Although the killing continues, the jihad in Iraq is showing signs of stress. Most recently, an important Sunni insurgent group, Ansar al-Sunnah, sent a letter to the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) complaining bitterly that his group had been killing militants of other jihadi organizations. The letter, which was sent on Jan. 13, was first reported by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.
Read the letter from Ansar al-Sunnah.
Both groups are key members of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State of Iraq," a coalition of Sunni insurgent groups, which was announced last October.
"We have warned you before about the behavior of some of your members," the letter to Abu Hamza al Muhajir, the "Emir" of al Qaeda in Iraq, states.
In particular, the letter charges that al Qaeda in Iraq had kidnapped, tortured and killed members of Ansar al-Sunnah, knowing full well they were fellow members of the insurgent coalition and should have been cooperating. The attack cost the group three of their best fighters, or "mujaheddin," according to the letter. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Experts say the letter shows that all is not well within the Sunni insurgent coalition.
"Al Qaeda has projected the image that Sunni insurgents are unified under the leadership of al Qaeda," Brian Fishman of the counterterrorism center told ABC News, "and this letter indicates that is not the case."
Fishman adds that the letter also raises serious questions about the very notion of the "Islamic State of Iraq," since it fails to meet the basic requirements of an Islamic state — that it controls territory and "unifies the believers."
The letter is only the most recent evidence that al Qaeda and its "Islamic State of Iraq" may be under fire from within the Sunni community.
Last December, two dozen leading Sunni tribal leaders in the Anbar province created an association called "The Awakening." The organization has dedicated itself to the destruction of al Qaeda in Iraq.