Verrry interesting. I wrote about al-Zawraa back in December: it’s based in Syria, carried on Egypt’s Nilesat signal, and run by a talking pig named Mishan al-Jibouri who used to be an Iraqi MP before he was accused of corruption and ran away to Assad country, and who was last seen almost getting into a fistfight with an Iraqi Shiite on Al Jazeera.
Now, according to Nibras Kazimi of the Hudson Institute, he’s had a change of heart.
[A] few days ago, Al-Zawra began running some anti-Al-Qaeda messages in its news ticker, and the jihadists began to mumble and some even penned invectives against al-Jebouri.
Yesterday, however, Al-Jebouri gave a whole anti-Al-Qaeda speech and this drove the jihadists berserk: the premier jihadist organ had begun to badmouth the jihad!…
My own little reading of al-Jebouri’s little speech is that this was spurred on by Syrian Intelligence. Sure, some may say it’s the Barzanis, or the Jordanians, or even the CIA. But al-Jebouri, who is now hiding-out in Damascus, may have been prodded into this by his Syrian hosts who, according to a source, are getting information that Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia is moving resources and personnel from Iraq to Syria in preparation for launching operations against the regime there and beyond in Lebanon and Israel.
Follow the link for a bullet-point treatment of Jibouri’s speech. I can’t understand why AQ would want to threaten Assad when Syria’s the main highway for Sunni jihadis into Iraq, unless they think Iraq’s a lost cause for them at this point and they’re looking for another battlefield. That’s actually not as far-fetched as it sounds: with AQ leaders being rolled up, more tribes in Anbar turning against them, and the attentions of a surging U.S. military focused mainly on jihadis as the Sadrists disappear from view, Al Qaeda might figure Iraq’s not worth the trouble anymore and leave the fighting to the Baathist remnants and indigenous Sunnis. On the other hand, having declared the Islamic State of Iraq, they really can’t just abandon it. So I don’t quite follow Kazimi’s thinking.
Maybe it has nothing to do with Syria at all and Jibouri just got nervous about being a mouthpiece for the most widely despised “insurgent” group in the country? That’s my guess.