Iraqi unified resistance
"... resistance began with the massacre of April 28, 2003, when parents and children in a school which had been occupied by American soldiers, had started demonstrating, and 18 of them were killed in cold blood, 60 were injured, and began the resistance to the US occupation in Fallujah. Before that, not a bullet had been fired."—Professor Mahmood Mamdani of Columbia University (Democracy Now!).
On May 21, 2003, "Thousands of Shiite and Sunni Muslims marched peacefully through Baghdad ... in a religious rally that turned into a largely political protest against the American military presence and its plans for a future Iraqi government," the International Herald Tribune reported.
In 2004, millions rallied all around the globe, both on March 19, the actual anniversary of the invasion, as well as March 20--the anniversary of worldwide protests against the war. On the day before the anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, a demonstration took place in Baghdad in tandem with protests around the world against the violence of the occupation. The protest was also a powerful show of unity between Sunni and Shia muslims. The marches started with the Shia's in Khadamiya, and the Sunni's across the river in Adamiya. The two groups met just as the Shia's came over the bridge, and emotions were high as they merged into one. They then walked for together to a public square where speakers denounced the occupation and called for unity between all Iraqis.  
By early April 2004, "the division between sunnis and shiites, ... , [had] faded and now the US-led troops are facing a united resistance front," reported Prensa Latina on April 7, citing the Washington Post.
- "A convoy of pedestrians and cars has managed to break through US military roadblocks in order to bring aid to rebel fighters in Fallujah. Residents of the area helped push the convoy through and US soldiers saw a hail of stones come their way. In a rare display of sectarian unity, Sunnite and Shiite clerics from Baghdad organized the convoy. Marchers chanted: 'No Sunnis, no Shiites, yes for Islamic unity. We are Sunni and Shiite brothers and will never sell our country.'" (inactive link).
- "Sunni-Shiite Cooperation Grows, Worrying U.S. Officials", Jeffrey Gettleman wrote in the April 8, 2004, New York Times:
- "Sunni, Shia, that doesn't matter anymore," said Sabah Saddam, a 32-year-old government clerk who took the day off to drive one of the supply trucks. "These were artificial distinctions. The people in Falluja are starving. They are Iraqis and they need our help."
- According to several militia members, many Shiite fighters are streaming into Falluja to help Sunni insurgents defend their city against a punishing Marine assault.
- "We have orders from our leader to fight as one," said Nimaa Fakir, a 27-year-old teacher and foot soldier in the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia. "We want to increase the fighting, increase the killing and drive the Americans out. To do this, we must combine forces."
- The Falluja situation represents an emerging level of Shiite-Sunni cooperation unheard of in the year-old occupation and maybe even the modern history of Iraq.
- But now that the resistance is heating up, spreading from town to town, the Sunnis and Shiites are drawing together.
- "[I]t turns out that the blundering arrogance and hubris of American imperialism have succeeded in achieving the previously unthinkable - unity between Shia and Sunni Iraqis in the struggle against the occupation. On April 6, United Press International reported that "Tuesday afternoon…the Sunni-led resistance forces publicly declared their support for Sadr." The article continued, "…emissaries arrived from the tribal leaders of Sunni regions and from the largest resistance movement in Iraq to offer their serves to Sadr in his fight against the Americans."—M. Junaid Alam, Dissident Voice/ Left Hook, April 8, 2004.
- "For months, the White House has been making ominous predictions of a civil war breaking out between the majority Shiites, who believe it's their turn to rule Iraq, and the minority Sunnis, who want to hold onto the privileges they amassed under Saddam Hussein. But this week, the opposite appeared to have taken place. Both Sunnis and Shiites have seen their homes attacked and their religious sites desecrated. Up against a shared enemy, they are beginning to bury ancient rivalries and join forces against the occupation. Instead of a civil war, they are on the verge of building a common front. You could see it at the mosques in Sadr City on Thursday: Thousands of Shiites lined up to donate blood destined for Sunnis hurt in the attacks in Fallouja. 'We should thank Paul Bremer,' Salih Ali told me. 'He has finally united Iraq. Against him.'"—Naomi Klein, Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2004.
