The split in the 1920 Revolution Brigade, with the rump faction renaming itself Hamas Iraq, was one piece of evidence I offered of the growing divide between the locally oriented insurgency and the globally oriented trend led by al-Qaeda... and of why that divide doesn't mean what the administration's supporters want people to think it means. Hamas Iraq has just released a detailed political program (which I mentioned seeing on al-Jazeera yesterday). Among its key provisions, for my purposes:
- "The movement believes in armed jihad as a means for expelling the occupier, and calls on public opinion and agencies and international institutions to respect this right... of all peoplese to resist occupation, and to distinguish between that and armed crimes which target innocent civilians."
- "We believe in a necessary link between military efforts and political action as two mutually supportive instruments for achieving the goals of resistance for liberation and salvation and preventing the fundamentalist movements [al-harakat al-asuliya] from harvesting the fruits of the resistance."
- "We confirm the necessity of continuing the killing until the exit of the last soldier from the occupying armies, and to not negotiate with the enemy except with an agreement of the factions of the jihad and the Iraqi resistance; and under the appropriate circumstances and conditions."
The program also rejects sectarianism (a sharp contrast to the fierce anti-Shia rhetoric in the al-Qaeda rhetoric) and calls for peaceful dialogue among all factions and an absolute rejection of the use of violence to settle internal political disputes. The Hamas Iraq program seems to be about as clear a statement of the position I was describing as possible: against al-Qaeda and the Islamic Iraqi State, but for armed insurgency against the American occupation until the occupying armies depart; against negotiations now but for them under the appropriate conditions and within a united insurgency front. I'm not sure why I haven't read about this anywhere else.
Meanwhile, the leadership of Ansar al-Sunna released a statement directed towards Sunni tribal leaders explaining that as soon as they heard about the transgressions against Iraqi Sunnis by self-declared mujahideen they had intervened to put an end to it. The statement blames individuals rather than organizations for the transgressions, and warns Sunnis not to fall victim to those trying to stir up fitna and infighting, or to blacken the name of the jihad. The solution to these problems, it argues, is not to play into the hands of the enemies of Islam (i.e. the United States) or to cooperate with American forces, but rather to cooperate with good Muslims (i.e. the insurgency) to pass judgement on the offending parties. This seems to be part of the coordinated campaign by these insurgent factions to respond to the grievances of Sunni tribal leaders and to keep them on board (or bring them back on board) the armed jihad.
the Islamic State of Iraq supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq (see comments) have issued an appeal to all the insurgent factions to pledge fealty (baya), specifically focusing on the Islamic Army of Iraq and Ansar al-Sunna but appealing to a wide variety. Here's one of several images circulating right now:
All to say that the struggle over control of the Sunni insurgency continues to heat up, but it doesn't really mean what the administration's spinners want you to think it means ( Frederick Kagan: "At this early stage, the most important positive development is a rise in hostility to al Qaeda in the Sunni community.") There's this growing US government line that Iraqi Sunnis are turning pro-American. So hold your breath and have a look at the most recent major public opinion survey (carried out just last month), 97% of Sunnis oppose the US presence in the country, 97% say that they have little or no confidence in US and UK occupation forces, and 94% say that the presence of US forces in Iraq makes the security situation worse. Only 5% expect putting more US forces into Baghdad and Anbar to improve the security situation (68% expect it to make things worse, 27% think it will make no difference). Only 2% blame al-Qaeda for the violence, and none (at least statistically significantly) blame Sunni insurgents. 94% of Sunnis say that attacks on coalition forces are acceptable, while 66% consider attacks on Iraqi government forces unacceptable (showing starkly the political line that the insurgent factions are laying down against al-Qaeda). Bottom line: local opinion likely is turning against al-Qaeda, but the beneficiary is more likely to be the insurgency factions than the United States, no matter what the Weekly Standard tells you.