a Someone should care, maybe not you....: Who are the bad guys? .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

26 September 2005

Who are the bad guys?

I was checking the BBC headlines this evening and came across this article delineating who makes up the insurgency in Iraq. Now I thought this was important because way too many people in the US have this image of "THE INSURGENCY" as though there were some monolithic bloc of people in Iraq who hate us and are trying to kill us. (this despite the fact the MOST attacks in Iraq are carried out against other Iraqis.) The BBC article identifies four groups, Al-Queda in Iraq, The Mehdi Army, Saddam loyalists, and the Ansar al Islami.
I think everyone knows who Al-Queda in Iraq is, the face of the foreign fighters, this group is out to make Iraq a fundamentalist Islamic Terrorist state along the lines of the old Afghanistan. Many, if not most, of their attacks are carried out against the Shiite majority in Iraq using the theory that if they can start an internal religious civil war the US will bail out fast.
The Mehdi army, is one of the many Shiite militias that would be big players if that civil war kicks off for real. This is the group that has twice taken up arms against the US openly. It hasn't been decimated and it's leaders killed pretty much for political reason in Iraq. The leader of this group, Moqtada al Sadr, is a politically savvy young man who is playing a dangerous game but seems to be pulling it off. Currently he is, at least verbally, supporting the government and the election process in Iraq. This could change again at any random minute.
The Saddam loyalists are just that, hold outs from the old Baath party and members of the political/military elite that want to be back on top running the show again. We could take them out of the fight by putting them in the government but the rest of the country wouldn't stand for it and, thankfully, we are not so blinded by "real politik" and overeagerness to pull out that we would consider it. This group has already lost the most and has the least to gain by continuing the fight. I personally rather suspect that most of them will eventually flee the country and form some little exile group to hang around in Paris and bitch to the Press and the various international organizations about how persecuted they are. Just like all the other little exile groups hanging out there.
The Ansar al Islami is a bit different situation. This group rose as an opposition group to other Kurdish resistance/rebel/terrorist groups (depend on who you ask) in the north of Iraq. The main groups were primarily interested in an independent Kurdisatn with them in charge. The Ansar was interested in an independent Kurdistan with them in charge that was fundamentalist. I personally am a bit surprised that the BBC is crediting them with this much influence as they were pretty ruthlessly crushed by the US forces allied with the mainline Kurdish forces back in 2003. Here is a good article that explains their situation. Ansar al Islam

Michael Yon, in one of his old posts Battle for Mosul II goes into some detail about the insurgency in the area of Mosul. It is very interesting reading and quite informative about how the factions there operate. He breaks them down as "former Regime elements" (Saddam loyalists) and "extremists" which are all of the Al-Queda in Iraq variety. Mosul is a primarily Sunni tow so the Shiite forces don't have a big presence there and the Kurds are not welcomed either.

85 Comments:

Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

How come I don't know this? It's really sad when someone who reads regularly doesn't know this until this late in the war. I knew about the Al-Queda and the Saddam Loyalists, but not the others.

8:01 PM  
Blogger The Zombie Lama said...

On a side note, did anybody hear about the IRA disarming? I saw a quick blurb on it, then nothing.

8:26 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Yup, I heard of the IRA disarming. The Protestants of course are saying they are lying. We shall have to wait and see how that works out.
As for why people don't know about these groups, well, the general media just doesn't get inot it. Ocaisonaly in a special they will talk details but if you really want to know you have to go out and do research becasue the press just isn't going to tell you anything that cannot be summed up in a 10 second soundbite.

2:55 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

My first visit to your blog, been here about an hour catching up. Great writing, committed views, humor and, to top it off, recipes!! Other than weather reports and celebrity news, you've pretty much have it all.

9:47 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Welcome Kathi, hope you come back often.

5:11 AM  
Blogger Eddie said...

I don't think the IRA has disarmed either. OK, they may have paused or even laid down their arms, but if leadership changes, would the conflict not just being immediately again?

7:14 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

WOW! Thanks for the informative post EXMI!!

As for the IRA disarmament, Im in Belfast at the moment, and the general consensus is one of skepticism.

The IRA has apparently pulled stunts like this before and have made fools of all that trusted them.

The weird thing is, the struggle is HARDLY to do with religion or politics anymore, but rather about gangsterism.

The para-militaries have gotten used to having influence over the people in their areas and now that everybody (barring them) just want to get along and live in peace, theyre desperately trying to incite violence again.

The UVF and LVF (two protestant para-militaries) are currently engaged in a war against each other and in between killing each other, are tossing petrol and paint bombs at catholic houses.

The sad thing is- its starting to work, unfortunately.

Another thing i have realised is that people tend to want to fight in general, like its a sport. Football violence is massive here, although never reported. Opposing factions will phone each other, fight until they are bleeding and sore and then those that can still stand drink a pint after.

WEIRD but surely a sign (in my opinion) that there will never be peace, as we know it, in Northern Ireland.

1:32 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Way to go Adrian. NOthing like a voice on the ground to tell us what the thoughts are on the local level.
Peace there is like peace inthe Balkans, maybe in a generation or two. But I'm not holding my breath.

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