twa Posted July 4, 2005 Share Posted July 4, 2005 A little good news : US delight as Iraqi rebels turn their guns on al-Qa'eda By Oliver Poole in Qaim (Filed: 04/07/2005) American troops on the Syrian border are enjoying a battle they have long waited to see - a clash between foreign al-Qa'eda fighters and Iraqi insurgents. Microsoft Tribal leaders in Husaybah are attacking followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who established the town as an entry point for al-Qa'eda jihadists being smuggled into the country. The reason, the US military believes, is frustration at the heavy-handed approach of the foreigners, who have kidnapped and assassinated local leaders and imposed a strict Islamic code. Fighting, which could be clearly heard at night over the weekend, first broke out in May when as many as 50 mortar rounds were fired across the city. But, to the surprise of the American garrison, this time it was not the target. If a shell landed near the US base, "they'd adjust their fire and not shoot at us", Lt Col Tim Mundy said. "They shot at each other." The trigger was the assassination of a tribal sheikh, from the Sulaiman tribe, ordered by Zarqawi for inviting senior US marines for lunch. American troops gained an insight into the measures the jihadists had imposed during recent house-to-house searches in nearby towns and villages. Iraq factfile Shops selling music and satellite dishes had been closed. Women were ordered to wear all-enveloping clothing and men forbidden from wearing western clothes. Anyone considered to be aiding coalition forces was being killed or kidnapped. That included those with links to the government - seen as a US puppet - such as water or electricity officials. As a result local services had collapsed. Captain Thomas Sibley, intelligence officer of 3rd battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, based in Qaim, said: "People here were committed supporters of the insurgency but you cannot now even get a marriage licence. "The tribes are the only system or organisation left and they appear to have stepped in. "In the last week our camp in the town was attacked and the attackers got ambushed on the way back by two machineguns and mortar fire. That is good news for us." Baghdad recently warned that Iraqi insurgents, many of them nationalists rather than Islamists, and al-Qa'eda cells were working more closely together than in the past. That was brought into doubt when the bodies of three foreigners, believed to be insurgents, were discovered in Ramadi, apparently killed by Iraqis. But the extent of the jihadist presence in Hasaybah - and therefore the subsequent tension - is unique. Foreign fighters first started to arrive two years ago after Zarqawi bought properties to use as safe houses for arrivals before they could be funnelled east towards Baghdad and other major cities. The police fled in November. In mid-June, al-Qa'eda units took over key buildings, including mosques and government offices. "Al-Qa'eda in Iraq" flags were raised. The city, 240 miles north-west of Baghdad and adjacent to the insurgent centre of Qaim, is so dangerous that soldiers in the US base sleep in bunkers because of mortar and rocket attacks. Following al-Qa'eda's seizure of the main buildings a number of residents fled. Arkan Salim, 56, who left with his wife and four children, said: "We thought they were patriotic. Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy. "They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore." firstname.lastname@example.org Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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