Iraq War Increased Terror Threat

It seems ole Bushy might have been wrong in his opinion that attacking Iraq would somehow prevent further terror. Seems some experts in the field have a different idea. Check out this article from The Daily Star:

War in Iraq has increased the risk of terrorism against the West, at least for the short term, the International Institute for Strategic Studies said on Tuesday in its annual report on the world's militaries.

The IISS has added a section on Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network to "The Military Balance," its authoritative yearly defense handbook, which lists the size and capabilities of the world's armed forces.

"Overall, the risk of terrorism to Westerners and Western assets in Arab countries appeared to increase after the Iraq war began in March 2003," it concluded.

"With the military invasion and occupation of Iraq, the United States demonstrated its desire to change the political status quo in the Arab world to advance American strategic and political interests," it said.

"Accordingly, the Iraq invasion was always likely in the short term to enhance jihadist recruitment and intensify Al-Qaeda's motivation to encourage and assist terrorist operations."

It said about half of Al-Qaeda's 30 top leaders had been killed or captured since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, but about 20,000 militants who trained in camps in Afghanistan remain at large with varying levels of capability and motivation.

The report also concluded that there are up to 1,000 foreign fighters in Iraq targeting U.S. troops, whose exposure makes them a tempting target.

"The substantially exposed U.S. military deployment in Iraq presents Al-Qaeda with perhaps its most attractive 'iconic' target outside U.S. territory," the report said.

While some U.S. officials have said the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq makes it easier to kill them because they are concentrated in a smaller area, the institute's report said "the 1,000 estimated to be in Iraq is a minute fraction of its Al-Qaeda's potential strength." The report said last year's invasion of Iraq was a success, but that the occupation afterward was flawed.

"In the post-conflict phase and in peace-support operations, the 'hearts and minds' of a population become the 'territory' that has to be captured and held," editor Christopher Langton wrote in the introduction.

"Governments need to realize that such operations are manpower-intensive, as the human component replaces the weapon system as the key enabler to success."

The report also concluded that the United States should learn from Iraq that it needs more manpower with extra skills adopted to "post-conflict" situations. Inadequately trained reservists or private military companies are no substitute for well-trained regular troops.

"Having started with a fast and successful warfighting campaign, Operation Iraqi Freedom provided some key lessons for the U.S. and its allies concerning post-conflict operations," the report said.

"Post-conflict and peace-support operations in all their phases are manpower-intensive and require extra skills in addition to those used in the warfighting phase - as well as a fast transition from a combat posture to one which demands that support to the civilian populations becomes paramount.

So, while they agree that the initial campaign was a decent affair, making no judgement as to whether it was wise or not, they readily admit that the aftermath has been horribly botched. Of course, Bush and his cronies have admitted no wrongdoings and insist things are going swimmingly.
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