Newsweek reported Afghanistan used to be the place to go for terrorist training, funding and real-world experience in battle. Not anymore. Iraq has become, in President George W. Bush's words, "the central front" in the war on terror. And compared with distant Afghanistan, Iraq has more fighting, more people, more money and a far better strategic position in the heart of the Middle East. If Afghanistan under the Taliban was a backwoods school for terrorism, Iraq is an urban university. "Bin Laden and Zawahiri remain in the leadership's safe haven in Afghanistan," says a senior Taliban official who uses the nom de guerre Abu Zabihullah. "But Iraq is where the fierce encounters take place, where we recruit and dispatch fighters and where jihad's spirit thrives."
But fortunately it is a place where we have over 100,000 forces to do battle with the jihadists, so that our military is confronting the Islamoterrists in Baghdad and Basrah rahter than Broken Arrow, Boston, or Beumont; in Mosul rather than Muskogee, Memphis, or Mesquite; in Karkuk and Karbala rather than Ketchum, Kansas City, or Kilgore; in Tall Afar and Tikrit rather than Tahlequah, Texas City, or Texarkana. And the idiots that are pushing to see our forces withdrawn must want us to fight them on our own country. Is not the loss of 3,000 people and two tall buildings on 9/11 enough for them to understand it is better to fight them over there than over here?The suicide bombers Zarqawi sent to slaughter hotel guests and wedding parties in Amman on Nov. 9 (a date that in Jordan would be written "9/11") were all Iraqis, according to a Web site used for Qaeda pronouncements. But Zarqawi is also suspected by European officials of running or inspiring cells in Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands, as well as an underground railroad for terrorists between Iraq and Italy. American intelligence officials believe his network is trying to recruit in the United States.
I hope they are smart enough to get some people inside the cells.U.S. officials are also increasingly worried that a global underground of financiers that once served Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is now aiding the Iraqi insurgency. Treasury officials have specifically designated a Libyan in Dublin, Islamic journalist Ibrahim Buisir, as a terrorist financier. "Especially given the merger between Al Qaeda and Zarqawi's group," a U.S. official says on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation, "we are concerned that Buisir may be helping to finance the [Iraqi] insurgency." (Buisir denies the charge, telling NEWSWEEK, "I'm not involved in anything... your country has gone crazy.") French investigators worry that 10 of their fellow citizens killed or captured while fighting in Iraq may be just the beginning of a wave. "Iraq is a great black hole that is sucking up all the [radical] elements in Europe," French antiterrorist judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere told BBC Radio recently, worried that such radicals already are returning home with more knowledge and training.
Europe has a number of radical elements, and they allow them to exist unchallenged, so I dont think they have anything to worry about all of them getting sucked into Iraq.Sitting there in the middle of that hole is Zarqawi, a Jordanian who until the Iraq war was a relative nobody as terrorists go. "He was a small man, with a small group, in a small jail," says Jordanian journalist Abdallah Aburomman, who spent three months in the same prison with Zarqawi in 1996. Zarqawi's jihadist views were even more extreme than bin Laden's at the time, says Aburomman, who was jailed on political charges. "The Taliban were trying to win Afghanistan's seat in the United Nations, and he said, 'Why do they want to belong to an infidel organization?' "
As Zarqawi became increasingly successful in Iraq, through a combination of brazen suicide attacks and gruesome propaganda videos, he publicly appealed to bin Laden for support and pledged to follow his lead. Bin Laden responded by anointing him "emir" of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and lavishly praising his newfound protege. Zarqawi gained recruits, and made common cause with Saddam's Baathist followers, whom he had long bitterly denounced. Even in Jordan, where he was widely despised before the Iraq war, a semiofficial poll in August (quickly suppressed) suggested that 70 percent of Jordanians approved of Zarqawi's actions in Iraq.
Jordanians are not nearly as approving of what he is doing since the three hotels were destroyed in Jordan, killing primarilly Jordanians.