Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Al-Qaeda Responsible for Fadhel Fighting (Updated)

This is what the Washington Post has on its front-page today: “Al-Qaeda Branch Claims Algeria Blasts”.

This is what the New York Times has on its front-page today: “Two Suicide Bombings by Unit of Al Qaeda Kill at Least 23 in Algeria”.

But when it comes to Iraq, there’s a different standard: both the New York Times and the Washington Post failed to mention that Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the fighting in the Fadhel neighborhood of central Baghdad, which both papers covered extensively on their front-pages yesterday.

The ISI’s claims of responsibility was widely circulated many, many hours before either paper went to print on Tuesday night. The ISI claims in its press release to have shot down three helicopters.

There’s one standard for writing up terrorism stories from Iraq, and another standard when terrorism happens anywhere else.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the parliament attack today that I know of up to the time of this posting. IraqSlogger think they saw one at muslm.net but I don’t see it there. I spoke to a member of parliament who says he left the cafeteria minutes before the explosion, and he says that the place was uncharacteristically empty this afternoon, which helped in keeping the number of casualties down.

Plus, I found this ISI “progress report” on their activities from March 16-31 very telling (…it’s in Arabic, and I can’t be bothered to translate it): the vast majority of their terrorist activity occurs within Baghdad province, rather than in the other Sunni provinces.

Clearly Al-Qaeda believes that the bulk of its terrorist output happens in Baghdad, which would make the success of the Baghdad Security Plan all that more important.

Drawing on his fresh take on what’s happening in Iraq, Fouad Ajami’s Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal yesterday was masterful as always, and here are my favorite excerpts (full text in the comments section):

The blunt truth of this new phase in the fight for Iraq is that the Sunnis have lost the battle for Baghdad. The great flight from Baghdad to Jordan, to Syria, to other Arab destinations, has been the flight of Baghdad's Sunni middle-class. It is they who had the means of escape, and the savings.

Whole mixed districts in the city--Rasafa, Karkh--have been emptied of their Sunni populations. Even the old Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiyyah is embattled and besieged. What remains for the Sunnis are the western outskirts. This was the tragic logic of the campaign of terror waged by the Baathists and the jihadists against the Shia; this was what played out in the terrible year that followed the attack on the Askariya shrine of Samarra in February 2006. Possessed of an old notion of their own dominion, and of Shia passivity and quiescence, the Sunni Arabs waged a war they were destined to lose.

No one knows with any precision the sectarian composition of today's Baghdad, but there are estimates that the Sunnis may now account for 15% of the city's population. Behind closed doors, Sunni leaders speak of the great calamity that befell their community. They admit to a great disappointment in the Arab states that fed the flames but could never alter the contest on the ground in Iraq. No Arab cavalry had ridden, or was ever going to ride, to the rescue of the Sunnis of Iraq.

A cultured member of the (Sunni) Association of Muslim Scholars in Baghdad, a younger man of deep moderation, likened the dilemma of his community to that of the Palestinian Arabs since 1948. "They waited for deliverance that never came," he said. "Like them, we placed our hopes in Arab leaders who have their own concerns. We fell for those Arab satellite channels, we believed that Arab brigades would turn up in Anbar and Baghdad. We made room for al Qaeda only to have them turn on us in Anbar." There had once been a Sunni maxim in Iraq, "for us ruling and power, for you self-flagellation," that branded the Shia as a people of sorrow and quietism. Now the ground has shifted, and among the Sunnis there is a widespread sentiment of disinheritance and loss.

The Mahdi Army, more precisely the underclass of Sadr City, had won the fight for Baghdad. This Shia underclass had been hurled into the city from its ancestral lands in the Marshes and the Middle Euphrates. In a cruel twist of irony, Baathist terror had driven these people into the slums of Baghdad. The Baathist tyranny had cut down the palm trees in the south, burned the reed beds of the Marshes. Then the campaign of terror that Sunni society sheltered and abetted in the aftermath of the despot's fall gave the Mahdi Army its cause and its power.

"The Mahdi Army protected us and our lands, our homes, and our honor," said a tribal Shia notable in a meeting in Baghdad, acknowledging that it was perhaps time for the boys of Moqtada al-Sadr to step aside in favor of the government forces. He laid bare, as he spoke, the terrible complications of this country; six of his sisters, he said, were married to Sunnis, countless nephews of his were Sunni. Violence had hacked away at this pluralism; no one could be certain when, and if, the place could mend.



