Insurgents’ Dirty Laundry on Air
I was wondering how the current spate of jihadist-on-jihadist strife is going to be revealed to the public at large, but I never contemplated that it will be done on a jihadist satellite station, Al-Zawra, and through the person of the slimy nutcase who owns it, Mishaan al-Jebouri.
Al-Zawra TV had become the premier jihadist propaganda tool; it was mostly focused on entertainment programming but began to air pro-insurgency rhetoric after Jebouri was stripped of his parliamentary immunity on charges of corruption and aiding the insurgency. What Al-Zawra basically did was to retransmit the jihadist videos that are being posted on the internet—mostly scenes of attacks on U.S. soldiers and Iraqi troops—to a much larger pan-Middle Eastern audience through the use of satellite technology; an audience that for the most part is not connected to the web. This made Al-Zawra immediately popular across the region, and it was being lauded by jihadists everywhere, even though some had expressed doubts over its ‘opportunistic’ management.
But a few days ago, Al-Zawra began running some anti-Al-Qaeda messages in its news ticker, and the jihadists began to mumble and some even penned invectives against al-Jebouri.
Yesterday, however, Al-Jebouri gave a whole anti-Al-Qaeda speech and this drove the jihadists berserk: the premier jihadist organ had begun to badmouth the jihad!
These are al-Jebouri’s main points:
-Al-Qaeda provoked the Shi'as and then failed to protect the Sunnis from retaliation.
-Al-Qaeda is forcing all the other insurgent groups to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq under Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, and is punishing the hold-outs.
-Al-Qaeda is killing and abducting Sunni notables who were part of the insurgency.
-Al-Qaeda wants to impose a Taliban-like Islamic State on Iraqi Sunnis, who are the worse for it—they don’t even have enough to eat.
-Al-Qaeda killed an emissary sent by al-Jebouri, who has wanted to negotiate with al-Baghdadi.
-Iraqi Sunnis across the board are preparing to clash with Al-Qaeda as is already happening in Anbar Province.
Al-Jebouri gets into details and names names, and he addresses his speech to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, questioning the validity of pledging allegiance to an anonymous phantom.
There is nothing new here for veteran readers of Talisman Gate, for I recently wrote:
Al-Baghdadi also feels compelled to tell his fighters to take it easy with the other jihadist groups, which have yet to join the Islamic State of Iraq, while at the same time telling the holdouts that their obstinacy smells of sedition. There are other reports that insurgents are clashing among themselves as Al Qaeda imposes its hegemony over one and all, to the point that al-Baghdadi is compelled to tell his guys that "I am certain that the sincere monotheists are surely coming" our way "eventually, so be tender, be tender."
And before that I wrote:
For most Sunnis, the insurgency has come to be about communal survival, rather than communal revival. They no longer harbor fantasies of recapturing power. They are on the run and are losing the turf war with the Shiites for Baghdad.
Sunni sectarian attacks, usually conducted by jihadists, finally provoked the Shiites to turn to their most brazen militias — the ones who would not heed Ayatollah Sistani's call for pacifism — to conduct painful reprisals against Sunnis, usually while wearing official military fatigues and carrying government issued weapons. The Sunnis came to realize that they were no longer facing ragtag fighters, but rather they were confronting a state with resources and with a monopoly on lethal force. The Sunnis realized that by harboring insurgents they were inviting retaliation that they could do little to defend against.
Sadly, it took many thousands of young Sunnis getting abducted by death squads for the Sunnis to understand that in a full-fledged civil war, they would likely lose badly and be evicted from Baghdad. I believe that the Sunnis and insurgents are now war weary, and that this is a turnaround point in the campaign to stabilize Iraq.
Still, major bombings will continue for many years, for Al Qaeda will remain oblivious to all evidence of the insurgency's eventual defeat. The Baathists, and jihadist groups like Ansar al-Sunna, the Islamic Army of Iraq, and the 1920 Revolution Brigades, may be collapsing due to aimlessness and despair, but Al Qaeda still enjoys the clarity of zealotry and fantasy. Right now, they are arm-twisting other jihadist groups to submit to them and are also taking credit for the large-scale fighting that continues in Iraq.
My own little reading of al-Jebouri’s little speech is that this was spurred on by Syrian Intelligence. Sure, some may say it’s the Barzanis, or the Jordanians, or even the CIA. But al-Jebouri, who is now hiding-out in Damascus, may have been prodded into this by his Syrian hosts who, according to a source, are getting information that Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia is moving resources and personnel from Iraq to Syria in preparation for launching operations against the regime there and beyond in Lebanon and Israel. There is a cryptic line that al-Jebouri says that seems to add credibility to this theory: “We will not allow Iraq to turn into a dangerous place that threatens the countries of the region under any pretext…”
I did not watch al-Jebouri’s speech, but his words were transcribed onto a jihadist website (I got it from over here) by someone calling himself ‘Sami9000’ and I asked someone who had seen the speech and he confirmed that the transcribed text was accurate. Today, jihadist websites and discussion forums are abuzz with denunciations of al-Jebouri.
