Is Iraq a training ground for terrorists, or the “flypaper” that lures terrorists to Iraq where they are in the reach of the U.S. military? Jim Judd, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service calls Iraq a “post-graduate faculty for terrorism” where foreign terrorists are receiving vital training. Mr. Judd’s statement acknowledges that Iraq is indeed flypaper as he admits foreign terrorists are entering the country; his concern is the “bleedback” – the return of foreign terrorists to their homeland, where they can use their new-found skills.
There can be no doubt that al Qaeda is gaining tactical experience in urban fighting, bomb making and other skills, as well as knowledge of U.S. operations and intelligence gathering. War is the crucible where warriors hone their skills and learn the strengths and weaknesses of their enemy. Close contact with the enemy always yields an increase in knowledge and experience.
But al Qaeda is not the only group gaining valuable knowledge and experience in Iraq. The U.S. military and intelligence agencies are also learning about how al Qaeda organizes and conducts its operations. The U.S. has an intelligence edge over al Qaeda, as it routinely captures terrorists and gains ample information on the structure and organization of al Qaeda inside and outside of Iraq. This intelligence often results in the capture or death of terrorists, such as the recent demise of Sa’ad Ali Firas and twelve of his compatriots.
In an October 20th press briefing, Major General Rick Lynch reports that 376 foreign fighters had been captured this year, and over 400 killed. This does not even begin to account for enemy wounded. The foreigners come from countries that are outside the reach of U.S. forces. With an estimated 150 terrorists entering the country monthly, well over half of the year’s total have been killed, captured or wounded, an exceedingly high attrition rate. General Lynch also points out that al Qaeda in Iraq’s leadership is often of foreign origin. al Qaeda is not in the habit of putting green recruits into leadership positions.
GEN. LYNCH: Zarqawi, as he mourns the loss of his leaders and replaces those leaders, he normally replaces them with another foreigner, because the foreign fighter element tends to be the most ruthless. They’re the ones that are willing to participate in horrendous acts of violence against innocent civilians. So even though the number of foreign fighters may indeed be small, their impact is very, very large.
I’ve talked about this before. Over the course of our operations, we have detained over 300 foreign fighters and killed probably an additional 400 more. So the number of their element inside the insurgency statistically might be small, but their impact is very, very large. They’re the ones that are willing to blow up the people of Iraq to further their cause. And remember, their cause has nothing to do with what’s right for the people of Iraq. They’re trying to derail the democratic process and discredit the Iraqi government. So they’ll continue to do that.
So I think, candidly, it’s not important what percentage of the terrorists are foreign fighters, because the people who are involved are indeed the people that want to do horrendous things to the people of Iraq.
Yet we cannot look at the number of terrorist killed or captured inside Iraqi alone. In some cases, terrorists that desire to operate in Iraq are captured during the planning and organizational stages. The call to fight Americans is irresistible to the jihadis, and Iraq is a focal point. Take the case of the al Qaeda member known as “Ibrahim Mohammed K.” , who was operating in Germany. His profile, according to the German intelligence is one of a significant actor in al Qaeda’s organization:
A veteran of al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan [who] spent a year there fighting the U.S. military after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. During his time in Afghanistan, the Iraqi was in regular contact with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as well as Ramzi Binalshibh, alleged to be a key planner of the Sept. 11 hijackings who had been living in Germany and was later captured in Pakistan.
The terrorists are pressed into duty by the call to jihad in Iraq, which Zawahiri referred to as “the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.” In the month prior to Ibrahim Mohammed K.’s arrest about twenty five “militants” were arrested by German police. This pattern is repeated throughout Europe.
There is also a question of how valuable is the knowledge al Qaeda is gaining in Iraq. They may be perfecting roadside bombs and other tactics, but these tactics have not led to the withdraw or defeat of U.S. forces, and nor are other governments likely to submit to al Qaeda when attacked on their home soil. al Qaeda has always shown a propensity for dispensing death (remember that 9/11 and a host of terrorist attacks occrured without the training ground of Iraq) but tactics rarely help to acheive a strategic victory. And we have seen numerous cases where al Qaeda has failed to adapt its tactics despite the knowledge of their ineffectiveness, the latests attack on Camp Gannon being a prime example.
There is no singular answer to the question of whether Iraq is a training ground or a killing field for al Qaeda, as the answer is that Iraq is both. War, particularly war against a shadowy terrorist organization, is not a zero sum game. Every action, every operation, comes at a cost. The key to victory is to minimize your losses and maximize those of your enemy.
