Thursday, October 19, 2006

Anyone hear about this?

Was reading through the Institute for War and Peace Reporting's Iraq Press Monitor section when I saw this:

Baghdad Declared an "Islamic State"
(Asharq al-Awsat) A new fundamentalist Islamic group, al-Mutayyibeen Coalition, under the leadership of al-Qaeda, has declared an "Islamic State" in Baghdad and five more governorates. It said this was in response to the setting up of Kurdish "state" in the north and Shia "federalism" in central and southern Iraq.

Apparently, this al-Qaeda linked group declared this “Islamic State” in a video posted to the internet. You’d think this would be a big news story considering the administration has specifically stated that the possibility of Al-Queda taking over Iraq is one of the greatest threats faced by Iraq, but after doing a quick scan of the major papers I came up empty. Regardless of their motivations for doing so, the newspapers are right not to attach too much importance to this development (though a brief mention wouldn’t have killed them.)

First off, who declares the creation of a state on-line? And can we really trust that a video anonymously posted on the internet is in fact authentic? Fortunately, whether the tape is authentic or not is really a moot point. Thing is, Iraqis regardless of sect, tribe or religion all seem to agree on one thing: they do not want al-Qaeda in Iraq. This has been shown time and time again in many polls, most recently in the one and is echoed almost daily in Iraqi discussions. Furthermore, regardless of who is declaring a state, most Iraqis do not favor the break-up of Iraq. It seems that most Iraqis earnestly want a more centralized government, despite what some of their top militia leaders (and some of our politicians) might say.

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