What follows is the declassified NIE with the addition of various items to expand upon the key judgments. It has been noted in a few press accounts that the evidence and conclusions in the NIE are familiar to anyone closely following events. This shows how robust our open-source environment is concerning this war. It also shows that information acquired by our intelligence services is not as exemplary as we would all hope. In some cases, I have removed sub-headlines to maintain the consistency of this entire entry.
The actual NIE text is presented in its entirety and set in italics. My comments will be in the normal typeface, while outside reporting will be added with the source noted and bold font used.
This process was time consuming. If I dropped a paragraph out of the NIE by accident, please bring it to my attention.
The declassified NIE is available on the DNI website
.Trends in Global Terrorism:
Implications for the United States dated April 2006
Embellished by copy editor on 9/27/2006United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al- Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.
The former point-man at CIA for dispensing of Osama bin Laden, Michael Scheuer, was interviewed by Harpers on 8/23/2006
. He had the following to say...On balance, [we are] more vulnerable [than before 9/11]. We're safer in terms of aircraft travel. We're safer from being attacked by some dumbhead who tries to come into the country through an official checkpoint; we've spent billions on that. But for the most part our victories have been tactical and not strategic. There have been important successes by the intelligence services and Special Forces in capturing and killing Al Qaeda militants, but in the long run that's just a body count, not progress. We can't capture them one by one and bring them to justice. There are too many of them, and more now than before September 11. In official Western rhetoric these are finite organizations, but every time we interfere in Muslim countries they get more support.
The quality of [al Qaeda's] leadership is not as high as it was in 2001, because we've killed and captured so many of its leaders. But they have succession planning that works very well. We keep saying that we're killing their leaders, but you notice that we keep having to kill their number twos, threes and fours all over again. They bring in replacements, and these are not novices off the street—they're understudies. From the very first, bin Laden has said that he's just one person and Al Qaeda is a vanguard organization, that it needs other Muslims to join them. He's always said that his primary goal is to incite attacks by people who might not have any direct contact with Al Qaeda. Since 2001, and especially since mid-2005, there's been an increase in the number of groups that were not directly tied to Al Qaeda but were inspired by bin Laden's words and actions. • Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion.
The operative phrase here is "a large body of all-source reporting"... Robert Kagan wrote in the Washington Post on 9/25/2006
that the NIE should attempt a tally of the additional terrorists "created" by the war in Iraq. This statement in the NIE refers to an increasing number of "jihadists" over an increasing area of operation. Since 9/11, there have been "jihadist" attacks or attempted attacks in: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Bali, Germany, Spain, Canada, Britain, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. An exact tally may not be possible, and comparative figures from the era prior to 9/11 are merely estimates.
We have no census on jihad from either 9/10/2001 or 9/28/2006. Such a census is, of course, an absurd idea. As far as we can tell, the number of those identifying themselves as jihadists is on the rise.• If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.
Andrew Black of the Jamestown Foundation analyzed a jihadi treatise by Abu Musab al Suri, which we will revisit later in this entry also. Black wrote on 9/21/2006
...In a highly influential and sizeable treatise posted in January 2005 and titled "The Global Islamic Resistance Call," jihadi ideologue Abu Musab al-Suri (aka Mustafa Setmariam Nasar) culminated a life of activity by providing his strategic template for the Global Salafi-Jihad . This work, rare for its self-examining and almost scientific approach, provides details for how the jihad should pursue its campaign henceforth. While not outwardly acknowledging it, al-Suri's strategic manifesto carries many of the same tenets of fourth generation warfare (4GW) as outlined by military analyst William Lind. ...
Writing in a 1989 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, William Lind and his co-authors outlined what they perceived to be the next generation of warfare. While many have viewed this article as the seminal piece on the changing face of warfare, others were struck by its applicability to the international phenomenon of terrorism.
