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US Losing the War on Terror in Iraq
by David T. Pyne
15 September 2003Iraqi Flag

The invasion of Iraq has increased, not decreased. the threat of terrorist attack to US troops and civilians.


With the terrorist bombing of the UN’s headquarters in Baghdad reportedly carried out by Al Queda that resulted in the deaths of additional US civilians, it has become crystal clear that the Bush Administration’s misguided invasion of Iraq has increased, not decreased the threat of terrorist attack to US troops and civilians. Indeed, Al Queda—a longtime rival and enemy of Saddam--would not even be operating in Iraq were it not for the US invasion of that country.

The Bush Administration is failing in its purported bid to counter terrorists who have entered Iraq in record numbers since the US defeated Saddam. In a bid to appease the terrorist-supporting Islamic Republic of Iran, the Administration has declared the People’s Mujahadeen of Iran a terrorist group and has disarmed their fighters and taken over their financial assets, despite the fact that the State Department has admitted that they pose the only effective resistance to the rule of the terrorist Ayatollahs in Iran. Along with the US decision to disband Iraq’s entire Army and security apparatus, this has left Iraq’s border with Iran wide open for Al Queda and other Iranian backed terrorist groups to enter Iraq and kill more American soldiers and innocent civilians. Furthermore, the US proconsul in Iraq recently gave in to the Iraqi Communist Party’s request to include one of their own representatives on Iraq’s new US-appointed Governing Council.

Perhaps the most disturbing recent development occurred at the end of last month when the chief spokesman of the Iraqi Al-Dawa ‘Party,’ Ibrahim al-Jaafari, was selected as the first of Iraq’s post Saddam-era interim Presidents out of the nine-person rotating chief executive body. Al-Jaafari will serve as President of Iraq through the end of August. Al-Dawa is a fundamentalist group that is affiliated with the better-known, but equally radical group, Hezbollah, which has openly declared its intentions to target American soldiers and civilians in Iraq for assassination. Some US intelligence officials have implicated Al-Dawa in the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, which cost the lives of two hundred and forty-one Marines. The car bombing of the Marine barracks constituted the most severe act of terrorism in US history until the September 11th, 2001 suicide bombing attacks. Nevertheless, in the months before the war the Bush Administration courted Al Dawa by including it among the opposition groups that would control postwar Iraq, in addition to providing it with military assistance and US training. Al-Dawa has been described by one US intelligence officer as being “like hard-core Vietcong.”

Despite receiving US military training and assistance and US promises of being a major player in the post-war Iraqi government, Al Dawa sided with Saddam against the recent US and British invasion of Iraq. Inexplicably, it has since been allowed significant representation on the Iraq Governing Council along with the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which was given fully one-third of the twenty-five seats on Iraq’s new Governing Council. Like Al Queda, SCIRI reportedly shares close ties to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which serves as Iran’s intelligence service. The leader of this group, Ayatollah Muhammed Baqr al-Hakim, warned just before the US invasion of Iraq that if US troops stayed for more than a few weeks after Saddam was deposed, Shiites would resist them by armed force. Not surprisingly, his prediction has since come true as he and his fellow radical Shiite groups attempt to takeover the reigns of government at the same time as they escalate the terrorist campaign against the US occupation authorities in an attempt to eject them from Iraq. 

Back in May and in furtherance of al-Hakim’s threat of armed resistance to the US occupation forces, 2,000 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Islamic shock troops, including armed factions of SCIRI and Al Dawa, invaded Iraq. Their objective is to take control of eleven major Iraqi Shiite-majority cities, according to London's Arabic newspaper, Al-Sharq al-Awsat. These cities include Karbala, Najaf, Hillah, Kufah, Diwaniyah, Kut, Nasiriyah and Amarah. The Iranians intend to set up revolutionary committees similar to those established after the 1979 revolution in Iran. Also sent were several hundred elements from the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Corps. These infiltrators were sent with large sums of money intended for weapons for the Badr Corps, controlled by SCIRI, and Quds Corps fighters from Iraq. A senior Israeli intelligence officer in Israel termed the new large-scale Iranian involvement in Iraq as "massive" and representative of an Iranian attempt to "Vietnamize" the country and establish widespread resistance against the American occupation forces. One wonders if Al-Dawa and SCIRI may have been involved in the recent bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad that reportedly utilized explosives which may have been purchased from weapons stores obtained from old Iraqi military depots.

