Monday, October 16, 2006
war with no mercy:
Peter got me talking about Iraq today at Mozart, so let's return to the heady days of Iraq'd
for a moment. As you may have read over the last few days, the multi-pronged civil war is escalating rapidly, with Sunnis streaming out of their beseiged cities in droves, fleeing across the Tigris, and eagerly exacting vengeance on any Shiites they can find. For the last several years, I've been arguing that withdrawal will have at least one beneficial consequence for U.S. national security that the stay-forever crowd doesn't acknowledge: Iraqi Sunnis really, really don't like al-Qaeda. In Latifiyah, Mahmudiyah and Fallujah, when American forces have moved out, the Iraqis have taken actions against the residual foreign jihadis who use the occupation as a pretext to control Sunni Iraq.

So Beinart asked: well, if there's a civil war, won't the Iraqi Sunnis have another excuse to stand shoulder to shoulder with al-Qaeda? Namely, the Shiite threat?

Good question. My answer was perhaps, maybe, but during Fallujah II there were reports -- Ghaith Abdul Ahad in the Washington Post had a great one that I'll google for you guys later -- that the Iraqi insurgents actually shot foreign jihadis during the Marine invasion, since they proved to be unreliable allies. But in today's Post there's more evidence for that view:

Across the river,[Balad] police Maj. Hussein Alwan said, commandos believed to be members of the Shiite Badr Organization entered Duluiyah. The organization, also known as the Badr Brigade, is a militia of the other largest Shiite religious party in Iraq's government, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Alwan accused members of al-Qaeda in Iraq of setting off the violence and then standing by as Sunni civilians were killed in retaliatory attacks.

"When the commandos of the Badr Brigade entered the town, we did not see Qaeda fighting them. They were only spectators to see how the Sunnis are being slaughtered," he said.

In tiny Sunni towns throughout the area, Sunni men and boys as young as 10 took up arms to defend against any Shiite militias entering, said Khaled al-Jubouri, a Sunni sheik in Duluiyah. Jubouri said that he had declined a request for peace talks with the Shiite elders of Balad and that he wanted the Shiite militiamen surrendered to Sunni authorities and an apology.

[End blockquote, motherfucker! Blockquote now ends here!] Anyhow, the police chief is hardly an impartial source, but given that Balad is itself under siege it would stand to reason that he would at least skirt the issue of al-Q defending the city if that was what was happening. Additionally, the Mujahideen Shura of al-Q & accomplices have declared an Islamic Republic of Iraq stretching across the Sunni areas. The Iraqi-as-fuck Association of Muslim Scholars and Islamic Army promptly denounced the declaration. Evidence is mounting that even under the most dire conditions of sectarian rampage, al-Qaeda just isn't welcome in Sunni Iraq -- in which case, I vote we leave al-Qaeda to the tender mercies of Iraqi Sunnis and get the fuck out of their country.

--Spencer Ackerman
no, not banished -- but we'll see what happens!
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 2:30 PM