Skip to comments.Iraq War Helped Boost Al Qaeda:Allowed Network To Recruit
Posted on 05/20/2003 4:40:16 AM PDT by Seti 1
May. 20, 2003. 06:16 AM
Iraq war helped boost Al Qaeda:
Allowed network to recruit
LONDON - The U.S.-led war on Iraq gave Al Qaeda the opportunity to reinvigorate its weakened terrorist network with new recruits and more funding, say experts on terrorism.
The Iraq war "clearly increased the terrorist impulse," said Jonathan Stevenson, senior fellow for counter-terrorism at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The U.S.-led invasion, at least in the short term, drew more people toward Osama bin Laden's vision of a global clash between Islam and the West, Stevenson said yesterday.
It partly explains the series of co-ordinated, multiple attacks last Tuesday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where 34 people died, and on Friday in Casablanca, Morocco, where 41 people, including 13 attackers, were killed by five bomb blasts.
Stevenson believes U.S. President George W. Bush's administration knew full well the war would initially increase support for Al Qaeda. But U.S. officials estimated the long-term impact of setting up a democratic government in Iraq would outweigh the short-term pain of more terror attacks, he said. Other experts, however, believe that the U.S., and those European countries that supported the war, badly miscalculated.
"The political masters in the U.S. and Europe underestimated the extent to which bin Laden would use the war in Iraq as a propaganda weapon to rejuvenate the movement and attract more funds," said Paul Wilkinson, head of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St. Andrew's University in Scotland.
"As far as the war against Al Qaeda goes, it possibly has been counterproductive. We face turbulent times ahead," Wilkinson told Sky TV.
U.S. officials partly tried to justify the Iraq war by insisting there were links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's ousted regime an assertion most experts continue to believe is unsubstantiated.
By linking the Iraq war with the war on terror, Bush has left himself vulnerable to Americans concluding the invasion was a failure if terrorist attacks continue, said Andrew Garfield, director of the International Centre for Security Analysis at King's College in London.
Garfield believes Al Qaeda continues to plan "something big" in the way of an attack in Europe or North America. But police crackdowns and increased security co-operation across borders have foiled attempts to carry out such plans since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, told reporters in Riyadh yesterday: "There is chatter, a high level of chatter regionally and in other international spots" that something could happen in Saudi Arabia or the United States.
Al Qaeda was always a loose collection of local terrorist groups. But the loss of its training camps and bases in Afghanistan after the U.S.-led war there, as well as the arrests of several top lieutenants, have forced the terrorist network to become even more decentralized, Stevenson said in an interview.
"So while the Al Qaeda leadership has been weakened, the network as a whole has become more elusive than before," he said, adding that responsibility for planning and carrying out attacks rests more than ever with local groups.
Prevented from attacking Western countries, Al Qaeda- linked groups are turning their attention on "soft" targets in countries where they have some popular support, and where security is weak, such as Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
But Morocco said yesterday no connection had yet been established between Al Qaeda and last week's Casablanca attacks.
Stevenson believes Al Qaeda-linked groups will further focus future operations in the Persian Gulf region because of the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.
And Garfield argued the more "preventive wars" the U.S. launches, the more Muslims will feel Al Qaeda is the only choice.
Garfield said this strategy has been used successfully by groups such as Hamas during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The more Israel fights against Hamas suicide bombers by clamping down on the occupied Palestinian territories, the more ordinary Palestinians believe violence is the only alternative.
That means the U.S. must seriously work to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which fuels Arab anger throughout the Middle East and help alleviate poverty, he said.
Yeah, we should have just held more sensitivity training sessions to learn why they hate us so much, instead of taking it to them.
It bears repeating that there have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11.
The Bush doctrine does not extend protection from terrorism to every nation in the world--its design is to protect this nation and our citizens. Other nations will eventually be safer as a result of our actions, but only if they refuse to coddle the terrorists among them.
I'd like to see all Muslims with the faintest Islamist impulse to sign up now, quickly. The more that sign up, the more we can exterminate in a timely manner.
Why, we killed thousands of Palestinean and Saudi Islamist "martyrs" in just the last couple days of the Baghdad fighting. They were trying to stop Abrams tanks with hand grenades.
Exactly. The Iraq war served as a magnet for the most fanatical of the poor, deluded saps who think that America is the cause of all their problems. Many thousands of them were killed, thus reducing the pool of fanatics for Al Queda to recruit. Hundreds of thousands more saw and heard about what happened, thus disillusioning them. This idiot is just making things up to fit his agenda. He has zero facts to back him up.
I didn't know the Israeli-Palestinian conflict helped alleviate poverty.
Considering the large number of very wealthy Arabs who have helped subsidize terrorism, perhaps more widespread poverty in the Arab nations would help to usher in peace.
The Totonto Star
Well, jeez, I didn't know that Jay Silverheels was all bent out of shape about the war. Boy, those left-leaning Canadian liberal Aboriginal People sure get around....
Be Seeing You,
Sorry, just the opposite is what is occurring.
The goal of bringing America to its knees with the attack on its economy was not reached, meaning the martyrs and their progeny are dishonored, the planners never envisioned that the end result would be the swift obliteration of their bases, death to most, jail for some, and fear of coming out into the light of day for the rest.
The region's most powerful bully has just been summarily humiliated in the blink of an eye, the "arab street", once ululating in celebration, now suffers in silence, and cautions restraint. The region has awakened to a new neighbor in their midst, no small consequence, providing more than subliminal proof of their abject failure.
Rest assured that recruiting is a problem right now for the terrorists, this article is more wishful thinking on the part of the left.
If Al Queda goes on a recruiting spree, it will likely get sloppy and make it easier for us to track them!
Despite their silly predictions, when we cut the head off a terrorist he does not spout a hundred new heads for us to deal with.
He just lays there, bleeding from the neck.
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