Al Qaeda is pushing fighters into the country, and some of those who leave will impart their knowledge to others and potentially conduct attacks against their home countries. But al Qaeda has been doing this in other countries; in Chechnya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Afghanistan and a host of countries throughout the world. Absent Iraq, the jihadis would enter these countries for their training.
Proponents of the Iraq War believe the establishment of democracy in the heart of the Middle East the accompanying ideological defeat for al Qaeda; the drawing in of senior al Qaeda operatives into the country, the high casualty rates among foreign terrorists, the valuable combat experience and intelligence gained by U.S. forces, the establishment of an Iraqi intelligence agency and security forces hostile to al Qaeda’s operations, the exposure of al Qaeda networks outside Iraq, the pressure placed on Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and other benefits far outweigh the negative of potential bleedback by the terrorists fleeing Iraq.
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I think Al Qaeda’s current goals in Iraq have shifted. Having failed to take over or prevent democracy, I think they now hope to discredit the democratic ideology. By making Iraq so chaotic, impoverished, and deadly that democracy will be unpalatable to other Arabs, they hope to forestall a pan-Arabic democratic revolution that would be a death knell for their own plan of eventual Islamist revolution.
Fortunately, the Iraqis don’t appear to agree with this plan.
It would seem that AQ is using Iraq as a training ground based on the chart showing Egypt and Syria at the top of the list. These are the next two targets of AQ as mentioned int the Zawahiri letter.
…benefits far outweigh the negative of potential bleedback by the terrorists fleeing Iraq.
One of those benefits I hope our side is taking advantage of is the penetration of agents into the future AQ structure via foreign “terrorist” volunteers.
As to the “bleedback” issue, it’s not like the Algerian, Egyptian, Saudi and other Arab governments lack experience in beating down violent Islamists. The more important issue is whether Al Qaeda can carve out a long-term sanctuary in Iraq.
Al Qaeda continues to use the internet for on-line training courses in terrorism. This form of training would of occurred regardless of Iraq or not. On another note, Rita Katz from the SITE Institute has some troubling thoughts on the Zawahiri letter…snip — “An erroneous interpretation of the letter is a typical example of how superficial understanding of the al-Qaeda network and its workings continues to imperil the war on terror. Wrong conclusions based on partial or incorrect information can lead to wrong decisions, tactics, and strategies. The fight over the letter is bad news: The West just doesn’t know it’s enemy.”
I doubt the Intel groups in the military are as inept as the MSM likes to point out, remember that we are also fighting a PysOps war. As far as the internet goes, remember that the government had it for years before the public did. There is no telling the built in capabilities the government has when it comes to the internet. Big Brother can probably “watch” whenever he wants to. Pretty smart if you ask me….
Sadly, I have been waiting to see what the Constitutional Convention and the start of Saddam’s trial did to the ratings on the war. The answer is nothing, do in large part of the media not covering either event. Well that isn’t true they gave equal time to the US soldiers burning Taleban bodies story.
The US needs to handover the patrols to the Iraqis ASAP I don’t care if we have to give our humvees to the Iraqis to do it. The WH has been trying to stave off a massive rebellion in the Republican Party to bring the troops home now. But, that rebellion could hit by early spring of next year if nothing significant changes.
I don’t buy the idea that Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. What do they do, come in, set up 10 IEDs, get a diploma, and go back home? Right now things are way too chaotic in Iraq for that to be happening; the terrorists are on the run for their lives. That would be more believable 12-18 months ago, but not now.
Good point Little Fish. For example, when Zawahiri complains to Zarqawi about lack of monetary payback and asks for $100,000 – it may not be due to AQ impoverishment. I think he is trying to establish the pecking order. He is telling Zarqawi that if he wants to be a franchisee and use the AQ brand name, then he got to pay royalties to the top brass, and also take orders from them. Zarqawi is instructed to prove his loyalty by paying such tribute.
I have noticed that much of what these terrorists are saying to the world is actually inter-company communication to establish internal hierarchies. For example Michael Ware, reporter embedded in the death squads has reported that the gruesome beheadings are really an advertising campaign by AQI to attract recruits and is part of a power tussle with the AQ leadership in Afghanistan.
Tall Dave: … democratic ideology
I am not sure that one can call liberal democracy an ideology. I think democracy is a science based on certain moral underpinnings. In this sense, it stands above other idealisms.
