US Marines have encircled the town of Ubaydi and are beginning to root out the insurgents. In the town of Qaim, an interesting development has emerged. The insurgents are preparing for an American assualt on the city by creating checkpoints and fighting positions. It was reported earlier that the leaders of Qaim requested American intervention, and now it seems that insurgent factions cannot tolerate each other, and have turned their weapons on one another:
Rival groups of insurgents also are fighting among themselves in the nearby town of Qaim, trading mortar, rocket and machine gun fire almost nightly, Pool said. Residents acknowledged fighting in Qaim began before the U.S. offensive, characterizing it as tribal clashes.
Solomon Moore provides further evidence al Qaeda and the insurgency are not very popular among the locals in Qaim. The jihadis had instituted the rule of law favored by the Taliban and in Zarqawi’s Fallujah:
After he served the Marines tea and sat them in his garden, the former Iraqi government official pulled up his shirt and showed his scars.
There were brown welts on his back where he had been flogged. There were small circular burns on his legs. He lifted his upper lip and revealed broken teeth. He held out his hands and displayed red lines where handcuffs had cut into his skin during eight days of captivity.
“The terrorists frighten and hurt the people here. They do checkpoints and patrols. Anyone they catch going to Al Qaim they will kill with a knife and throw him by the road,” said the former official, who asked a Los Angeles Times reporter traveling with the Marines not to publish his name for fear that insurgents would kill him and his family.
“Frankly, I don’t like the American occupation,” he said. “But I prefer the American occupation to occupation by Al Qaeda…”
Residents say insurgents threaten, beat and sometimes kill those who do not cooperate with them. They say the rebels take over their homes and cars, prevent them from seeking jobs with the Iraqi Security Forces, and endanger their towns by launching attacks against Americans from their backyards.
The former Iraqi government official sums up quite well the ideological battle being fought in Iraq. While the Americans are not popular, the Islamists of al Qaeda are despised because of their abhorrent tactics and treatment of fellow Muslims. It bears repeating that Iraq has provided a front on the war against al Qaeda and has allowed the people of the Middle East to personally see the true side of al Qaeda and the effects of terrorism. Its one thing to watch the resented Jews and Americans blown up overseas. Its another when Shariah spouting Al Qaeda jihadis overruns your home and beat, maim, butcher and murder those who they claim to protect, all in the name of Islam.
Trey Jackson has video footage from Matador.