Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Anbar Sunni Tribes Fight "the Resistance"

Anbar province in Iraq is supposedly a hopeless case for the Multi-National Force. Remember Col. Devlin's intelligence assessment made in August and leaked in November?

Occasionally, there are news reports from Anbar. Here is one from the BBC:

The tribal chiefs in the Iraqi province of Anbar joined forces in September in an attempt to defeat al-Qaeda.

They set up the Salvation Council for Anbar and claim to have reduced the numbers of weapons and foreign fighters coming into the area.

The restive Sunni dominated area has been a centre of activity for foreign jihadis linked to al-Qaeda.

"Joined forces in September" -- that would be after Devlin's assessment of the dire situation.

Here is the explanation of their motivation according to their own leader:

The head of the council, Sheikh Faisal al-Goud, told the BBC, however, that there were still thousands of al-Qaeda fighters operating in al Anbar province alone.

"We are fighting the terrorists because they have caused the violent chaos in the country, the instability. They are killing innocent Iraqis and killing anyone who wants freedom and peace in Iraq," he explained.

And, of course, "balance" in news reporting requires an alternative explanation from someone who needs to be removed from society:

Driving a wedge between local Sunnis and the extreme jihadists of al-Qaeda has long been an aim shared by the Americans and the Iraqi government.

But in a sign of how disunited the Sunnis are, a prominent Sunni figure considered close to the insurgency - Sheikh Harith al-Dari of the Muslim Scholars' Association - has criticised the tribesmen as bandits fighting what he called the resistance.

"Bandits" was a label commonly used by the Communists in the Soviet Union and China to identify people who resisted the so-called revolution. Could the "scholars" have stumbled onto the same lingo by mere coincidence?


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