The White House has now released the declassified sections of the intelligence report, leaked to the New York Times about how, in the words of one anonymous official “the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse”.
Tony Blair clearly wouldn’t agree; he protested in his farewell speech yesterday that ‘This terrorism isn’t our fault. We didn’t cause it.’ And, to be fair, he knows better than most about the problems you can run into if you rely overmuch on a dodgy dossier from the intelligence services.
The report, however, makes somewhat depressing reading. It reckons
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.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.
In other words, bad news for us generally if the terrorists win in Iraq, but it unfortunately looks as if that’s what’s going to happen despite our best efforts.
It continues, very much echoing the recent Chatham House Report on Al Qaeda, that
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.
All very true, no doubt, but , unless it was in, but remains classified (which would be understandable) — why on earth doesn’t it mention — other than possibly by alluding to it in the phrase ‘underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement’ — what is clearly, rightly or wrongly, the most obvious ‘entrenched grievance’ and cause of ‘pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims’ ?
As Chatham House put it,
While Muslim anger was galvanized around Iraq it hardly ever lost sight of the Palestinian cause which could always be conjured up by any radical movement, whether religious or secular, to rally support. If there is one area of general consensus among Muslim majorities over the West’s double standards and the justification for the resort to suicide bombings, it would be in the case of Palestine. While the US and UK governments continued to deny a linkage between regional crisis and terrorism, not only al-Qaeda but also Muslims who condemn al-Qaeda continued to stress the connection. Even Muslim governments acknowledge it exists, particularly with regard to Palestine, and more recently the EU has acknowledged an implicit link between the two.
Technorati Tags: Iraq, USA, Intelligence Assessment, War On Terror