Insurgents report a split with Al Qaeda in Iraq
BAGHDAD -- Insurgent leaders and Sunni Arab politicians say divisions between insurgent groups and Al Qaeda in Iraq have widened and have led to combat in some areas of the country, a schism that U.S. officials hope to exploit.
...U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, on his last day in Iraq, said Monday that American officials were actively pursuing negotiations with the Sunni factions in an effort to further isolate Al Qaeda.
"Iraqis are uniting against Al Qaeda," Khalilzad said. "Coalition commanders have been able to engage some insurgents to explore ways to collaborate in fighting the terrorists." ...
That's from today's L.A. Times. And I guess we're supposed to believe that we really, really have a chance for a breakthrough this time -- just as we were supposed to believe that when we read:
'Enemy on Enemy' Fire Signals Split Among Insurgents in Iraq (New York Times, June 22, 2005)
Internal Violence Splits Iraqi Insurgents (NewsMax, November 12, 2005)
U.S. Trying to Widen Iraqi Rebel Split with Al Qaeda (New York Times, January 8, 2006)
Iraqi Sunni Leader Turns His Guns on Foreign Insurgents (Telegraph, April 16, 2006)
Time to Focus on Iraq Insurgency Split: Observer (Australian Broadcasting Corporation interview with Christopher Hitchens June 9, 2006)
Well, the L.A. Times says it's real this time, but here was Reuters a few days agos:
Most insurgent groups and their tribal supporters in Iraq's restive Anbar province have refused to join a U.S.-backed alliance to fight al Qaeda which is viewed as a ploy to weaken the rebels, a tribal leader said on Friday.
Sheikh Majeed al-Gaood, a leader of the powerful Dulaimi tribe, said the latest American strategy in Anbar, the deadliest part of Iraq for U.S. forces, was to sow divisions among rebels waging a four-year-old insurgency.
"By pitting groups fighting the occupation against each other they think they can finally control Anbar, but it is still in open revolt against the Americans and their agents. Its people know the occupation targets everyone," Gaood told Reuters after arriving from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar....
Gaood has ties with the former regime's army generals and officers who form the backbone of the Sunni insurgency. He denied any mainstream nationalist insurgent groups were in talks with the authorities to halt attacks....
Wake me when the exploitation of this real or alleged rift actually bears fruit.