Sunday, March 18, 2007
I might be wrong:
BAGHDAD -- As my chances of getting to Ramadi dwindle -- more on that later -- I should note that despite the Anbar Salvation Committee, the Washington Post assesses that al-Qaeda in Iraq is gaining support from Sunni insurgents, which cuts against my analysis of AQI growing more isolated:

As Shiite militias unleashed a wave of retaliatory kidnappings and killings, a number of Sunni insurgent groups appeared to change their mind about forming at least a marriage of convenience with AQI. Although some experts credit the U.S. military with recruiting Sunni tribal leaders to the government's side in recent months, the tribal forces have so far made little headway against the insurgency.

"In a year, AQI went from being a major insurgent group, but one of several, to basically being the dominant force in the Sunni insurgency," said terrorism consultant Evan F. Kohlmann. "It managed to convince a lot of large, influential Sunni groups to work together under its banner -- groups that I never would have imagined," Kohlmann said. In November, many of the groups joined AQI in declaring an Islamic State of Iraq.

This piece doesn't look so good either, what with its prediction that, post-Zarqawi, AQI would retool as a less sectarian force.
--Spencer Ackerman
Thanks for these dispatches. Is your sense that Shia militamen are mobilized around domestic political grievances ... or do they identify politically with Iran and the tradition of the Islamic Revolution? Are all politics local?
Blogger The Special | 8:11 PM

I wish I could say I've gotten close enough to answer this question, but I haven't.
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 10:41 PM