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Published:January 7th, 2014 08:41 EST
Deja Vu, as Fallujah Heats Up and a Revived Al-Qaida Aligns Itself With Sunni Locals!

Deja Vu, as Fallujah Heats Up and a Revived Al-Qaida Aligns Itself With Sunni Locals!

By John G. Kays

I had something else in mind for today, but upon seeing the NBC News last night, with the familiar black-cloaked al-Qaida insurgents, holding automatic weapons or grenade launchers, in the battered streets of Fallujah, Iraq, I suddenly decided to change my direction, focusing rather on the Middle East, where shifting global political allegiances once again capture our undivided attention. Okay, so I had to reboot this information, making it current after the US left Iraq around two years ago. 

I found that The Washington Post had the most current articles on this rapidly escalating situation (which looks like a deja vu to me), so I studied them thoroughly, supplementing that with maps of Anbar Province and with larger regional maps of the Middle East. When recognizing how this situation is heating up, from just a conflict now, which perhaps will morph to a wider civil war, it made me appreciate the fact that the US had finally managed to untether itself from Iraq. There are some who wish we still had ground troops in Fallujah, but the problem is, whose side are we on?

I was shocked by the level of fighting just on Sunday alone; according to an Associated Press piece ((Iraq calls on Fallujah residents to expel al-Qaida),  `dozens of people were killed in Anbar, which includes 22 soldiers, 10 civilians, and an undetermined number of militants.` I had to ask myself, who are the militants? Are they merely al-Qaida, who seem to be flowing freely into Iraq, crossing the Syrian border, or do they include indigenous Sunni people, who are disgruntled with the Shiite backed government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki?

That is obviously a rhetorically loaded question; the answer is yes, this newly well-organized edition of al-Qaida, who are now calling themselves the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, has been able to align themselves with the locals, who are much more threatened by the corruption and persecution of the army, who would like to keep the Sunnis in their place. Forgive my crude assessments of this complicated political situation (where religion, local tribal traditions, and the surrounding Middle Eastern nations) all factor in. Sadam Hussein was a Sunni, which probably will require some review of history, to get an idea where the people are currently.

That is, Sadam might explain why the Sunnis are being kept in their place. Just to reenforce how complicated this is, there are pro-government Sunni militias fighting against the militants. Yet, remembering back to the Iraq War, I quickly realize these pro-government Sunni militias could switch sides at any time, once they recognize it may not be in their best interest to allow the government to control Fallujah and Anbar Province. And the US itself is not necessarily so pro-Shiite as it once was; Vice President Biden was talking with some Sunni leaders yesterday, and hearing their grievances regarding a lack of input into government policy.

I`ll need to study international politics as well; is this flare-up in Fallujah only a mirror of grander conflicts (on a global scale), that bring Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and even the US into play? Most certainly it does! For example, if the US only backs al-Maliki, then how does that help us with ridding ourselves of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad? On the other hand, it`s this new, stronger faction of al-Qaida that`s wants to bring Assad down! Could it be, we`ll end up as friends to these black flag-waving demons? It could be, although we will never admit it. We`re the ones who made Sadam Hussein so strong in the first place, so this shift is not so unusual. Yet, if we hope to disarm Iran, we`ll have to stay aligned with the Shiites; this is not making any sense!