NYT reported The story told by the two Iraqi guerrillas cut to the heart of the war that Iraqi and American officials now believe is raging inside the Iraqi insurgency. In October, the two insurgents said in interviews, a group of local fighters from the Islamic Army gathered for an open-air meeting on a street corner in Taji, a city north of Baghdad. Across from the Iraqis stood the men from Al Qaeda, mostly Arabs from outside Iraq. Some of them wore suicide belts. The men from the Islamic Army accused the Qaeda fighters of murdering their comrades. "Al Qaeda killed two people from our group," said an Islamic Army fighter who uses the nom de guerre Abu Lil and who claimed that he attended the meeting. "They repeatedly kill our people." The encounter ended angrily. A few days later, the insurgents said, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the Islamic Army fought a bloody battle on the outskirts of town.
This reminds me of a gang war, where two rival gangs kill each other off. We need to encourage more of this rivalvy between the insurgents and al QaedaThe battle, which the insurgents said was fought on Oct. 23, was one of several clashes between Al Qaeda and local Iraqi guerrilla groups that have broken out in recent months across the Sunni Triangle. American and Iraqi officials believe that the conflicts present them with one of the biggest opportunities since the insurgency burst upon Iraq nearly three years ago. They have begun talking with local insurgents, hoping to enlist them to cooperate against Al Qaeda, said Western diplomats, Iraqi officials and an insurgent leader. It is impossible to say just how far the split extends within the insurgency,
It does not matter how far it extends. The more insurgents al Qaeda kills, and the more al Qaeda the insurgents kill, the fewer we and the Iraqis need to kill.which remains a lethal force with a shared goal of driving the Americans out of Iraq. Indeed, the best the Americans can hope for may be a grudging passivity from the Iraqi insurgents when the Americans zero in on Al Qaeda's forces. But the split within the insurgency is coinciding with Sunni Arabs' new desire to participate in Iraq's political process, and a growing resentment of the militants.
The Sunnis see that ballots are better than bullets, and they also see that more of their own people are being killed, so they have an incentive to either turn in, or kill, both al Qaeda and other insurgents.Iraqis are increasingly saying that they regard Al Qaeda as a foreign-led force, whose extreme religious goals and desires for sectarian war against Iraq's Shiite majority override Iraqi tribal and nationalist traditions.