Tour With Iraqi Reveals Tactical Change By Ghaith Abdul-Ahad writes that Iraqi "guerrilla" Abu Theeb says,
"There is a time for fighting, and a time for politics."For many Iraqi "insurgents", this marks a fundamental shift in strategy
that would separate them from foreign-born fighters such as Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian who leads the group al Qaeda in Iraq.Then again, Abu Theeb's group believed hitting a U.S. target
Two years of boycotting the process had only marginalized Sunnis while Iraqi's Shiite majority gained power. And Abu Theeb's entry into politics was born partly of necessity; attacks by Shiite militias, operating inside and outside the government security apparatus, were taking an increasing toll on Sunni lives...
For men such as Abu Theeb...taking part in politics is a step taken only reluctantly.
"Politics for us is like filthy, dead meat," he said, referring to pork, which is eschewed by observant Muslims. "We are not allowed to eat it, but if you are crossing through a desert and your life depends on it, God says it's okay." Even if politics gets him a result he likes, he said, he will continue to wage war against the Americans, because he views them as occupiers.
was a sign that God was with them. "By the help of God, this America with its might and glory would be hit by a bunch of barefoot but pure men, in dishdashas with rusty weapons," Abu Theeb said....Jesus loves ya!
Abu Theeb recounted how once he was driving to Baghdad carrying a sack filled with anti-tank rocket detonators. American soldiers stopped him at a checkpoint, ordered him out and began searching his car.
"I prayed to God. I told him, 'God, if I am doing what I am doing for your sake, then spare me. If not, let them get me,' " he recounted. "The American soldier opened the trunk where I had the sack filled with rocket detonators. He moved it away and started to search. He finished and asked me to leave. I knew then I was blessed by God."
But if God had spared Abu Theeb, he didn't spare his family. One brother and a nephew were killed early on fighting the Americans, he said. A second brother was killed several weeks ago when the roadside bomb he was planting exploded.
...many fundamentalist Sunnis object to al Qaeda's rigid interpretation of Islamic law. Taliban-style Islamic justice already is being enforced in the western Iraqi cities and towns under Zarqawi's control.
"Al Qaeda believes that anyone who doesn't follow the Koran literally is a kafir and should be killed," explained Abu Theeb, using a term for apostate, or a believer who abandons the faith. "This is wrong. We can't take Islamic theory from the time of the prophet and implement the same rules in the 21st century."
Abu Theeb argues that al Qaeda in Iraq's religious views stand to alienate not only Iraqi nationalists but supporters in Syria and other Persian Gulf countries.
More importantly, al Qaeda's war on Shiite civilians-- it has bombed mosques, buses and other places where Shiites gather -- is drawing the wrath of Iraqi government security forces and Shiite militias.