The Sunni insurgency continues to fracture as U.S. and Iraqi forces are on
the offensive in central and northern Iraq. Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, the Sunni
insurgency's most wanted Baathist leader, has formed a new insurgent front which
is willing to negotiate, while a faction of the 1920s Revolution Brigades openly
denounced al Qaeda.
A grouping of 22 Sunni insurgent groups have “convened a Unification
Congress in a liberated neighborhood in Baghdad” and formed the Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation. The front appointed al Douri its leader. The
announcement, posted on albasrah.net, a Baathist website, lists the 22 insurgent groups, as well as the terms and conditions of negotiations.
The statement by the Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation glaringly
ignores al Qaeda in Iraq, and the offer of negotiations is an affront to al
Qaeda’s ideology. Evidence of al Douri’s split from al Qaeda emerged
in August, when one of his spokesmen said he "decided to sever ties with
al-Qaeda and sign up to the programme of the national resistance, which includes
routing Islamist terrorists and opening up dialogue with the Baghdad government
and foreign forces." Al Douri pledged bayat--an oath of allegiance--to Abu Musab
al Zarqawi, al Qaeda in Iraq's former commander, in early 2004.
While questions remain about al Douri’s influence in the insurgency, his split with al
Qaeda and a willingness to negotiate represents a significant shift in his view
on the prospects of success for the Sunni insurgency. Al Douri is an expert in
testing the political winds in Iraq. He survived Saddam’s Baathist purges and
rose in the ranks to become the second in command of the Revolutionary Command
Council. He avoided U.S. capture for over four years and joined al Qaeda in Iraq
in 2004 as the terror group consolidated power in post-war Iraq.
There is more good news...
A breakaway Sunni insurgent faction from the 1920 Revolution Brigades known as
"Hamas in Iraq" has issued a formal response to recent allegations by Abu
Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of Al-Qaida's "Islamic State of Iraq." In an
official communiqué dated October 2, Iraqi Hamas accused Al-Qaida of
inflicting "great suffering" on ordinary Iraqi Sunnis: "every day they witnessed heads or headless bodies lying in their streets. Each one of these victims had been accused of a so-called ‘crime’ prohibited by Al-Qaida fatwahs... then [Al-Qaida] attacked Ameriyyat [al-Fallujah] with a car bomb packed with chlorine gas canisters, and they even laid siege to the area to prevent food and fuel from getting to people. Finally, they killed several men at the local market and smashed their heads against boxes of food... We [have] witnessed dozens of beheaded bodies and none of them were Americans. Rather, they were all local people from the area—people who, at one point, had supported the Al-Qaida network until they themselves had become
disposable." In fact, according to Hamas in Iraq--as a result of the various crimes Al-Qaida has committed against innocent Muslim civilians--"the Al-Qaida network has actually made people here think that the occupation forces are merciful and humane by comparison."
It was Sun Tzu that originated the military strategy of divide and conquer. That is what we have here. The Sunni insurgency is finding out that each of their factions have competing interests. Al Douri's faction is nationalist while AQI is religious. Beyond that even the typical murderous, evil, sociopathic insurgent finds that AQI's tactics are too much to swallow and thus you see further splits like the one mentioned vis a vis Hamas in Iraq.
Meanwhile on the Shia insurgency front, we see similar things. The coalition killed 25 Shia insurgents today. This group belonged to a group that splintered from JAM when Al Sadr announced a six month moratorium on violence.
It almost seems to obvious to analyze why this is important so I will first quote Mr. Tzu on the concept of divide and conquer,
the art of using troops is this: When ten to the enemy's one, surround him; When
five times his strength, attack him; If double his strength, divide him
That is what is happening here. The enemy is fighting as much amongst themselves as they are against us. The more we put the pressure on the more this will happen. There is only a core of hard core fighters and the rest were recruited for money, power, and hooliganism. Once the mass of the insurgency sees their days are numbered they will lay their arms and some will even turn. Our military must continue to put the pressure on a la the strike today and they will, and we must continue to put the pressure on our weak kneed politicians who are ready to give up just as we are ready to win.