Monday, May 3, 2010
Islamic Army in Iraq, Religious-Nationalist Insurgents: New Abu Ghrayb, Torture Scandal a Further Indictment of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
The Islamic Army in Iraq (IAI), the largest Iraqi religious-nationalist insurgent group, condemns recent reports that the Shi'i-dominated government of current prime minister Nuri al-Maliki has committed systematic torture of prisoners, saying that it "...reaffirms that the only option" is to continue resisting both the occupation and the Iraqi central government. The group calls the recent revelation a "...new, ugly face of the (American) occupation," which his government has prolonged by request. The group accuses the al-Maliki government and its heavily Shi'i security forces of making political arrests and "violating the honor" of Iraqis through politically-motivated arrests and severe campaigns of torture.
Torture, the IAI says, are the fruits of the hateful "Safavids," a term it uses to label selected Iraqi Shi'i groups, such as the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq) and its military wing, Faylaq Badr (Badr Corps). Unlike transnational jihadi-takfiri groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the IAI does not label all Shi'i Muslims "Safavids." Rather, it uses this derogatory term to label those Iraqi Shi'i groups that it sees, often correctly, as being political allies of the Twelver Shi'i autocratic government in neighboring Iran.
The IAI refused to join the ISI, an umbrella for several of the most violent insurgent groups operating in Iraq (the largest being al-Qa'ida in the Land of the Two Rivers/Iraq, AQI), when it was formed in October 2006, and the two groups have been engaged in a military and political feud since that time. The IAI has regularly condemned the ISI's attacks on civilians and in heavily-populated civilian areas of the country, such as the ISI's highly-coordinated kamikaze vehicle attacks on government ministries in October 2009.
This is yet another example of the important ideological and strategical differences between many religious-nationalists and transnational jihadis, as I have discussed recently HERE, HERE, and HERE.