Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Told you so...

For a long time the Pilgrim has been asserting that the Iraq invasion has been contrary to US security interests- that we have in fact been made less safe by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld attack on Iraq. Iraq, I have said, will become the new Afghanistan.

Well, the facts are coming in to justify that previously speculative claim.

Iraq becomes prime training ground for export of Jihadists

The new generation of Islamist militants in Iraq are more battle-hardened than their veteran anti-Soviet counterparts from Afghanistan, and the export of their Muslim "holy war" to calmer Arab countries has become a phenomenon.

"The Iraqi resistance doesn't need people inside, they have more than they need, freeing up foreign fighters to fight elsewhere," said Marwan Shehadeh, an expert in radical movements with the Vision Research Institute in Amman.

"They are in contact with each other because Salafi (strict Muslim) ideology is spread all over Arab and Islamic countries," he said.

In a report released in April by the US government, Dennis Pluchinsky, a former intelligence expert in the State Department, said Iraq veterans were the most dangerous because they were better trained than their Afghanistan counterparts.

"There are some operation parallels between the urban terrorist activity in Iraq and the urban environments in Europe and the United States," Pluchinsky wrote.

"More relevant terrorist skills are transferrable from Iraq to Europe than from Afghanistan to Europe."

In the Al-Qaeda camps of Afghanistan, volunteers almost never see real fighting, according to those who have passed through.

In Iraq, if he survives, a Jihadist will have acquired unbeatable experience having been pitted against the world's best army.

"If Afghanistan was a Pandora's box which when opened created problems in many countries, Iraq is a much bigger box, and what's inside much more dangerous," said Masri.

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