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Al Qaeda diverting terrorists from Iraq to Afghanistan?
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, July 19, 2008

Consider this:
Senior leaders of al-Qaida may be diverting fighters from the war in Iraq to the Afghan frontier area, the top American commander in Iraq told The Associated Press on Saturday.
If true, that one sentence blows away many of myths that have fueled the left's criticism of the war in Iraq.

A) Iraq was a diversion from Afghanistan. In fact, it appears it wasn't at all. In fact, when you look at how Afghanistan is going and how Iraq is going, it may have moved the fight to a more favorable area (and under more favorable tactical conditions - like unity of command) for the US. If they have the power now to divert terrorist fighters to Afghanistan, it can be assumed they had the power to divert terrorist fighters from Afghanistan to Iraq as well.

B) AQI was a separate entity from AQ. Obviously if the report above is true, then the AQ effort in Iraq was indeed part of the overall AQ strategy and it was pulling the strings. That's pretty much been established previously, but this would simply reinforce that point. Thus you can then conclude that AQI was not only a part of AQ but created by AQ.

C) We've created more terrorists. If AQ had the choice of sending them either to Iraq or Afghanistan as that sentence indicates, then what were available in Iraq would also have been available for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, for years, was a less successful effort than Iraq mainy because AQ didn't have full control (the Taliban was a part of that effort in conjunction with AQ) and AQ was enjoying more success in Iraq. So it reinforced its success.

Now with that success turned into a defeat, and after the Taliban reorganizing and doing better in Afghanistan, it is that war where AQ now sees at least a glimmer of hope for its forces. So the argument can now be made that the number of terrorists would have been the same given the existence of the war in Afghanistan and they were diverted to a more promising war, at the time, in Iraq.
"There are unsubstantiated rumors and reflections that perhaps some foreign fighters originally intended for Iraq may have gone to the FATA," he said, referring to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, where extremists have a secure staging ground for movements into neighboring Afghanistan.

"We do think that there is some assessment ongoing as to the continued viability of al-Qaida's fight in Iraq," he said. "They're not going to abandon Iraq, they're not going to write it off. None of that. But what they certainly may do is start to provide some of those resources that would have come to Iraq to Pakistan, possibly Afghanistan."

[...]

"That could be under review," Petraeus said. "We do think they are considering what should be the main effort."

[...]

"We do know the foreign fighter flow into Iraq has been reduced very substantially," he said.
D) Iraq isn't the main front in the war on terror. Since this speaks to decisions by AQ as to where they will make their main effort and indications are now being seen that says it will be Afghanistan, it is now hard to argue that Iraq wasn't an very important front in the war against AQ. They saw it as the main front, while critics dismissed it as a diversion.

E) Combat troops in Iraq should be withdrawn on a published timeline (16 months per Obama). The fact that intel indicates a drastic drawdown of the AQ effort in Iraq, but not its abandonment, as well as the intel that tells us that AQ can and will shift assets to the front showing the most promise, again argues against announced withdrawal timelines and the complete withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
A) True, but kinda incidental. Though I support the war, if it was justified as Iraq gives us better tacital situations to beat the people we would be fighting in Af-stan I don’t think most would support it, (nor should they). D is a similar assertion, but much better supported.

B) Fair enough

C) is a bit of a stretch. The created more terrorists line of attack was more, inspired ever greater numbers of otherwise normal people to depths of insanity they would not otherwise reach. That AQ can control where these fighters go, doesn’t prove much about their numbers either way.

D) Agreed

E) Urges more caution than a strict published timeline anyway.
 
Written By: Joe Canadian
URL: http://
I predict that America’s military action in the Middle East will enter the canons of history alongside Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Holocaust, in kind if not in degree.
Does anyone actually place the bombing of Japan and the Holocaust on the same moral plane?
there is a sense that... The Bush administration argues that... Others argue that... The consensus is equally as torn over... Is America truly deterring future terrorists with its actions? Or is it, in fact, aiding the recruitment of more terrorists?
How do you get from that to
when will we finally admit that American military intervention in the Middle East is wrong as well?
That said invading Pakistan is monumentally stupid. I’m not sure what exactly we can do about that area, and something should probably be done.
 
Written By: Joe Canadian
URL: http://
A) True, but kinda incidental. Though I support the war, if it was justified as Iraq gives us better tacital situations to beat the people we would be fighting in Af-stan I don’t think most would support it, (nor should they). D is a similar assertion, but much better supported.
I certainly wouldn’t assert that it was "planned" that way or that it was a justification for the war - it wasn’t. I would, however, assert that turned out that way. Whether planned or not, Iraq became a better place for us to fight AQ terrorists than Afghanistan.
C) is a bit of a stretch. The created more terrorists line of attack was more, inspired ever greater numbers of otherwise normal people to depths of insanity they would not otherwise reach. That AQ can control where these fighters go, doesn’t prove much about their numbers either way.
The numbers are what they are. Obviously you have to make some assumptions, but among them is that Afghanistan would have been sufficient to recruit the same numbers if the aim of those recruited was to confront the "Great Satan" somewhere on a battlefield. If that’s true, then it can be argued that we created no more terrorists with Iraq than would have been created by only invading Afghanistan.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
That said invading Pakistan is monumentally stupid.
Agreed and would emphasize that "monumentally stupid" would be an understatement.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net

