Sunday, December 2, 2007

Iraqi insurgents regrouping, says Sunni resistance leader

Jonathan Steele in Damascus
Monday December 3, 2007
The Guardian

Contributed by Steven Rix

"Iraq's main Sunni-led resistance groups have scaled back their attacks on US forces in Baghdad and parts of Anbar province in a deliberate strategy aimed at regrouping, retraining, and waiting out George Bush's "surge", a key insurgent leader has told the Guardian......

The resistance groups are another factor in the complex equation in Iraq's Sunni areas. "We oppose al-Qaida as well as al-Sahwa," the director of the political department of the 1920 Revolution Brigades told the Guardian in Damascus in a rare interview with a western reporter.

Using the nom de guerre Dr Abdallah Suleiman Omary, he went on: "Al-Sahwa has made a deal with the US to take charge of their local areas and not hit US troops, while the resistance's purpose is to drive the occupiers out of Iraq. We are waiting in al-Sahwa areas. We disagree with them but do not fight them. We have shifted our operations to other areas"......

Operating in small cells, Sunni resistance groups have been responsible for most of the roadside bomb attacks on US vehicles in western Iraq. While they are starting to unite at the political level, their suspicion of Iraq's Shia militias shows no sign of abating. "We helped [Shia cleric] Moqtada al-Sadr in 2004 when the Americans attacked Najaf, but see no point in dialogue with him now," Omary said.

Although Sadr presented himself as a nationalist and was unusual among Shia politicians in calling for an early end to the US occupation, Omary added: "He's still supporting this sectarian government in Baghdad. When his militias attack the United States they do it for their own political reasons and not to liberate Iraq"......."

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