My personal opinion of al-Jebouri still stands—he’s as low as they come—but his little stunt will sow more confusion and acrimony among jihadists, which is always a good thing. If the Syrians are indeed behind it, then it’s also an indication that they may shifted their policy away from enabling the insurgents or turning a blind eye to the jihadist re-supply and recruitment networks operating on Syrian soil.
Here’s my rough translation of ‘Sami9000’s’ transcribed text:
Despite all that the Al-Qaeda organization has contributed in challenging the occupation, but they have also broken the back of national unity in Iraq and they resulted in bringing great suffering upon Iraqis, and the Al-Qaeda organization bears [responsibility] for a large part of the bombings among civilians, and that [manner of] targeting does not differentiate between a Sunni or a Shi’i or a child, and the targeting of Shi'as is a crime in every respect, and we condemn anyone who has committed such acts.
These acts gave the excuse for the Safavid sectarian militias, of which we absolve our Shi'a [brethren], it gave the excuse for it to retaliate and go to the Sunni neighborhoods to kill 4 or 5 or 10 times the number that was killed of the Shi'as.
…Al-Qaeda couldn’t protect people!! And Al-Qaeda bears responsibility for the displacement of 2 million Iraqis!! Because it conducted the bombings that set things ablaze…
…Al-Qaeda has a political program that it wants to implement in Iraq…
…Unfortunately, and I say this to all the Muslim audience and all those sympathizers with the Iraqi jihad, some members in the Al-Qaeda organization have begun assassination operations against heroic symbols of the resistance, unfortunately! Why? Because some groups in the Al-Qaeda organization or what they call today the Islamic State want us to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and its leader, or else you are supposed to sit aside and are barred from conducting any jihadist operation under any resistance banner apart from that of Al-Qaeda. I say to Sheikh Abu Omar: how can you force us to pledge allegiance to someone whose real name we don’t know? How do you want us to pledge allegiance to a State that we don’t know who its ministers are? How do we pledge allegiance to a State where we don’t know who is the minister, or the governor, or the leader or its emir? No names and nothing else, and no places either, and how do you want us to pledge allegiance to a State which we weren’t consulted about at the time of its declaration.
…How do you want us to pledge allegiance to the sectarian Islamic State of Iraq with its sectarian title!! And at the same time we oppose and challenge the federalist project, and oppose the [Vilayet-el-Faqih]!! Just as we oppose the hegemony of the sectarian parties on the political process!! Your [plan] will lead to sedition!!
…Why was Omar Mahmoud al-Falahi killed? The preacher and imam of the Nazzal mosque in Fallouja, before he was [about to deliver a sermon], and he is one of the sincere resistors of Fallouja!! And one of the heroes, and those who are respected, so why was he killed, and why was Sheikh Muhanned al-Ghurairi killed, when he was one of the founders of the People of Iraq Conference, and you know and everyone knows that our brother Saddam al-Nu’aimi in the Sbeilat area near Abu Ghraib had three brothers arrested by the Safavids, and you know that a group from your end came and performed an attack near his fourth brother’s shop, which is his livelihood, and the army of occupation responded and his brother was killed in the response, and he stood and began to insult the Al-Qaeda organization, and what did you do to him, you took him and you threw his body onto the trash heap, because usually those who are abducted by the Al-Qaeda organization, we never find their bodies. And to this day we don’t know the place of the martyr Sheikh Hassib al-‘Arif, you kill people and then don’t say where their bodies are?! Who killed Maj. Gen. Wajeeh Bara’, was he an agent of the occupation or an infidel? You would always kill the imams on Friday on their way to [deliver the sermon on] the pulpit, why was Sheikh Ahmad Faraj killed? Because he said don’t fight among civilians.
…Have you heard in Islam that messengers get killed?! I sent a messenger to you with a letter to negotiate with you and you kill the messenger! One of your brigades in the Province of Salahuddin and in the district of Beiji-Tikrit killed a messenger who had gone to talk to you, they killed him! I don’t want to reveal more details and names because everyone will fall into security troubles, and it will weaken the resistance but I will tell you a story: now you want one of the sheikhs of the Arab Jebour area in the Dora area to hand over his son to be killed, have you heard of a father handing over his son, especially if he doesn’t think he’s committed a crime from his perspective. I tell you the issue is that you have somebody who killed many Iraqis in the Dora area, he kills officers, he imposes taxes and fines on people, he kills soldiers and policemen, and he kills resistors who refused to pledge allegiance to you, so the son of the sheikh killed this man of yours, but only after your man killed more than 50 men in Dora, and you want his father to turn him in without an investigation, without a trial!! Is this the State you want to establish? To kill people without an accusation, or investigation, without a judge or nothing.
