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Sunni insurgency

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This official version does not consider the existence of an indigenous, Islamist-nationalist resistance within the Sunni Arab community that appears to be the driving force behind the insurgency. Establishing the extent of al-Qaida's involvement is important so long as it does not distort understanding of who are the real players in Iraq. By fixating on al-Qaida and the Islamic extremists, the Bush administration underestimates the fundamental role played by Iraqi Sunni Islamists and nationalists in the insurgency. The minority Sunni Arabs had a dominant position under Mr. [Saddam Hussein]. According to Mr. Jumeili, only 13 percent of the dead insurgents were motivated by nationalist sentiments and only 2 percent were die- hard Baathists; foreign Islamists represented 5 percent. Of those 8,500 insurgents imprisoned by U.S. troops, 70 percent are also indigenous Islamists. (When pressed, U.S. commanders conceded that only 150 - less than 2 percent - are foreigners.) There is clearly more to the insurgency than the official U.S. version, which reduces everything to al-Qaida and the Baathists. The indigenous Islamist-nationalist character of the insurgency tells us that U.S. troops will likely face a prolonged, costly war in Iraq unless the political conditions fueling the insurgency are addressed.

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