This unholy alliance is the ideal recipe for fueling the sectarian divide and inviting a sectarian retaliation in the name of fighting al-Qaeda; the likely bloody prospects vindicate Cordesman and Khazai's conclusion that Iraq is now " a nation in crisis bordering on civil war."
Al -- Qaeda is real and a terrorist threat, but like the sectarian U.S.-installed government in Baghdad, it was a new comer brought into Iraq by or because of the invading U.S. troops and most likely it would last as long as its sectarian antithesis lives on in Baghdad's so--called "Green Zone."
" Al-Maliki has more than once termed the various fights and stand-offs" in Iraq "as a fight against "al Qaeda", but it's not that simple," Michael Holmes wrote in CNN on last January 15. The "Sunni sense of being under the heel of a sectarian government " has nothing to do with al Qaeda and won't evaporate once" it is forced out of Iraq, Holmes concluded.
A week earlier, analyst Charles Lister, writing to CNN, concluded that "al Qaeda" was being used as a political tool" by al--Maliki, who "has adopted sharply sectarian rhetoric when referring to Sunni elements " as inherently connected to al Qaeda, with no substantive evidence to back these claims."
A l--Qaeda not the Only Force
"A l--Qaeda is "not the only force on the ground in Fallujah, where "defected local police personnel and armed tribesmen opposed to the federal government " represent the superior force," Lister added.
The Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) had reported that the "Iraqi insurgency " is composed of at least a dozen major organizations and perhaps as many as 40 distinct groups with an estimated less than 10% non-Iraqi foreign insurgents. It is noteworthy that all those who are playing the "al-Qaeda threat" card are in consensus on blacking out the role of these movements.
Prominent among them is the Jaysh Rijal al-Tariq al-Naqshabandi (JRTN) movement, which announced its establishment after Saddam Hussein's execution on December 30, 2006. It is the backbone of the Higher Command for Jihad and Liberation (HCJL), which was formed in October the following year as a coalition of more than thirty national "resistance" movements. The National, Pan-Arab and Islamic front (NAIF) is the Higher Command's political wing. Saddam's deputy, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, is the leader of JRTN, HCJL and NAIF as well as the banned Baath party.
"Since 2009, the movement has gained significant strength" because of its "commitment to restrict attacks to "the unbeliever-occupier," according to Michael Knights, writing to the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) on July1, 2011. "We absolutely forbid killing or fighting any Iraqi in all the agent state apparatus of the army, the police, the awakening, and the administration, except in self-defense situations, and if some agents and spies in these apparatus tried to confront the resistance," al-Duri stated in 2009, thus extricating his movement from the terrorist atrocities of al-Qaeda, which has drowned the Iraqi people in a bloodbath of daily suicide bombings.
The majority of these organizations and groups are indigenous national anti-U.S. resistance movements. Even the ISIL, which broke out recently with al-Qaeda, is led and manned mostly by Iraqis. Playing al-Qaeda card is a smokescreen to downplay their role as the backbone of the national opposition to the U.S.-installed sectarian proxy government in Baghdad's green Zone. Their Islamic rhetoric is their common language with their religious people.
Since the end of the U.S. combat mission in the country in December 2011, they resorted to popular peaceful protests across Iraq. Late last December al-Maliki dismantled by force their major camp of protests near Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar. Protesting armed men immediately took over Fallujah and Ramadi.
Since then, more than 45 tribal "military councils" were announced in all the governorates of Iraq. They held a national conference in January, which elected the "General Political Council of the Guerrillas of Iraq." Coverage of the news and "guerrilla" activities of these councils by Al-Duri's media outlets is enough indication of the linkage between them and his organizational structure.
No doubt revolution is brewing and boiling in Iraq against the sectarian government in Baghdad, its U.S. and Iranian supporters as well as against its al-Qaeda sectarian antithesis.* Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Email address removed