The authors [terrorists including Suri] observed that effective terrorists tend to operate more or less in accordance with the tenets of 4GW. Similar to an ideal 4GW soldier, terrorists live almost completely off the land and off the enemy's society while operating on broad mission orders. Furthermore, they operate on a highly dispersed battlefield in which maneuverability is paramount. It is upon these primary areas, among others, that al-Qaeda strategists originally focused their efforts and in which al-Suri has developed the 4GW doctrine.
Through his writings, it becomes evident that al-Suri seeks to revolutionize the Global Salafi-Jihad by further decentralizing the movement and by limiting or eradicating the organizational aspect altogether. Al-Suri's writings and teachings, stretching back to his days in Afghanistan in the late 1990s, demonstrate the most evolved jihadi adaptation of 4GW. The primary elements of al-Suri's iteration of 4GW lie within the slogan nizam, la tanzim (system, not organization). This phrase encapsulates a number of 4GW tenets and demonstrates a significant evolution in the employment of commander's intent, dispersal of the battlefield and the decentralization of logistics.
Among the primary elements of 4GW that al-Suri has developed, none have evolved to the extent that commander's intent has. In Lind's description of 4GW, the notion of commander's intent is an integral feature in the dispersal of the battlefield. As Lind succinctly states, the dispersion of the battlefield "will require even the lowest level [of strategic leadership] to operate flexibly on the basis of the commander's intent." In Lind's model, individuals operate with only a semblance of a command-and-control apparatus.
If the number of terrorists are on the rise and they are operating under "commander's intent", then we can anticipate diverse, self-starting terrorist attacks augmented by some operational knowledge from more traditional terrorists. Plots in America, Canada and Britain may be the first indications of a broader trend.• Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.
There is some reason for this note of optimism. Hezbollah must adopt nationalistic norms to deal with complex political realities in Lebanon. Moreover, the group denounced the 9/11 attacks.
There was a split in the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Provisional IRA and the Real IRA. The latter organization disavowed the political process but was far less substantial than the former. It should be noted, however, that an important influence in this split was effective British counterintelligence and police work against the IRA. Basically, the tactics of terror were less beneficial. If we are to see such a split in Islamic terrorism, we will need to see both the increase in effectiveness of non-violent reforms and the decrease in effectiveness of terrorist tactics. These two events are some time off.We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse. New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.• We assess that the operational threat from self-radicalized cells will grow in importance to US counterterrorism efforts, particularly abroad but also in the Homeland.
Lawrence Wright, of the New Yorker
and in this year's 9/11 issue, profiled Abu Musab al-Suri and the development of new jihad theory to counter the military advantages expressed by the United States and other powers after 9/11...Unlike most jihadi theorists, Suri acknowledges the setback caused by September 11th. He laments the demise of the Taliban, which he and other Salafi jihadis considered the modern world’s only true Islamic government. America’s “war on terror,” he complains, doesn’t discriminate between Al Qaeda adherents and Muslims in general. “Many loyal Muslims,” he writes, believe that the September 11th attacks “justified the American assault and have given it a legitimate rationale for reoccupying the Islamic world.” But Suri goes on to argue that America’s plans for international domination were already evident “in the likes of Nixon and Kissinger,” and that this agenda would have been pursued without the provocation of September 11th. Moreover, the American attack on Afghanistan was not really aimed at capturing or killing bin Laden; its true goal was to sweep away the Taliban and eliminate the rule of Islamic law.
In Suri’s view, the underground terrorist movement—that is, Al Qaeda and its sleeper cells—is defunct. This approach was “a failure on all fronts,” because of its inability to achieve military victory or to rally the Muslim people to its cause. He proposes that the next stage of jihad will be characterized by terrorism created by individuals or small autonomous groups (what he terms “leaderless resistance”), which will wear down the enemy and prepare the ground for the far more ambitious aim of waging war on “open fronts”—an outright struggle for territory. He explains, “Without confrontation in the field and seizing control of the land, we cannot establish a state, which is the strategic goal of the resistance.”
