Counter-Terrorism: Disagreements in Iraq

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September 13, 2006: In Iraq, rifts have been developing within some of the nationalist (Sunni Arab) terror movements. Causes for the rifts differ depending on the group. Some are the result of personality clashes among various leaders. Others are due to younger leaders perception that the guys in charge are screwing up. Still other disputes are over policy and practical issues, such as whether some of the leaders believe the point of fighting is to force the government to address Sunni/Baathist concerns (i.e., they'd be willing to make peace, for a piece of the pie), while others are looking to take over. And some may be between secularists and Islamists.
How these disputes work out may be of great important for the outcome of the war. For at the moment, the nationalists still have a lot of that Saddam era cash, and they continue spending it to pay for IEDs and suicide bombings. Thousands of Sunni Arabs are making a good, if dangerous, living by building and placing IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), firing rockets and mortar shells, and murdering civilians (with whom your boss has religious or political differences.) These thugs, plus the ordinary criminal types, form a powerful class in Sunni Arab communities. This killer class is led, and largely composed of, the same people who did Saddam's dirty work. These people are the major opponents to a peace deal, because they fear the government would round them up and prosecute. While Sunni Arab leaders have the money and clout to cut amnesty deals, the low level killers fear for their lives. Many of these people have already fled to Jordan, Syria and elsewhere. But for the many who, for financial, family or other reasons, will not leave Iraq, they must soon decide if they want to fight to death, or flee the country anyway.

 


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