Sunday, January 22, 2006

Problems For The Islamic Insurgency In Iraq

Bill Roggio has some good news about the insurgency in Iraq. Apparently, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's efforts to create a coalition of the insurgents have been unsuccessful. But most notably, different insurgent groups are now warring with each other:
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has recently issued a statement claiming to “have set up an umbrella body to coordinate their fight against U.S.-led forces and the Iraqi government.” Notably excluded from this body of insurgent groups are Ansar al-Sunnah and the Iraq Islamic Army. A look at the reported security incidents in Iraq from the past week may give some insight as to why al-Qaeda sees the need for further consolidation and coordination of the jihadi groups in Iraq.

Zarqawi was able to secure the commitment of a little known Islamist group called The Victorious Sect and five small organization, however he was unable to reach out to two largest groups, Ansar al-Sunnah and the Islamic Army in Iraq, two groups that have worked with al-Qaeda in the past.

Ansar al-Sunnah’s decision is curious, as its goals are nearly identical to al-Qaeda: the ejection of the “occupation Armies” and the establishment of an Islamist state. There are obviously enough differences between the groups. And Ansar al-Sunnah may be keeping its distance from al-Qaeda based on the increased unpopularity of the group, and keeping the door open for future political maneuvers. The decision of the Islamic Army in Iraq is understandable, as this is a largely nationalist organization which resents al-Qaeda’s foreign leadership and slaughter of Iraqi civilians.

But the Islamic Army in Iraq hasn’t just turned down al-Qaeda’s invitation, it has, along with five other insurgent groups, including the Anbar Martyr’s Brigade and the 1920 Revolution Brigades, openly declared war against al-Qaeda, according to Mohammed at Iraq the Model. This is a clear indication these grous have tired of al-Qaeda’s bloody tactics and recognize their goals will not be reached by opposing the government.

If al-Qaeda is marginalizing itself even among fellow radical Islamist groups within Iraq, the Iraqi government --and our own-- has to be pleased. Furthemore, this defection of insurgent groups is a continuing trend that has to worry Zarqaqwi and the other al-Qaeda higher ups. In any sense, we are seeing numerous signs that the insurgency is weakening.