UPDATE (Thursday evening):

Now both the Ansar al-Sunnah and Hamas-Iraq (a faction that broke from the 1920 Revolt Brigade) are claiming responsibility for the fighting in Fadhel. Their press releases come a full two days after the fighting began, whereas the ISI’s was released on the same day.

Hamas-Iraq is firming up its account of allegedly shooting down an Apache helicopter in Fadhel (...U.S. military that the aircraft sustained fire but was not shot down) by releasing footage of “11 maps of Baghdad, 10 different IDs, and an American passport” they allege were recovered from the wreckage, but that they could only get the footage out today.

This sounds a lot like what happened when the Blackwater helicopter was shot down in the same neighborhood back in January (scroll down), when Ansar al-Sunnah, 1920 Revolt Brigades, and the Islamic Army of Iraq all claimed responsibility.

I think that what is happening in this particular neighborhood is that the criminal gang that controls Fadhel, the Zanabirah (from the Jubur tribe, Sunnis, they used to be employed in gathering re-usable building materials from old collapsing homes), have essentially opened-up a side business in terrorism and organized crime, and would conduct such operations and then sell the information or some captured paraphernalia to the groups mentioned above for bragging rights. However, it is very likely that the ISI/Al-Qaeda has its own independent cell operating in Fadhel outside of the control of the Zanabirah; there are plenty of Sudanese and Egyptian laborers who live there, and foreign non-Iraqi Arab fighters can easily blend in among them.

There is still no claim of responsibility for the parliament attack.

UPDATE (Saturday, April 14, 2007):

Just for the record: Al-Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq took credit for the parliament attack.

25 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.muslm.net/vb/showthread.php?t=222707

12:11 PM, April 12, 2007

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Hi anonymous,

That's just one guy getting excited; ISI/Al-Qaeda press releases have a consistent format and are usually posted on other, more restricted websites before they trickle into a public forum like muslm.net

Here is Ajami's full piece:

12:22 PM, April 12, 2007

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

BAGHDAD DISPATCH

Iraq in the Balance
In Washington, panic. In Baghdad, cautious optimism.

BY FOUAD AJAMI
Wednesday, April 11, 2007 12:01 a.m.

BAGHDAD--For 35 years the sun did not shine here," said a man on the grounds of the great Shia shrine of al-Kadhimiyyah, on the outskirts of Baghdad. I had come to the shrine at night, in the company of the Shia politician Ahmed Chalabi.

We had driven in an armed convoy, and our presence had drawn a crowd. The place was bathed with light, framed by multiple minarets--a huge rectangular structure, its beauty and dereliction side by side. The tile work was exquisite, there were deep Persian carpets everywhere, the gifts of benefactors, rulers and merchants, drawn from the world of Shi'ism.

It was a cool spring night, and beguilingly tranquil. (There were the echoes of a firefight across the river, from the Sunni neighborhood of al-Adhamiyyah, but it was background noise and oddly easy to ignore.) A keeper of the shrine had been showing us the place, and he was proud of its doors made of teak from Burma--a kind of wood, he said, that resisted rain, wind and sun. It was to that description that the quiet man on the edge of this gathering had offered the thought that the sun had not risen during the long night of Baathist despotism.





A traveler who moves between Baghdad and Washington is struck by the gloomy despair in Washington and the cautious sense of optimism in Baghdad. Baghdad has not been prettified; its streets remain a sore to the eye, its government still hunkered down in the Green Zone, and violence is never far. But the sense of deliverance, and the hopes invested in this new security plan, are palpable. I crisscrossed the city--always with armed protection--making my way to Sunni and Shia politicians and clerics alike. The Sunni and Shia versions of political things--of reality itself--remain at odds. But there can be discerned, through the acrimony, the emergence of a fragile consensus.

Some months back, the Bush administration had called into question both the intentions and capabilities of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. But this modest and earnest man, born in 1950, a child of the Shia mainstream in the Middle Euphrates, has come into his own. He had not been a figure of the American regency in Baghdad. Steeped entirely in the Arabic language and culture, he had a been a stranger to the Americans; fate cast him on the scene when the Americans pushed aside Mr. Maliki's colleague in the Daawa Party, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.

