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New Schisms Among the Iraqi Jihadists and Muslim Brotherhood
The NEFA Foundation has translated a fascinating document from the main spokesperson for al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).

The message of Abu Omar al -Baghdadi is striking because it consists almost entirely of attacks on other Muslim groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. These are not merely passing shots or polite disagreements, but fighting words and calls to executions.

There have been vitriolic outbreaks of angry attacks of the old guard al Qaeda against Hamas and the broader Ikhwan, particularly when Hamas chose to participate in elections.

But these attacks accuse the Muslim Brotherhood in general and Hamas in particular of treason to Allah and the _jihadist_ cause, calls for their death and urges a further purging of _jihadist_ ranks of traitors.

While the ultimate objective of the Brotherhood and al Qaeda is the same, there are clearly deep tactical differences over what victory is and how to achieve said victory. It is also clear from the speech that the Brotherhood, in the form of Hamas In Iraq and the 1920 Revolution Brigades, have armed groups in Iraq.

The question is, whose side are they fighting on? The answer from al Baghdadi indicates that, while these groups were once allied with al Qaeda, they have switched sides recently, leading to accusations of treason.

This has clearly hurt and enraged the ISI, and could be both a tactical victory for the United States and a motivating factor in U.S. policymakers' recent sudden willingness to want to engage the Muslim Brotherhood on a broad level.

The list of crimes attributed to the Brotherhood and others ranges from aiding and abetting the enemy in combat to serving in an illegitimate government to broadcasting "false propaganda against the Islamic state-from questioning the faith of its soldiers to finally backstabbing them."

This seems to indicate that the U.S. strategy of peeling off some of Sunni leadership and other tactical alliances has badly hurt the ISI and its allies.

The document is also interesting because it acknowledges mistakes made by al Qaeda in dealing with civilians in Iraq, and other splits within the _jihadist_ movement there. It is a useful reminder that what often appears to be a monolithic force from the outside is often a divided enemy within.

Here is the main accusation:

_Nation of Islam: presently, the jihadi project in Mesopotamia is facing a fierce attack by those who have decided to betray us._

_These people have a history of being agents and traitors. Every
time a region awakens from its deep sleep, they make sure to attack back and eliminate its nascent awakening._

_They implement their agenda under the guise of preserving the interests of the Muslims. Both our local and international enemies benefit from these internal battles and use them to implement their own plans._

_We shall be frank with you no matter how bitter the truth sounds. Our nation should realize that the Muslim Brotherhood in Mesopotamia under the leadership of the Islamic Party is engaged nowadays in the ugliest campaign to bury the signs of Islam in Iraq, especially in the field of jihad..._

_Simultaneously, we are witnessing the Moslem Brotherhood under the leadership of the [Sunni] Accordance Front working hard to assist the occupation while ignoring the blood and resources spent in our battle._

_Additionally, they persistently request that the occupation should continue until the military and security apparatus of the apostate state in Iraq is fully and completely established._

Regarding the current role of "armed factions from the Muslim Brotherhood,"-meaning Hamas in Iraq, the Iraqi Islamic Resistance Front and the 1920 Revolution Brigades-al Baghdadi says the groups "worked hard to uncover the concealed weapons of the mujahadeen and finally stood side-by-side with the occupiers and fought us while wearing their civilian outfits that carry a special identification mark for the occupiers to identify them with."

Al Baghdadi also seems to be veering back to the Zarqawi line of attacking Shites and other Muslims, a stance that put the late leader at odds with the old guard al Qaeda leadership.

Are these splits permanent? Don't bet on it. Does it seem like the new U.S. strategies of engaging Iraqis to take on al Qaeda and the ISI are having some impact? It does to me.
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