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Adversary / Threat One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Talk about (or with?) them.

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Old 07-16-2007   #21
RJO
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Default " Most foreign insurgents in Iraq are Saudis: report"

Not sure if this AFP news report (15 July 2007) has been noted here:

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Most foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from Saudi Arabia, despite attempts by US officials to portray Syria and Iran as the main culprits of violence, a US newspaper reported Sunday.

Citing an unnamed senior US military officer and Iraqi lawmakers, the Los Angeles Times newspaper said about 45 percent of all foreign militants targeting US troops and Iraqi security forces were from Saudi Arabia, 15 percent from Syria and Lebanon, and 10 percent from North Africa
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Old 07-16-2007   #22
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Not sure if this AFP news report (15 July 2007) has been noted here:



RJO
I think this reinforces the point I've been trying to make--the Saudis act like they're trying to catch extremists at the same time that they tolerate and even promote the ideology which inspires them. It's like our government arresting people who smoke pot at the same time that they provide everyone with a copy of "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"
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Old 07-17-2007   #23
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Either way, it removes a threat from the Saudi government. They go off to Iraq to fight, most of them die or are captured, so there's one less opposition member to worry about.

Of course, this is a delaying action. Enough of them will come back to Saudi in time to create problems. But the short term results benefit the House of Saud just fine.
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Old 07-17-2007   #24
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Either way, it removes a threat from the Saudi government. They go off to Iraq to fight, most of them die or are captured, so there's one less opposition member to worry about.

Of course, this is a delaying action. Enough of them will come back to Saudi in time to create problems. But the short term results benefit the House of Saud just fine.

I think you've nailed Saudi strategy. They rely on us to kill their excess militants for them. And it irks me to no end that we play along.
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Old 07-17-2007   #25
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I think you've nailed Saudi strategy. They rely on us to kill their excess militants for them. And it irks me to no end that we play along.

Agreed. It is much the same with government policy in Egypt where radical venting against the West and Israel is allowed to bleed off any pressure on the government.

Tom
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Old 07-17-2007   #26
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Default All true, but then, we've played sucker along that

line numerous times in our history. Penalty of being nice guys. That's fine and we should be like that but we could sure be a bit smarter about it...
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Old 07-17-2007   #27
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line numerous times in our history. Penalty of being nice guys. That's fine and we should be like that but we could sure be a bit smarter about it...


I don't think that we're in the Middle East because we're "nice guys."


The Middle East serves our economic strategic interest ... the question is "how much of this interest are we willing to take?"
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Old 07-17-2007   #28
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Default You're partly correct and so am I. We are there on

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I don't think that we're in the Middle East because we're "nice guys."


The Middle East serves our economic strategic interest ... the question is "how much of this interest are we willing to take?"

both counts with only a slight tilt toward your version. I think a far better question is "why did our lack of strategic vision allow this to come to pass?"
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Old 07-20-2007   #29
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I think you've nailed Saudi strategy. They rely on us to kill their excess militants for them. And it irks me to no end that we play along.
And they get the side benefit of killing Shiites and potential Iranian allies in the process. Two birds with one stone.
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Old 08-03-2007   #30
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Here's one take on the subject in the US, from the Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor, 2 Aug 07:

Behind the Indoctrination and Training of American Jihadis
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On July 26, a former Washington, DC cab driver and resident of Gwynn Oak, Maryland was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for providing material support to a terrorist group. Ohio-born Mahmud Faruq Brent, 32, admitted to attending training camps run by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT, Army of the Pure) in 2002, a Pakistani-based jihadi group established during the 1980s campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan. After training at various locations in Pakistan, Brent returned to the United States, residing in Baltimore when he was arrested in August 2005. Brent told Tarik Shah—who pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to al-Qaeda—that he had been up in the mountains training with the mujahideen. Through Shah, Brent's training is linked to other cases of Americans who attended LeT-run camps in Pakistan. After Shah's arrest, he agreed to record conversations with Brent in cooperation with the FBI. In Shah's cell phone, along with Mahmud al-Mutazzim, another name Brent used, was the contact information for Seifullah Chapman, who also knew Brent. Chapman, a former Marine, was part of the "Virginia Jihad Group," another informal network convicted of terrorism-related charges stemming from their training in Pakistan. He was sentenced in 2005 to a 65-year prison term.

