Mishan al-Jabouri goes on al-Zawraa and attacks al Qaeda
While the Sunni insurgency is often seen as a united block, the reality is that under the surface, there are great tensions and disagreements between the ‘domestic’ insurgents and the ‘foreigners.’ Nibras Kazimi has reported that Mishan al-Jabouri, the owner of al-Zawraa, or Muj TV, has issued a scathing statement against al Qaeda in Iraq, and its political front, the Islamic State of Iraq, which is run by Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. The attack on al Qaeda in Iraq was given by al-Jabouri himself and broadcast on al-Zawraa after several days of publishing items critical of al Qaeda in its scroll. Al-Jabouri is aligned with the Islamic Army in Iraq, a Islamist insurgent group with close ties to al Qaeda. Mr. Kazimi provides a translation of al-Jabouri’s statement. Al-Jabouri provides a laundry list of complaints against al Qaeda and its Islamic State, which I have summarized as follows:
• al Qaeda in Iraq has divided the Iraqi people, failed to protect the Sunnis and brought the Shia death squads down on the Sunnis by inciting sectarian violence through mass suicide attacks. al Qaeda has “broken the back of national unity in Iraq and they resulted in bringing great suffering upon Iraqis” by targeting Shia and giving the Shia “the excuse for it to retaliate and go to the Sunni neighborhoods to kill 4 or 5 or 10 times the number that was killed of the Shi’as.”
• The Islamic State of Iraq in Iraq wants the Sunni groups to “pledge allegiance” to leaders, ministers and emirs whose identities are unknown, including Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
• Islamic State of Iraq has continued to conduct an extensive campaign of assassination against rival sheikhs, emirs and insurgent group leaders, and in many cases added insult to injury by failing to give the bodies back to theh families. One of al-Jabouri’s own messengers was executed.
• The Islamic State of Iraq has no system of law or justice. “Is this the State you want to establish? To kill people without an accusation, or investigation, without a judge or nothing.”
• Weapons and ammunition are being confiscated from insurgent groups that do not support the Islamic State.
• al Qaeda in Iraq is intentionally targeting members of the Iraqi Army and police forces, who al-Jabouri and other insurgents believe are acting in the best interest of Iraqis.
• The goal of the Islamic State of Iraq is to serve as a stepping stone to attack other nations, which endangers the Iraqi people. “We will not allow Iraq to turn into a dangerous place that threatens the countries of the region under any pretext, these Arabs that you have about you, let then go and fight in their own countries and not among us…”
• Because of al Qaeda’s actions the Sunni insurgents not aligned with the Islamic State are preparing to battle with al Qaeda outside of Ramadi. “I warn you that in areas apart from Ramadi the situation is changing whereby all will cooperate to confront you.”
Al-Jabouri’s turnaround is stunning, since just last December he was broadcasting al Qaeda propaganda videos on al-Zawraa. In a response to my article al-Zawraa: Muj TV, al-Jabouri openly admitted to having contacts with the terrorist group to receive their propaganda. Several U.S. military and intelligence officials believe al-Jabouri himself is as close to al Qaeda as it gets (an accusation al-Jabouri denies). He and his network are based out of Syria, the hub of the Islamist jihadis.
Al-Jabouri’s turn against al Qaeda highlights the war-within-the-war in the Iraqi Sunni community. al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents have repeatedly battled in Anbar province and elsewhere. The infighting has led to the formation of the Anbar Salvation Council, led by Shiekh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha. Sattar, who fought alongside al Qaeda in the past before his tribe and members of his own family were targeted, is now cooperating with the government and forming 8 battalions of tribal fighters called Emergency Response Units. The U.S. now estimated 12 of the 21 tribes in Ramadi actively support the government, 6 are neutral and three have sided with al Qaeda.
al Qaeda has fired back with a vicious campaign of suicide attacks, murders and kidnappings of tribal leaders in an attempt to intimidate the Anbar tribes. Last year, a captured document showed al Qaeda’s ‘hit list’ of Sunni politicians, tribal leaders, clerics and Baathists in Anbar.
Just yesterday, 11 members of a pro government tribe, including women and children, were executed on a highway outside Fallujah. In Ramadi, two suicide bombers attacked the home of Sattar, killing 11 and wounding 4. Like the attack in Tarmiyahyesterday, two suicide vehicles were employed: one the breach the outside wall, another to strike at the compound inside. Sattar was not injured in the attack.