Iraq has been reduced to a cartoon in many Americans' eyes, thanks to the White House, Pentagon and Corporate Media. The war is now largely depicted as al Qaeda versus the Iraqi people and the noble Coalition forces. Well, that is as skewed a picture as we used to get about Vietnam, when we were told that the war there was the evil Viet Cong versus the Vietnamese people and their noble American protectors.
The war in Iraq is far more complex than that, just as the Vietnamese war was far more complex. In Iraq, there are five main factions, 1) the Shiites with their often warring militias, 2) the Sunnis with their various tribes and militias, 3) the al Qaeda faction, which actually overlaps the Sunni faction somewhat, because al Qaeda largely draws from the Sunni population and foreign volunteers who are also usually Sunni as best as I can tell, 4) the Kurds in the north, who have several often warring factions too, and 5) the Turkomen in the north, who are opposed by the Kurds and have strong support from Turkey, which has been crossing the Iraqi border to attack Kurdish guerrillas for several months.
Al Qaeda is the most difficult to figure out, because there are many, many contradictions about al Qaeda. First of all, the United States created and organized the forerunners of al Qaeda, the Mujadhedeen warriors fighting the old Soviet Union in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda itself, the term of which is often translated as "the Base", was actually apparently created from the "database" of Mujadhedeen members on computer lists.
Al Qaeda, their leader bin Laden (or so we are led to believe) and the CIA actually had some kind of ongoing murky relationship in the 1990's, the CIA utilizing al Qaeda "soldiers" against the Serbs in Kosovo during the NATO-led actions against Yugoslavia. In fact, there is confirmed evidence that the CIA and Pentagon were supporting elements of al Qaeda even a few weeks befor 9/11, as noted in this 2005 report:
Both the CIA and German intelligence (BND) supported the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a terrorist organization with links to Al Qaeda.(source)
This report by the German TV ZDF Network, reviewed by Mira Beham, is revealing in many regards.
First the report corroborates earlier analysis on the role of the BND and the CIA in supporting the KLA, several years prior as well as in the wake of the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia.
Second, it further documents and confirms the KLA's links to Al Qaeda and the role of the latter in the Kosovo conflict:
"What German journalists and their Dutch colleagues at VPRO Radio Television investigated has a long tradition. Since the beginning of the 1990s the BND has maintained contacts with the KLA, which was then considered to be a terrorist organization. Although we have to admit that the KLA has stronger ties with the CIA than the BND. Commander Hoxha had ties with the CIA, the BND and with the Austrian military intelligence service which has devoted great attention to this region and has very good connections with the KLA."
Despite its links to organized crime and Al Qaeda, the KLA rebel army had been skillfully heralded by the Western media in the months preceding the 1999 NATO bombings as broadly representative of the interests of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Its leader Hashim Thaci had been "designated" (by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright) as chief negotiator at the Rambouillet peace talks.
The fact of the matter is that the Atlantic Alliance had been supporting a terrorist organization. The KLA was not supporting the rights of ethnic Albanians. Quite the opposite..........
Macedonia August 2001: Central to an Understanding of 9/11
The reference in the report to Macedonia is crucial to an understanding of 9/11 and the war on terrorism, because it confirms that US military advisers had integrated a terrorist paramilitary organization linked to Al Qaeda, barely a few weeks before 9/11.
Moreover, it also confirms that US paratroopers were sent in to save the Al Qaeda sponsored fighters and their US military advisers.
"Samedin Xhezairi, also known as Commander Hoxha, joined the Kosovo Liberation Army when armed conflict in Kosovo began, fighting in three operation zones. He was a fighter in Chechnya, trained in Afghanistan and acted as the commander of the Mujahideen 112th Brigade operating in the summer of 2001 in the region of Tetovo [Macedonia]. In August of the same year 80 members of the 3/502 battalion of U.S. paratroopers evacuated him from Aracinovo [Macedonia], together with his Albanian extremists and 17 instructors of the U.S. private military company MPRI which was training the Albanian paramilitary formations."
In other words, the US military was collaborating with Al Qaeda, which according to the Bush administration was involved in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon.
Yet, the US military was working hand in glove with "enemy number one" barely a few weeks before 9/11, and we are led to believe that the Bush administration is committed to waging a battle against Al Qaeda. Michel Chossudovsky, 15 February 2005
There was no viable al Qaeda presence in Iraqi territory before America invaded Iraq in 2003. There was only the maniacal Zarqawi, who had recently set up a training camp in northern Kurdistan, which was under the protection of the United States military and beyond Sadam Hussein's reach. Bush had been informed about Zarqawi's presence by the Pentagon, who wanted to take him out, but Bush refused their request, repeatedly. Why?
Al Qeada moved into Iraq proper only after we invaded, and the Pentagon itself revealed somewhat later that they actually began building up Zarqawi's mystique and influence through their propaganda mills to, to put it bluntly, scare everybody. Now that's amazing!
When did the CIA and American military actually sever their well-hidden ties with al Qaeda, if they ever did?
So just what is al Qaeda exactly and who directs and supports it? Bin Laden, you might say, but he is either holed up in a cave or village several thousand miles away OR DEAD. And there is actually powerful evidence that the real bin Laden has been dead since December, 2003. Benazir Bhutto actually said so, rather matter-of-factly, in an interview with David Frost just before she was slain.
Regarding Iraq, the Shiites, Sunnis and the very strangely affiliated al Qeada forces (or at least a tier of them) in Iraq all want American occupation forces out of their country. Al Qaeda, because of its utterly vicious penchant for slaughter, has angered many Sunnis who might otherwise sympathize with them, while the Shiites have never much liked al Qaeda. The non-al Qaeda Sunnis, who were fighting the Shiites, al Qaeda and the American military all at once, agreed to a bargain with what they tend to consider the Devil, the US Military, and signed on to the "Awakening Councils" to gain time and money and to concentrate on the other two foes. But now indications are that the Awakening Councils are starting to unravel, as noted in this video.
The United States, no matter how you cut it, is considered a brutal, deadly occupation force, which it absolutely is, and the vast majority of Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites all want America out. A recent poll of Iraqis showed that 70% want the U.S. to leave right now. The Iraqi government may say another thing, because they are largely divorced from the Iraqi people, some of them being utter American puppets, and are all hunkered down in the Green Zone, requiring troops and body-guards to go anywhere in the Red Zone.
Sunnis and Shiites have both set their intention to get rid of the Americans in their varying ways and strategies, whether it takes a year or decades, so to think that somehow the United States can defeat several thousand poorly understood al Qaeda fighters, if they have that many personnel in the first place, and all will live happily ever after is utterly delusional. We are, in actuality, still diametrically opposed by millions of Iraqis. There is no light at the end of this tunnel.