Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Combating Terrorism - Sinjar Records

Last September, 2008 Presidential candidate John Edwards gave a speech at Pace University outlining a new strategy against terrorism (called "brilliant" by TPM blogger Matthew Yglesias) in which he said:
...We need a counterterrorism policy that will actually counter terrorism.

That brings me to Juan Cole's Top Ten challenges facing the U.S. in the Middle East, 2008; number 8:

8. Congress should expand funding for, and guarantee the future of, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Its researchers do among the very best jobs of analyzing the writings and activities of the Salafi Jihadis, and so of combatting them. Few government institutions are as effective. If the US government were serious about the threat of terrorism, I would not even have to make this plea. Of course, if Bush and Cheney had really cared about the threat of al-Qaeda, they would have gone after it and gotten Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri rather than rushing off on a fool's errand in Iraq.

A look at a recently-released Sinjar Records report at the CTC website shows a preliminary analysis of records containing background information on foreign fighters entering Iraq via Syria over the last year. The downloadable report says that:

...the Sinjar Records exemplify al‐Qa’ida’s fundamental strategic challenge in Iraq: melding the ideological demands of its global constituency with the practical concerns of relatively secular Iraqis.

One fact from the report that I found to be important to share is that:

...The vast majority of militants in Iraq have nothing to do with al‐Qa’ida, and they are focused on Iraqi problems: security, distribution of power and money, and sectarianism. Those insurgents are a mix of Sunni nationalists, Ba’thists, Shi’a militias, and Islamist organizations. Mistaking any of these groups for al‐Qa’ida is not simply wrong, it is dangerous....

I hope you'll visit the website and take a look at the report, which contains far too many eye-opening details for me to outline them here.


GreenSmile said...

well, Jude, looks like we will have to pick the lesser of two evils' now. John has quit the race.

Jude Nagurney Camwell said...

Yes, now there are only the two powerful and ambitious D.C. insiders left, both enriched with corporate contributions, from which to choose. Who will take up John's mantle most convincingly? Who will most successfully beat McCain in November? Important questions...as of yet no clear answers.