The chart showing captured foreigners is interesting. Perhaps the lower totals in the last three months indicate that the rate of entry is slowing and that AQ is not able to recruit as successfully any more. Certainly, even the Arab media has beceom critical of the large-scale civilian carnage, and that is AQ’s main modus operandi. There’s not much glory in killing people shopping in a market, let alone women and child, even for the most fanatical. I’d love to see a chart of insurgent/AQ attacks outside Anbar – my impression is that the last 9-12 weeks have seen a signifcaint decline in Mosul, Baghdad and elsewhere.
ooops, that should have been “intra-company communication”.
is the clear drop off in numbers captured since July evidence of an important trend? E.g. a drop in # of foreign combatants in Iraq AO (for whatever reason – we have made it harder to enter, they are running out of willing recruits, etc).
It is hard to see retreating/re-deploying jihadis as positive assets for AQ.
They bring to mind German survivers of Stalingrad and other pockets who had to be isolated. They kept spreading defeatism/truth.
The bring to mind the Taliban’s Pashtun volunteers in late 2001 who rushed in to Afganistan — only to rush back out telling their fellows of smart bombs.
There are already accounts of returning jihadi wannabees in KSA that retread this dynamic. Indeed, there are stories of ‘escaped’ Saudi jihadis who discovered that their only role would have been as a suicide bomber. And this was not at all what they and their fellows had in mind.
Returning jihadis may well become retired jihadis.
It is one thing to believe that you can personally affect the battle/jihad. It is quite another to realize that your war aims are not even remotely achievable.
For all of the talk about jihadis, the players that are hurting the US are the local Baathists. They are the ones planting the roadside bombs.
The foreign fighters are much more into vehicle borne improvised explosive devices: car bombs. American military security measures ( Sentries with rifles ) have just ruined the effectiveness of the VBIED.
The solution to the VBIED is a pervasive Iraqi police force enhanced by their Army. Since these weapons are used virtually exclusively against fellow Iraqis — muslims — cell phone tips ought to attrite their assembly shops something fierce.
Anyone associated with these bomb shops ought to be pursued all of the way up the line. Just how many places can have the autoshop facilities necessary to create a VBIED. You know that they are severely modifying the suspension to hide the extra heft. Let’s focus on that.
That drop off by itself may not be significant, but couple it with the simultanious drop off over the same period in:
-increase in the number of bombers captured**
and I think it is extremely important trend.
**See slide 2:
I think (but cannot confirm) that the drop in the number captured from July on might be explained by the increase in operations and that we are killing more of the foreign jihadis than we are capturing. It’s just a guess, don’t ask me to back it up with facts ’cause I don’t have them. But the airstrikes in western Anbar in August-September led to a lot of dead jihadis.
Well said, my only quibble: If you are looking at it from a U.S. casualtiy perspective, then IEDs are the #1 killer of troops. But the VBIEDs have the best chance at killing large numbers of Iraqis and derailign the political process. I think this poses a greater threat to U.S. forces in the long run. Good news about the effectiveness of sentries, btw.
Good point Little Fish. For example, when Zawahiri complains to Zarqawi about lack of monetary payback and asks for $100,000 – it may not be due to AQ impoverishment. I think he is trying to establish the pecking order.
Actually some of what the press and public has been told about the letter is incorrect or more accurately put it is a bit misleading.
The person I talked to said the message was captured South of Baghdad at a town called Yusufiya, and that it wasn’t sent to Zarqawi it was instead sent to a Zawahiri aid in Iraq who came to Iraq to be a part of al-Qaeda in Iraq. And, that aid’s duty was to try to push al-Qaeda in Iraq in the direction the origional al-Qaeda leaders want it to go.
Also, Zarqawi isn’t a part of the al-Qaeda pecking order and as much as leaders like Zawahiri would like him to be it isn’t going to happen. He has a network totally loyal only to him that spans three continents and when some Algerians in France want to bomb buses they talk to him instead of the origional al-Qaeda network.
I always felt of course 2 sides learn,but with the differential in our wealth,organizational talents and knowledge it would be better for us than the bad guys.
For instance,I bet 2005 US Army could whip 2003 US Army all other things equal.
They’ve gained as well,but their potential is so limited by their tactics and their political offerings,IMO.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq just provided the history of its organization and explains how Zarqawi prepared for the Iraq War.
A presentation of “The Fighting Policy of Qaedat al-Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers,”
Military publications in Iraq:
Lots of interesting info.
