Dead Men Left

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Interviews with Iraqi resistance

Lengthy interview in today's Guardian with "Abu Theeb", described as "leader of a band of Sunni insurgents" from north of Baghdad. Of particular interest:

Perhaps inevitably, though, the insurgents turned out not to have the same stomach for Iraqi blood. "Al-Qaida believes that anyone who doesn't follow the Qur'an literally is a Kaffir - apostate - and should be killed," says Abu Theeb. "This is wrong."

Al-Qaida marked down not only those who cooperated with the American occupation, but everyone who worked with the Iraqi government, police or army, as Kaffirs. Then they said that the entire Shia community were Kaffirs. For Sunnis like Abu Theeb, this was a step too far.

Similar remarks from Watban Jassam, a resistance "consultant" interviewed by the FT back in August; a smart operator, it would seem, who stresses the importance of US public opinion:

He stresses he has nothing against the Shia per se. "We like [anti-American Shia leader] Muqtada al-Sadr. I don't have any problem with Shia, just with the Supreme Council and with Badr."...

To gauge US public opinion, he has become an avid watcher of satellite news channels, and never misses the White House press briefings. When he sees footage of another insurgent groups' attack on a bus station, he exclaims: “They were innocents no one should kill them.” He also denounces the Americans for using Mr Zarqawi's name to tarnish the mujahideen as a whole.