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Remember The Myth Of Al Qaeda In Iraq?

The latest report from Reuters about Al Qaeda In Iraq’s doings:

Iraqis gather at the site of a massive bomb attack at the Ministry of Justice in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009.

Qaeda-linked group claims Baghdad bomb attacks

Tue Oct 27

DUBAI (Reuters) – An al Qaeda-linked group has said it carried out the twin suicide bombings that killed 155 people in Baghdad on Sunday and revived doubts about security in the run-up to Iraq’s elections in January.

The statement dated October 26 was posted by the Islamic State in Iraq group on a website often used by militants to announce responsibility for such attacks.

"Suicide bombers targeted the dens of infidelity and pillars of the rejectionist Shi’ite state in the land of the caliphate," the statement said.

It employed language often used by Sunni Arab militants to describe the Shi’ite Muslim majority that has dominated the Iraqi government since the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.

"Among the chosen targets were the ministry of oppression known as the ministry of justice and the Baghdad provincial assembly … The enemies only understand the language of force," said the statement.

The authenticity of the claim could not be immediately verified.

The same group has said it was behind attacks near government ministries in Baghdad that killed 95 people in August

And this, from the Associated Press:

Al-Qaida linked group claims Baghdad attacks


BAGHDAD — An al-Qaida linked group claimed responsibility for the twin suicide bombings in the heart of Baghdad that killed at least 155 people as Iraq’s political leadership on Tuesday stepped up efforts to agree on new voting guidelines ahead of January elections.

The militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq said in a statement posted on the Internet late Monday that its "martyrs … targeted the dens of infidelity."

The al-Qaida posting on Monday said the group’s suicide bombers targeted the "pillars of the Safawi and rejectionist state in the land of caliphate," referring to the Shiite government in Baghdad and its close ally, Iran.

"One of these selected targets that were hit this time was the ‘Ministry of Injustice and Oppression,’ the so-called Ministry of Justice, along with the Baghdad Provincial Council," the militant statement said.

The authenticity of the statement, which appeared on a Web site commonly used for militant messaging, could not be independently confirmed. The same group also claimed responsibility for August bombings of two government ministries in Baghdad, when more than 100 people were killed.

Linked to the wider terror network, the Islamic State of Iraq is an umbrella group within the Arab country that comprises a militant coalition in which al-Qaida is a leading member…

Of course the authenticity of these claims could not be confirmed, since according to our media master the Islamic State in Iraq was largely a myth — a lie like that about Iraq’s WMD, made up by the evil George Bush.

For, lest we forget, just a little more than a year ago we were getting a constant diet of stories like this from those military experts in the media, such as those at the Washington Monthly:

The Myth of AQI [The Islamic State in Iraq]

Fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq is the last big argument for keeping U.S. troops in the country. But the military’s estimation of the threat is alarmingly wrong.

By Andrew Tilghman

September 6, 2007

This scenario has become common. After a strike, the military rushes to point the finger at al-Qaeda, even when the actual evidence remains hazy and an alternative explanation—raw hatred between local Sunnis and Shiites—might fit the circumstances just as well. The press blasts such dubious conclusions back to American citizens and policy makers in Washington, and the incidents get tallied and quantified in official reports, cited by the military in briefings in Baghdad. The White House then takes the reports and crafts sound bites depicting AQI as the number one threat to peace and stability in Iraq. (In July, for instance, at Charleston Air Force Base, the president gave a speech about Iraq that mentioned al-Qaeda ninety-five times.)

By now, many in Washington have learned to discount the president’s rhetorical excesses when it comes to the war. But even some of his harshest critics take at face value the estimates provided by the military about AQI’s presence. Politicians of both parties point to such figures when forming their positions on the war. All of the top three Democratic presidential candidates have argued for keeping some American forces in Iraq or the region, citing among other reasons the continued threat from al-Qaeda.

But what if official military estimates about the size and impact of al-Qaeda in Iraq are simply wrong? Indeed, interviews with numerous military and intelligence analysts, both inside and outside of government, suggest that the number of strikes the group has directed represent only a fraction of what official estimates claim. Further, al-Qaeda’s presumed role in leading the violence through uniquely devastating attacks that catalyze further unrest may also be overstated.