Suri acknowledges that the “Jewish enemy, led by America and its nonbelieving, apostate, hypocritical allies,” enjoys overwhelming military superiority, but he argues that the spiritual commitment of the jihadis is equally formidable. He questions Al Qaeda’s opposition to democracy, which offers radical Islamists an opportunity to “secretly use this comfortable and relaxed atmosphere to spread out, reorganize their ranks, and acquire broader public bases.”
Suri is but one theorist of jihad, yet his efforts (a tome exceeding 1000 pages) are one example political theory intermingling with violent extremism. Another example is a shorter document prepared by the self-identified entity "Media Committee for the Victory of the Iraqi People (Mujahidin Services Centre)" in late 2003. The document targeted Spain as a politically weak ally of the United States in Iraq.• The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.
The Media Committee for the Victory of the Iraqi People prepared a report entitled, "Jihadi Iraq, Hopes and Dangers". FFI elaborates on the document
...Yusuf al-Ayiri was a key al-Qaida ideologist and media coordinator who was killed by Saudi security forces in May 2003. The fact that al-Ayiri is the only named person to receive a dedication in the document, and the fact that the author strongly recommends reading al-Ayiri’s books indicate that the author was either part of the circle around al-Ayiri, or would like to be associated with his ideological legacy. Al-Ayiri wrote extensively on the Iraq war and his style was characterized by a very pragmatic military and political approach to jihad. His books paid little attention to religious and theological issues.
Jihadi Iraq, Hopes and Dangers is similarly pragmatic and analytical, and this further suggest that the author is at least of the same ideological orientation of al-Ayiri, who was closely associated with al-Qaida. At several points in the text the author says "we think" or "we find", suggesting perhaps that the "Mujahidin Services Centre" does indeed refer to a closed circle of al-Qaida followers.
The document is also dedicated more generally to islamists who have fought in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia and Iraq. This indicates that the text is not intended for internal organisational use but rather seeks to provide general strategic advice to a wider international audience of radical islamists. At the same time, the author presumes that the readers share his underlying ideological vision, because he does not deal with theological justifications for the strategy he proposes.
The main thesis proposed in the document is that America cannot be coerced to leave Iraq by military-political means alone, but the Islamist resistance can succeed if it makes the occupation of Iraq as costly as possible - in economic terms - for the United States.
The document therefore offers a number of specific "policy recommendations" in order to increase the economic impact of the insurgency and the jihadi campaign in Iraq. The most important of these recommendations consists of trying to limit the number of American allies present in Iraq, because America must not be allowed to share the cost of occupation with a wide coalition of countries. If the mujahidin can force US allies to withdraw from Iraq then America will be left to cover the expenses on her own, which she cannot sustain for very long. The intermediary strategic goal is therefore to make one or two of the US allies leave the coalition, because this will cause others to follow suit and the dominos will start falling.
In the Summer of 2006, al Sahab -- al Qaeda's "media company" -- released a video of London bomber Shehzad Tanweer for the anniversary of the attack, BBC
. The murderer said, in part, "What you have witnessed now is only the beginning of a string of attacks that will continue and become stronger. ... until you pull your forces out of Afghanistan and Iraq". In the fall of 2005, a similar video from that production organization was released for bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan.We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
In Novermber/December of 2005, Peter Bergen and Alec Reynolds wrote in Foreign Affairs
that the Iraqi Jihad could lead to a blowback far greater than the jihad in Afghanistan. They detailed the thousands of deaths that resulted from Afghan jihadists moving onto other fronts and then wrote...Several factors could make blowback from the Iraq war even more dangerous than the fallout from Afghanistan. Foreign fighters started to arrive in Iraq even before Saddam's regime fell. They have conducted most of the suicide bombings--including some that have delivered strategic successes such as the withdrawal of the UN and most international aid organizations--and the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, another alumnus of the Afghan war, is perhaps the most effective insurgent commander in the field. Fighters in Iraq are more battle hardened than the Afghan Arabs, who fought demoralized Soviet army conscripts. They are testing themselves against arguably the best army in history, acquiring skills in their battles against coalition forces that will be far more useful for future terrorist operations than those their counterparts learned during the 1980s. Mastering how to make improvised explosive devices or how to conduct suicide operations is more relevant to urban terrorism than the conventional guerrilla tactics used against the Red Army. U.S. military commanders say that techniques perfected in Iraq have been adopted by militants in Afghanistan.
