An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance – Part 1 – Motivations

I have decided to publish my most recent work, An Analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, on my blog. Previously, this piece was used for the research for “An Insiders Look at the Iraqi Resistance” a major piece that appeared on the Islamist website Jihadunspun.com (JUS got the copyright but I did the research). That long-running top-billed piece is now down, but it is still archived on Alexa here . Note that this material is copyrighted and all reproduction for profit is forbidden under copyright laws.

For information about reprinting or purchasing one-time rights to this work email me. This article is an in-depth analysis of the Iraqi resistance and is continuously being revised. It is presently 58 pages long in total. It lists all known Iraqi resistance groups who have ever fought in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad until 2004 and includes a brief description and analysis of each group. There are separate sections covering Size, Tendencies, Motivations, Structure, Foreign Assistance, Foreign Fighters, Regional Characteristics, Regions, Cities or Towns Controlled by the Resistance, Major Attacks and List of Groups by Tendency.

The article was intended to be a political science-type analysis of the Iraqi Resistance, and I tried not to take sides one way or the other. I used a tremendous amount of source material, mostly publicly available news reports from the Internet. Obviously, in an area like this you are dealing with a ton of disinformation along with the real deal, so I spent a lot of time trying to sort out the disinfo from the relative truth.

The problem is that one cannot simply discount sources of information such as Israeli and US intelligence, US military reports, reporting from the resistance itself, Islamist websites, etc. Of course these sources are loaded with disinfo and false analysis, but they also tend to have a lot of truth mixed in as well. In writing a piece like this, you pull together all the sources and get sort of a “Gestalt” view of the situation. When you examine all the sources at once in toto, you can kind of sort out the disinfo from the more factual material. Admittedly it’s a hit or miss game, but that’s about as good as we can do source-wise in the inherently hazy subject area of an underground guerrilla war.

Interviews with resistance cadre by the mainstream Western media were given particular prominence in this piece.

Here is the piece in its entirety:

AN ANALYSIS OF THE IRAQI RESISTANCE: The First Year, March 2003-May 2004

ROBERT LINDSAY

*****

MOTIVATIONS OF FIGHTERS

*****

Presently, almost all resistance fighters in Iraq (90%+) are motivated by the Islamic religion or Iraqi nationalism, not support for Saddam or his regime. Indeed, presently, Saddam loyalists seem to have faded to only a very small section of the resistance. The ideology of many of the fighters is described as “post-Saddam” and is a simple combination of nationalism (often with Sunni chauvinist overtones) and Sunni Islamism (ranging from nominal Muslims to hard line fundamentalists) – they feel that the US Occupation is an assault on both Islam and the entire Arab World, and therefore must be resisted.

Unfortunately, the Sunni chauvinist strain amongst the Iraqi resistance is strong and cannot be discounted – much of the resistance fears the emerging US-Shia alliance in Iraq that would break their historic domination of the country. In 2-04, Baathists still made up 30% of the resistance, but, especially after Saddam’s capture, most, if not all, of them had renounced their association with and loyalty to Saddam and his regime and were instead fighting for either Islamism or nationalism. Prior to Saddam’s capture, many former regime loyalists openly spoke of their desire to return Saddam and his regime to power.

The capture of Saddam seems to have been a powerful blow to the Saddam loyalist faction, and since his capture, fewer and fewer former Saddam loyalists still wanted to return the regime to power. Clearly, with Saddam in a US prison and facing an Iraqi trial and possible death sentence, returning Saddam himself to power is quite a dubious proposition.

Many other fighters are motivated by simple revenge for violations, slights, attacks, killings, injuries, insults, property destruction and thefts committed by US troops. In Iraqi tribal culture, such attacks mandate either a payment or an apology by the perpetrator; if that is not forthcoming, relatives of the aggrieved party are mandated to revenge the crime.

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Filed under Culture, Iraq, Iraq War, Islam, Middle East, Nationalism, Political Science, Politics, Radical Islam, Regional, Religion, Shiism, Sunnism, USA, War

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