There had been rumors that the Americans could strike again in their search for a leader who would give the American presence better cover. There had been steady talk that the old CIA standby, former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, could make his way back to power. Mr. Allawi himself had fed these speculations, but this is fantasy. Mr. Allawi circles Arab capitals and is rarely at home in his country. Mr. Maliki meanwhile has settled into his role.

In retrospect, the defining moment for Mr. Maliki had been those early hours of Dec. 30, when Saddam Hussein was sent to the gallows. He had not flinched, the decision was his, and he assumed it. Beyond the sound and fury of the controversy that greeted the execution, Mr. Maliki had taken the execution as a warrant for a new accommodation with the Sunni political class. A lifelong opponent of the Baath, he had come to the judgment that the back of the apparatus of the old regime had been broken, and that the time had come for an olive branch to those ready to accept the new political rules.

When I called on Mr. Maliki at his residence, a law offering pensions to the former officers of the Iraqi army had been readied and was soon put into effect. That decision had been supported by the head of the de-Baathification commission, Ahmed Chalabi. A proposal for a deeper reversal of the de-Baathification process was in the works, and would be announced days later by Mr. Maliki and President Jalal Talabani. This was in truth Zalmay Khalilzad's doing, his attempt to bury the entire de-Baathification effort as his tenure drew to a close.

This was more than the political traffic in the Shia community could bear. Few were ready to accept the return of old Baathists to government service. The victims of the old terror were appalled at a piece of this legislation, giving them a period of only three months to bring charges against their former tormentors. This had not been Mr. Maliki's choice--for his animus toward the Baath has been the driving force of his political life. It was known that he trusted that the religious hierarchy in Najaf, and the forces within the Shia alliance, would rein in this drive toward rehabilitating the remnants of the old regime.

Power and experience have clearly changed Mr. Maliki as he makes his way between the Shia coalition that sustains him on the one hand, and the American presence on the other. By all accounts, he is increasingly independent of the diehards in his own coalition--another dividend of the high-profile executions of Saddam Hussein and three of the tyrant's principal lieutenants. He is surrounded by old associates drawn from the Daawa Party, but keeps his own counsel.

There is a built-in tension between a prime minister keen to press for his own prerogatives and an American military presence that underpins the security of this new order. Mr. Maliki does not have the access to American military arms he would like; he does not have control over an Iraqi special-forces brigade that the Americans had trained and nurtured. His police forces remain poorly equipped. The levers of power are not fully his, and he knows it. Not a student of American ways--he spent his years of exile mostly in Syria--he is fully aware of the American exhaustion with Iraq as leading American politicians have come his way often.

The nightmare of this government is that of a precipitous American withdrawal. Six months ago, the British quit the southern city of Amarrah, the capital of the Maysan Province. It had been, by Iraqi accounts, a precipitous British decision, and the forces of Moqtada al-Sadr had rushed into the void; they had looted the barracks and overpowered the police. Amarrah haunts the Iraqis in the circle of power--the prospect of Americans leaving this government to fend for itself.

In the long scheme of history, the Shia Arabs had never governed--and Mr. Maliki and the coalition arrayed around him know their isolation in the region. This Iraqi state of which they had become the principal inheritors will have to make its way in a hostile regional landscape. Set aside Turkey's Islamist government, with its avowedly Sunni mindset and its sense of itself as a claimant to an older Ottoman tradition; the Arab order of power is yet to make room for this Iraqi state. Mr. Maliki's first trip beyond Iraq's borders had been to Saudi Arabia. He had meant that visit as a message that Iraq's "Arab identity" will trump all other orientations. It had been a message that the Arab world's Shia stepchildren were ready to come into the fold. But a huge historical contest had erupted in Baghdad, the seat of the Abbasid caliphate had fallen to new Shia inheritors, and the custodians of Arab power were not yet ready for this new history.

For one, the "Sunni street"--the Islamists, the pan-Arabists who hid their anti-Shia animus underneath a secular cover, the intellectual class that had been invested in the ideology of the Baath party--remained unalterably opposed to this new Iraq. The Shia could offer the Arab rulers the promise that their new state would refrain from regional adventures, but it would not be easy for these rulers to come to this accommodation.

