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Thread: “Who’s an Iraqi?” - It's a Regional War

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    Default “Who’s an Iraqi?” - It's a Regional War

    11 Jan. National Review Op-Ed - “Who’s an Iraqi?”.

    Of all the confusions surrounding the war in Iraq, perhaps none has clouded so many minds as the phony question, "are we fighting domestic insurgents or foreign terrorists?" The people who purport to answer this question with "data," should look again at the demographics of Iraq, Syria, and Iran, and they can start by asking themselves, "who's an Iraqi"?

    That question is surprisingly difficult to answer, above all because, during the Iran-Iraq war, millions (I say millions) of Iraqi Shiites took the Iranian side, and went to Iran, where they remained for the better part of twenty years. During that time a large number of them were recruited by Iranian intelligence, folded into the terror network of the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence ministry, and placed under the command of the Badr Brigade of the SCIRI ("Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq) or other radical Shiite groups.

    When we liberated Iraq, many of them returned. What are they? Iraqis or Iranians? It's a surprisingly tough question...

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    12 Jan. New York Times - Local Insurgents Tell of Clashes With Al Qaeda's Forces in Iraq.

    ... The battle, which the insurgents said was fought on Oct. 23, was one of several clashes between Al Qaeda and local Iraqi guerrilla groups that have broken out in recent months across the Sunni Triangle.

    American and Iraqi officials believe that the conflicts present them with one of the biggest opportunities since the insurgency burst upon Iraq nearly three years ago. They have begun talking with local insurgents, hoping to enlist them to cooperate against Al Qaeda, said Western diplomats, Iraqi officials and an insurgent leader.

    It is impossible to say just how far the split extends within the insurgency, which remains a lethal force with a shared goal of driving the Americans out of Iraq. Indeed, the best the Americans can hope for may be a grudging passivity from the Iraqi insurgents when the Americans zero in on Al Qaeda's forces.

    But the split within the insurgency is coinciding with Sunni Arabs' new desire to participate in Iraq's political process, and a growing resentment of the militants. Iraqis are increasingly saying that they regard Al Qaeda as a foreign-led force, whose extreme religious goals and desires for sectarian war against Iraq's Shiite majority override Iraqi tribal and nationalist traditions...

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    15 Jan. London Daily Telegraph - Insurgents Fight Back Against al-Qaeda's Foreign Zealots.

    Battles have erupted between local insurgents and al-Qaeda's mainly foreign fighters in several Iraqi towns in the clearest evidence yet of bitter divisions among anti-American forces in Iraq.

    Local armed factions and tribal groups have sought to expel al-Qaeda from parts of the rebellious Sunni heartlands, as Iraqis have become increasingly disillusioned with the foreigners' extreme Islamic fundamentalism, murderous tactics and disregard for civilian casualties.

    Iraqi guerrillas and tribesmen have recounted details of the clashes, while American and Iraqi intelligence officials said they had evidence of battles in rebel strongholds. Encouraged by the big number of Sunnis who voted in elections last month, US and Iraqi officials and military commanders have begun making political contacts with rebel factions in the hope of exploiting rifts between insurgents and al-Qaeda...

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    9 Jan 06 Jamestown Foundation: Internal Jihadist Criticisms of the War in Iraq
    Evidence continues to mount on the growing disaffection with the methodology of the mujahideen in Iraq. One of the most public demonstrations of this occurred on January 6 when the residents of Ar-Ramadi, considered a hotbed of support for the Sunni Arab insurgency, publicly blamed "al-Qaeda in Iraq," the insurgent movement led by Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, for relatives killed and wounded in bomb blasts at a police recruiting station that killed 80. The applicants were Sunni Arabs, responding to the broadening of the recruitment drive to include all segments of the Iraqi population. Polls conducted across the Middle East, particularly following the Amman bombings, attest to a change in broad public opinion, but views on the more committed jihadi forums generally remain resilient. Yet here, too, evidence of a change in tone can be found.

    An interesting, and at times quite heated, recent debate on the internet between two jihadi supporters of the insurgency in Iraq highlights some new areas of criticism. The Minbar Suriya al-Islami (latterly Minbar al-Sham) site (www.nnuu.org/vb) hosted an exchange on December 15 between participants who signed themselves Yusuf ibn Tashufin and a "senior member" of the forum Abu Umar al-Shami. Tashufin's discussion, which he opened with caution knowing the likely reaction it would excite, concerned the lack of coordination and strategy among the mujahideen. He insists at the outset that criticism is not to be continually dismissed "on the grounds that the mujahideen in the field know more than you do." Tashufin then asks whether jihadi supporters, who are now suffering from confusion, do not have the right "to know what is being done around them with reasonable transparency? Why do the infidel American whites have the right to progress reports of their armies, while Muslims are not allowed to air their fears to the mujahideen or offer their advice?"

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