A Sunni tribe joins al Qaeda, The Islamic Army in Iraq offers negotiations with the U.S.
The splits within the Sunni Insurgency and al Qaeda continue to manifest as Sunni groups begin to chart their future actions. One of the major Islamist insurgent groups is willing to negotiate, as a Sunni tribe has committed to al Qaeda.
The Associated Press reports the Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the largest insurgent groups in the country, has again announced it is willing to negotiate with the United States. The Islamic Army in Iraq fears the rise in Iranian influence. “In sections of the tape not aired, the speaker on the tape said Iraq faces occupation by two powers – ‘the Crusader Americans and the Iranians … and the latter is the more dangerous,’ Al-Jazeera reported.” It has been rumored that the Islamic Army in Iraq, along with Ansar al-Sunnah, may formally join al Qaeda’s Mujahideen Shura.
MEMRI reports the Al-Bubaz tribe has thrown its lot in with al Qaeda.
On October 5, 2006, an Islamist website reported that the Al-Bubaz tribe, which is Sunni, had announced the establishment of its own Shura Council, which included tribe members from Diyala, Samarra, and Baghdad. The new council announced a reconciliation between the tribe and the Shura Council of the Jihad Fighters in Iraq – which includes eight organizations and is headed by Al-Qaeda – and declared allegiance to the mujahideen, with all their factions, saying it would permit the tribe’s youth to join whichever faction they wished.
The Al-Bubaz tribe is one of the six tribes that refused to support the Iraqi government and hunt al Qaeda. Twenty five of 31 tribes in Anbar have vowed to fight al Qaeda.
The Iraqi government and Coalition forces are working to undermine the leadership of the six tribes by exploiting the natural splits within the tribal structures. Cash and support is being distributed to factions within the tribes opposed to the support of al Qaeda. Recalcitrant leaders are being targeted with arrest or assassination. The most recent major operation in Diyala province, which netted over 250 suspected insurgents and al Qaeda, was partially aimed at the Al-Bubaz.
Al-Qaeda’s recent effort to unite the disparate elements of the Sunni insurgency has caused the group to reemerge as a primary threat to security. Abu Ayyub al-Masri is following Zawahiri and Attyia al-Jaziri’s previously ignored orders to Zarqawi, and is attempting to consolidate al Qaeda’s control over large swaths of the Sunni insurgency. Getting ‘native’ Iraqi insurgent groups would help to legitimize al Qaeda’s role in the insurgency. For this reason, the Coalition is actively hunting al-Masri.
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