…Is it religiously lawful for you to forcefully take the ammunition of other resistance groups because they refuse to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, yes you have, and I don’t want to pledge allegiance to you, I am not your partner in the sectarian fighting, I am not your partner in the murder of civilians, I cannot pledge allegiance to killing a policeman or a soldier or a civilian!! The [sectarian] expulsions are due to you and for these acts you bear full responsibility.
…Today, the capital of your Islamic State in Ramadi is [undergoing a] starvation, inside the city of Ramadi there are areas that the government cannot reach, that doesn’t have [cooking] gas, or flour, and no one can enter Ramadi, even the government is powerless to do so because you control it and the people don’t have bread, which means that forcing us to pledge allegiance to the State, whose territories we don’t know, means you are forcing us to commit suicide.
...Okay, so if the Arabs come to perform jihad does that [allow you] to turn us into slaves because you are fighting the occupier, to force us to become subjects of this State.
…Last week you blew up the police station in Dora, then the police station in Hawija yesterday, then the police station in Ramadi today, then the bombing at ‘Kilo 5’, you say these stations are [outposts] of the occupation, and we say that the Green Zone government serves the occupation, and it is a sectarian government, but [as regards] these policemen, we issued fatwas from sheikhs whose fatwas we hold valid that said that [it was lawful] to enter the police [service], or the army, better than militias coming in, these people would enforce security in areas, [they] are from the people of Dora and Hawija, you shoot at all the symbols of the state, and you blew up the police station thinking that it is an infidel state, these are not [part of] an infidel state! Those are our sons, they went to become soldiers in these areas based on legal fatwas issued by those whose fatwas we hold valid.
…You may think we have a project similar to that of Sheikh Bazi’ Abdel-Sattar, the head of the Ramadi Rebels Council, and I tell you no, I tell you that that Bazi’ started this project after you killed his father, and killed his brothers, maybe Sattar has a relationship with the occupation, and maybe his brother had one too, but their father has nothing to do with this case and you killed him, and now some of those who used to fight [as part of] the resistance in Ramadi have joined the Ramadi Rebels Council to fight you, why did you kill Sheikh Nasr, and this man I saw at many occasions and conferences defending Iraq, and you drove whoever is connected to Sufism in Ramadi to splinter [away], and you know what this resulted in.
…And today you abducted Sheikh Naji Jebareh, who has defended Ba’athists and returned them to their jobs, and rehired many officers, and he had honorable stances, and you can say that he had links to the occupations and the government, and I have definitive information that he is still alive and in a certain district, and I am certain that if his family knew he had been killed they would do the same as Sattar Bazi’ did to avenge his father, and we hope that you release him so that the efforts will not collide in Salahuddin Province, and it doesn’t become a repeat of what happened in Ramadi, my motives are patriotic…
…We were trying to make some gains for our people so we brought them into the army and into the government and we succeeded in [providing] some services but you came in and hit us and started to [declare us] infidels.
…Sheikh Abu Omar, maybe you yourself don’t know what is being done by some of the brigades…And maybe one of the biggest motivators for me to give this message was your murder of Namis Khidhir, who you know was one of the resistors of the occupation, and then Namis went to visit a neighboring country and once he got to Hawija, they killed him, and on what basis? Which court took this decision? This is a matter we cannot allow, today you kill Namis, and if empowered by Allah you will kill everyone else, and unfortunately we cannot accept this method…
…Why have you been besieging the Zoba’ tribes for 5 days now? Was it because some of them refused to pledge allegiance, please, we do not want to weaken those soldiers resisting [the occupation]…
…As far as we’re concerned the Islamic State of Iraq is being managed against us, and we will not accept it at all, if you wanted to fight the occupation that is one thing, but you want in return for your fighting of the occupation to establish an Islamic State as had happened in Afghanistan, then [we say] no…
…We will not allow Iraq to turn into a dangerous place that threatens the countries of the region under any pretext, these Arabs that you have about you, let then go and fight in their own countries and not among us, we don’t need Arab volunteers for the Iraqis are psychologically and logistically mobilized at the current time to smash the occupation, and we say to the incoming Arabs who want to come to fight that we don’t need you and that we are capable of defeating the occupation through the strength of the Iraqis, so release the abductees that you have taken, and stop killing policemen, soldiers and state employees and everything associated with the Iraqi state because the situation has reached a point that we cannot accept…
…We will glorify your names in [this] country’s history and we know that there are heroes from Al-Qaeda, from the Arabs, who have been martyred in massive operations, [but] there is a difference between a forced pledge of allegiance and one derived from fondness, and I warn you that in areas apart from Ramadi the situation is changing whereby all will cooperate to confront you.