Finally, foreign involvement in the Iraqi conflict will likely lead some Iraqi nationals to become international terrorists. The Afghans were glad to have Arab money but were culturally, religiously, and psychologically removed from the Afghan Arabs; they neither joined al Qaeda nor identified with the Arabs' radical theology. Iraqis, however, are closer culturally to the foreigners fighting in Iraq, and many will volunteer to continue other jihads even after U.S. troops depart.• The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
These four factors should be raised at this point...
(1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness;
(2) the Iraq "jihad";
(3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and
(4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims'all of which jihadists exploit.
Two feeds One, Three and Four. It might be broken out, but it is worth paying close attention to the situation in Iraq and how it affected the jihadist narrative...Michael Scheuer
from the Harpers' interview...Iraq was the perfect execution of a war that demanded jihad to oppose it. You had an infidel power invading and occupying a Muslim country and it was perceived to be unprovoked. Many senior Western officials said that bin Laden was not a scholar and couldn't declare a jihad but other Muslim clerics did. So that religious question was erased.
Secondly, Iraq is in the Arab heartland and, far more than Afghanistan, is a magnet for mujahideen. You can see this in the large number of people crossing the border to fight us. It wasn't a lot at the start, but there's been a steady growth as the war continues. The war has validated everything bin Laden said: that the United States will destroy any strong government in the Arab world, that it will seek to destroy Israel's enemies, that it will occupy Muslim holy places, that it will seize Arab oil, and that it will replace God's law with man's law. We see Iraq as a honey pot that attracts jihadists whom we can kill there instead of fighting them here. We are ignoring that Iraq is not just a place to kill Americans; Al Qaeda has always said that it requires safe havens. It has said it couldn't get involved with large numbers in the Balkans war because it had no safe haven in the region. Now they have a safe haven in Iraq, which is so big and is going to be so unsettled for so long. For the first time, it gives Al Qaeda contiguous access to the Arabian Peninsula, to Turkey, and to the Levant. We may have written the death warrant for Jordan. If we pull out of Iraq, we have a problem in that we may have to leave a large contingent of troops in Jordan. All of this is a tremendous advantage for Al Qaeda. We've moved the center of jihad a thousand miles west from Afghanistan to the Middle East.
Ahmed Rashid wrote in the Washington Post on 9/11/2006
...In Iraq, according to a recent Pentagon study, attacks by insurgents jumped to 800 per week in the second quarter of this year -- double the number in the first quarter. Iraqi casualties have increased by 50 percent. The organization al-Qaeda in Iraq has spawned an array of new guerrilla tactics, weapons and explosive devices that it is conveying to the Taliban and other groups.
Moreover, efforts by armies to win the local citizens' hearts and minds and carry out reconstruction projects are also failing as extremists attack "soft" targets, such as teachers, civil servants and police officers, decapitating the local administration and terrorizing the people.
On 9/27/2006 CNN
reports...BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- With the Islamic holy month of Ramadan under way, insurgent attacks in Iraq have risen in the past two weeks, particularly in Baghdad, a U.S. military commander said Wednesday.
"This has been a tough week," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said. "This week's suicide attacks were at their highest level of any given week."
There have been discouraging developments outside of Iraq as well...Rashid on 9/11/2006
also wrote about other developments that this report predates...Imagine an Arab guerrilla army that is never seen by Israeli forces, never publicly celebrates victories or mourns defeats, and merges so successfully into the local population that Western TV networks can't interview its commanders or fighters. Such was the achievement of Hezbollah's 33-day war against Israeli troops, who admitted that they rarely saw the enemy until they were shot at.