Maybe the numbers are declining because Syria is now scared to death of US assaults on Syria. With the Rafik Hariri assassination truth that just came out and that they knew was going to come out, Syria may be trying to keep a lower profile now and stop playing with fire for the time being. Just a possibility. Or maybe Al Qaeda is just running out of recruits after so many have either died in US operations or in suicide bombings where they blew themselves up. Their numbers cannot be infinite. The percentage of muslims that are willing to die for “72 virgins” is not as many as a lot of people think.
The reduction in foreign jihadist numbers (and suicide attacks) may be due to the fact that the Sunnis are coming around and developing faith in the constitutional process.
If so, the Sunnis would be against these suicide operations and since they have little allegiance to these foreign jihadists, and they can identify them easily amongst themselves – the Sunni’s are telling the foreign jihadists to get out, or are turning them in to the authorities, resulting in less foreign jihadists wanting to come to Iraq. Add to that the shrinking of their safe areas and the successful counterterrorist campaign by US forces.
“Returning jihadis may well become retired jihadis.” I wonder about that.
First, how many jihadis actually return? Are they on a fixed number of missions like the US WWII bomber force? 25 Missions and you get to return and organize your own jihad in some other part of the world? Or get to move up to a junior or middle level management position in the Jihad movement?
Of those that go into Iraqi to engage the Coalition and Iraqi forces, where do they go that they can receive “training”? Do the AQ run “combat training centers” that these folks can some training from experienced hands? Or are they on their own and just leave when they have earned their “stones”?
It seems to me that for Iraq to be a substantial training ground for Jihadis, there has to be a significant formal structure both inside and outside Iraq to cycle people thru and then assign them a future mission or organization role. I don’t see that structure. Have I missed something?
Unless Mr. Judd can provide more of a foundation for his statement that bleedback is a “possibility”, I would tend to discount Mr. Judd as much of an expert, but more of a typical liberal spreading doubt and dispair.
cjr – where did you get that .ppt file? Is it accurate? If so, that’s good news.
Patrick – one would hope we also have the moral high ground, which will eventually help too, because more people will “see the light”.
I recall seeing interviews with defeated jihadis who returned to Pakistan after the Taliban were defeated in Afghanistan, who made it pretty clear, that it was an experience they would not want again. They were the lucky ones who survived.
Most of the jihadis headed for Iraq are going there to die. You only get one chance to be a human bomb. As Maj. Gen. Lynch points out, many are being captured. Not only does this take them out of action, but it provides intelligence on the ratlines both inside Iraq and in conduit countries.
Defeating the insurgency can have major benefits both in Iraq and elsewhere. If it can be demonstrated that the asymetrical warfare model does not work, the world will be a much safer place. It would also be a significant defeat for the antiwar left, which I discuss on my blog.
VERY good in the last few days. Go here to see them. //www.pentagonchannel.mil/
Rummy had a good townhall meeting today as well.
US troops fighting losing battle for Sunni triangle
The Sunni public were trained to be animals by Saddam and they were also trained to think it is their God given right to rule Iraq.
They are in for a rude awakening, we were far too nice on them at the start of the war. The Shia and Kurds won’t be when we leave.
“US troops fighting losing battle for Sunni triangle”
HOW Can they even tell such a lie with a straight face? Perhaps they live in the Universe called Never-Never land. What utter fools there are in the media!
Journalists must fail a series of IQ tests before being admitted to journalism school. That is when the industrial strength dumbing down begins in earnest. A J school graduate is dumber than dumb and twisted like a pretzel. Truth? What’s that? They didn’t teach us anything like that in J school. Propaganda, sure, but truth? Stop it, you’re killing me!
“US troops losing the battle for Sunni triangle” author Adrian Blomfield seems confused. In this article he claims: “The violence here seems to encapsulate the growing difficulties the US military is facing in trying to defeat the insurgency. Pinned down by a constant stream of hit-and-run attacks from former Saddam regime loyalists, American soldiers are unable to focus their attention on the foreign extremists who pose a far more dangerous threat to the future of Iraq…”
Just 7 days earlier in the article linked below, Mr. Blomfield said “In Anbar, at least four offensives have been launched and several hundred suspects killed, according to US military command. Elsewhere US troops have conducted sweeps for weapons caches and explosives and detained suspected insurgent leaders, …”
So which is it, are US Forces pinned down, or are they conducting offensive operations? Does Mr. Bromfield know what he is even talking about?
