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Is Al Qaeda good or evil?

January 16, 2014 - 6:21:36 am
I did my best to follow up everything written about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). I kept an eye on its supporters and opponents and watched many videos and news broadcast by the organisation and its enemies. I also read what Western media outlets wrote about it and read about its history and origin. Now, let me share a summary with you that may not be final.

The organisation started in Iraq in early 2004 and called itself Jama’at Al Tawhidwal Jihad (The Monotheism and Jihad). In October 2004, it changed its name to Tanzim Qaidat Al Jihad fi Bilad Al Rafidayn (The Organisation of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia), and was more commonly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Then, in January 2006, the group merged with several smaller organisations and began calling itself Mujahideen Shura Council (Jihadist Advisory Council). In October 2006, it called itself Dawlat Al ‘Iraq Al Islamiyya (Islamic State of Iraq).

In April 2013, the group changed its name to Ad Dawla Al Islāmiyya fi Al ‘Irāq wa Al Shām (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), abbreviated as ISIS or ISIL. The difference in the last letter of the abbreviations existed because some people call Syria the Levant and some others just call it Sham or Syria.

Recently, the United States of America, Iran and Russia have been supporting Iraqi Prime Minister and the Secretary-General of the Islamic Dawa Party, Nouri Al Maliki, in his war against terrorism in Al Anbar Governorate.

Iran and the USA even started sending advanced weapons to Al Maliki, as Washington announced that it was rushing Hell fire missiles and low-tech surveillance drones to Iraq to help government forces monitor and destroy revolutionaries.

Accordingly, Iraqi Sunni Muslims are now considered terrorists, and the world has forgotten that Al Malki has failed miserably in running a country that is rich in natural, agricultural and human resources and he has run it on a sectarian basis that the modern world has never seen before.

Due to this failure, Sunni Muslims in Iraq have been marginalised, killed, excluded, displaced and impoverished systematically, in an attempt to make them live like their Arab, Kurd and Baloch brothers in the “Islamic” Republic of Iran.

But how big is Al Qaeda in Iraq? Is it effective as some claim to the extent that Russia and America have to declare an emergency to support Al Malki in his battle against ISIS? Or is something else the reason?

A study centre at the US Department of State estimated in 2007 that Al Qaeda militants numbered about 1,000. Since the withdrawal of US forces in late 2011, the group’s strength has grown to at least 2,500 fighters.

A US intelligence report in July 2007 said that Al Qaeda accounted for 15 percent of attacks in Iraq. However, the Congressional Research Service noted in its September 2007 report that attacks by Al Qaeda amounted to less than two percent of the violence in Iraq, and criticised the Bush administration’s statistics, noting its false reporting of insurgency attacks for political purposes.

Some US-sponsored centres that monitor Al Qaeda have concluded that the group has taken credit for 43 out of 439 attacks on Iraqi security forces and Shia militias, and 17 out of 357 attacks on US troops.

By this count, violence committed by Al Qaeda in Iraq is marginal in comparison with the bloody calamities in that country, and if we drop the estimated percentage in this doomed state we will notice the following:

In 2013, the US Department of Defence and the US Department of Health announced that 12,000 persons were killed in 2013, and about twice that number were injured. If we take Bush’s 15 percent figure into account, the number of Iraqis killed by Al Qaeda comes to about 1,800 out of 12,000. If we, however, decide to use the Congress’ statistics, we will see that the number of people killed by Al Qaeda is just 240.

Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan Al Shammari, who happens to be a Shia Muslim, announced on Monday that there were some eminent figures in the country who had helped smuggle prisoners from Abu Ghraib and Al Taji prisons in Baghdad.

Al Shammari added that the purpose of smuggling these prisoners was to strengthen the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is fighting in Syria and warning the United States that Al Qaeda is the alternative to Bashar Al Assad. He clarified that security forces at the prison had retreated before the break-in and released the prisoners.

The minister also said that the operation was facilitated before the US Congress authorised a military strike against Syria, which was never carried out.

Now, we have the right to ask what role Al Qaeda plays in the region, as its existence is not desirable anymore and its presence has become an excuse to strike Sunni Muslims and to not strike their enemies. 

Al Qaeda carries a moral burden towards Sunni Muslims, as it is required to dissolve and merge into other movements and battalions in Syria or the tribal formations in Al Anbar province. Al Qaeda’s insistence on sticking to its stance makes it vulnerable to accusations of treason and disloyalty.

Scottish politician and President of the European Parliament Delegation for Relations with Iraq, Struan Stevenson, has announced that the attack on Al Qaeda terrorists in six Iraqi provinces is nothing more than a cover for the extermination of Sunni Muslims, who oppose the sectarian policies of Al Maliki.

Will Al Qaeda ever realise that it poses a threat to Sunni Muslims in Iraq? Or will it remain convinced that it is the protector of Islam and Muslims, regardless of how many souls and money are wasted in the process?