The Insurgency

THE INSURGENCY....The Guardian reminds us today that the major source of attacks on U.S. troops — by a wide margin — is still the guerrilla war waged by Sunni insurgent groups, not suicide attacks by al-Qaeda in Iraq. These insurgent groups have long stayed underground, communicating mainly through internet postings, but now, motivated by a belief that U.S. troops are going to begin withdrawal within the next year, they're starting to go public. Marc Lynch comments on what this means:
These moves by the major insurgency factions over the last several months don't fit well within the preferred American narrative. Their actions are not motivated by the 'surge', but rather by the belief that the US will soon leave. Their hostility to the Islamic State of Iraq/al-Qaeda does not translate into support for the United States or the current Iraqi government. They vow to continue armed struggle until the US forces leave, and to stop the violence when they do. And they have clear demands for changes to the Iraqi political system on behalf of Sunni interests — demands which may be unacceptable to other Iraqis in their current form but at least offer a starting point for real political talks.

These factions have been articulating these positions very clearly and consistently for several months now. But they repeatedly seem to be marginalized or discounted because they don't fit the American narrative, in which al-Qaeda is the primary enemy and most Sunnis and insurgency groups are switching to the American side. I really hope that American officials don't really believe their own propaganda and are paying attention to the really significant developments on the Sunni side — because if not, then the political resolution which everyone seems to agree is needed will never be achieved.
I also noticed this interesting tidbit from the Guardian interview, which is apparently the first time insurgent leaders have talked to the Western press:
A couple of years back, Zubeidy says, Iran offered the Islamic resistance groups weapons, money and also help with stopping attacks from the Shia militia, but while he believes al-Qaida accepted, the others did not. "We do not trust Iran."...."We are the only resistance movement in modern history that has received no help or support from any other country," Omary declares.
If this is right, it means Iran might indeed be funding AQI activities in Iraq. At the same time, it also means they aren't funding Sunni insurgent activities. Food for thought.

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