Duluiya is in Salah Ad Din. Not in Anbar
IIRC real estate agents in Bagdad have been shot by the ‘insurgents’ of late.
Could it be that the victim was targeted because he new too much/ said too much in regards to real estate sold or leased which is/ will be a VBIED shop?
Perhaps they are cleaning up ‘paper work’.
I would make investigating any such agent’s tranactions a priority.
There was a pretty good discussion about the Adrian Blomfield article in The Telegraph over at the Free Republic. I found it well worthwhile to read the comments.
US troops fighting losing battle for Sunni triangle
I think we are doing realy good in Iraq. People and the news media the latter for alter objectives ignore the plain very obvious fact that things have improved by a great factor. I remember back when I was very worried that things may go south. I remember when Falluja fell to the Jihadi’s and they openly paraded training camps and rallies in the city. I remember when the surrounding cities were taking major attacks on US forces city wide in place like Ramadi killing US soldiers at a rather swift rate daily. I remember Terrrorist not just attacking Iraqi police and Army but over running police stations on video taking the weapons dropped by running cops or overrunning the Iraqi Army bases. I remember when the South in the middle of our attempt to retake Falluja jumped off Sadr and boys took Karbala and other major cities. Police and Iraqi troops thier also running we were alone 140,000 men in a sea of 27million hostiles in choas. Nearly the entire Iraqi army and police crumbled or stayed in barracks shaking with fear. I was bad and even after a year long fight were we had crushed the Sadr group then turned back to Falluja that had been pumping out terrorist in Training camps yes real training camps not the ones they have now in some farm house basement that moves weekly or less but established with signs out front posters and decoration. During that time I rememmber the regular over running of the Iraqi police and thier daily slaughter.
Now I compare that to today were attacks on our troops are rare and suicidal. When they do happen it is usually more of cornered no choice decision. The Terrorist attack no longer police or Iraqi army bases incapable. The terrorist have even lessened thier attacks on police in the field usually dont go so well anymore. The Iraqi Police and Army not only stand thier ground and fight but they are making assaults and dishing it out many times latley I might add as front line point not just rear guard mop up on mosque’s. And that is not even mentioning the Political aspects that a election democratic gov elected, constitution written voted and approved, soon to be new democratic gov and vote. Hearts and Minds at one point I remember when common iraqis even police and army feared to show thier face give tips. Today that has changed more and more I see Iraqi Army and Police faces on the street in interviews, more and more tips from common citizens. The Terrorist well they have gone from holding strong support to just being seen more and more as unable to face the Infedel or the Infedel/pawns but just kill civilians mostly innocent ones at markets and street corners randomly and sow choaos. Even with the fact that most of those civilians are Shia the fact is that if they cant beat back the Infedel or the Iraqi gov Army or Police it is just murder.
Now comparing these two senerios you tell me is Iraq getting better? I mean if I told you these two senerios with no content just blue and red fighting eachother and asked which one is worse is it really not a no-brainer.
Their is two reasons why the US moral is falling
1) the mainstream media and the LLL enemies of america have left out or out right misinterpreted news on this war from the begining to push thier own agenda
2)Bush and crew are incapable of selling this war to the people. Bush thinks the power comes from the top not the people so he only comes out and rallies the people after the damage is done that is not how you do it you keep people rallied fired up and hot from begining to end.
I personally believe the military leadership has a responsibility even thou how hard the media and the LLL will fight the effort to take control of the Media Front (no body else will exept our enemy). Stop the Media leaks and giving out of info force the media to give air time to thier reps use Military photo documentors to give footage and strories of our troops. Pay the money and run commercials and make short stories on the war and why we must win how we are winning rally the people. heck hire some advertising company if nessecary until the proper units can be formed. Todays 4thgen war has at least 40+ percent faught on the media front if our military wont do it we can just hang up ever fighting another 4th gen war in the future or present..
Adrian Blomfield is just another bad news artist. I recently watched a CNN report where in a Baghdad hotel, a large group of reporter/ journalists had set up their common room. In this room they spoke of their work as they were ARTISTS who could now write about anything they wanted, communism etc.
I don’t recall mush else about this report being astounded at what I was hearing. What I understand now is this, writers like Adrian Blomfield are only out for their writing career as a buisnessman working for dwindling liberal dollars and praise among this elite.
Was Blomfield in the discussion you saw?
IMHO we have much more of a problem in north central Iraq where the locals are pro-Baathist and are helping the insurgency, not our forces. What is the strategy there?
