Christian Science Monitor reports: The last time the Al Qaeda franchise raised its head in Iraq, its brutal tactics convinced many fellow Sunnis to take them on.
Back then, fresh-faced Abu Omar was a local leader of the US-backed “Sons of Iraq,” trying to put a lid on Sunni militancy.
But today, as Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) advance across the country, he sits at home in a dark blue polo shirt playing with his children, unable to stop a storm that he says is threatening to engulf Iraq again.
ISIS is one problem. The group has posted videos it claims show it massacring Shiite Iraqi Army troops, while promising “justice” and basic services on its turf.
But the stunning ISIS advance is riding what some top Sunni politicians – echoed by local players like Abu Omar – say is a much wider “revolution” against the unabashedly Shiite-first policies of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. And this raises the specter of a return to sectarian bloodshed in Iraq.
“If no solution is found very soon, no one will be able to stop ISIS; they are getting very strong with tanks and equipment and manpower,” says Abu Omar, who asked that only this nickname be used.
He reckons that 60 to 70 percent of Iraq’s Sunnis “welcome that revolution” and have been “brainwashed” about the true violent nature of a group they support. “I am expecting worse than 2006-2007, if there is not a quick solution,” he says, adding that ISIS and other Sunni extremist cells are already in Baghdad.
“Rivers of blood will be in the street. The killing we will not be in the air [as rumors], but live,” he warns. [Continue reading…]