The threat of a full-scale civil war in Iraq has receded after the disparate political parties have come to agreement on the face of the new government. After months of deadlock over the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance’s selection of Ibrahim Jaafari as Prime Minister, Jaafari reluctantly walked away from the nomination and the UIA selected Jawad al-Maliki. The Iraqi Parliament quickly convened on Saturday and nominated al-Maliki. Jalal Talabani (a Kurd) has been selected as President and Mahmoud al-Mashhadani as the Speaker of the Parliament.
Maliki has called for a national unity government and the integration of the militias into the security forces. The militias have become a main concern of the Coalition and Iraqi politicians, and the raid on Sadr’s compound last month highlights the sensitivity of this issue. Maliki has one month to form a government, and his appointments for ministers of Interior and Defense
Just as the Iraqi parliament broke the political stalemate, Osama bin Laden released his latest speech. Walid Phares classifies bin Laden’s speech as the “State of Jihad.” Dr. Phares points out “the document provide guidelines and vision to the followers across the continents: A call for mega-terrorism and a fiery delivery of a bloody war in all directions. Not one single civilization and religion got away from Usama’s grapes of wrath: Muslim moderates, Shiites, Christian Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox; Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and Atheists as well. Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Semites, Africans and others were all deciphered as Kuffars, infidels.”
The early speculation in the blogosphere that bin Laden ignored Iraq wholesale has proven incorrect. Osama did address Iraq’s place in al Qaeda’s plans and the country’s importance in the global jihad. Last fall, Ayman al-Zawahiri stated Iraq is the central front in the war and referred to the country as “the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.” bin Laden agrees:
The epicentre of these wars is Baghdad, the seat of the khalifate rule. They keep reiterating that success in Baghdad will be success for the US, failure in Iraq the failure of the US.
Their defeat in Iraq will mean defeat in all their wars and a beginning to the receding of their Zionist-Crusader tide against us. Your mujahidin sons and brothers in Iraq have taught the US a hard lesson while in the fourth year of the Crusaders’ invasion, they are steadfast and patient and keep killing and wounding enemy soldiers every day.
It is a duty for the Umma with all its categories, men, women and youths, to give away themselves, their money, experiences and all types of material support, enough to establish jihad in the fields of jihad particularly in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Sudan, Kashmir and Chechnya. Jihad today is an imperative for every Muslim. The Umma will commit sin if it did not provide adequate material support for jihad.
Osama bin Laden is correct when he states “success in Baghdad will be success for the US, failure in Iraq the failure of the US.” It is imperative for the United States to make Iraq an Iraqi fight, and continue to encourage the political process while building up the capabilities of the security forces. The Iraqis are increasingly hunting and fighting al Qaeda, as the terrorist tactics and Taliban rule of law are seen as foreign influences designed to tear the Iraqi nation apart. Insurgent groups in Anbar province, no friends of the Americans, have formed the Anbar Revenge Brigade to rid al Qaeda from the region. This is but the latest development of “red-on-red” fighting between the insurgency and al Qaeda.
The Iraqi Muslims’ willingness to fight al Qaeda in Iraq is an ideological dimension of the war that is virtually being ignored. al Qaeda, however, recognizes how a stable Iraq threatens the plan to establish a regional and ultimately global Islamist caliphate. Note how bin Laden fears the establishment of democratic institutions, media outlets and U.S. basing in the region. For these reasons, bin Laden calls Iraq the “epicentre of these wars” and Zawahiri calls it “the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.”
Radio Programming Note:
I will be on the radio tonight at 9:05 PM Eastern with Rob Breakenridge, host of The World Tonight on AM 770, Calgary, Alberta. We will discuss developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and my upcoming embed.
To listen online visit AM 770 CHQR and click LISTEN LIVE.
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