Iraq: “Awakening” movement resists al-Qaeda

The “Awakening in Anbar” movement, which was started in the conflicted province by local tribes and Sunni insurgents opposed to al-Qaeda’s attempts to impose its leadership, has now spread to all of the provinces bordering Baghdad and been officially renamed the “Awakening in Iraq.” Over the past month, Awakening movements formed in Diyala and Salahadin, and, this week, the Babil Awakening was formed. Al-Qaeda in Iraq immediately targeted the leader of the Babil Awakening, Sheikh Obeid Al-Masoud, seriously wounding him and his wife in an attack in the city of Iskandaria. (The Weekly Standard, NPR, May 31)

A presumed al-Qaeda suicide bomber also struck a safehouse in Baqouba occupied by an insurgent group that has turned against the terror network. The June 1 attack northeast of Baghdad killed two other militants, authorities said, the latest sign that an internal Sunni power struggle is spreading. (AP, June 1)

Meanwhile in Baghdad, Coalition and Iraqi raids were largely focused on the Mahdi Army. Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured a Mahdi Army commander in the Kadamiyah district in central Baghdad May 30. (The Weekly Standard, May 31)

This appears to vindicate our prediction of a tilt to the Sunnis in Washington’s see-saw divide-and-rule strategy.

See our last posts on Iraq, al-Qaeda, the Sunni civil war and Shi’ite factionalism.