Sunday, April 16, 2006
Regular readers should feel free to tune out. Yes, it's time to remind people that Arabs and other Muslims are essential to victory over the jihad.
Since we can't sort the jihadis from the innocents even when we can reach across jurisdictional lines, we need Arabs and Muslims to do it. We need the locals to drop a dime or pick up a gun and go after the bastards. They were never going to do that out of sympathy for the United States. There is no sympathy for the United States in the Arab and Muslim world, and there never was any hope of any. Moreover, as long as al Qaeda was attacking soft American targets at home and abroad, there was no reason for any Arab or Muslim to join the fight on our side. The only way to create Arab and Muslim enemies of al Qaeda was to make the war their problem too. In order for that to happen, we had to confront al Qaeda in the heart of the Arab and Muslim world. If you're a newbie, the longer version is here.
That is why I regard this news as progress:
He looks every inch the face of the Iraqi resistance: a tribal leader from the Sunni badlands west of Baghdad, who once served in Saddam Hussein's feared intelligence network.
But Sheikh Osama Jadaan's dislike of foreign occupation is nothing compared to his contempt for Iraq's other intruders - the foreign jihadists who have indiscriminately killed thousands of his countrymen. Now, in what coalition commanders hope will mark a turning of the tide against al-Qaeda in Iraq, he has become the first of the Sunni tribal leaders to declare war on the terrorists to whom, until now, they have given safe haven.
He is well-placed to do so - his al-Karabla tribe lives around the desert city of Al Qaim, near the Syrian border in Anbar province, the Sunni insurgents' stronghold.
Sheikh Jadaan's armed followers claim to have arrested and killed 300 would-be jihadis entering from Syria, many bound for service as suicide bombers with Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Why is he doing this? Because al Qaeda is increasingly discredited. It inspires Sheikh Jadaan to contempt, not admiration, and not fear.
"I am doing this job because the foreign terrorists kill the civilians," said Sheikh Jadaan, 52, at his heavily guarded villa. "None of them ever attack the Americans except occasionally, they just attack the innocents. This is to restore the reputation of jihad."
"To restore the reputation of the jihad." In Sheikh Jadaan's eyes, al Qaeda has sullied the reputation of the jihad -- they have made it synonymous with the slaughter of children and women in the service of their extremist ideology, not the spiritual struggle that it means to traditional Muslims, or even the military struggle in defense of the umma.
To be clear, Sheikh Jadaan has no love of the United States. No problem, we don't need him to love us. Our requirement is only that he be motivated to take up arms against al Qaeda. He would not have been if the United States had not lured al Qaeda in to a decisive battle in the heart of the Arab world. Al Qaeda as an organization and its particularly obscene ideology are being discredited every day in the Sunni triangle. Every time you read a story of Sunni tribesman shooting jihadis instead of Americans, al Qaeda suffers a strategic defeat along with the tactical loss. However much Iraq has blown back on the United States, it is blowing back against al Qaeda even more.
CWCID: Prairie Pundit.
Wait a second here. Don't we need to stop before we praise the people who are trying to "restore the reputation of jihad"? We haven't lost thousands of men to hand power to smarter, more coherent Jihadists. This is the true end of a strategic confusion on who exactly we are fighting.
I don't shed any tears when one Mafia boss offs another, but I certainly don't mistake the hit for a significant blow against organized crime.
Jadaan's comment makes it clear that his complaint is that the foreign jihadis don't attack the Americans "except occasionally." He wouldn't have a problem with them otherwise.
Zarqawi's strategy was to screw the US by fomenting sectarian violence, thus making formation of a credible government impossible. Despite the blowback from groups like Jadaan's, Zarqawi's strategy seems to be working so far.
It would be nice if this strategy came back to bite Zarqawi's arse -- I fervently hope it does. But I don't think it would end the larger problem Islamist violence. Rather, it would just yield the stage to new actors, and the occupation of Iraq has undeniably expanded the available pool of characters, whether they perform under the banner of al Qaeda or not.
Reputation - sum'a; reputation, spec. good reputation; credit, standing, good name, respectability
It is entirely likely that the Shaykh meant that they intend to restore jihad's good name (respectability) by destroying those who sully it *because* they sully it, not because they are merely ineffective or rivals for power/influence. Jihad is a holy act, and violating its sactity is bad, analogous to using the Hajj as a pleasure trip.