The constitutional compromise has created an open division between a Sunni party and an Islamist group. The Islamic Iraqi Party, the most influential Sunni-led political party, rescinded its opposition to the constitution and advised its followers to vote “yes” . The Victorious Army Group immediately declared war on the Islamic Iraqi Party, stating the party an instrument of “Jews and Christians against the Muslims in this decisive battle between a constitution made by Allah for His creation.” According to the Victorious Army Group, the Islamic Iraqi Party “should receive from the mujahideen their fate.”
Other Sunni groups are reconsidering their stand on the constitution. The Conference of the People of Iraq, a Sunni party, has also voiced their support for the constitution. The Sunni Endowment is also backing the constitution. From the statment by the Sunni Endowment; “As a way out of this … dark tunnel and to avoid starting all over again from scratch … the Sunni Endowment has decided to support the Iraqi Islamic Party in voting ‘Yes’… Living under a flawed law is better than chaos and anarchy … What counts for us is educating people to take part in the next election to produce honest people capable of changing or amending articles that are not in the country’s best interests.”
A declaration of war from the Victorious Army Group has yet to be issued.
Like Zarqawi, the Victorious Army Group appears to be shunning the sage advice of Zawahiri (who Dan Darling, in his analysis of the Zawahiri letter, describes as the most pragmatic leader in al Qaeda). For some Islamists, the need for ideological purity overcomes the practical nature of their situation. It is unwise to create more enemies during a time of war, and even more unwise to alienate your potential base of support.
Zawahiri knows this is folly, as the support of the Muslim community is vital to their cause; “In the absence of this popular support, the Islamic mujahed movement would be crushed in the shadows.” If their potential allies must be put to the sword, then there is little hope of the required greater public support. The actions of Zarqawi and groups like the Victorious Army Group only serve to push their radical terrorist movements further into the shadows.
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