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SWJED
05-27-2007, 11:13 AM
27 May The Australian - Al-Qa'ida Chief Urges Iraqis to Export Jihad (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21801634-31477,00.html) by Uzi Mahnaimi.


The deputy leader of Al-Qa'ida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has urged supporters in Iraq to extend their "holy war" to other Middle Eastern countries.

In a letter sent to the leader of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq in the past few weeks, Zawahiri claims that it is defeating US forces and urges followers to expand their campaign of terror.

He conjures a vision of an Islamic state comprising Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, where Al-Qa'ida has already gained its first footholds.

The goal of an Islamic “greater Syria”, first outlined by Zawahiri two years ago, is detailed in the letter amid growing concern about the activities of new groups under Al-Qa'ida's influence in the countries concerned...

SWJED
05-28-2007, 09:58 AM
28 May NY Times - Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/world/middleeast/28exodus.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin) by Michael Moss.


... The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.

Some of the fighters appear to be leaving as part of the waves of Iraqi refugees crossing borders that government officials acknowledge they struggle to control. But others are dispatched from Iraq for specific missions. In the Jordanian airport plot, the authorities said they believed that the bomb maker flew from Baghdad to prepare the explosives for Mr. Darsi.

Estimating the number of fighters leaving Iraq is at least as difficult as it has been to count foreign militants joining the insurgency. But early signs of an exodus are clear, and officials in the United States and the Middle East say the potential for veterans of the insurgency to spread far beyond Iraq is significant...

Bill Moore
05-28-2007, 02:38 PM
SWJED, do you think these articles are credible, or do they have a political agenda? It would seem to me that Al Qaeda would be trying to rally forces to come to Iraq for the decisive battle, not leave Iraq in droves to start Jihads elsewhere. I'm sure some designated personnel are leaving to spread their hard earned terror knowledge to other locations (as we suspect we're seeing in Afghanistan), but a large movement at this time? It would run counter to influencing U.S. policy in SEP and countering growing Shi'a influence.

tequila
05-28-2007, 02:44 PM
Fits with CIA conclusions reported by the LATIMES (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-binladen20may20,1,4894921,print.story):


...

In one of the most troubling trends, U.S. officials said that Al Qaeda's command base in Pakistan is increasingly being funded by cash coming out of Iraq, where the terrorist network's operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the anti-American insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity.

...

Little more than a year ago, Al Qaeda's core command was thought to be in a financial crunch. But U.S. officials said cash shipped from Iraq has eased those troubles.

"Iraq is a big moneymaker for them," said a senior U.S. counter-terrorism official.

...
It also made travel easier for operatives migrating to Pakistan after taking part in the insurgency in Iraq.

Some of these veterans are leading training at newly established camps, and are positioned to become the "next generation of leadership" in the organization, said the former senior CIA official.

"Al Qaeda is dependent on a lot of leaders coming out of Iraq for its own viability," said the former official, who recently left the agency. "It's these sorts of guys who carry out operations."

The former official added that the resurgent Taliban forces in Afghanistan are "being schooled" by Al Qaeda operatives with experience fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

...

Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, as the network's Iraq branch is known, has drawn increasingly large contributions from elsewhere in the Muslim world largely because the fight against U.S. forces has mobilized donors across the Middle East, officials said ...

Merv Benson
05-28-2007, 03:48 PM
We should not overlook the possibility that people are not being sent because al Qaeda has lost its rat lines through Anbar. This has to make it more difficult to get their human bombs into the fight in Baghdad. Recent posts on al Qaeda affiliated sites discussed the shortage of "martyrs" for their operations.

However, assuming the implications of the story are true and that al Qaeda is sending people from Iraq to conduct operations outside the country, If we leave Iraq, will they send more or fewer fighters?

SWJED
05-28-2007, 08:09 PM
SWJED, do you think these articles are credible, or do they have a political agenda? It would seem to me that Al Qaeda would be trying to rally forces to come to Iraq for the decisive battle, not leave Iraq in droves to start Jihads elsewhere. I'm sure some designated personnel are leaving to spread their hard earned terror knowledge to other locations (as we suspect we're seeing in Afghanistan), but a large movement at this time? It would run counter to influencing U.S. policy in SEP and countering growing Shi'a influence.

... and one I do not have a definitive answer to. Probably many smarter than me also do not have an answer to this.

Political agitprop? Maybe. That said, from what open source I’ve read, to include Inside the Jihad – My Life with Al Qaeda – A Spy’s Story (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0465023886/104-3075668-4435162?ie=UTF8&tag=smallwarsjour-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=0465023886) (I’ve read it three times and conclude it is credible), AQ remains a global threat with world-wide aspirations. There are a number of scenarios that could play out here – Merv’s is one. Another is that AQ’s strategic plans have assessed that Iraq is one in the win column and is preparing to move on. Bill, thoughts?

Old Eagle
05-28-2007, 08:42 PM
Hate to admit it, but I think that Dave is right. All the tealeaves appear to be going in their direction.

Wish we had the gumption to prove them wrong.

If not here, where?

Bill Moore
05-29-2007, 01:18 AM
I agree spreading the conflict beyond the current battlefield is their stated strategy, but it seems counterinutitive to treat Iraq as a holding action, especially with their losses in Al Anbar province. They also tried to get something in the Kurdish area, but that appears to have died down.

If I was an Al Qaeda strategist I might assume that the West is basically defeated in Iraq, not defeated in the sense that they are waving a white flag, but defeated in the sense that they can't win. We created sufficient havoc in Iraq to cause a general loss of confidence in the Iraqi government, and we created a self sustaining ethnic violence system, with no viable political end state in sight. The West has lost their political will to continue to fight (they think), and we have Iran and Saudi (both enemies to AQ) fighting a proxy war in Iraq, so now might be the ideal time to widen our area of operations. North Africa is ready for Jihad, but before I get serious about increasing the operations in N. Africa, they may want to conduct at least one more major attack in Europe to remind them what can happen if they decide to intervene and try to assist the apostate nations. Do we want to attack the U.S. now? Another attack may rewaken the American people, so it might be best to hold off until the election.

While we need to continue executing disruption operations when and where we can, but I think we also need to start investing wisely and aggressively in homeland defense, to include testing, adjusting, re-testing our defense systems. A good defense is key on a number of levels. If the government fails to respond adequately to the next attack, there will be crisis of confidence in our country beyond what we have now over Iraq.

We'll have to wait and see a little bit to see what Al Qaeda's next move will be. Unfortunately they have a lot of options.

Jedburgh
05-29-2007, 02:50 AM
...While we need to continue executing disruption operations when and where we can, but I think we also need to start investing wisely and aggressively in homeland defense, to include testing, adjusting, re-testing our defense systems. A good defense is key on a number of levels. If the government fails to respond adequately to the next attack, there will be crisis of confidence in our country beyond what we have now over Iraq.

We'll have to wait and see a little bit to see what Al Qaeda's next move will be. Unfortunately they have a lot of options.
They also have a lot of patience (speaking of core al-Qa'ida, not the affiliates, alllies, stringers, copy-cats or wannabes). They are willling to take years to plan and execute a single strategic op.

Regarding homeland defense, some of those yahoos need to get out of the gerbil-in-the-wheel routine of beating to death the last TTP seen in Iraq or elsewhere and truly analyze what the hell the bad guys are really learning about bringing the fight to us. It is only that level of understanding that will enable us to implement an effective forward defense. If we can't do that, well, hell, then all we have left is response.