I certainly wouldn’t assert that it was "planned" that way or that it was a justification for the war - it wasn’t. I would, however, assert that turned out that way. Whether planned or not, Iraq became a better place for us to fight AQ terrorists than Afghanistan.
While I can’t disagree with anything there, I don’t think you would disagree that American focus on Iraq left Af-stan vulnerable to a Taliban resurgence. In fact I think you have made that point here. Iraq was definately a distraction from Af-stan, though I would argue a justifiable one.
The numbers are what they are. Obviously you have to make some assumptions, but among them is that Afghanistan would have been sufficient to recruit the same numbers if the aim of those recruited was to confront the "Great Satan" somewhere on a battlefield. If that’s true, then it can be argued that we created no more terrorists with Iraq than would have been created by only invading Afghanistan.
I think that assumption is largely the bone of contention for those that make this argument. Would largely Sunni Arabs from Syria, Saudi Arabia or Yemen, cared much about the overthrow of Persian sphere Pashtuns? To the same degree as an overthrow of Sunni Arab dominated Iraq? Perhaps not to the people who would join AQ, having never been either a Sunni Arab or a terrorist, nor having talked to any, I can’t say. I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that Iraq would be more rage inducing for the Arab world, in the same way that an invasion of Canada or Britain would gather more attention in America than an invasion of Argentina or South Africa.

But I don’t think this particular story changes anything about this debate either. Also I would agree wholeheartedly with something previously posted here on this subject about how numbers don’t matter so much as means and opportunity do.
 
Written By: Joe Canadian
URL: http://
So when will we finally admit that American military intervention in the Middle East is wrong as well?
When someone can actually provide some facts (not just more endlessly-discredited leftist talking points) that it was wrong, perhaps. That hasn’t happened so far, though many have tried.


btw, McQ, do you mean Iraq in the title, rather than Iran?

 
Written By: Achillea
URL: http://
While I can’t disagree with anything there, I don’t think you would disagree that American focus on Iraq left Af-stan vulnerable to a Taliban resurgence. In fact I think you have made that point here. Iraq was definately a distraction from Af-stan, though I would argue a justifiable one.
While I agree that Afghanistan was left vulnerable (as it turns out), I’d suggest that’s not what the military expected to happen (i.e. a resurgent Taliban). In fact, the Taliban has completely changed from a rather predictable group of fanatics and marginal fighters to a pragmatic and competent fighting force. I think that was an unforeseen (or at least unanticipated) development that led to the vulnerability - not Iraq.
Would largely Sunni Arabs from Syria, Saudi Arabia or Yemen, cared much about the overthrow of Persian sphere Pashtuns?
Exactly that mix fought in droves against the Russians in Afghanistan in the ’80s. So yes, I have no problem supporting my assumption. And the fact that the very group you cite is not being diverted to Afghanistan seems to reinforce that assumption.
btw, McQ, do you mean Iraq in the title, rather than Iran?
I did indeed, Achillea - thanks.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Lest we forget — Afghanistan is supposed to be the "good" war that Europeans and other countries support. It’s hard to dig up the numbers on how many troops from which countries, but it is clear that the US forces are not the 7/8 majority that they are in Iraq. Nonetheless...
"Most of the fighting against the Taliban is shouldered by Canada, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands. They all want others to contribute more." U.S., UK say allies must share Afghan combat burden
"Gates has been trying to persuade NATO allies to contribute more troops and equipment to the fight, with little success. France, Germany, Italy and Turkey have troops with the coalition forces in Afghanistan but refuse to send significant numbers of combat troops to the main combat area, in southern Afghanistan. French defense minister gives no ground on US Afghanistan combat requests
Those quotes are from earlier in the year. France has since sent more troops into combat areas.

The point though is that the Bush administration wants other countries to pick up the slack in Afghanistan and not expect the US to do most of the heavy lifting. Not surprisingly, Europeans are reluctant to do so and the Democrats, notably Obama, use Aghanistan as a complaint against Republicans now that Iraq has largely succeeded.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
The Bush administration’s war on terror marks the age in which America has again crossed a line that many argue should never be crossed.
You mean the one Congress authorized? Ah, what’s the point?
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
when will we finally admit that American military intervention in the Middle East is wrong as well?
Sacking a worthless piece of sh*t tyrant who messed with us and had it coming is NEVER wrong
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Pakistan also has the support of China and a nuclear arsenal.
Yeah....the Pakistanis have the "support" of China. I’m just positive that the Chinese LOVE the idea of an unstable nuclear Islamic country in that region.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Yeah....the Pakistanis have the "support" of China. I’m just positive that the Chinese LOVE the idea of an unstable nuclear Islamic country in that region.
The enemy of my enemy, and all that. Better than not for the Chinese to have a nuclear Pakistan to offset nuclear India.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Arcs,
Apart from some border disputes, I don’t know of anything that makes India and China adversaries. Indeed, India was set up as a <blacklisted term> country, though with democratic roots.
Until recently, India wasn’t particularly aligned with the USA and famously helped found the Non-Aligned Movement to maintain this independence.
 
Written By: anomdebus
URL: http://
Hmm, apparently putting these letters together is verboten:
s
o
c
i
a
l
i
s
t
 
Written By: anomdebus
URL: http://

 
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