A worldly Shia cleric, the legislator Humam Hamoudi who had headed the constitutional drafting committee, told me that he had laid out to interlocutors from the House of Saud the case that this new Iraqi state would be a better neighbor than the Sunni-based state of Saddam Hussein had been. "We would not be given to military adventures beyond our borders, what wealth we have at our disposal would have to go to repairing our homeland, for you we would be easier to fend off for we are Shiites and would be cognizant and respectful of the differences between us," Mr. Hamoudi had said. "You had a fellow Sunni in Baghdad for more than three decades, and look what terrible harvest, what wreckage, he left behind." This sort of appeal is yet to be heard, for this change in Baghdad is a break with a long millennium of Sunni Arab primacy.





The blunt truth of this new phase in the fight for Iraq is that the Sunnis have lost the battle for Baghdad. The great flight from Baghdad to Jordan, to Syria, to other Arab destinations, has been the flight of Baghdad's Sunni middle-class. It is they who had the means of escape, and the savings.
Whole mixed districts in the city--Rasafa, Karkh--have been emptied of their Sunni populations. Even the old Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiyyah is embattled and besieged. What remains for the Sunnis are the western outskirts. This was the tragic logic of the campaign of terror waged by the Baathists and the jihadists against the Shia; this was what played out in the terrible year that followed the attack on the Askariya shrine of Samarra in February 2006. Possessed of an old notion of their own dominion, and of Shia passivity and quiescence, the Sunni Arabs waged a war they were destined to lose.

No one knows with any precision the sectarian composition of today's Baghdad, but there are estimates that the Sunnis may now account for 15% of the city's population. Behind closed doors, Sunni leaders speak of the great calamity that befell their community. They admit to a great disappointment in the Arab states that fed the flames but could never alter the contest on the ground in Iraq. No Arab cavalry had ridden, or was ever going to ride, to the rescue of the Sunnis of Iraq.

A cultured member of the (Sunni) Association of Muslim Scholars in Baghdad, a younger man of deep moderation, likened the dilemma of his community to that of the Palestinian Arabs since 1948. "They waited for deliverance that never came," he said. "Like them, we placed our hopes in Arab leaders who have their own concerns. We fell for those Arab satellite channels, we believed that Arab brigades would turn up in Anbar and Baghdad. We made room for al Qaeda only to have them turn on us in Anbar." There had once been a Sunni maxim in Iraq, "for us ruling and power, for you self-flagellation," that branded the Shia as a people of sorrow and quietism. Now the ground has shifted, and among the Sunnis there is a widespread sentiment of disinheritance and loss.

The Mahdi Army, more precisely the underclass of Sadr City, had won the fight for Baghdad. This Shia underclass had been hurled into the city from its ancestral lands in the Marshes and the Middle Euphrates. In a cruel twist of irony, Baathist terror had driven these people into the slums of Baghdad. The Baathist tyranny had cut down the palm trees in the south, burned the reed beds of the Marshes. Then the campaign of terror that Sunni society sheltered and abetted in the aftermath of the despot's fall gave the Mahdi Army its cause and its power.

"The Mahdi Army protected us and our lands, our homes, and our honor," said a tribal Shia notable in a meeting in Baghdad, acknowledging that it was perhaps time for the boys of Moqtada al-Sadr to step aside in favor of the government forces. He laid bare, as he spoke, the terrible complications of this country; six of his sisters, he said, were married to Sunnis, countless nephews of his were Sunni. Violence had hacked away at this pluralism; no one could be certain when, and if, the place could mend.





In their grief, the Sunni Arabs have fallen back on the most unexpected of hopes; having warred against the Americans, they now see them as redeemers. "This government is an American creation," a powerful Sunni legislator, Saleh al-Mutlak, said. "It is up to the Americans to replace it, change the constitution that was imposed on us, replace this incompetent, sectarian government with a government of national unity, a cabinet of technocrats." Shrewd and alert to the ways of the world (he has a Ph.D. in soil science from a university in the U.K.) Mr. Mutlak gave voice to a wider Sunni conviction that this order in Baghdad is but an American puppet. America and Iran may be at odds in the region, but the Sunni Arabs see an American-Persian conspiracy that had robbed them of their patrimony.
They had made their own bed, the Sunni Arabs, but old habits of dominion die hard, and save but for a few, there is precious little acknowledgment of the wages of the terror that the Shia had been subjected to in the years that followed the American invasion. As matters stand, the Sunni Arabs are in desperate need of leaders who can call off the violence, cut a favorable deal for their community, and distance that community form the temptations and the ruin of the insurgency. It is late in the hour, but there is still eagerness in the Maliki government to conciliate the Sunnis, if only to give the country a chance at normalcy.

