Monday, December 31, 2007

AbuRoman versus BinLaden

Mohammed AbuRoman is a Jordanian journalist who writes op-eds, sometimes in the Jordanian paper Al-Ghad, but today in Al-Hayat, titled "AlQaeda: No longer the option for the Sunnis of Iraq", making the point that while the one-sided oppression of Sunnis by the occupation in the early years of the occupation created an atmosphere conducive to Sunni-AlQaeda cooperation, the atmosphere has now changed, and broadly speaking the Sunni community is tending to ally with the United States against the Iranian influence in Iraq. Abu Roman often writes from a Muslim Brotherhood perspective, and in this account a couple of points stand out:

One point is his praise for the MB-affiliated Islamic Party of Iraq (Tareq al-Hashemi's party) in fostering alliances between the Awakening Councils and some of the traditional Sunni armed-resistance groups on the other, while at the same time ensuring American support for these coalitions. Basically his picture seems to be that the factions in the so-called Political Council for the Iraqi Resistance have in many cases allied with the Awakenings. But he notes that the constellation of groups allied with the Association of Muslim Scholars of Iraq (Harith al-Dari's group) have maintained their distance from the Awakenings, and AMSI has in fact criticized them quite harshly. (Recall the Dari pronouncement in his Letter to the Iraqi Tribes: "They [the Iraqi ISI rank and file] are of us and we are of them").

Another point is that AbuRoman seems to view the Sunni-US alliance as an almost unequivocally positive development, noting only in a single sentence that this does bring with it the risk of seeing the Sunni community organize itself into militias to combat Shia militias. But he doesn't pursue that point at all. Rather, his point is to query whether or not the Sunni-US alliance will be able to carry on and completely wipe out AlQaeda in Iraq as a threat.

And his answer to that question is that it depends on the ability of the Sunni groups to come together with a single program, overcoming their differences in ideology and strategy. He doesn't spell this out, but clearly the main differences seem to be tetween three blocs: the possibly MB-leaning groups of the Political Council for the Iraqi Resistance (Hamas-Iraq, Islamic Army of Iraq and others), the more-rejectionist AMSI-affiliated groups including the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution and others, and the most-rejectionist groups loyal to Izzat Ibrahim including the Naqshabandi Sufis and others.

AbuRoman raises the question of whether they can come together in a unified program, but he does so in the context of how to finally wipe out AlQaeda, not in the context of the role of America in Iraq.

What is particularly odd is that he doesn't even mention the current discussions going on ahead of the Cairo conference apparently scheduled for next month, where the US is aiming to bring as many as possible of the Sunni factions on board the GreenZone political process. You'd think he might have mentioned that as a factor in the Sunni-faction political arena.

In fact, you could look at it this way. Bin Laden in his latest talk on "How to foil the Conspiracies" says among other things that the Riyadh government, acting for the US, enticed Hamas into government (on American terms) in Palestine, and look where that got them. Their scheme now is to entice the Sunni groups into government on American terms in Baghdad; don't fall for it. AbuRoman says, in effect, no, that's not the main political issue for the Sunni factions. The main issue is eradicating the takfiiris (with the Americans help).

Both BinLaden and AbuRoman make it seem as if these two issues are inseparable. If you oppose participating in government on American terms, then you have to be with us fundamentalists, says BinLaden. AbuRoman says--or rather implies--that if you oppose the takfiiris all the way, then you have to come together in a position that includes allying with the Americans.

Each of them is talking their positions, as they say in the markets. So hard to find an independent analyst these days.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

re your closing sentence: Lol!

Badger, having read the last four posts in one sitting it's clear I'll have to come back and reread as the currents and undercurrents here are so subtle and complex - all I can say for now is clap-clap and thanks for the exceptionally useful job you're doing in making all this information available to non-Arabic-speaking readers ... and Happy New Year!

12:52 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Thanks and the same good wishes to you for the New Year! (When I promise to make everything a lot more clear...)

1:14 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Another cheer for you Badger, keep up the good work! It's hard to find an independent analyst in sports, don't even think about politics. :) "Where we stand depends on where we sit."

8:33 PM  

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