Israel's high-tech surveillance and weaponry were no match for Hezbollah's low-tech network of underground tunnels. Hezbollah's success in stealth and total battlefield secrecy is an example of what extremists are trying to do worldwide.
In southern Afghanistan, the Taliban have learned to avoid U.S. and NATO surveillance satellites and drones in order to gather up to 400 guerrillas at a time for attacks on Afghan police stations and army posts. They have also learned to disperse before U.S. airpower is unleashed on them, to hide their weapons and merge into the local population.
In North and South Waziristan, the tribal regions along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an alliance of extremist groups that includes al-Qaeda, Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, Central Asians, and Chechens has won a significant victory against the army of Pakistan. The army, which has lost some 800 soldiers in the past three years, has retreated, dismantled its checkpoints, released al-Qaeda prisoners and is now paying large "compensation" sums to the extremists.
This region, considered "terrorism central" by U.S. commanders in Afghanistan, is now a fully operational al-Qaeda base area offering a wide range of services, facilities, and military and explosives training for extremists around the world planning attacks. Waziristan is now a regional magnet. In the past six months up to 1,000 Uzbeks, escaping the crackdown in Uzbekistan after last year's massacre by government security forces in the town of Andijan, have found sanctuary with al-Qaeda in Waziristan.
These more recent developments feed into the four factors detailed in the NIE...• Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq "jihad"; (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims'all of which jihadists exploit.
King Abdullah of Jordan issued a warning in TIME Magazine on 9/07/2006
...But moderates pushing for a peaceful settlement, the King complained, have been "neutralized" because of the stagnation in Arab-Israeli negotiations. "I don't think people are taking us seriously," he said. "A lot of the moderate countries are feeling isolated. Today the street is saying, 'You know, we tried the peace process. We keep hoping that the Americans and the international community will step forward, we keep hoping that Israel will make a difference and reach out to the Arabs. They are only beginning to see that the only way you can get America's attention or Israel's attention is through confrontation."
The King expressed concern that the region's troubles could multiply with the crises over Iraq and Iran. He expressed fears of civil war in Iraq "if it continues to spiral," and while voicing concern about Iran's influence, he cautioned against the thought of American military action to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. "I don't think the Middle East could afford another war," he said. "A war with Iran would sort of open a Pandora's Box and one that I don't think the Middle East would recover from."
The NIE reports on some vulnerabilities to the appeal of violent jihad...Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists' radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.• The jihadists' greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution -- an ultra-conservative interpretation of sharia-based governance spanning the Muslim world -- is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists' propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.• Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.• Countering the spread of the jihadist movement will require coordinated multilateral efforts that go well beyond operations to capture or kill terrorist leaders.
The Chatham House, a think tank in the United Kingdom, reported on many of these factors in August 2006
...The traditional religious establishment (long seen as the enemy by al-Qaeda) has, by repeatedly arguing the theological case for its long-held beliefs, substantially shifted opinion against the resort to violence on religious grounds. This has been particularly evident in Egypt, Saudi and Yemen and has created a backlash which has in turn helped emphasize the polarization within Muslim communities over who has the right to interpret Islam. ... the theological battle ultimately poses a very serious challenge to al-Qaeda and its supporters.19
In this new climate where there is increased criticism of governments, and despite heightened anti-US sentiment, al-Qaeda’s appeal has been undermined by the more vociferous opposition. It is not so much the secular forces but the Islamist ones that have greater legitimacy in pulling the carpet from underneath those who promote al-Qaeda’s arguments.
The majority in Muslim states seem to more openly express a similar anger to that of al-Qaeda towards their governments and the West but have not adopted its tactics. They appear willing to channel their opposition through political parties and the
democratic process when it is available, but they continue to be frustrated in their endeavours to pursue the democratic path by the slow pace of change in the region and ongoing repressive measures.
