Sunday, March 18, 2007

Al-Qaeda in Iraq 2.0

Story here in Wapo on Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI apparently now) has become an almost entirely local Iraqi group. When the US leaves they will likely not attack the US because they are focused on the near enemy (The Shia government), following in the line of Abu Musab al Zarqawi and not bin Laden.

According to the story:
Little more than a year ago, AQI's back was against the wall, its efforts to recruit Iraqi Sunni nationalist and secular groups undermined by its violent tactics against civilians and the fundamentalist doctrine of its founder, Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Its attempt in January 2006 to draw other insurgent groups under the banner of a Shura, or consultative council, was largely unsuccessful.
After the death of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the group was taken over by (Egyptian?) Abu Masri, who has succeeded in quickly turning the group's fortunes around.

"In a year, AQI went from being a major insurgent group, but one of several, to basically being the dominant force in the Sunni insurgency," said terrorism consultant Evan F. Kohlmann. "It managed to convince a lot of large, influential Sunni groups to work together under its banner -- groups that I never would have imagined," Kohlmann said. In November, many of the groups joined AQI in declaring an Islamic State of Iraq.
I believe this model of AQI and not AQ will become the dominant one. The desire for a Caliphate has no appeal and no practical application. The desire for Islamic sharia states has mass appeal and local groups can connect across borders for training, info., techniques without the hassle and slow down of organizational hierarchies. This is the model being exported to Palestine as I described in an earlier post.

This trend is separate but parallel to that going on in Pakistan where bin Laden's al-Qaeda is re-forming and planning another attack on US soil.

What happens in Pakistan and Afghanistan has been learned from the Iraqi insurgency not the reverse. From the article:
Al-Qaeda has also learned tactical lessons from AQI, adopting the suicide-bombing and roadside-explosive techniques perfected in Iraq and putting them to use in Afghanistan and elsewhere. "That genie is already out of the bottle," [terrorism expert Bruce] Hoffman said. "The lesson of Iraq," he said, is that "a bunch of guys with garage-door openers and cordless phones can stymie the most advanced military in the history of mankind."
But Bush and Cheney's repeated claims that if the US withdraws from Iraq the terrorists will follow is totally off base. The group that is coming for us is forming in Pakistan and the tribal borderland of Afghanistan (Waziristan).

An outside chance would be a renewed Taliban alliance with the Pakistani government and the Taliban would be willing to turn on bin Laden and AQ, but at the price of the Taliban taking Afghanistan back--i.e. all foreign troops out and the fall of the Karzai government.

The flypaper theory of attracting all the jihadis to one place (Iraq) to kill them all has proved shall we say less than accurate.


Post a Comment

<< Home