromise on basic principles is tantamount to a crisis that needs to be met. There should be no such compromise. Naturally, according to this writer, AMSI is associated with the deviant groups, namely those that are open to the idea of democratic elections. This rejection of the idea of compromise echoes the hard-line "pure salafist methodology" explained by Abu Yahya al-Libi in his recent video.

Here, then, is another possible explanation why Washington is turning out the lights on jihadi announcements and discussions: There is evidence of serious fragmentation between the MB-types (not to mention the Baathists and the nationalists) on the one side, and the ISI types on the other. For an American administration that wants to continue to scare us with the AlQaeda in Iraq bugbear, the obvious move at this point is to bring down the curtain on the whole discussion.

(Update on the Bridages of the 1920 Revolution: Their official spokesman Abdullah Suleiman al-Ammari was on AlJazeera from Baghdad to stress again that the 1920 Brigades deny any cooperation with the Americans in any of the Iraqi provinces, and backing that up with numbers for Americans killed and wounded and vehicles destroyed by the 1920 Brigades alone, in July and August. He was then asked specifically about the rumors of an American attack on Iran and where his group stood on that issue.
Al-Ammari denied there have been any contacts with the Americans concerning the frequently mentioned possibility of the Americans launching a military strike on Iran, stressing that the 1920 Brigades sets its tactics independently depending on changes in what occurs and according to each stage. And Al-Ammari replied to a question about the Brigades' attitude to such a possible American strike on Iran, by saying "If that were to happen we would consider that to have been a divine judgment from God, because Iran has been supporting the United States in its occupation of Iraq," adding, "We would not support one side over the other.")


Anonymous gj said...

Badger, admittedly I am a techo ignoramus but why would jihadi sites be using American servers? Aren't there any others or is this another example of US imperialism at work?

4:28 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Or *were* hosted on American servers. (You can find lists of them by scouting around some of the activist links on Mansfield's blogroll, like Haganah Internet, I believe it is). But I'm afraid this is getting over my pay-scale, I don't understand how this works either.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I posted a link on moonofalabama a few days ago to a Memri article on this, in which they alleged that most of the Iraqi sites were hosted in the US and one in Germany.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that many of these sites are going down recently is that there's a concerted effort by groups such as the Freepers to pressure the ISP of these sites to shut them down.

2:32 PM  
Blogger annie said...

the Freepers to pressure the ISP of these sites to shut them down.


9:03 PM  

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