April 12, 2005

Sunni Tea Leaves

Uh... so this New York Times story is all about how the Iraqi police are kicking ass and rounding up insurgents—well, that, or rounding up their dark and sinister kin: innocent-Iraqis-who-look-vaguely-insurgent-ish. So that's cool. But then a little ways down in the piece, we get this little tidbit: "[After meeting with the Iraqi president], the [Association of Muslim Scholars] released a statement from Mr. Dari saying it would not join the government in any capacity." Er, so the biggest Sunni umbrella group in Iraq has decided that cooperation is now off the table? How is that not big news? How is that not the biggest news? Al-Jazeerah has a bit more on this, but not much.

Also, in the Seattle Times today, analyst Ahmed Hashim—who knows his stuff, trust me—believes that the Association of Muslim Scholars may start using the Sunni insurgency as something of a military wing, so as to give themselves leverage in their own political negotiations. Much like the IRA and Sinn Fein work together in Northern Ireland. If true, I assume that's related to what we're seeing above, and I wonder if the AMS's political posturing at any given moment might give us an idea of how strong the insurgency really is. That is, Harith al-Dhari and the AMS might be more conciliatory when they think the insurgency is weak and they have less military leverage. This is all provided that AMS has a clear picture of such things, of course. And there's always bluffing. But you know...
-- Brad Plumer 12:48 AM || ||