Friday, November 11, 2005

Isolating al Qaeda 

As we have written many times before, Iraq has become a central battlefield in the war on Islamist jihad. Critics of American policy believe that this fact proves the folly of Operation Iraqi Freedom, while supporters of that war, including me, believe that we must exploit this battle with al Qaeda to our strategic benefit. In that regard, the Iraq war is putting enormous pressure on al Qaeda's reputation in the Arab world, in no small part because we are driving al Qaeda to reveal the full ugliness of its tactics. While the enemy strives to "vex and exhaust" the apostate regimes in the Middle East, it in fact provokes a political and military counterattack. Support them or deplore them, the House of Saud has been attacking al Qaeda relentlessly since, oh, the spring of 2003. Perhaps more tellingly, this week's attack in Jordan has triggered a remarkable popular reaction in a country that should be fertile ground for al Qaeda (by dint of its large Palestinian population, proximity to Israel, support for the United States and minority monarchy). They've crapped in their own nest, perhaps because they are out of moves in Iraq. There are ever more reports that even the Iraqi Ba'athist rejectionists are turning on them:
Al-Qaida in Iraq, the terrorist group headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has broken with local Sunni Muslim Arab insurgent groups in central Iraq, in some cases resulting in gunbattles on the street....

The groups have fallen into disputes about money and tactics, including over whether to participate in Iraq's political system. Residents think the strong support al-Qaida in Iraq has had in Anbar province is starting to fracture, if not completely break. The group is dominated by non-Iraqis.

This does not mean that support in Iraq for the United States is growing, but if the Sunnis of Iraq and Jordan turn against al Qaeda we will score an important strategic victory in the wider war even if we do not resolve all conflict among the ethnic groups of either country.


By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Fri Nov 11, 03:19:00 PM:

Here's my take on the Amman bombings - they were not random, nor directed at Jordan per se.

Exhibit A) A high ranking PA general in charge of security was killed.

Exhibit B) The general was cooperating with IDF and Shin Bet to crack down on the extremists.

A+B == Jordan just happened to be a convenient place for the hit to take place.  

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