Posted by: Lister | April 12, 2007

Sunnis Vs Al-Qaeda

Iraqis aren’t just fighting American invaders.

Sunni Jihad Groups Rise Up Against Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In Feb 2007, a truck bomb detonated outside a mosque in Al-Habbaniyah after the Imam their had criticised Al-Qaeda the previous Friday. 50 people were killed.

Al-Qaeda’s popularity waned after it began targeting civilians — Sunnis or Shia — who oppossed Al-Qaeda’s methods. People began to take action against Al-Qaeda in 2006.

the Al-Anbar Rescue Council, headed by Sheikh Rishawi, has been established to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq. According to Rishawi, the council was formed by “25 tribes which have helped to recruit 6,000 men for the Al-Anbar police force, and have [also] formed an emergency force of 2,500 men under Rishawi’s command… Rishawi added that, in the course of their activities, his men apprehended 80 armed fighters, some of them from Saudi Arabia and Syria, and placed them under arrest in Al-Ramadi prison.”

The current situation is the culmination of divisions that first appeared last year. Under the command of Abu Mus’ab Al-Zarqawi, Al-Qaeda in Iraq became the dominant jihad group in the country – a fact which generated resentment in the local Sunni jihad groups. The tension between the sides mounted prior to the Iraqi elections on December 15, 2005, as Al-Qaeda used violence and threats in attempt to prevent the Sunnis from voting. Tensions rose even further in the aftermath of the elections, in light of the Sunnis’ insistence on taking part in the democratic process, and following reports about talks held by local Sunnis with the elected Iraqi government and U.S. forces with an eye to collaborating with them against Al-Qaeda in Iraq. The conflict escalated to the point of violent clashes and mutual killings, which led to the expulsion of Al-Zarqawi’s men from several Sunni-controlled areas.

Al-Zarqawi tried to win back some co-operation by founding the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq, in which Al-Qaeda would be just one member with no special privalege. But that failed to win support and his hideout was exposed on June 8, 2006. Zarqawi was killed in the attack.

Bin Laden supported attacks upon collaborators. But then Al-Qaeda was accused of collaborating:

[…] on October 12, 2006, Islamist websites posted a video by “Sheikh Osama Al-Iraqi,” who appeared masked and was identified as “one of the jihad commanders in the Land of the Two Rivers.”

Abu Osama Al-Iraqi called upon bin Laden to renounce Al-Qaeda because it targets and kills Sunni civilians and Sunni jihad fighters belonging to other factions. He also accused Al-Qaeda of cooperating with the “Crusaders” and with the Shi’ites.

While declaring his loyalty to bin Laden, Al-Iraqi criticized him for appointing a non-Iraqi [namely Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir] to head Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He also stated that the Shura Council was formed only in order to satisfy bin Laden, and that it purports to represent organizations which never even joined it. Al-Iraqi warned that, if bin Laden failed to heed his call, the Sunni jihad fighters would not keep silent but would retaliate, stressing that the key to preventing civil war was in bin Laden’s hands.”

Representatives of the Shura council pledge allegiance and found the “Islamic State of Iraq” — in response the defacto creation of Kurdistan and Shia autonomous areas.

Abu Osama Al-Iraqi denounces Al-Qaeda. He gives bin Laden a week to respond to his earlier video, threatening all-out war on Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Al-Qaeda goes on with its ISI and its representatives denounce those that do not join.

On February 16, 2007, Al-Zawra TV aired a 35-minute speech by Mish’an Al-Jabouri titled “a Message from Mish’an Al-Jabouri to Sheikh Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi.” [21] Al-Jabouri accused Al-Qaeda of “shattering the national unity of Iraq,” and of responsibility for “many of the terrorist attacks [carried out] among civilians in crowded places.” He also denounced the attacks on the Shi’ite population, saying that this activity is “a crime by any standards” and that it serves the Shi’ite-Iranian agenda by giving [the Shi’ites] an excuse to kill hundreds of innocent Sunni civilians. Al-Jabouri accused Al-Qaeda of killing a number of Sunni Iraqi jihad commanders merely because they had not pledged allegiance to Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi as the Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq, or because they denounced Al-Qaeda. As examples, he mentioned at least seven individuals, among them imams and preachers that Al-Qaeda had killed.

In this context, Al-Jabouri said: “One of the operations that convinced me to make this address is the murder [by Al-Qaeda] of Names Khabar Ali, one of the heroes of the resistance who fought against the occupation [from the very beginning]… You murdered him, beheaded him… and then placed bombs beside the body so that his family members would be killed when they came to pick it up. This act we will not forgive. Today you have killed Names, and tomorrow you will kill everybody, if you can. We will not accept this behavior… We are against the Islamic state of Iraq, if this is the way it is governed… Because of these killings of yours, many of those who fought in Al-Ramadi have joined the Al-Ramadi Council of Revolutionaries in order to fight you.”

Al-Jabouri stated further that he would hold Al-Qaeda responsible for any deterioration in its relationship with the [Sunni] tribes and jihad groups, and warned: “We [represent] the only Iraqi resistance. We do not need the help of [other] Arab volunteers… We will defeat the U.S. in Iraq… and liberate our country… with purely Iraqi forces… We warn you that the tendency – not only in Al-Ramadi, but in other places as well – is for all the forces to cooperate against you.”



  1. Iraqi Sunnis Battle To Defend Shiites (Aug 2005)

    Rising up against insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, Iraqi Sunni Muslims in Ramadi fought with grenade launchers and automatic weapons Saturday to defend their Shiite neighbors against a bid to drive them from the western city, Sunni leaders and Shiite residents said.

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