Al Qaeda Withdrawal from Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 1 month ago

In Resurgence of Taliban and al Qaeda we relied on the CTC Sentinel at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point to show that there had begun a steady redeployment of al Qaeda and foreign fighters away from Iraq and to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  “By 2007, jihadist websites from Chechnya to Turkey to the Arab world began to feature recruitment ads calling on the “Lions of Islam” to come fight in Afghanistan. It appears that many heeded the call. This was especially true after the Anbar Awakening of anti-al-Qa`ida tribal leaders and General David Petraeus’ “surge strategy” made Iraq less hospitable for foreign volunteers.”

This steady drain of fighters away from Iraq has increased lately as reported by the Gulf News.

Some groups of Al Qaida terror network in Iraq have started leaving the country towards other hot spots in Africa like Sudan and Somalia, security sources tell Gulf News.

A key reason behind the change in strategy by the so-called Al Qaida Organisation in Mesopotamia is the intensity of the latest military strikes launched by Iraqi and US forces against the network, which has been the major challenge to restoring the stability of Iraq, the sources said.

“Our intelligence information indicates the withdrawal of certain groups of Al Qaida fromIraq because of the military strikes. Many of them have escaped through the borders with Syria and Iran to hotter zones such as Somalia and Sudan,” Major General Hussain Ali Kamal, head of the Investigation and Information Agency at the Interior Ministry, told Gulf News.

“I believe this is the beginning of the complete withdrawal of Al Qaida from Iraqi territory.”

A source at Iraqi Ministry of National Security said that documents and letters found in hideouts of “some elements of Al Qaida” during search operations in Sunni suburbs in Baghdad, which were previously under the control of Al Qaida, “prove these elements left Iraq for Somalia and Sudan”.

The sources for this article are mistaken that al Qaeda has “started leaving the country.”  They had started during the campaign for Anbar and later during the initial stages of the security plan for Baghdad.  The pace has apparently increased according to intelligence obtained directly from al Qaeda.  This is very good news for Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the vigilance must not wane.  Al Qaeda left Iraq and headed for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and now Somalia and the Sudan (among other countries – AQ was already present in Libya).

The Captain’s Journal has previously recommended that the U.S. Marines be deployed to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom, and Somali and Sudan and other countries in Africa and the Middle East will need our attention.  While Iraq must be made secure and stable, we must not forget that the long war is against a transnational insurgency which has no recognition of borders as important or even existent with respect to its ideology.

  • Mark Stewart

    It is important that people remember that insurgents and terrorists do not invest in territory. AQ has demonstrated this in their expansion to Western Europe. Certainly, if there are fewer AQ present in an area, that area is less likely to suffer terrorist attacks from AQ, but it doesn’t address the big problem: Al-Qaida continues to plan and prepare for attacks and it continues to actively inspire radical Muslims to organize and operate on their own. Follow them, pry them loose from their surroundings whenever and wherever possible, and capture them. When they cannot be captured, kill them.

  • Breakerjump

    Perhaps AQ at large (disjointed as it is) does not invest in territory, but AQI and the various members and groups comprising the insurgency in Iraq were most certainly invested in territory, and heavily so.


You are currently reading "Al Qaeda Withdrawal from Iraq", entry #1189 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,al Qaeda,Iraq,The Long War,Transnational Insurgencies and was published July 8th, 2008 by Herschel Smith.

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