August 21, 2006
Politics by Other Means
Bill Roggio at Counterterrorism blog outlines how al-Qaeda in Iraq is trying to win the hearts and minds of Sunni Iraqis by bribes and threats.
The late Musab Zarqawi tarnished the image of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda in Iraq by killing too many innocent Iraqis... and often personally cutting off the heads of victims. Even Sunni Iraqis, who had seen Sadam Hussein's treatment of the Shia, were nauseated by the brutality of al-Qaeda.
Zarqawi's successor -- Abu Ayyub al-Masri -- has recognized that killing innocent Iraqis does not gain popularity for al-Qaeda. Recruitment for suicide bombers is not meeting the quota; although they can kill people by the bus load, threats alone are not enough to control the Iraqi people. In order for them to turn Iraq into terrorist haven, they need support from the local community.
In other words, al-Qaeda in Iraq has decided to enter politics. Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, spokesman for multi-naitonal force, explains:
The sectarian violence in and around Baghdad defines the framework of the ongoing conflict in Iraq. Within Baghdad, death squads and terrorists are locked into a mutually reinforcing cycle of sectarian strife, with Sunni and Shi'a extremists portraying themselves as the defenders of their respective sectarian groups.
In regards to al-Qaida in Iraq, their leadership has outlined the end state towards which their propaganda efforts are currently working. Specifically, as given to us by those who have been detained over the last two months, they seek to portray al-Qaida in Iraq as a legitimate political organization to be viewed as the alternative to the legitimate, duly-elected government of Iraq.
Their primary goal in discrediting the government of Iraq is the expulsion of the U.S. from Iraq in order to remove support for the government of Iraq and impose themselves, al-Qaida in Iraq, as the power.
This is yet another reason why it is critical that we stay at least long enough to build up not only the New Iraqi Army (already ready to assume complete authority in 16 of Iraq's 18 provinces), but also the Interior Ministry forces -- the Iraqi police. Once both these groups, plus the national government, are able to function entirely on their own, we can pull most of our troops out, leaving only a small force to assist the Iraqis if need be and also to serve as a platform from which to strike elsewhere in the region.
In mirror-image form, it is equally critical for al-Qaeda to boot us out before the job is done. But aside from influencing the Democratic Party with predigested propaganda distributed through the elite media, how exactly does al-Qaeda plan to acheive this goal?
Al-Qaida in Iraq is making a concerted effort to gain legitimacy by marketing itself to the Iraqi people as a credible, helpful organization that appeals to Iraqis in desperate social and economic situations while projecting a civic-minded image. [That is, by doing in Iraq exactly what Hezbollah does in Lebanon: replace government assistance with their own, so that Iraqis will come to think of al-Qaeda as their "tribe."] They have produced propaganda that blames coalition forces and the Iraqi government for problems such as unemployment, security, government corruption, gas prices and the lack of power, in hopes that this will empower them to take on the role as their protectorate....
In regard to recruitment, al-Qaida in Iraq offers money, cell phones and vehicles to prospective recruits. These items appear somewhat attractive to young men. However, placement and access into the inner circles is won through personal associations, demonstrated loyalty and vetted experience. Key personalities are known associates of trusted members. Abu Uzman (sp) stated that his recruiting plan for the Umar (sic) Brigade relied on his associates talking with people they knew, who then talked to others and so on.
Americans and Coalition forces by and large destroyed the Sunni "resistance" movements against the occupying forces; however, new sectarian violence, instigated by al-Qaeda and fueled by Muqtada Sadr and his al-Mahdi "Army," cannot be so easily wished away.
To create a stable Iraq, we need the support of Iraqi Sunnis, as well as the Shia; Iraq cannot be seen by the Sunnis as a sectarian State. Too, we must be vigilant against al-Qaeda propaganda, and we must purge Shiite extremists; in other words, Sadr must die and the Mahdi Militia be obliterated. Maj. Gen. Caldwell concludes thus:
However, Iraqi security forces, with coalition forces in support, continue to degrade the al-Qaida in Iraq network by removing key to mid-level leadership and aggressively targeting the internal foreign fighter facilitator networks.
As al-Qaida in Iraq attempts to recover from this degradation, they continue to be a primary instigator of sectarian violence in Iraq. A significant portion of detained terrorists are providing clear, actionable intelligence for Iraqi and coalition forces to continue the methodical, deliberate efforts to eliminate terrorism here in Iraq. Iraqi and coalition forces will continue to work closely with each other and with the Iraqi citizens to establish peace and security throughout Iraq.
Hatched by Sachi on this day, August 21, 2006, at the time of 4:00 AM
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The following hissed in response by: Robert Schwartz
Mookie Sadr and the Madman's militia are joined at the hip with Hezbollah and their boss, Nasrallah. They are both Iranian stooges, but they go farther back than that. The Naz was Mookie's dad's protege. Clearly, they were both given orders to stir up trouble by the Mullahs in Tehran.
We need to kill Mookie and the Madmen, but that is not all we have to do. The root of the problem is over the border.
The Middle East is being terrorized by Iran, its ally, Syria, and their stooges and henchmen. Time to get the Buffs in the air.
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
The Sadr clan helped create Hezbellah years ago. I don't know if they will kill this little trouble maker or not, but they need to minimize his importance at the very least. If Zarqawi had not killed so many Shia he might well have remained a fringe figure. Strange how symbiotic these organizations are. They feed off each other.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at August 21, 2006 12:34 PM
The following hissed in response by: FredTownWard
I agree that Sadr's militia needs to be dealt with eventually, but I'm not so sure Mookie wet-behind-the-ears does. One of the reasons he gets so little traction among Shia outside of his little mob, is that they view him as a total loon who inherited a job he is incapable of doing. (Think of him as a Shiite "Pinch" Sulzberger.) If we kill him, they might just replace him with someone competent.
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