The Shia have come into their own, but there still hovers over them their old history of dispossession; there still trails shadows of doubt about their hold on power, about conspiracies hatched against them in neighboring Arab lands.

The Americans have given birth to this new Shia primacy, but there lingers a fear, in the inner circles of the Shia coalition, that the Americans have in mind a Sunni-based army, of the Pakistani and Turkish mold, that would upend the democratic, majoritarian bases of power on which Shia primacy rests. They are keenly aware, these new Shia men of power in Baghdad, that the Pax Americana in the region is based on an alliance of long standing with the Sunni regimes. They are under no illusions about their own access to Washington when compared with that of Cairo, Riyadh, Amman and the smaller principalities of the Persian Gulf. This suspicion is in the nature of things; it is the way of once marginal men who had come into an unexpected triumph.

In truth, it is not only the Arab order of power that remains ill at ease with the rise of the Shia of Iraq. The (Shia) genie that came out of the bottle was not fully to America's liking. Indeed, the U.S. strategy in Iraq had tried to sidestep the history that America itself had given birth to. There had been the disastrous regency of Paul Bremer. It had been followed by the attempt to create a national security state under Ayad Allawi. Then there had come the strategy of the American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, that aimed to bring the Sunni leadership into the political process and wean them away from the terror and the insurgency.

Mr. Khalilzad had become, in his own sense of himself, something of a High Commissioner in Iraq, and his strategy had ended in failure; the Sunni leaders never broke with the insurgency. Their sobriety of late has been a function of the defeat their cause has suffered on the ground; all the inducements had not worked.

We are now in a new, and fourth, phase of this American presence. We should not try to "cheat" in the region, conceal what we had done, or apologize for it, by floating an Arab-Israeli peace process to the liking of the "Sunni street."

The Arabs have an unerring feel for the ways of strangers who venture into their lands. Deep down, the Sunni Arabs know what the fight for Baghdad is all about--oil wealth and power, the balance between the Sunni edifice of material and moral power and the claims of the Shia stepchildren. To this fight, Iran is a newcomer, an outlier. This is an old Arab account, the fight between the order of merchants and rulers and establishment jurists on the one side, and the righteous (Shia) oppositionists on the other. How apt it is that the struggle that had been fought on the plains of Karbala in southern Iraq so long ago has now returned, full circle, to Iraq.

For our part, we can't give full credence to the Sunni representations of things. We can cushion the Sunni defeat but can't reverse it. Our soldiers have not waged wars in Afghanistan and Iraq against Sunni extremists to fall for the fear of some imagined "Shia crescent" peddled by Sunni rulers and preachers. To that atavistic fight between Sunni and Shia, we ought to remain decent and discerning arbiters. To be sure, in Iraq itself we can't give a blank check to Shia maximalism. On its own, mainstream Shi'ism is eager to rein in its own diehards and self-anointed avengers.

There is a growing Shia unease with the Mahdi Army--and with the venality and incompetence of the Sadrists represented in the cabinet--and an increasing faith that the government and its instruments of order are the surer bet. The crackdown on the Mahdi Army that the new American commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has launched has the backing of the ruling Shia coalition. Iraqi police and army units have taken to the field against elements of the Mahdi army. In recent days, in the southern city of Diwaniyya, American and Iraqi forces have together battled the forces of Moqtada al-Sadr. To the extent that the Shia now see Iraq as their own country, their tolerance for mayhem and chaos has receded. Sadr may damn the American occupiers, but ordinary Shia men and women know that the liberty that came their way had been a gift of the Americans.

The young men of little education--earnest displaced villagers with the ways of the countryside showing through their features and dialect and shiny suits--who guarded me through Baghdad, spoke of old terrors, and of the joy and dignity of this new order. Children and nephews and younger brothers of men lost to the terror of the Baath, they are done with the old servitude. They behold the Americans keeping the peace of their troubled land with undisguised gratitude. It hasn't been always brilliant, this campaign waged in Iraq. But its mistakes can never smother its honor, and no apology for it is due the Arab autocrats who had averted their gaze from Iraq's long night of terror under the Baath.