Thus, against the uncertain progress of democratization in the Middle East, and the frequently frustrated ambitions of Islamist parties that condemn the use of violence, al-Qaeda continues to offer a radical alternative, even if only to a minority.If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.
Democratic reforms in Muslim nations have given HAMAS majority stake in the Palestinian government, Hezbollah a vocal minority in Lebanon, the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt (which has denounced violence) a minority in that government, and Iran-linked Shiite powers influence in Iraq and control over vital ministries.Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role.
Since this NIE was issued, Zarqawi has been brought to justice. However, the situation in Iraq and in al Anbar has not improved. A report from Colonel Devlin, of Marine intelligence, was leaked to the Washington Post and the New York Times. In a previous blog post, I put together those sources and added counterinsurgency doctrine from an interim Field Manual. Here is an excerpt
(WP) One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, "We haven't been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically -- and that's where wars are won and lost."• The loss of key leaders, particularly Usama Bin Ladin, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause the group to fracture into smaller groups. Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the mission, the loss of these key leaders would exacerbate strains and disagreements.We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qaida.
(FMI 3 07 1.1) An insurgency is organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict (JP 1-02). It is a protracted politico military struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while increasing insurgent control. Political power is the central issue in an insurgency.
(WP) Devlin reports that there are no [CE: He probably wrote “practically none” or some such.] functioning Iraqi government institutions in Anbar, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has become the province's most significant political force, said the Army officer, who has read the report. Another person familiar with the report said it describes Anbar as beyond repair; a third said it concludes that the United States has [CE: Politically?] lost in Anbar.
(NYT) Feeling marginalized in the new Iraq, the Sunnis in Anbar have generally lost faith in the new Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad. The Sunnis’ “greatest fears have been realized,” the report says.
(NYT) The Sunnis’ suspicion of the government makes the task of forging a political reconciliation more difficult, and has also complicated one policy option … dividing the country into Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni enclaves. Such a plan would not be welcomed by Sunnis, since they would not trust the central government to share proceeds from oil sales, the assessment says.
(NYT) American forces can generally maneuver where they want and are fighting to regain control of Ramadi, the provincial capital, neighborhood by neighborhood. But there are areas of the province where the Americans have not established a persistent presence, the assessment says.
(FMI 3 07) [CE: On a successful counterinsurgency] 2-10. Security of the populace is an imperative. This is security from the influence of the insurgents initially. The population is then mobilized, armed, and trained to protect itself. Effective security allows local political and administrative institutions to operate freely and commerce to flourish.
(NYT) Without the deployment of an additional division, “there is nothing MNF-W can do to influence the motivation of the Sunni to wage an insurgency,” the report states, according to a military officer familiar with it. MNF-W stands for Multinational Force-West, the formal name of the Marine command.
(NYT) The assessment describes Anbar as a region marked by violence and criminality. Except for a few relatively bright spots, like the towns of Falluja and Qaim, the region generally lacks functional governments and a respect for the rule of law.
(NYT) Although there is economic growth in relatively secure areas, much of it can be attributed to the American-supported reconstruction effort. The level of economic activity in the province is just a fraction of what it was before 2003, the assessment says.
(NYT) As the situation has deteriorated, insurgent attacks have increased. The report describes Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as an “integral part of the social fabric” of Anbar. The organization, which is predominantly made up of fighters who are native Iraqis, is flush with cash, much of it earned from black market or criminal activity.
Zarqawi's death did little to slow al Qaeda. It should also be noted that each day bin Laden and Zawahiri remain at large, it is perceived as a victory among the jihadists.• Should al-Zarqawi continue to evade capture and scale back attacks against Muslims, we assess he could broaden his popular appeal and present a global threat.• The increased role of Iraqis in managing the operations of al-Qaida in Iraq might lead veteran foreign jihadists to focus their efforts on external operations. Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al-Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation.
