|Legitimate political parties that arise from conflict situations often establish their base of support as powerfully effective purveyors of violence, transitioning into civil society only when the state-run instruments of power allow them a feasible means to achieve political goals.|
A number of the most powerful insurgent groups in Iraq may be reaching that critical turning point, as a new piece in the UK Guardian reveals that discussions are underway to unite Iraqi Hamas, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Ansar al-Sunna (offshoot), Jaish al-Islami, Jaish al-Mujahideen, Jama' and Jaish al-Rashideen under the new heading of the "Political Office for the Iraqi Resistance."
The perception has spread through the groups that the US will withdraw its forces within the next year, so preparations are underway for a post-occupation role in Iraqi society.
Seumas Milne spoke to leaders of Iraqi Hamas, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, and Ansar al-Sunna in a revealing interview that draws into question the narrative that former insurgent groups are choosing to side with the US to help in the fight against al Qaeda.
The Guardian piece makes clear that these men have an abiding hatred for "al Qaeda," particularly for their attacks against civilian targets and the way that has allowed all resistance to the occupation to be portrayed as terrorism. But their hate of al Qaeda does not engender support of the US. "Remember that the Americans brought al-Qaida to Iraq," one points out.
"Resistance isn't just about killing Americans without any aims or goals," said the spokesman of Ansar al-Sunna. "Our people have come to hate al-Qaida, which gives the impression to the outside world that the resistance in Iraq are terrorists. Suicide bombing is not the best way to fight because it kills innocent civilians. We are against indiscriminate killing - fighting should be concentrated only on the enemy. They believe that all Shia are kuffar - and most of the Sunnis as well." They estimate that al-Qaida now carries out between a fifth and a third of all attacks in Iraq.
"Most of al-Qaida's members are Iraqis but its leaders are mostly foreigners," he said, "The Americans magnify their role, even though they are responsible for a minority of resistance operations."
Another thing the leaders said the Americans exaggerate is the existence of Iranian or Syrian assistance to their groups, though they say Iran once offered to help.
"Remember that the Americans brought al-Qaida to Iraq..."
Crap, they're on to you bu$h, "heckuva' job Georgie"!