As disturbing as these cases are individually, collectively they demonstrate an even more troubling trend of radicalized American Muslims—bound by Salafi ideology—receiving training overseas and returning to the United States for potential future operations.....
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Old 11-22-2007   #31
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Default foreugn fighters in Iraq

Foreign Fighters in Iraq Are Tied to Allies of U.S.
New York Times, November 22, 2007
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By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.

BAGHDAD — Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials.

The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq....
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Old 11-28-2007   #32
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Speaking to the NYT article that Rex linked is the Terror Finance Blog, 27 Nov 07:

Saudi Arabia Releases 1,500 Repentant Jihadists
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On November 26, 2007, Arab News reported that Saudi Arabian authorities had released after their repenting of their Jihadist ways, approximately 1,500 “reformed extremists”. It went on to say that: “The committee has met around 5,000 times to offer counseling to 3,200 people, who were accused of embracing the takfeer ideology. The committee has successfully completed reforming 1,500 people." So who are these reformed extremists? The New York Times reports that of the estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, nearly half of them are from Saudi Arabia. They arrive in Iraq not only with arms, but also with millions of dollars. Funds donated to the insurgents by private Saudi citizens as zakat. According to the Los Angeles Times, 50% of these Saudi fighters come to Iraq to be suicide bombers. Once caught by American forces they are repatriated to Saudi Arabia for prosecution......
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Old 05-07-2008   #33
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Default Foreign Fighters Or Other Countries Unloading Their Problems

Any thoughts on this?

http://www.jamestown.org/news_details.php?news_id=180

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Faced with a large population of young, Islamic-extremist prisoners during the Afghan jihad, governments across the Arab world found a release valve for radical religious pressures in their societies by freeing ideological prisoners on the condition that they would go to fight the atheist Soviets in Afghanistan. Many such prisoners agreed and were released by regimes that hoped they would go to Afghanistan, kill some infidels, and be killed in the process. Many of these fighters were killed, but many were not and returned to bedevil their respective governments to this day. Still, for more than a decade, the Afghan jihad allowed Arab governments to redirect domestic Islamist activism outward toward the hapless Red Army. Although the policy proved shortsighted, it reduced domestic instability for most of the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s.

Today, it is hard to know for sure whether this trend is repeating itself. Yet, we do know three things for certain: (a) every Arab government faces a domestic Islamist movement that is broader and more militant—though not always more violent—than in the 1980s; (b) the insurgency in Iraq, because the country is the former seat of the caliphate and is located in the Arab heartland, is an attraction for Islamists far more powerful than was Afghanistan; and (c) the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan seems to be more than sufficient to allow a steady increase in the combat tempo of each insurgency. Thus, the situation seems ideal for Arab governments to try a reprise of the process that lessened domestic instability during the Afghan jihad.

This circumstantial argument that the current situation in Iraq is an almost ideal opportunity for Arab regimes to export their Islamic firebrands to kill members of the U.S.-led coalitions and be killed in turn is augmented—if not validated—by the large numbers of Islamic militants that have been released by Arab governments since the invasion of Iraq. The following are several pertinent examples drawn from the period November 2003-March 2006:

November 2003: The government of Yemen freed more than 1,500 inmates—including 92 suspected al-Qaeda members—in an amnesty to mark the holy month of Ramadan [1].

January 2005: The Algerian government pardoned 5,065 prisoners to commemorate the feast of Eid al-Adha [2].

September 2005: The new Mauritanian military government ordered "a sweeping amnesty for political crimes, freeing scores of prisoners…including a band of coup plotters and alleged Islamic extremists" [3].

November 2005: Morocco released 164 Islamist prisoners to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan [4].

November 2005: Morocco released 5,000 prisoners in honor of the 50th anniversary of the country's independence. The sentences of 5,000 other prisoners were reduced [5].

November-December 2005: Saudi Arabia released 400 reformed Islamist prisoners [6].

February-March 2006: In February, Algeria pardoned or reduced sentences for "3,000 convicted or suspected terrorists" as part of a national reconciliation plan [7]. In March, 2,000 additional prisoners were released [8].

February 2006: Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali released 1,600 prisoners, including Islamist radicals [9].

March 2006: Yemen released more than 600 Islamist fighters who were imprisoned after a rebellion led by a radical cleric named Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi [10].

