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April 07, 2007



"In a way, then, this offers a rebuttal to one of the main current American justifications for not withdrawing from Iraq - that al-Qaeda would establish a safe haven in the Sunni areas which would become a new base."

The way I see it, the main problem that will have to be faced after the Iraq war is not that al-Qaeda will establish a foothold in Iraq, because their ideas are not attractive to most Iraqis - just look at Iraq before the invasion.

The problem is having a huge class of wandering war refugees and foreign fighters who will most likely be expelled from Iraq once there is a stable government there (think of the Uzbeks in the NWFP between Pakistan and Afghanistan). This is the problem I think we should be focusing on in terms of post-Iraq Middle East stability.


Mike - I agree with you - I've argued often that the fears of AQ in Iraq post-withdrawal are deeply overblown.. what I meant was that this is one of the justifications most often given by American officials.



It seems to me very unfortunate that even when so many intelligence analysts (this blog in not uncommon in this regard) are concluding that the "they will follow us home" meme is overblown and not representative of realities in the region, Bush and many commentators in the U.S. continue to repeat this fact, their last standing justification of the war. It makes it seem as if the thinkers carrying out the work of doing real intelligence are ignored and impotent to bring about needed change because of larger institutional failures.

Non-Arab Arab

Take another potential tack to throw onto the pile: after an American withdrawal the big intra-communal civil wars hot up. ISI vs Iraqi Nationalist insurgents, Sadrists vs SCIRI types - to name the two most obvious big divisions. The outcome of all of that being a big unknown and as dependent on outside players as internal dynamics.


Apart from Iraq entirely disintegrating into a bloody mass once USA withdraws, is it at that point not likely that the Travelling Circus of Jihad will return to Afghanistan for yet another show?


Surely if the anti-ALQ component of the insurgency splits away it will find itself the subject of ruthless AlQ attacks and assassinations as ISI has been claiming recently? And as Azzaman in English is reporting today is happening in Diyala.

The anti AlQ component would then find itself fighting ISI as well as the ISF and the Coalition forces. Seems to me that's a catch between a rock and a very hard place. Disunity usually spells death for insurgencies.

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