The reason for the Administration’s decision to allow these radical Shiite terrorist groups the largest number of seats on  Iraq’s new Governing Council is that the neocon architects of the war in the Bush Administration believe that no Iraqi post-war government can long endure unless it is sufficiently “representative” of Iraq’s population, which is sixty percent Shiite Muslim. The conclusion that affirmative action and religious quotas should be applied to Iraq’s new Governing Council might make limited sense if it were not applied to ensure that the most militant and radical terrorist Shiite groups in Iraq are the ones given the power in the new “democratic” Iraq. The Bush Administration is repeating the same mistake in Iraq as it did with regards to the Palestinian Authority, where it continues to recognize the terrorist Palestinian Liberation Organization as the sole representative of the Palestinian people and support a PLO-led Palestinian state. The new US appointed Governing Council notably excludes the more moderate Shiite factions which it should be supporting to govern Iraq, whose leaders have been targeted for assassination by the Iranian-supported terrorist and Shiite extremist elements.

Sadoun al-Dulaimi, a moderate Iraqi tribal leader who serves as an adviser to Americans working in the Pentagon-led Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, has warned the US authorities in Iraq about the danger of radical terrorist groups like Al-Dawa, which he said would resist any non-Islamic government in Iraq. Back in May, Al Dulimi stated that Al-Dawa and other radical Iraqi Shiite groups had created their own weapons storehouses in Nasiriyah and Basra. "This will lead to civil war," al Dulimi said at the time. "I advised (Pentagon-appointed leader) Jay Garner to watch these groups. I said, 'You're going to have problems soon.'" In June, when thousands of American troops raided what they believed were bases for loyalists to Saddam Hussein, provoking a lengthy firefight that killed four Iraqis, the Shiite newspaper Al Dawa described the deaths as "martyrdom." Given the fact that Al Dawa and the Iranian-backed Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq continue to arm themselves even though Saddam and his Baathist adherents have been vanquished seems to indicate their intention to use their weapons against US troops and innocent civilians in Iraq.

Al-Dawa was banned along with other Islamic terrorist groups and parties by Saddam Hussein while he was still in power. However, in post Saddam Iraq, both anti-American Shiite terrorist groups and the Iraq Communist Party have been welcomed with open arms into the US appointed twenty-five member Iraqi Governing Council, while only the secularist Baathist Party which ruled Iraq under Saddam has been banned. The ascension of a leader of a terrorist group which is likely responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers for which it is yet to be held accountable to serve as Iraq’s first post-Saddam-era president, is a development whose ramifications have not, to the author’s knowledge, been reported elsewhere. It serves as a major warning sign that post-Saddam Iraq will likely pose a far greater terrorist threat to the US than when Saddam Hussein was in power.

In retrospect, it now appears clear that President Reagan was right to support Saddam Hussein and Iraq in their war against Iran, which today poses a far more pronounced threat to the US and its allies in the Middle East than it did during the 1980’s, although both the Reagan Administration and the British were wrong to supply chemical and biological weapons to Iraq for the same purpose. How very ironic that the US and Britain invaded Iraq supposedly to disarm it of the very weapons of mass destruction that they had armed it with only two decades ago. Iran today poses a greater threat to the US and to the region due to the fact that it possesses Shahab 3 MRBMs capable of reaching Israel and may well have tactical nuclear weapons which could be mounted atop these missiles. This fact, known to many in the US intelligence community, is the most likely reason that President Bush decided not to extend his “war of liberation” to Iran after the US successfully defeated and occupied Iraq, even while it failed to prevent Saddam Hussein from slipping away into the shadows.

Last year, President Bush proclaimed to every nation and group in the world that you are either with us in the war on terrorism or against us. If it expects compliance with this global ultimatum by the world’s nation-states, the Administration would do well to stop abetting radical Shiite terrorist groups that comprise the new Iraqi Governing Council and are clearly “against us” to avoid the appearance of a double standard in its ongoing, perpetual “war on terrorism.” The Administration’s support of these groups will lead to a more dangerous and violent rather than a more peaceful Iraq. Rather than support these radical and extremist terrorist groups and leaders as legitimate participants in the new Iraqi government, they should be banned from further participation in the Governing Council. At the same time, their bitter enemies from the Baath Party, who alone may have the ability to counter their rising influence, should be brought back in as partners in a moderate Shiite led and pro-western Iraqi government.

Published originally at EtherZone.com: republication allowed with this
notice and hyperlink intact.


David T. Pyne, Esq. is President of the Center for the National Security Interest, a national security think-tank based in Arlington, VA.

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