Spotlight on 'Jihadist Meltdown', at long last...
On March 12, I wrote that:
There is no greater joy for someone who cares about Iraq than to watch Al Qaeda and these other jihadist groups go at each other with the bloodthirsty abandon and frenzy that only crazed zealots can muster. The bloodletting has gone far beyond the point of any possible reconciliation, for Al Qaeda must destroy all the others in order to survive, and ditto for the others as they face down Al Qaeda. It has turned into an all-or-nothing fight among the most dangerous insurgents, and it is heartening to see them engaged and distracted in destroying each other.
Now if only the American press would report on this jihadist meltdown so that policymakers in Washington can rally the martial spirit to bring this battle to a crushing end for the enemy.
That was from my column, Jihadist Meltdown.
A month later, the Washington Post made my wish come true: today, the paper published a front-page story about the not-so-recent-anymore inter-jihadist fighting, at long last.
Here are some excerpts [full text in the comments section]:
"We do not want to kill the Sunni people nor displace the innocent Shia, and what the al-Qaeda organization is doing is contradictory to Islam," said Abu Marwan, a religious leader of the Mujaheddin Army in Baqubah, northeast of Baghdad. "We will strike whoever violates the boundaries of God, whether al-Qaeda or the Americans."
The Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni umbrella organization said to have been created by the group al-Qaeda in Iraq, has said it would kill any Sunni suspected of being an agent of the United States or the Iraqi government, according to Islamic State spokesman Abu Hasnah al-Dulaimi.
"Those armed groups have no choice," Dulaimi said in a telephone interview from Anbar's provincial capital, Ramadi. "They have to either join us in forming the Islamic State project in the Sunni areas or hand over their weapons to us before we are forced to act against them forcefully. It will not save them that they have fought the Americans and resisted them in the last few years."
About three months ago, al-Qaeda fighters began targeting insurgent leaders. Gunfights have taken place in Baghdad neighborhoods such as Abu Ghraib and northern cities such as Taji. In Diyala province, al-Qaeda killed or kidnapped several Sunni insurgent leaders and religious and academic figures, dumping at least one of the bodies into a river in recent weeks, police officials said.
Now, local insurgent groups have united to fight them, erecting checkpoints and patrolling Baqubah and nearby towns, said Abu Jasim, a leader of the Mujaheddin Army. More than 100 al-Qaeda fighters were captured in the towns of Buhriz and Tahrir, the core areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq in Diyala, he said.
"Frankly speaking, we don't want an inner Sunni-Sunni fight, and we do not want to have a military collision with al-Qaeda, like what the tribes did, although we have all the right to do so," said Salmani, the Islamic Army commander, referring to the decision of tribal leaders in Anbar to side with the Americans.
But the pressure from al-Qaeda fighters is growing. They have posted statements in mosques and on the Web warning that they will target any Sunni group that defies them. On March 27, they allegedly killed the nephew of Harith al-Dari, the most prominent Sunni cleric in Iraq. The nephew was a senior leader in the 1920 Revolution Brigades, police officials said.
On Monday, gunmen killed an Islamic Army leader south of Samarra, said Capt. Zuhair al-Badri in Samarra. The previous night, two other fighters were killed. Islamic Army leaders immediately blamed al-Qaeda, saying the attack was in retaliation for the letter to bin Laden.
My only question is this: if the Washington Post has so many stellar sources within the top factions of the insurgency, then how the hell did they miss out on the story that began, according to their own report today, three months ago?
Did they purposely sleep on the story until it was impossible for the editors not to make mention of it anymore?
And this is all the New York Times would deign to say about inter-jihadist fighting, in a 900 word story, on page 5, and reported second-hand off the AP:
At least one other insurgent group, the Islamic Army of Iraq, said on Al Jazeera television this week that it was fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq because it had killed members of the Islamic Army, The Associated Press reported.
This is so sad.
So there you have it: if you had been following Talisman Gate then you’d have known about this story months ago. Do I get a T-Shirt or something?
And lest anyone forget: the fighting started because Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia wanted to ram its own unique formula for the caliphate, the Islamic State of Iraq, down everyone else's throat, and they took that step because they concluded that the insurgency was being worn out and that it needed a fresh burst of purpose.
See my archives for all the supporting documentation.