Monday, October 08, 2007

Al Qaeda becoming "The Bickersons"?

There's an excellent post up over at the Counterterrorism Blog:

Khawaarij and Jihad: Is Al-Qaida's Network in Iraq Doomed to the Fate of the GIA?

Over the past six months, there has been a remarkable twist in the larger war on terrorism that has received only middling public attention. For arguably the first time since the contemporary "war on terrorism" began in 2001, the tension between and among various armed jihadist factions and their supporters has begun to erupt into ugly public disputes, awkward confrontations--and even murder. The tendency towards quarreling has reached the most senior levels of Al-Qaida, with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri himself firing off blistering public accusations against the Palestinian Hamas movement, charging it with cowardly abandoning the cause. But of all places, and against all odds, it is the conflict in Iraq which has resulted in the most serious clashes between opposing ranks of mujahideen. Unlike Dr. al-Zawahiri's dressing-down of Hamas, the infighting in Iraq has not merely been limited to fractures between the Muslim Brotherhood and the more extreme Salafi-jihadists of Al-Qaida. Indeed, native Iraqi Salafists (i.e. the Islamic Army of Iraq, IAI) with a long history of brutality, and who remain vocal supporters of Usama Bin Laden, were among the first of their kind to publicly accuse Al-Qaida's network in Iraq of serious transgressions that were harming the greater cause of jihad.

To better understand the present situation in Iraq, it is helpful to turn to a rather unusual source: an English-language book written by former Finsbury Park Mosque cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri titled "Khawaarij and Jihad."

(What is Khawaarij? Originally refers to a fanatical early Muslim sect which supported Prophet Mohammed's cousin Ali in the dispute over who should lead the Muslim community after the death of the prophet. When Ali offered to compromise, one of the khawaarij murdered him.) Read it all here.