There are a lot of articles and discussion forum threads on barrel twist rate for AR-15s. So why am I writing one? Well, some of the information on the web is very wrong. Additionally, this closes out comment threads we've had here touching on this topic, EMail exchanges I've had with readers, and personal conversations I've had with shooters and friends about this subject. It's natural to put this down in case anyone else can benefit from the information. Or you may not benefit at [read more]
In Iraq: al Qaeda’s Quagmire, we noted that al Qaeda in Iraq had lost one of its few remaining allies in Iraq, Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya, or “the Iraqi Jihad Union,” due to pointless violence perpetrated on them by elements affiliated with al Qaeda in the Diyala province. These jihadists are similar in nature to Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia in that violence doesn’t have to be directed or meaningful, per se. It only has to intimidate. Those who suffer in its wake are fodder for a power grab. But it always has unintended consequences, and has never won the long term struggle for the soul of a population.
There are reorganizations within both the indigenous insurgency and foreign terrorists, partly to avoid the appearance of affiliation with al Qaeda, and partly because the typical response to a losing strategy is usually to reorganize.
Six main Iraqi insurgent groups announced the formation of a “political council” aimed at “liberating” Iraq from U.S. occupation in a video aired Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.
The council appeared to be a new attempt to assert the leadership of the groups, which have moved to distance themselves from another coalition of insurgent factions led by al-Qaida in Iraq.
In the video aired on Al-Jazeera, a man identified as the council’s spokesman — wearing traditional Iraqi garb, with his face blacked out — announced the council’s formation and a “political program to liberate Iraq.”
He said the program was based on two principles.
“First, the occupation is an oppression and aggression, rejected by Islamic Sharia law and tradition. Resistance of occupation is a right guaranteed by all religions and laws,” he said. “Second, the armed resistance … is the legitimate representative of Iraq. It is the one that bears responsibility for the leadership of the people to achieve its legitimate hope.”
The groups forming the council include the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Mujahideen Army, Ansar al-Sunna, the Fatiheen Army, the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance (Jami) and the Islamic Movement of Hamas-Iraq.
The step could be a bid by the insurgents for a more cohesive political voice at a time of considerable rearrangement among Sunni insurgent groups and Iraq’s Sunni Arab minority.
Splinter factions of two insurgent groups, the 1920 Revolution Brigades and the Mujahideen Army, have cooperated with U.S. forces in fighting insurgents allied to al-Qaida in Iraq.
Earlier this year, other groups — the Islamic Army of Iraq, the main faction of the Mujahideen Army, a branch of Ansar al-Sunna and the Fatiheen Army — formed a coalition called the Jihad and Reform Front opposed to al-Qaida in Iraq, though they have continued attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces.
The context of this reorganization is complicated. In Al Qaeda, Indigenous Sunnis and the Insurgency in Iraq, I argued that while foreign terrorists were a signficant force within Iraq, they didn’t constitute the majority of insurgents; rather indigenous Iraqis constituted the majority of the insurgency (albeit some of which was under the leadership of foreign elements). I further argued that U.S. forces were waging a double war: (1) a war of counterterrorism against foreign elements (partly led by al Qaeda), and (2) a classical counterinsurgency.
Bill Ardolino was recently in Fallujah, and used the opportunity to interview a Fallujan translator for the U.S. forces.
INDC: When I speak to Fallujans, many say that it was all outsiders causing the insurgency, but a lot of it was certainly driven by locals. What portion of the insurgency was really local? Most of it?
INDC: So why are people afraid to say, “Yeah, we used to fight the Americans?