There may soon be a metric to indicate this assessment and similar assessments that Iraq could fuel a second jihad blowback, as postulated by Bergen and Reynolds.
Reuters reported on 9/18/2006
...JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Sept 18 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia and fellow Iraq neighbours Iran and Turkey voiced concern on Monday that Iraqi sectarian and ethnic tensions could spill over into the region, home to a similar ethnic and religious mix.
"What we fear today is that the wise could fall in the traps of the ignorant, in which case Iraq, its unity and people would be victims...," Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef told counterparts from nine countries in a meeting to discuss efforts to help Iraq quash an insurgency and quell sectarian violence.
"The dangers of such a situation, God forbid, are not a jeopardy to Iraq alone, but they will have an impact on the security of the international community and (Iraq's) neighbours," he said.
Iranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi and his Turkish counterpart Abdulkadir Aksu echoed similar concerns.
CNN/AP reported on 9/27/2006
...DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- In a sign of regional concern over terrorism, Saudi Arabia is pushing ahead with plans to build a fence along its entire 560-mile (900-kilometer) border with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering the kingdom from the chaotic north.
The barrier, which likely will take five to six years to complete, is part of a $12 billion package of measures, including electronic sensors, bases and physical barriers, to protect the oil-rich kingdom from external threats, said Nawaf Obaid, head of the Saudi National Security Assessment Project, an independent research institute that provides security advice to the Saudi government.
The ambitious project reflects not only concern over terrorism but also growing alarm over the situation in Iraq, where U.S. forces are struggling to prevent Sunni-Shiite violence from escalating to full-scale civil war.• We assess that such groups pose less of a danger to the Homeland than does al-Qaida but will pose varying degrees of threat to our allies and to US interests abroad. The focus of their attacks is likely to ebb and flow between local regime targets and regional or global ones.
Zawahiri released a tape on the anniversary of 9/11. He explicitly threatened United States interests in the oil-rich gulf and the state of Israel.Newsweek on 10/2/2006
also reports on the resurgence of the TalibanThe Taliban doesn't always share Al Qaeda's goals or tactics, although some units have taken up suicide bombing. But a guerrilla calling himself Commander Hemat, a former anti-Soviet mujahedin fighter who now works closely with the Taliban and Al Qaeda, says foreign Arabs are being welcomed again. "Now the money is flowing again because the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan are producing results," he told NEWSWEEK. Zabibullah, a Taliban operative who has proved reliable in the past, says the Qaeda operatives "feel more secure and can concentrate on their own business other than just surviving."
The insurgency in Afghanistan has borrowed tactics -- improvised explosive devices, internet videos for recruiting, bombs transported on bicycles -- from the Iraqi insurgency.We judge that most jihadist groups -- both well-known and newly formed -- will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets to implement their asymmetric warfare strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist attacks in urban environments. Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics.• CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups.While Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, remain the most active state sponsors of terrorism, many other states will be unable to prevent territory or resources from being exploited by terrorists.
Pakistan has recently settled into a treaty with tribes on the Afghan border. The Christian Science Monitor on 9/26/2006
reports this as a sign of weakness for Musharraf's government....In North Waziristan, JUI leaders responded by flexing their political muscles: they brought local Pakistani Taliban to the table and negotiated a cease-fire. For now, a delicate peace seems to be restored. But for many, relying on JUI as the middle man between the government and the Taliban is a Faustian deal, and it underscores Musharraf's political weakness at home. In the deal, JUI also won concessions for the local Taliban, resulting in the release from prison of hundreds of their fighters.
JUI members defend the deal as a practical solution for peace. "The North Waziristan deal is a good for the people, so we supported it," says Mr. Banoori.
CNN reports that early indications show an increase in attacks launched from this area against the Afghan government.Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint.
The strange alliance between a socialist ruler in Latin America and the president of Iran was a showcase of last week's United Nations meeting of the General Assembly.• We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.