Having been led astray by flawed prewar intelligence about WMDs, official Washington wants to believe it takes a more skeptical view of the administration’s information now. Yet Beltway insiders seem to be making almost precisely the same mistakes in sizing up al-Qaeda in Iraq

Al-Qaeda in Iraq… was founded in 2003 by the now-dead Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. (The extent of the group’s organizational ties to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda is hotly debated, but the organizations share a worldview and set of objectives.) AQI is believed to have the most non-Iraqis in its ranks, particularly among its leadership. However, most recent assessments say the rank and file are mostly radicalized Iraqis. AQI, which calls itself the "Islamic State of Iraq," espouses the most radical form of Islam and calls for the imposition of strict sharia, or Islamic law. The group has no plans for a future Iraqi government and instead hopes to create a new Islamic caliphate with borders reaching far beyond Mesopotamia

How big, then, is AQI? The most persuasive estimate I’ve heard comes from Malcolm Nance, the author of The Terrorists of Iraq and a twenty-year intelligence veteran and Arabic speaker who has worked with military and intelligence units tracking al-Qaeda inside Iraq. He believes AQI includes about 850 full-time fighters, comprising 2 percent to 5 percent of the Sunni insurgency. "Al-Qaeda in Iraq," according to Nance, "is a microscopic terrorist organization."

Even if the manpower and number of attacks attributed to AQI have been exaggerated—and they have—many observers maintain that what is uniquely dangerous about the group is not its numbers, but the spectacular nature of its strikes…

But is this view of AQI’s vanguard role in destabilizing Iraq really true? …

The view that AQI is neither as big nor as lethal as commonly believed is widespread among working-level analysts and troops on the ground. A majority of those interviewed for this article believe that the military’s AQI estimates are overblown to varying degrees. If such misgivings are common, why haven’t doubts pricked the public debate? The reason is that alternate views are running up against an echo chamber of powerful players all with an interest in hyping AQI’s role…

The press has also been complicit in inflating the threat of AQI. Because of the danger on the ground, reporters struggle to do the kind of comprehensive field reporting that’s necessary to check facts and question statements from military spokespersons and Iraqi politicians. Today, for example, U.S. reporters rarely travel independently outside central Baghdad. Few, if any, insurgents have ever given interviews to Western reporters. These limitations are understandable, if unfortunate. But news organizations are reluctant to admit their confines in obtaining information. Ambiguities are glossed over; allegations are presented as facts. Besides, it’s undeniably in the reporter’s own interest to keep "al-Qaeda attacks" in the headline, because it may move their story from A16 to A1.

Finally, no one has more incentive to overstate the threat of AQI than President Bush and those in the administration who argue for keeping a substantial military presence in Iraq. Insistent talk about AQI aims to place the Iraq War in the context of the broader war on terrorism. Pointing to al-Qaeda in Iraq helps the administration leverage Americans’ fears about terrorism and residual anger over the attacks of September 11. It is perhaps one of the last rhetorical crutches the president has left to lean on.

This is not to say that al-Qaeda in Iraq doesn’t pose a real danger, both to stability in Iraq and to security in the United States. Today multiple Iraqi insurgent groups target U.S. forces, with the aim of driving out the occupation. But once our troops withdraw, most Sunni resistance fighters will have no impetus to launch strikes on American soil. In that regard, al-Qaeda—and AQI, to the extent it is affiliated with bin Laden’s network—is unique. The group’s leadership consists largely of foreign fighters, and its ideology and ambitions are global. Al-Qaeda fighters trained in Baghdad may one day use those skills to plot strikes aimed at Boston.

Yet it’s not clear that the best way to counter this threat is with military action in Iraq. AQI’s presence is tolerated by the country’s Sunni Arabs, historically among the most secular in the Middle East, because they have a common enemy in the United States. Absent this shared cause, it’s not clear that native insurgents would still welcome AQI forces working to impose strict sharia. In Baghdad, any near-term functioning government will likely be an alliance of Shiites and Kurds, two groups unlikely to accept organized radical Sunni Arab militants within their borders. Yet while precisely predicting future political dynamics in Iraq is uncertain, one thing is clear now: the continued American occupation of Iraq is al-Qaeda’s best recruitment tool, the lure to hook new recruits

Five years ago, the American public was asked to support the invasion of Iraq based on the false claim that Saddam Hussein was somehow linked to al-Qaeda. Today, the erroneous belief that al-Qaeda’s franchise in Iraq is a driving force behind the chaos in that country may be setting us up for a similar mistake.

