Let Iraq's Sunnis Chase Al-Qaeda Out

(Christian Science Monitor) Fawaz A. Gerges - A coalition of nationalist guerrillas in the Anbar region have released a joint statement urging fellow Sunnis to vote Thursday and warning al-Qaeda militants not to attack voters. Zarqawi's indiscriminate slaughter of civilian Shiites reportedly pushed many Iraqis who had fought under his banner to join the Islamic Army, a local resistance faction. Sheikh Mahmoud Mehdi al-Sumaydai, a member of the Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's highest Sunni religious authority with links to the rebellion, called on Iraqis to resist not just foreign occupation but also Zarqawi's "masked terrorism." Now more and more Sunnis say Zarqawi is impeding their ability to regain a measure of political influence in the new Iraq. Al-Qaeda lacks the military capability or the broad power base for a permanent foothold in Iraq. In fact, thought prevails within the country that once U.S. troops have withdrawn, Zarqawi would be chased out. Once Sunni Iraqis are fully brought into the new political order in Baghdad, they will find it in their own interests to defeat the terrorists in their midst. The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern studies and international affairs at Sarah Lawrence College and author of The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global.

2005-12-16 00:00:00

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