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Sunni Insurgent Coalition Name Al-Qaida Chief as "Minister of War"

By myobservations     Apr 19, 2007 in World
April 19, 2007 - Today on Internet video, the Sunni insurgent coalition named Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, the head Al-Qaida chief in Iraq as their "minister of war". The video also showed the execution of 20 men, reportedly a part of Iraqi security forces.
It is apparent that the Sunnis are attempting to present the Islamic State of Iraq coalition as a "legitimate" alternative to the U.S.-backed, Shiite-led administration of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The Sunni military power base appears to be growing despite pressure from the US military forces.
The Al-Qaida insurgency is the most powerful of the eight Sunni-backed insurgent groups that comprise the Islamic State of Iraq coalition. In October, 2006, the Al-Qaida insurgents claimed to hold territory in the Sunni-dominated areas of western and central Iraq.
An Al-Qaida spokesman appeared in the video with his face obscured, speaking from behind a desk with a flat-screen computer.
"It is the duty at our present stage to form this Cabinet, the first Islamic Cabinet, which has faith in God,"
He denounced Saddam Hussein's Baath Party and the present government, charging them with corruption and ruination of the country and its people.
The video is also reported to include the execution of 20 members of the Iraqi Military Security forces. These reported executions are now being called false by the Iraqi government. Interior Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said Thursday that the men in the video could not be identified and said the insurgents may have dressed up civilians to kill them.
"We checked with our commands then and all the troops were accounted for," Khalaf told The Associated Press. "They are immoral criminals. They have used all criminal methods and we don't rule out that they executed civilians who they dressed in military uniforms."
The Al-Qaida/Sunni spokesman listed a 10-member "Cabinet," including Abu Hamza al-Muhajer as "war minister." Al-Muhajer has also been named as the successor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed in the summer of 2006. The U.S. military and Iraqi government have identified Abu Hamza al-Muhajer by another pseudonym, Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
Al-Qaida insurgents in Iraq are blamed for the devastating bombing Wednesday in Baghdad's Sadriyah market, which killed over 180 people. They are also blamed for some of the deadliest suicide bombings against Shiite civilians, as well as numerous attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi soldiers and police.
The Islamic Army in Iraq, another Sunni insurgent group has openly accused Al-Qaida insurgents of killing its members and trying to force others to join its ranks. The Islamic State of Iraq coalition is making every effort to resolve differences between the two Sunni supported insurgent groups.
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