Saturday, April 09, 2005

Divide and Conquer

A classic strategy is working in Iraq:
Iraq's newly elected president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, urged insurgents to sit down and talk with the new government, but he's made it clear his offer is exclusively available to homegrown Iraqi insurgents and not to extremists or foreign fighters.

"We must find political and peaceful solutions with those duped Iraqis who have been involved in terrorism and pardon them, and invite them to join the democratic process," Talabani said Thursday as he was sworn in at parliament. "But we must firmly counter and isolate the criminal terrorism that's imported from abroad and is allied with criminal Baathists."
Divide and conquer. The "insugency" is splitting, and the jihadists are going to be left out in the cold, cut off and stranded in hostile territory:
In Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province and a stronghold of the insurgency, homegrown Iraqi fighters have begun recently to air their differences in menacing fliers plastered on walls and distributed in mosques — making threats and denouncing the tactics of the extremists, according to witnesses who have seen the fliers.

Some of the fliers threaten reprisals against the militants or threaten to inform police of their identity and whereabouts. The extremists have not publicly responded, but residents say the fighters have kept a low profile since the appearance of the fliers in the Euphrates-side city and that some of them may have moved to the outskirts to avoid clashes.

Ramadi's insurgents argue that al-Qaida fighters are giving the resistance a bad name and demand they stop targeting civilians and kidnappings. Al-Qaida militants counter that Iraqis who join the army and police are "apostates" — Muslims who renounce their faith — and deserve to be killed.
Nice bunch of people. They're becoming unpopular fast.
In Baghdad's mainly Sunni Azamiyah district, another insurgency hotbed, residents have repeatedly brought down from walls and street light poles the black banners of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed news reports in Arab media that factions of the insurgency may be indirectly negotiating with authorities to lay down their arms in return for amnesty, jobs and reconstruction money. The Iraqi government has not commented.

There is a growing feeling among Sunni Arabs that boycotting the landmark Jan. 30 election may have been a mistake.


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