Monday, April 03, 2006

Remember the reports of a rift between Iraqi insurgents and Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq? These reports were a staple of right-wing chatter a few weeks ago.

Well, this morning NPR's Deborah Amos -- citing a Jordanian jihadi allied with the Iraqi insurgents and also an analyst for the International Crisis Group -- said the rift is already a thing of the past:

DEBORAH AMOS: ...In the last year, many Sunni insurgent groups have challenged Zarqawi's terror tactics, which has led to open internal battles, says Azzam.

HUDAYFAH AZZAM: And finally he has to change himself and his way, or he has to leave. We are still working very hard on that.

AMOS: But in the last month, the split has been put aside, he says.

ASSAM: Five main parties of the resistance, they were united with Zarqawi, and they are working together now.

AMOS: Iraqi and Western analysts say the rift ended with the upsurge of Sunni-Shia killing following the bombing of a revered Shiite shrine north of Baghdad. Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group says that violence explains the newfound unity among foreign fighters and the Iraqi insurgents.

JOOST HILTERMANN: If there was any chance for a rift, it was destroyed in the immediate aftermath of the bombing, and as long as there are attacks on -- Shiite Islamist groups operating through [the] Interior Ministry, for example, against Sunni Arabs as a community, the insurgents will remain unified, as a protector, of course.

The rift was yet another "turning point" that was really, really going to bring us victory, according to right-wingers. If the rift is no more, that's very significant.

(Transcript mine; I can't vouch for the spelling of the Jordanian's name.)

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