WAR AGAINST THE PHANTOM
Iraq: New Alliances of Resistance
By Thomas Pany
[This article published in the German-English cyber journal Telepolis, 5/12/2007 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/25/25268/1.html.]
American vice-president Dick Cheney who traveled unexpectedly to Iraq on a brief visit always sees the mission there in a simple light not clouded by any doubts. "First of all, we are here because the terrorists who have declared war on America and other free countries are making Iraq into the central front in this war," Cheney told  US soldiers near Tikrit. Cheney suppressed that the American government first generated Iraq as the "main battlefield against terrorism" and that the American mission encounters massive resistance in Iraq.
However the American vice-president is not a trustworthy expert on the Iraqi resistance. Two years ago he insisted the "Iraqi resistance" was "in its last throes"  and that the battle between the rebels and the American troops would end before the term in office of the government expired. This is still possible but not "as a huge success" for the US - as Cheney imagined two years ago.
Greater success, the modest formula for Cheney and the hard core of the administration, is a message spread with some effect in the general public: that the US troops in Iraq fight against terrorists who have declared Jihad on the whole free west and thus represent a threat for all of us.
When one observes recent developments in Iraq, the Cheney formula of the terrorist world threat with its home in Iraq turns a blind eye to what the American government habitually ignores: the Iraqi view of things, Iraqi nationalism. One phenomenon that has cast ever-greater waves since March, the distancing of important Iraqi resistance groups from the "Islamic State of Iraq," an umbrella-organization uniting several guerilla groups under its shelter, is repressed because the organization was said repeatedly to have a close connection to al-Qaida. 
For some, the organization is equated with al-Qaida in Iraq . For other experts, al-Qaida pulls the strings behind the "Islamic Iraqi state" . Only the American blogger Juan Cole warned  that not everything in Iraq is al-Qaida. Cautious doubt about the unanimous classification is raised. However the "Islamic State of Iraq," however phantom-like, is very well suited for propagating the war in Iraq as "part of the greater war against terror" .
... the Bush administration is ecstatic every time "al-Qaeda" takes credit for the violence in Iraq. That makes it easier for them to claim the Iraq War as part of their `war on terror.
But what if the resistance in Iraq has nothing to do with the international Jihadism a la al-Qaida, if Sunni fundamentalism like the "1920 Revolution Brigade," distances itself, plans no attacks on foreign soil and concentrates only on national targets?
As the Conflictsforum  reports [cf. "With everyone except Al-Qaida" (9)], three important resistance groups, the Ansar-al-Sunna Sharia Council ("the supporters of the Sunna"), the al-Taish al-Islami ("Islamic Army in Iraq") and the al-Mujahadeen have now formed a Reform and Jihad Front (RJF)  that is clearly delimited from the Jihadism of the "Islamic State of Iraq." A special invitation will be directed to the other large resistance group, the 1920 Revolution Brigade. 
In several postings, the American observer of the scene, Marc Lynch, explains  that the great point at issue between the Islamic State of Iraq and the different fractions of the Sunni resistance is the question whether attacks taking many casualties in the Iraqi population are not the wrong way. Important groups no longer accept the international organization of the Jihad as defended by the ISI and the rigid interpretation of who is an "unbeliever" and who is to be fought (for example Shiites)  - obviously in the name of an Iraqi patriotism. Instead new alliances  are now called into being that want to go their own way beyond the ISI.
The revived competition to Qaida hardly benefits the US. The main goal uniting the alliances like the "Reform and Jihad Front" (RJF) across all differences of their members is liberation of Iraq from the occupiers: "fight all kind of occupations." Iran is also meant, not only the Americans and their allies. The battle against American troops according to the statement  of a RJF representative will be waged more concentratedly in the future:
While the ISI opened up cracks inside the resistance, there is still a united front when it comes to fighting the occupation. We are more dedicated than ever.
The goal of the struggle: establishment of an undivided Islamic state.
(1) link to de.today.reuters.com
Telepolis Artikel-URL: http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/25/25268/1.html