The slides came from this press briefing. See link at the top:
Here is the real problem
Z-man has spent the last five years sending many of the smartest and most devoted of the jihadists that come to him to help build his world wide networks. And, Iraq has caused alot of jihadists to come his way. Thus, he has been able to build a network bigger then al-Qaeda’s origional network. That is why we need to shut down the boarder in Iraq and retake Anbar very quickly.
In Washington, U.S. intelligence officials said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, has expanded his terrorism campaign from Iraq to two dozen groups scattered across almost 40 countries, creating a network that rivals Osama bin Laden’s.
Here is the full article about Zarqawi’s Networks Growing Globally.
Don’t fall for the media myth that Zarqawi and his network is a separate entity from al Qaeda. Zarqawi had a strong network in Europe and North Africa prior to Iraq. This is a deliberate attempt to promote the “Iraq war is responsible for the rise terrorism” meme. The article you cited is clear about Zarqawi’s pedigree.
In the Boston Globe article you cite, no where does the “unnamed intelligence officials” say Zarqawi’s network “rival” that of bin Laden’s. There are no direct quotes to this effect. It is an interpretation of the newspaper. Don’ fall for that trick.
It isn’t Boston Globe it is AP. And, here is the full article talking about that.
Read the comments policy. Do not put entire articles in the comments section. I am completely capable of following a link and reading the entire article. There is no need to cut & paste it here.
Oh, excuse me, since its AP that makes all of the difference.
Again, there is no direct quote from any intel offical mentioning rivalry. That is a figment of the AP’s imagination.
Basically, what I see as happening is that the Jihadist movement that was spread out and leaderless after Afghanistan is moving together under new leadership as there is a new jihadist base whereas the previous base was in Afghanistan. After we cut off the new jihadist base from a home in Anbar and keep them from crossing the border the sitution will get better.
Read the comments policy. Do not put entire articles in the comments section. I am completely capable of following a link and reading the entire article. There is no need to cut & paste it here.
Oh, excuse me, since its AP that makes all of the difference.
Basically, I have been predicting this, I don’t see it like the article sees it, I think what is going on is that loyality in the jihadist movement has been changing hands more then anything with Bin Laden out of the picture it has allowed Z-man to try to fill in the void. He is basically trying to re-centralize a de-centralized network as I see it. But, once we clean out Anbar, protect the border, and get Syria to camp down the threat will be gone.
I don’t see this as blowback as much as an inevitibility of war that war creates new leaders for jihadists to follow. But, I also believe in the next 6-8 months we can clear out Anbar and leave the jihadist network leaderless again.
Except for the criminals. Those will outlive all of the unborn grandchildren of everyone who posts here, but that will not be our problem!
“Jim Judd, the director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service calls Iraq a “post-graduate faculty for terrorism”
US kills 20 Terrorists in Western Iraq
On Saturday, American forces conducted a series of raids at the Syrian border. In western Iraq, the Anbar province, 20 terrorists were killed during raids on houses believed to contain foreign al-Qaeda fighters. The U.S. is continuing the offensive, no…
well is the glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty? We killed or captured 50%, well sounds to me like 1/2 empty.That means the foreign born fighters have increased there force. Can they continue to take such loses ? I think easily reprenished. Can we keep them from crossing into Iraq ? I the most worrisome thing is when they return home. Their status as a returnee of having fought the USA and survived will attract others to rally around them. Look at the blowback we got from supporting al Queda in the 80’s when they were fighting the Red Bear.
#49 – US was not supporting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. US provided arms and money to Afghanis who were fighting the occupation of their country by the Soviets.
Once the Soviets left, the Islamist minority decided to go for a bloody power grab, and started a horrific civil war, resulting in Taliban rule on most of Afghanistan.
#49 john Ryan
“Look at the blowback we got from supporting al Queda in the 80’s when they were fighting the Red Bear.”
Fact check: al Qaeda did not exists as an oraganization until the mid-1990’s. The predecessors of al Qaeda, like bin Laden, who were in Afghanistan were funded & armed by Saudi Arabia, not the US. For the record, the US, & the Pakistani Intelligence Sevices have all denied funding Osama’s group. This fact has even been underlined by Osama himself who told Peter Bergen in 1998 that he never received US support and would never have accepted it if offered.
US support went to other Afghani groups, some of them quite unsavoury, including the thug Gulbadin Hekmatyr. The blowback, when it came, was directed at Saudi Arabia and led to bin Laden being banned from the Kingdom of SA.