A follow-up to my post, Why The 'War on Terror' is Failing. Cox News Service reports:
WASHINGTON - The United States is losing its fight against terrorism and the Iraq war is the biggest reason why, more than eight of 10 American terrorism and national security experts concluded in a poll released yesterday.
One participant, a former CIA official who described himself as a conservative Republican, said the war in Iraq has provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza, a valuable training ground and a strategic beachhead at the crossroads of the oil-rich Persian Gulf and Turkey.
"The war in Iraq broke our back in the war on terror," said the former official, Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris, a popular book highly critical of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism efforts. "It has made everything more difficult and the threat more existential."
This backs up an earlier article in the Toronto Star article from June 15 that told us, "Washington is failing to make progress in the global war on terror and the next 9/11-style attack is not a question of if, but when. That is the scathing conclusion of a survey of 100 leading American foreign-policy analysts.
"In its first 'Terrorism Index,' released yesterday, the influential journal Foreign Policy found surprising consensus among the bipartisan experts.
"Some 86 per cent of them said the world has grown more, not less, dangerous, despite President George W. Bush's claims that the U.S. is winning the war on terror." This is in line with Cox's story, which tells us that that 84% of the security experts they surveyed told them that the US was not winning the war on terror and 86% said the world was becoming "more dangerous for the United States and the American people."
Both articles agree on one reason for the failure of the 'war on terror' - the war in Iraq. "Asked whether the war in Iraq is helping or hurting the global anti-terrorism campaign," Cox reports, "87 percent said hurting." The Star comes to a broader conclusion - "The main reasons for the decline in security, [the experts] said, were the war in Iraq, the detention of terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay, U.S. policy towards Iran and U.S. energy policy."
The Jamestown Foundation tells us of an al Qaeda 'playbook' published online by the Center of Islamic Studies and Research - an al Qaeda affiliated group - and breaks down their strategy this way:
The ‘Path of Empowerment' theme constitutes the strategy of the mujahideen. In this the author further sub-divides into three distinct phases:
1) The Disruption and Exhaustion phase
2) The Management of Barbarism phase
3) The Empowerment phase
In the first "Disruption and Exhaustion" phase, the mujahideen are to a) exhaust the enemy's forces by stretching them through dispersal of targets and b) "attract the youth through exemplary targeting such as occurred at Bali, Al-Muhayya and Djerba."
At the "Management of Barbarism phase", the mujahideen are to "establish internal security, ensure food and medical supplies, defend the zone from external attack, establish Shari'ah justice, an armed force, an intelligence service, provide economic sufficiency, defend against [public] hypocrisy and deviant opinions and ensure obedience, and the establishment of alliances with neighboring elements that are yet to give total conformity to the Management, and improve management structures."
The "Empowerment" phase is an extension of the above. The policy is to continue Disruption and Exhaustion activities, at the same time establishing logistic links with the various Management zones. A conspicuous example of this phase is the series of events leading up to the September 11 attacks on the United States, which "destroyed the peoples' awe of America and of the lesser ranking Apostate armies." The fall of Afghanistan, the author explains, was either planned to happen, or was due to happen even without the September 11 events, and had as the result the multiplication of jihadi groups bent on revenge.
"Exhaust the enemy's forces by stretching them through dispersal of targets" and "attract the youth through exemplary targeting such as occurred at Bali, Al-Muhayya and Djerba" sounds one hell of a lot like what's happening in Iraq. And it's working.
We're so bogged down in Iraq that we really can't do anything about Somalia, where the Islamic Courts Union is being led by al Qaeda operative, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. And Somalia isn't the only concern; the neo-taliban regime Somalia may be facing is spreading its influence to Eritrea, where it threatens neighboring Ethiopia. The United States foolishly decided to fight terrorism in Iraq - where terrorism was not - only to allow al Qaeda's influence to spread in northeast Africa.