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ICC Note:
Here is a fascinating look inside Iraq . It is encouraging news for Christians since Al Qaeda is the most serious threat to Christians in Irag (if they came to power).

Even if Al Qaeda and the Sunni resistance is defeated there is still a danger from fundamentalist Shias taking over and running the country.

Local Insurgents Tell of Clashes With Al Qaeda’s Forces in Iraq

By Sabrina Tavernise & Dexter Filkins
For the full story, go to NY Times

BAGHDAD , Iraq, Jan. 11 –

In October, the two insurgents said in interviews, a group of local fighters from the Islamic Army gathered for an open-air meeting on a street corner in Taji, a city north of Baghdad .

Across from the Iraqis stood the men from Al Qaeda, mostly Arabs from outside Iraq . Some of them wore suicide belts. The men from the Islamic Army accused the Qaeda fighters of murdering their comrades.

“Al Qaeda killed two people from our group,” said an Islamic Army fighter who uses the nom de guerre Abu Lil and who claimed that he attended the meeting. “They repeatedly kill our people.”

The encounter ended angrily. A few days later, the insurgents said, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and the Islamic Army fought a bloody battle on the outskirts of town.

The battle, which the insurgents said was fought on Oct. 23, was one of several clashes between Al Qaeda and local Iraqi guerrilla groups that have broken out in recent months across the Sunni Triangle.

It is impossible to say just how far the split extends within the insurgency, which remains a lethal force with a shared goal of driving the Americans out of Iraq . Iraqis are increasingly saying that they regard Al Qaeda as a foreign-led force, whose extreme religious goals and desires for sectarian war against Iraq ‘s Shiite majority override Iraqi tribal and nationalist traditions.

“The tribes are fed up with Al Qaeda and they will not tolerate any more,” said a senior Iraqi intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The intelligence official confirmed reports that a Sunni tribe in Samarra had tried and executed Qaeda members for their role in assassinating a local sheik.

“It was a beautiful mistake,” the intelligence official said of the sheik’s assassination by Al Qaeda. “Now the tribes will kill Al Qaeda. Now they have the courage.”

In town after town, Iraqis and Americans say, local Iraqi insurgents and tribal groups have begun trying to expel Al Qaeda’s fighters, and, in some cases, kill them. It is unclear how deeply the split pervades Iraqi society. Iraqi leaders say that in some Iraqi cities, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and local insurgent groups continue to cooperate with one another.

American and Iraqi officials believe that Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia is largely made up of Iraqis, with its highest leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian. Even so, among Iraqis, the group is still perceived as a largely foreign force.