Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda Attracts Iraq Diehards

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September 3, 2006: Al Qaeda may be the most potent hostile group left in western Iraq (Anbar Province), and it seems to be expanding its influence. Apparently the government/Coalition effort to stamp out anti-government fighters in the province was particularly successful against tribal and warlord controlled groups, but did not seriously injure Al Qaeda, which not only suffered relatively lightly, but attracted some dissidents from tribes that were willing to negotiate with the government. Al Qaeda is the organization of last resort for diehard Islamic terrorists.
While the Iraqi tribes and warlords have political goals within Iraq (money, power, amnesty), al Qaeda is dedicated to global conquest and never surrendering. Moreover, al Qaeda is already widely hated in Iraq for its many attacks on civilians (both Sunni and Shia). However, once al Qaeda loses the tribal and Sunni support that has sustained them for the past three years, they will be driven out. This is what has happened in other Moslem countries (like Egypt in the 1990s, and Algeria recently) where the Islamic terrorists lost all local support. But this is not going to be a pleasant process. Most of the al Qaeda members are looking for a fight and are not afraid to die. There will be a lot more dead Iraqis before al Qaeda becomes just a bad memory in Iraq.

 


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