Key positions Filled
Guerrilla Movements Pledge to Fight on
Iraq has filled the key positions of minister of defense, minister of interior, and minister of state for national security. Defense went to a Sunni who had been an officer in the old regime but broke with it in the early 1990s. National Security went to a member of the Da`wa Party’s indigenous Iraq branch (i.e., not the long-time expatriates, like Ibrahim Jaafari and PM Nuri al-Maliki). Interior went to a member of the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance. It is not clear that he can get Interior and many police departments back out of the hands of the Badr Corps, the Iran-trained paramilitary of the Supreme Council, a key member of the UIA.
Al-Hayat says that successors to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi are vowing to fight on. One report disputed that Abd al-Rahman al-`Iraqi was killed along with him, and said he was organizing for reprisals. Another report, from the US military, suggested that he had an Egyptian successor. Al-Zaman adds, that sources close to the Sunni Arab resistance movements, among the Army of Islam and the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution and the Army of Mujahidin said that Zarqawi’s organization, which had announced open war on the Shiites of Iraq, had distorted the motives of the Resistance and harmed its potiential. They consider him a martyr, but differ with him in their interpretation (ijtihad) of Islam. One big problem for the guerrilla movement has been that it has largely been ethnic Sunni Arabs, and Zarqawi’s tactics made pan-Islamic alliances difficult. The resistance movements appear to hope that with him out of the way, a Sunni-Shiite joint resistance to US presence might become more plausible. Al-Hayat says that they pledged “to intensify their operations during the coming phase against the American forces, as a way of demonstrating the true weight of al-Qaeda.” (I.e., the indigenous Iraqi movements are saying that Zarqawi’s group is not that important, and they will show who has really been doing the fighting.)
Three deadly car bombs in Baghdad on Thursday underlined that the struggle will likely go on.
Am traveling but will try to post more over the weekend.