The justifications offered by Arab governments for these releases vary. Some claim they are to commemorate religious holidays or political anniversaries; others claim they are part of national-reconciliation plans. In some of the official statements announcing prisoner releases, Islamists are said to be excluded from the prisoners freed; in others, they are specifically included. In all cases, the releasing governments are police states worried about internal stability in the face of rising Islamist militancy across the Islamic world, the animosities of populations angered at Arab regimes for assisting the U.S.-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the powerful showings Islamist parties have made in elections across the region. While the motivation of Arab governments in releasing large numbers of prisoners is impossible to definitively document, it seems fair to conclude that those governments are not ignorant to the attraction that the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan will exert on newly freed Islamists, nor of the chance that it might take no more than a slight incentive to dispatch some of the former prisoners to the war zones. It may well be that the West is seeing but not recognizing a reprise of the process that supplied manpower to the Afghan mujahideen two decades ago.
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Old 05-07-2008   #34
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Question Hasn't it been common practice throughout history for countries, empires, states

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To look for ways to utilize their prison populations for warfighting, building foreign bases, creating havoc, or anything else they could find to help divest themselves of the burden of caring for/ dealing with them. In that sense it doesn't seem all that surprising.
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Old 05-07-2008   #35
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Thoughts of how we could exploit this immediately come to mind. I imagine it would largely hinge on tagging and tracking technology available. Do we have subdermal gps chips yet? Can they be inserted surreptitiously? Those who would know likely cant say. This does not directly address the topic at issue, but it is where my mind jumped to.
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Old 05-07-2008   #36
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It seems to me that Scheuer is really stretching to make his supposed point here.

Several of the prisoner releases that he cites are overwhelmingly criminal, not political, prisoners. In these cases, most were nearing the end of their sentences, and their release (to mark religious and national holidays) has come to be as much an expected part of the judicial and incarceration system as is parole in the US.

Second, Arab regimes are--precisely because of blowback from the Afghan experience--fully aware of the dangers of militants traveling out of country to receive "work experience" in a foreign insurgency. It stretches credulity to expect that most would today see this as an effective strategy for limiting domestic national security challenges given their knowledge that most of those chickens come home to roost.

Third, some of those prisoner releases have to be seen in the context of successful deradicalization efforts by Arab governments. In Algeria, for example, national reconciliation efforts have reduced the militant Islamist movement to a tiny, tiny fraction of what it was during the height of the post-1991 civil war (a conflict that claimed well over 100,000 lives). Egypt and Saudi Arabia have also experienced some substantial deradicalization successes, in part because of their manipulation of selective inducements such as early release.

Certainly there are recent cases of released prisoners going on to cause mayhem elsewhere (Shakir al-'Absi of Fateh al-Islam comes to mind), and there is particular grounds for concern regarding Yemen's detention-and-release (or escape) policies.

However, I suspect that a look at the background of captured foreign jihadists in Iraq in particular would show that very, very few of them had been imprisoned Islamists given early release in their native countries. On the contrary--and rather more alarmingly--a significant proportion were rather latent Islamists mobilized into action by US intervention in Iraq.
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Old 05-07-2008   #37
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Post Well Sorta

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Several of the prisoner releases that he cites are overwhelmingly criminal, not political, prisoners. In these cases, most were nearing the end of their sentences, and their release (to mark religious and national holidays) has come to be as much an expected part of the judicial and incarceration system as is parole in the US..
This one I can agree with you on

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Second, Arab regimes are--precisely because of blowback from the Afghan experience--fully aware of the dangers of militants traveling out of country to receive "work experience" in a foreign insurgency. It stretches credulity to expect that most would today see this as an effective strategy for limiting domestic national security challenges given their knowledge that most of those chickens come home to roost..
The thing about that is how often those in power don't actually care to look so far as the roosting since their expectation is for it not to happen until after their gone. I will accept however that some of those whose leadership seem to never () be gone may tend to look at it more long term.
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Old 05-07-2008   #38
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Someone in the Arab world read their history carefully, and is undoubtedly laughing his rear end off at the symmetry of the situation.

One piece of driving force of the Crusades was "What the heck do we do with all these uppity younger sons?"

Now, I know that this is only one piece, usually ignored under the religious, political, and economic issues, but it was a piece of the European motivation. Looks like the Islamic violent fundamentalist extremist terrorist criminal elements (or whatever Dept. of State wants us to call them this week) jumped on this population control technique.
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Old 05-13-2008   #39
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Default What Foreign Fighter Data Reveals About the Future of Terrorism

The author should have given consideration to profile information gleaned from Abu G detainees. It would have been a larger sampling as well as truer indication of FF presence and country of origin for FF's picked up in IZ.
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Old 05-13-2008   #40
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Bill, this sounds really interesting and like a great thread. What are we referencing?
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