Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists

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"Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists who could travel elsewhere across the globe and wreak havoc, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials and classified studies" by the CIA and the Department of State, Warren P. Strobel reported July 4, 2005. [1]

"Iraq's emergence as a terrorist training ground appears to challenge President Bush's rationale for invading and overthrowing leader Saddam Hussein in March 2003," Strobel wrote.

"To complete the mission, we will prevent al-Qaida and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends," according to Bush's Speech, June 28, 2005. [2]

Strobel countered, "But Iraq wasn't a source of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism under Saddam and played no role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Critics argue that the U.S. invasion harmed, rather than helped, the war on terror by acting as a magnet and recruiting tool." [3]

"U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is a prime potential destination for experienced fighters returning from Iraq, the study by the State Department's Intelligence and Research bureau concludes, according to officials familiar with its contents. ... Yemen is another likely destination.

"Saudi citizens are thought to make up the largest contingent of foreign fighters in Iraq, and the Saudi royal family has expressed alarm to the U.S. government over the prospect of battle-scarred militants returning to the oil-rich kingdom.

"Other insurgents are believed to come from Syria, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt and elsewhere in North Africa," Strobel wrote. [4]

Regarding the January 15, 2005, report released by the National Intelligence Council, Dana Priest reported:

"Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of 'professionalized' terrorists.
"Iraq provides terrorists with 'a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills ... There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries', ... said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats." [5]

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links


  • George W. Bush, Remarks by the President in Texas, Welcome Southern Methodist University, Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas, November 4, 2002: "Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground, so that a Saddam Hussein could use this shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint behind."