The Corner

Some Encouraging News Out of Iraq

And I found it in The New York Times:

Iraqis are increasingly saying that they regard Al Qaeda as a foreign-led force, whose extreme religious goals and desires for sectarian war against Iraq’s Shiite majority override Iraqi tribal and nationalist traditions.While American and Iraqi officials have talked of a split for months, detailed accounts of clashes were provided by men claiming to be local insurgents …According to an American and an Iraqi intelligence official, as well as Iraqi insurgents, clashes between Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and Iraqi insurgent groups like the Islamic Army and Muhammad’s Army have broken out in Ramadi, Husayba, Yusifiya, Dhuluiya and Karmah.In town after town, Iraqis and Americans say, local Iraqi insurgents and tribal groups have begun trying to expel Al Qaeda’s fighters, and, in some cases, kill them. It is unclear how deeply the split pervades Iraqi society. Iraqi leaders say that in some Iraqi cities, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and local insurgent groups continue to cooperate with one another….Evidence of the split is still largely anecdotal, and from most available evidence, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia remains the most virulent and well-financed group fighting in Iraq. But in most Sunni cities, Iraqis defied Al Qaeda’s threats and turned out to vote in large numbers on Dec. 15.”The tribes are fed up with Al Qaeda and they will not tolerate any more,” said a senior Iraqi intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The intelligence official confirmed reports that a Sunni tribe in Samarra had tried and executed Qaeda members for their role in assassinating a local sheik.”It was a beautiful mistake,” the intelligence official said of the sheik’s assassination by Al Qaeda. “Now the tribes will kill Al Qaeda. Now they have the courage.”…Americans face significant challenges in trying to exploit the split. “It is against my beliefs to put my hand with the Americans,” said an Iraqi member of the Islamic Army who uses the nom de guerre Abu Omar.Still, he said in an interview in a house in Baghdad, he allowed himself a small celebration whenever a member of Al Qaeda fell to an American bullet. “I feel happy when the Americans kill them,” he said.

Clifford D. May — Clifford D. May is an American journalist and editor. He is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative policy institute created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, ...

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