One can never reconcile the beneficiaries of illegitimate, abnormal power to the end of their dominion. But this current re-alignment in Iraq carries with it a gift for the possible redemption of modern Islam among the Arabs. Hitherto Sunni Islam had taken its hegemony for granted and extremist strands within it have shown a refusal to accept "the other." Conversely, Shia history has been distorted by weakness and exclusion and by a concomitant abdication of responsibility.
A Shia-led state in Baghdad--with a strong Kurdish presence in it and a big niche for the Sunnis--can go a long way toward changing the region's terrible habits and expectations of authority and command. The Sunnis would still be hegemonic in the Arab councils of power beyond Iraq, but their monopoly would yield to the pluralism and complexity of that region.

"Watch your adjectives" is the admonition given American officers by Gen. Petraeus. In Baghdad, Americans and Iraqis alike know that this big endeavor has entered its final, decisive phase. Iraq has surprised and disappointed us before, but as they and we watch our adjectives there can be discerned the shape of a new country, a rough balance of forces commensurate with the demography of the place and with the outcome of a war that its erstwhile Sunni rulers had launched and lost. We made this history and should now make our peace with it.

Mr. Ajami, a 2006 recipient of the Bradley Prize, teaches at Johns Hopkins and is author of "The Foreigner's Gift: The Americans, the Arabs, and the Iraqis in Iraq" (Free Press, 2006).


Copyright © 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

12:23 PM, April 12, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Death to Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

3:03 PM, April 12, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:38 PM, April 13, 2007

 
Blogger AndrewTheYank said...

Nibras,
As you probably know, the coalition of anti-ISI/Al Qaeda militant groups has set up a coordinating office outside Iraq. Slogger reported this development here:

http://www.iraqslogger.com/index.php/post/2349/Resistance_Grows_Against_Islamic_State

I wonder at the following questions: If we assume that ISI/AQ is doomed, what then?

When the militant coalition says they welcome all sects, Shiites included, it does seem a significant claim, if it is sincere. On the surface, it strangely seems that their political goals might be the same as the government's and America's, - Iraqi independence and self-government - if indeed they mean what they say. But the kind of national regime they want is not reported. Would they just call for new elections if the Americans left, and then live with the results?-work for a new constitutional convention, and a new constitution embodying free and democratic principles? Or are they looking to establish a 'softer' version of ISI's salafist Shariah?

Considering them in the best possible light, one could say the American occupation has caused them to distrust American help in bringing them security and self-government. Or they never believed that these aims have been our aims, for whatever the well-known conspiracy arguments. But in either case, they are for freedom and self-government.

Considering them in the worst possible light, they are salafi thugs, who would wage war until they have brought everyone else, Shiites, Kurds and takfir Sunnis to heal. They would establish a thuggish regime, Shariah or some other form of ethnic tyranny.

What is going on inside the heads of the indigenous Iraqi resistance, who they are and what they want, is a compelling question, especially now.

11:34 PM, April 13, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nibras -

with all due respect, you misread the IraqSlogger report.

Your post should read "Time Magazine thought they saw one at muslm.net"

Best -

3:10 AM, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

anonymous,

No I didn't: I saw the first IraqSlogger report that made no reference to TIME magazine. They then proceeded to re-write the report; what you probably saw was very different than the initial report.

Anyway, I corresponded with the editors of IraqSlogger to have the initial report fixed, and they did--but they blamed it on TIME.

Dear andrewtheyank,

The other jihadist groups (Ansar al-Sunnah, IAI, Army of the Mujaheddin, 1920 Revolt Brigades, Hamas-Iraq...etc) will not outlive Al-Qaeda: they are weaker than Al-Qaeda and will be crushed by Al-Qaeda.

The IAI and the Ansar have also gone over to the dark side: they followed Al-Qaeda's lead in assuming a very sectarian anti-Shi'a doctrine.

Regarding a settlement: once more people begin to realize that the whole insurgency is doomed, you will find less and less Shi'as, Kurds or IIP Sunni types, willing to entertain thoughts of a compromise; the Shi'as and Kurds have plenty of vendettas to settle with these groups, and Tariq Al-Hashemi's Islamic Party does not want rivals vying for the Sunni vote.

