Islamic Jihad, Jama`a Islamiya condemn al-Qaeda in Iraq over sectarian agenda, targeting of civilian


by Lars Akerhaug

"The goal of Al-Qa`ida is to exterminate Shi`ites and Kurds, not to liberate Iraq" said Islamic Jihad and Jama`a Islamiyya in Egypt.

The two biggest Islamist militant groups in Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jama`a Islamiyya, have issued harsh statements condemning al-Qaeda in Iraq over its utter disregard for civilian life and accusing it of having a sectarian agenda that goes beyond expelling the occupier into the illegitimate attempt to eliminate and exclude Iraq`s Shias and Kurds. The two statements which were published jointly on an Islamist website described al-Qaeda`s strategy of targeting civilians, journalists and the use of indiscriminate car bombings as counterproductive and failing on both religious and political grounds. The statements said that such a strategy as adopted by Zarqawi and his group was bound to `turn all those who may differ politically with the group into its sworn enemies and to force any neutral elements into taking sides against it`. The statements apparantly were issued after al-Qaeda in Iraq announced the execution of the Egyptian ambassador to Baghdad, and reflect a growing gap between different factions of militant Islamism on the one hand and the group known as `al-Qaeda in Iraq` on the other.

The harsh condemnations follows suit from what has been a series of attacks targeting random civilian targets, among them followers of the Shia Branch of Islam. "n a rare statement against violence, al-Qaida in Iraq purportedly issued a statement today denying it was behind a horrific attack on a poor east Baghdad neighbourhood that killed 18 children and teenagers" wrote IOL [2]. Whoever has been behind these strings of attacks it is clear that such indiscriminate actions against civilians do not serve the struggle for liberation of Iraq.

Furthermore it is becoming clear that the strategy of targeting Kurds and Shia Muslims by the Al-qaeda group claiming to be led by Al-Zarqawi (to whom shia muslims are "infidels") is neither an appropriate nor in any way defensible strategy for liberation Iraq.

Iraqi history is rich with examples of cooperation between Sunnis, kurds, shi`ites and other ethnic groups and confessions existing in the country. It was by the movement for a coup against the anti-imperialist president Kassem and later the Iran-Iraq war and the attempts from Imperialism to use Kurds and Shias against Iraq that the sows of ethnic hatred was planted.
A National resistance successful not only in defeating the Yankees and their collaborators militarily but also to win the political struggle of the Iraqi future has to promote and integrate into its leadership and rank-and-file shia muslims as well as the pockets of Kurdish resistance to occupation. In this respect the above statements from the radical islamists in Egypt are also helpful in marginalizing the faulted and harmful strategy of al-qaeida and similar embryos.