Sunni Divisions

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 The Islamic Iraqi Party, the most influential Sunni-led political party, rescinded its opposition to the constitution and advised its followers to vote “yes” .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.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Justin Capone says:

    Another big Sunni Party will say yes.
    On Thursday, a second prominent Sunni group rallied behind the deal, which sets up a new round of negotiations to craft a consensus on constitutional amendments next year in return for backing the present draft and sticking to a timetable laid down last year by U.S. officials keen ensure an exit for U.S. troops.
    The Sunni Endowment movement backed the Islamic Party move, saying a flawed constitution was better than the alternative.
    “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’,” the movement, which has clerical leanings, said in a statement.

  • Justin Capone says:

    Z-man knows it doesn’t matter and honestly I don’t think he could care less. He exists in Iraq as a tool for the Sunni clerics and other Sunni leaders that want power. He knows his time is very short given the number and training of Iraqi troops.
    The second the Sunni leaders don’t need him they will try to kill him or turn him in and he knows it.
    Z-man is waging a media war against the US with his suicide bombings which is the only possible way he could have any hope to win. Sure, it may piss off the Sunnis and everyone else in Iraq, but it makes the Shia militias fight back bit by bit and that increases the Sunni fear Shia reprisals, thus the Sunnis decide to keep Zarqaw alive as their weapon aganst the Shia longer.
    The cycle will be broken only when enough Iraqi troops and police are on the street which should be in the next couple months.

  • Ike says:

    You think the Sunni’s will eventually hand Zarqawi over? It would be nice if we could get the leaders of these Sunni parties to publicly demand it.

  • cjr says:

    “Despite the spike in violence predicted for the days leading up to the referendum, violence is actually down compared to last month, the official reported, thanks to escalated efforts to establish secure conditions for the vote.”

  • desert rat says:

    The truth of the matter is that we should have
    “escalated efforts to establish secure conditions” more than a year ago. We have allowed Iraq to fester, militarily while waiting for Iraqi politics to get up to speed.
    The training of the ISF was on the backburner for far to long. There never was anyone else to hand Iraq off to, other then the Iraqis, themselves.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I’ve updated the post with the new info, thanks.
    I think the local Sunnis hold the opinion as you stated, but al Qaeda has a desire to win. A reading of Zarqawi’s letter from a year ago, and Zawahiri’s recent letter shows this to be true. Zarqawi is a butcher and enjoys his grim work, but he definitely desires victory in Iraq.

  • Ike says:

    Iraqi police uncovered a number of car bombs and Al Qaeda leaders that had plans for attacks during the elections Saturday.

  • Jim, Mtn View, CA says:

    Our men and women in the military are pulling this one off. (And bless the Iraqis, who have consistently over-delivered in the face of towering difficulties). What is the media going to say when it becomes crystal clear that we have “won ugly” but won?
    The news has been gloom and doom for so long, it is going to be a whole new paradigm for them to digest, for sure.

  • Oded says:

    Dont expect any apologies from those on the wrong side of history, they will be merely whistling by the graveyard, no matter how loud you scream I told ya so.

  • ghoullio says:

    the fat lady hasnt sung yet, so ill just stick to my guarded optimism.
    but i do have a quesiton, why would the Sunnis feel that Zarqawi is a bargaining chip for them?

  • john beard says:

    I am very optimistic about Iraq. I believe the insurgency is at a crossroad. I just spent nearly a year over there for KBR and worked outside the wire most of the time. (I bought a lot of Dinar so I am also hoping for that reason).

    I was up at Balad and at Taji for assignments but went all over in convoys. Usually I got positive reactions from the Iraqis. The ones I got to know who worked at Anaconda were also optimistic and most believed/hoped the US will stay 10+ years.

    A successful election for me is a large turnout. Participation will be the ultimate barometer of the optimism of the people at large.

    // Michael is back over there and had a spur of the moment interview with a election official in the post “the embed”.

    Good Luck Iraq I am pulling for you guys!

  • Justin Capone says:

    Sunnis will nab Zarqawi when ‘ready’
    Sunni “fence sitters” in Iraq say they would be willing to take on master terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi and rid the country of foreign saboteurs if the Shi’ite-run government’s new political structure is acceptable to them, according to a senior U.S. official.
    “The Iraqis will kill every foreigner who comes into their neighborhood when they’re ready,” said the senior official who has spent months in Iraq. “They don’t want foreigners in Iraq.”
    The official, who has held numerous meetings with what he called “influential fence sitters,” said the representatives have told him they are only tolerating foreign terrorists because they are a “pressure tool” to force the Shi’ites and the U.S. to consider Sunni political demands for more representation in the Baghdad government. “We’ll catch him when we’re ready,” the official quoted one Sunni as telling him, referring to Zarqawi.
    The official said that right now the only way Zarqawi’s terrorists can operate in Iraq is with the complicity of Sunni village leaders who provide safe houses and travel routes from Al Anbar province to Baghdad and other cities.

  • John Jorsett says:

    What is the media going to say when it becomes crystal clear that we have “won ugly” but won?

    Remember the last election? All that good feeling eroded over time under a relentless media barrage of negativity. Never underestimate their ability to do it yet again.

  • TM Lutas says:

    Every time that the media’s negativity is exposed as an inaccurate view of the world, a small increment of the public, maybe 0.5% peels off and just stops trusting them permanently. At a certain point, the number who do not trust the media will reach critical mass and the media’s business model will collapse, bankrupting them. To avoid that fate, the MSM will likely change the way they do business.
    I think we’re getting pretty close to that tipping point after three decades of the US public losing confidence in the MSM. Another decade should do it.

  • liberalhawk says:

    I presume endowment is translation of “Waqf”, basically a legal trust that holds title to Mosques and other religious property. I dont know that theyre really a political party as such, though obviously like other bodies of sunni clerics they seem to be in the habit of rendering political opinions.

  • liberalhawk says:

    “What is the media going to say when it becomes crystal clear that we have “won ugly” but won?”
    Hows this? “we won ugly, even with lack of planning misteps, etc. Think of how much better it would have gone if wed planned better, etc”
    Of course that only helps folks like McCain, Biden, etc not the antiwar crowd.

  • leaddog2 says:

    The Anti-American, haters of freedom scum you mean?

  • ghoullio says:

    “scum” is a strong word, and we must respect their dissent, if not their tactics. America has room for multiple viewpoints, and the Soldiers have enough support from those who are properly informed and their families. we know wher eour bread is buttered and who we have to thank for said freedoms.
    if they choose to disregard our actions, so be it, History will forget them as history forgot the anti-war protestors in WWII.


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