Everyone involved in Iraqi politics can afford to wait for the Americans and the Iraqi forces to snuff out the insurgency. All this talk from Talabani and Maliki about 'ongoing negotiations' is a smokescreen for delay.

Best,

Nibras

6:51 AM, April 14, 2007

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

American crusaders destroy mosque:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=29b_1176330479

7:46 AM, April 14, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:16 PM, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger AndrewTheYank said...

Nibras,
If you are right, then the future of Iraq and the freedom of Sunnis from sectarian domination would seem to heavily depend on whether the Shia are or can become mostly nationalist in character, or not.

12:21 PM, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger Nibras Kazimi نبراس الكاظمي said...

Dear andrewtheyank,

Why do you assume that the Shi'a have to prove their nationalist "character"?

Their overwhelming restraint, in the face of all these sectarian provokations, is plenty of proof that they are holding on to the idea of Iraq, and why shouldn't they, if the future is on their side?

But sometimes I wonder...I saw some pictures of charred children from the bombing in Karbala today.

http://www.burathanews.com/index.php?show=news&action=article&id=18737

(CAREFUL: VERY DISTURBING IMAGES)

Such images awaken many thoughts: for example, why did the Sunnis begin to act against Al-Qaeda only after the latter began to target them? Where were the Sunnis when Al-Qaeda was killing children who happen to be born Shi'a?

I think the Sunnis, as a community, need to own up to a lot of the pain they have actively or passively allowed to happen against their partners in the country, the Shi'a. There hasn't been a civil war in Iraq, nor will there be, but sectarian fault lines have been more clearly marked (...they've been there since the founding of the monarchy), and the onus is on the Sunnis to exhibit good behavior, and much humility.

For the Sunnis, after all of this, to still seek to whitewash the crimes of Saddam, the Ba'ath and/or the insurgency, is a non-starter with the Shi'a and the Kurds, and they know it. But they think they can deceive the Americans into championing their goals in return for a let-up in the violence and some feel-good headlines. This is not going to go anywhere.

At the end of the day, the Sunnis will not be able to escape the fact that they are a minority, whose monopoly on power in Iraq is a thing of the darker past.

Have a nice day,

Nibras

1:47 PM, April 14, 2007

 
Blogger AndrewTheYank said...

Nibras,
Pardon me, my meaning was not clear. I said,

"... freedom of Sunnis from sectarian domination would seem to heavily depend on whether the Shia are or can become mostly nationalist in character, or not."

I did not mean 'character' in the sense of integrity. I was not questioning the Shias' integrity. I was wondering whether they are or will be nationalist in nature or something else. I don't know whether the Shia are holding onto the idea of Iraq. You know that better than I do. I have marveled at their admirable restraint, and can understand why a reasonable person would join a Shia militia to strike back at their attackers. But is Sistani a nationalist? He has shown restraint, but I have not seen signs of nationalism, whether because he does not believe in it, or because the opinions of those around him are against it. I don't know.

My point is this, if you and Prof. Ajami are right, that the Sunni insurgents and ISI/AQ have shorter and shorter half-lives, then the kind of regime Iraq becomes will seem to depend very much on Shia aspirations, whatever they may be, nationalist or otherwise. Sooner or later the Americans will leave and the insurgent-deprived Sunni would appear to be at the mercy of Shia. If the Shia do hold on to the idea of Iraq, that would be better for all Iraqis, and the whole world, I dare say.

I hope what Prof Ajami says about Maliki is true. If so, then there might be a path for a more than moderate success for the Iraqi people and for the cause of freedom. But nothing shakes up the terms of politics more than ongoing armed conflict.

I just saw the Karbala pictures. May God prepare a special place in hell for the bastards who did this - and may the US Marines & Iraqi Wolf Battalion send them there.

AndrewTheYank

3:20 PM, April 14, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

I like Prof. Ajami's name!

2:53 PM, April 15, 2007

 
Blogger Jaguar b. p. said...

A supporter of the war once told me that the U.S. had unintentionally killed 30,000 civilians in Iraq.

While the real number is unfortunately far higher, it nonetheless amazes me
that this staunch Bush supporter openly admits to killing 30,000.

So now we have AndrewTheYank lamenting civilian deaths, and then in the same breath
praising the murderous American thugs in Iraq.