- "One year after the 'fall' of Baghdad, the old colonial maxim 'divide and rule' does not apply anymore. For the occupiers, this is the ultimate nightmare: Sunni and Shi'ite, united (almost) as one. ... Sunnis and Shi'ites are united in Baghdad, under the same nationalist impulse."—Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, April 9, 2004.
- "All over the Arab and Muslim world, Sunni Fallujah ("The city of the mosques") and holy Shi'ite Najaf have become the symbols of an increasingly well-organized, broad-based resistance. Paradox is king: the Marines can only 'pacify' Fallujah by leveling it; and tough-talking American generals may want to capture 'outlaw' Muqtada al-Sadr 'dead or alive', while in fact they have been forced to the negotiating table with him."—Pepe Escobar, Asia Times, April 15, 2004.
- "An internal Foreign Office [Great Britain] memo, said to have been written last week and leaked to The Sunday Times, warned that 'heavy-handed US military tactics in Fallujah and Najaf some weeks ago have fuelled both Sunni and [Shia] opposition to the coalition and lost us much public support outside Iraq.'"—The Independent (UK), May 24, 2004.
- On September 13, 2004, Pat Buchanan wrote in the American Conservative, The Retreat of Empire, noting that "When Baghdad fell, Gen. John Abizaid estimated the number of enemy insurgents at about 5,000. After a year in which thousands of the enemy have been killed or captured, estimates of the number of insurgents have been raised to 20,000. Rumsfeld's query has been answered: we are creating more enemies than we are killing."
- In October 2004, Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al Zarqawi reportedly put aside their differences and united their groups in a marriage of convenience, which leading Muslims observers and U.S. Intelligence take as genuine. 
- "In postings on Web sites used by jihadi groups, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the terrorist network's arm in Iraq, claims to have joined with five other guerrilla groups to form the Mujahedeen Shura, or Council of Holy Warriors."—New York Times, March 25, 2006.
- "Rival Shia groups unite against US after mosque raid"—The Guardian (UK), March 28, 2006.
- "Fury may swell insurgency. Protest over Hussein hanging suggests rising support for militants," Associated Press (Indianapolis Star), January 2, 2007.
- "The Analysis: On the 'Polarization' of Iraqis and Their 'Ready Recourse to Violence'," New York Times, February 3, 2007. re National Intelligence Estimate
Related SourceWatch Resources
- civil war in Iraq
- Exit Strategy from Iraq
- Global insurgency for change
- global struggle against violent extremism
- Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists
- Iraqi insurgency
- sectarian break-up of Iraq
- Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq
- violence in the Middle East
- Rahul Mahajan, Blogging from Baghdad.
- P. Mitchell Prothero, Former Iraqi enemies unite to fight U.S., UPI, April 6, 2004: "The American dream to bridge ancient Iraqi sectarian rivalries turned nightmarish Tuesday as Shiite and Sunni religious and tribal figures put aside their differences and publicly aligned against the occupation, vowing to rid Iraq of the American-led invaders."
- Karl Vick, Muslim Rivals Unite In Baghdad Uprising, Washington Post, April 7, 2004: "On the streets of Baghdad neighborhoods long defined by differences of faith and politics, signs are emerging that resistance to the U.S. occupation may be growing from a sporadic, underground effort to a broader insurrection by militiamen who claim to be fighting in the name of their common faith, Islam."
- In Iraq, a 'perfect storm', Christian Science Monitor, April 9, 2004.
- Annia Ciezaldo, 'We Are One Hand' -- Sunnis, Shiites Uniting Against U.S. in Iraq, Pacific News Service, April 20, 2004.
- Ann Scott Tyson, "Insurgents in Iraq show signs of acting as a network," Christian Science Monitor, April 28, 2004.
- Dahr Jamail, "Sunnis and Shias Uniting Against U.S.," Inter Press Service, May 14, 2004: Now that the United States has achieved the goal of removing Saddam Hussein, and seen that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Imam said he sees no need for the U.S. troops to remain in Iraq. "The invaders should pull out, 100 percent."
- Nir Rosen, [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/others/Fallujah.html "Fallujah: Inside the Iraqi Resistance" (7-part series), Asia Times, July 2004.
- Jeffrey Bartholet, "Sword of the Shia. He can deal out death through his black-clad followers and roil the government any time he chooses. Why Moqtada al-Sadr may end up deciding America's fate in Iraq," Newsweek, December 4, 2006 (issue).