Al Qaeda web sites are making a
lot of noise about "why we lost in Iraq." Western intelligence agencies are
fascinated by the statistics being posted in several of these Arab language
sites. Not the kind of stuff you read about in the Western media. According to
al Qaeda, their collapse in Iraq was steep and catastrophic. According to their
stats, in late 2006, al Qaeda was responsible for 60 percent of the terrorist
attacks, and nearly all the ones that involved killing a lot of civilians. The
rest of the violence was carried out by Iraqi Sunni Arab groups, who were
trying in vain to scare the Americans out of the country.
Qaeda has been shattered, with most of its leadership and foot soldiers dead,
captured or moved from Iraq. As a result, al Qaeda attacks have declined more
than 90 percent. Worse, most of their Iraqi Sunni Arab allies have turned on
them, or simply quit. This "betrayal" is
handled carefully on the terrorist web sites, for it is seen as both shameful,
and perhaps recoverable.
defeat was not as sudden as it appeared to be, and some Islamic terrorist web
sites have been discussing the problem for several years. The primary cause has
been Moslems killed as a side effect of
attacks on infidel troops, Iraqi security forces and non-Sunnis. Al Qaeda plays
down the impact of this, calling the Moslem victims "involuntary martyrs." But
that's a minority opinion. Most Moslems, and many other Islamic terrorists, see
this as a surefire way to turn the Moslem population against the Islamic
radicals. That's what happened earlier in Algeria, Afghanistan, Egypt and many
other places. It's really got nothing to do with religion. The phenomenon hits
non-Islamic terrorists as well (like the Irish IRA and the Basque ETA).
al Qaeda leadership saw the problem, and tried to convince the "Al Qaeda In
Iraq" leadership to cool it. That didn't work. As early as 2004, some Sunni
Arabs were turning on al Qaeda because of the "involuntary martyrs" problem.
The many dead Shia Arab civilians led to a major terror campaign by the Shia
majority. They controlled the government, had the Americans covering their
backs, and soon half the Sunni Arab population were refugees.
the "Al Qaeda In Iraq" leadership was out of control. Most of these guys are
really out there, at least in terms of fanaticism and extremism. This led to
another fatal error. They declared the establishment of the "Islamic State of Iraq" in late 2006.
This was an act of bravado, and touted as the first step in the re-establishment
of the caliphate (a global Islamic state, ruled over by God's representative on
earth, the caliph.) The caliphate has been a fiction for over a thousand years.
Early on, the Islamic world was split by ethnic and national differences, and
the first caliphate fell apart after a few centuries. Various rulers have claimed the title over
the centuries, but since 1924, when the Turks gave it up (after four
centuries), no one of any stature has taken it up. So when al Qaeda "elected" a
nobody as the emir of the "Islamic State of Iraq", and talked about this being the
foundation of the new caliphate, even many pro-al Qaeda Moslems were aghast.
When al Qaeda could not, in 2007, exercise any real control over the parts of
Iraq they claimed as part of the new Islamic State, it was the last straw. The
key supporters, battered by increasingly effective American and Iraqi attacks,
dropped their support for al Qaeda, and the terrorist organization got stomped
to bits by the "surge offensive" of last year. The final insult was delivered
by the former Iraqi Sunni Arab allies, who quickly switched sides, and
sometimes even worked with the Americans (more so than the Shia dominated Iraqi
security forces) to hunt down and kill al Qaeda operators.
If you can
read Arabic, you can easily find these pro-terrorism sites, and see for yourself
how al Qaeda is trying to explain its own destruction to its remaining
supporters. While it's common to assume the Information War has been going
against the West, this was not the case when you checked with what was going on
inside the enemy camp.