You see, Al Qaeda In Iraq (AKA, the Islamic State of Iraq), “has no plans for a future Iraqi government.”

That’s why they are now blowing up everything they can to disrupt the upcoming Iraqi elections.

Oh, and once the US forces leave, these terrorists will lay down their arms.

Our media masters told us so.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Remember The Myth Of Al Qaeda In Iraq?”

  1. proreason says:

    Wait and see what happens when the US pulls out.

    The over-under on the fall of the government in Iraq is 2 months.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      I’m more of a “few weeks” guy. My curiosity stems from how the left will spin it. Or, if they’ll report on it at all.

      In the beginning, I was all for the Iraqis killing each other. After all, ’twas the British who first set up a government there under the pretense of civilizing them. There never really was, or is a “nation of Iraq”. For them, they have little interest or knowledge of anything outside their own tribes. TV is still a very odd thing and though I can’t get in their heads a speak for how they might interpret “world news”, I do know that a great many of them are illiterate and don’t read a paper anyhow. They are just as likely to have a soccer match on the nearest television as anything else…and I have no idea how many channels there are in Iraq…but I’ll bet it ain’t many.

      Americans fail to account for the information availability drop when considering the sand-people. For them, life hasn’t changed much since the crusades. Civilization, western style, hasn’t really reached much of the country, such as it is.

      But one thing is for sure as Pro has said: The place will change considerably come the day the US military leaves. The strongest of the tribes will win power, the defeated tribes will be subjected to torture, rape and worse, there will be lots of screaming in the streets and then, after things settle down, they will realize they have NOTHING again and will simply operate in gang-fashion for gas, water, food, etc.

      So call me an elitist….but I like living in civilization with a hot shower, a microwave and TV at the flick of a switch..my own car, etc. I didn’t care what happened to Iraq after we got Saddam. I never wanted our soldiers to have to go there, but I support them and have done so ever since we were there. And since we WERE there, I thought Bush’s plan to try to get them to help themselves and become an established foothold of a constitutional democracy was a good idea.

      But, if we can pull out without any more GI’s getting hurt or worse, I welcome the locals to destroy themselves. Really. I care not what they do. Nor Iran, nor Egypt, for that matter.

      My attitude now is the same as it was in the 60’s: While they’re busy eating dirt, I’m enjoying my ready-drink mix and running water. Going to the movies and so on. If they do a dastardly act here, I send F-15E’s over to their capital, turn it into rubble and leave.

      Had a neighbor who used to like to back over my mailbox…and it’s an interesting analogy. First time I did nothing. Second time, I talked to him about it and he basically blew me off. Third time, I took his mailbox out by the post, hacked it into little pieces, and threw it on his driveway. He never did it again. Took him awhile to explain to his wife, no doubt and…probably to come up with the cash to get a new mailbox and post.

      I had a sledgehammer at the ready if he built a brick one.

      But my point is, we needn’t have gone there to impress upon that Sa-DAMN guy. It was fun and we decimated his living space. But, I never felt it was our job to repair anything. Let it rot. Reagan got Hussein seated in power and the little squid went rogue on us. Should’ve taught us a lesson about trying to get involved with such things.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    Dingla”barry” says, “It is all Booooooshes fault.”

  3. GL0120 says:

    There are no al-Qaeda fighters in Iraq.
    These horrific events are the actions of fake terrorists recruited by Bush and Cheney just after his most wonderful Barack Hussein Obama (may Allah smile upon him) won the presidency of a flawed nation.
    These fakes have been tasked with making The Chosen One (Allah’s personal representative) look bad in the eyes of the world.
    I am somewhat amazed that the New York Times has not picked up on this obvious right wing conspiracy; it seems as plain as the ears on TCO’s head.

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