Thank heavens for Al-Muhajir and the Iraqi Resistance who've ended the Crusaders' dreams there.

1:39 PM, April 16, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

Hi Jaguar Big Pervert,

Your Immigrant and other moqawama heroes concentrate on murdering civilians. You already admitted that you wish death for the majority of Iraqis (Shi'a and Kurd) so how can you even complain about civilian deaths? AndrewTheYank likely has more honor than your entire stinking 3ashira.

4:14 PM, April 16, 2007

 
Blogger Jaguar b. p. said...

We will be targeting all pro-US collaborators, Sunni or otherwise

I do support all Shia who do not aid the U.S.
This is a video from the Shia resistance group Asaib Ahul al-Haqq:
http://www.sendspace.com/file/tf7hfg

4:29 PM, April 16, 2007

 
Blogger Jaguar b. p. said...

I would also like to quote this wonderful comment I just saw
from an American liberator and friend of the Iraqi people:

[[ we are winning this war in a big way and always have been... just think of the numbers you freedom lovin goofs. a little more then 3000 dead to what? a millon dead sand monkeys? ]]

4:38 PM, April 16, 2007

 
Blogger AndrewTheYank said...

Jaguar,

Yes, I lament all Iraqi deaths.

Is the charred baby blown up in Karbala, the one whose picture Nibras linked to above, your idea of a successful resistance operation? Was that baby a collaborator?

I do not praise the American occupation results, to date. I hope for a better occupation - one that can secure peace, so that all Iraqis will be free. I hope we do not leave until that is accomplished, and then I surely expect that conservative Americans like me will order, through our elected representatives, a withdrawal of American troops.

I do understand that it makes a small difference, if at all, to victims' families and friends whether their killed friends and relatives were killed by collateral damage or deliberate intention. But it makes a very big political difference. Americans are there to secure peace and freedom, to protect civilians and kill murderers. We have done a bad job of it. I hope we do a better job.

I am sorry for the pain of Iraq but I do not think that political judgments borne from indiscriminate hatred does any good for Iraq, at all.

Your conservative friend,
AndrewTheYank

12:18 AM, April 17, 2007

 
Anonymous Al Laith said...

Jaguar,

I will comment on the way you said "we" in the sentence: "We will be targeting all pro-US collaborators, Sunni or otherwise"

While I have no doubt what so ever that you have the moral perversion that seems ubiquitous amongst all the "resistance groups", I doubt you have the testicular fortitude to face your enemy in a way that doesn't involve hiding behind a computer screen. So talk up all this resistance nonsense all you like, the reality will remain that your beloved resistance are the ones massacring Iraqi civilians in markets schools and hospitals, and that you're nothing but a coward spurting imprudent drivel from the safety of his own home in an attempt to somehow fool the world, and perhaps yourself, into thinking that you possess an ounce of courage and honour.

Please note that I am only trying to help you. Your estimation of yourself and your worth far outwieghs reality. You speak of war as if you're on the front line risking your life. The only risk you need to be worried about my insolent little friend is chipping your nails on your keyboard or straining your back because you're not sitting straight. So get over it, your brovado is a joke and flaunting it left, right and centre won't make you any more of a man.


Thank you for your kind attention,

Best wishes!

5:10 AM, April 17, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

Hi Andrew,

You are wasting your time if you want to talk to a criminal and pervert such as Jaguar Big Pimping. I do not like to talk negatively about others, but you must know for your own protection that Jaguar is currently under investigation by the CIA, Interpol, Mossad, and San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) for drug trafficking, production of child and bestiality and gay pornography, incitement to terrorism, indecent exposure, mail fraud, and overdue parking tickets. You will have a more productive day by staring at the wall or drawing on your arm with a magic marker than talking to a criminal and delusional SOB such as this so-called Jaguar. Also, I must tell you that despite his name, he is not a jaguar (big cat or fancy car), and that is only one of his many lies. Trust me.

7:24 AM, April 22, 2007

 
Blogger Jaguar b. p. said...

[ I do not praise the American occupation results, to date. ]

Are U.S. combatants in Iraq a legitimate target

2:45 AM, April 23, 2007

 
Anonymous gawad said...

Jaguar Big Pimping,

Curious how a fellow/SOB such as yourself might use the term "legitimateA" since you are the illegitimate son of a prostitute.

11:44 AM, April 23, 2007

 
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