Monday, May 28, 2007

Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq

NYT reported When Muhammad al-Darsi got out of prison in Libya last year after serving time for militant activities, he had one goal: killing Americans in Iraq. A recruiter he found on the Internet arranged to meet him on a bridge in Damascus, Syria. But when he got there, Mr. Darsi, 24, said the recruiter told him he was not needed in Iraq. Instead, he was drafted into the war that is seeping out of Iraq.
In this particular case it appears he went from Libya to Syria to Jordan, and never was in Iraq, so the headline is a bit misleading. What it should say is no country is safe, and that makes it even more important that we not pull our forces out of Iraq and let it serve as a breeding ground for this evil.
A team of militants from Iraq had traveled to Jordan, where they were preparing attacks on Americans and Jews, Mr. Darsi said the recruiter told him. He asked Mr. Darsi to join them and blow himself up in a crowd of tourists at Queen Alia Airport in Amman.
Notice the recruiter is asking someone else to kill himself; the recruiter either must have his own batch of virgins here, or he realizes what he is telling the idiots that do blow themselves up is not true.
“I agreed,” Mr. Darsi said in a nine-page confession to Jordanian authorities after the plot was broken up. The Iraq war, which for years has drawn militants from around the world, is beginning to export fighters and the tactics they have honed in the insurgency to neighboring countries and beyond, according to American, European and Middle Eastern government officials and interviews with militant leaders in Lebanon, Jordan and London.
It is too hard fighting our military in Iraq; they are going after easier pickings in other countries. But if we leave Iraq, they will certainly come back and establish permanent bases there.
Some of the fighters appear to be leaving as part of the waves of Iraqi refugees crossing borders that government officials acknowledge they struggle to control. But others are dispatched from Iraq for specific missions. In the Jordanian airport plot, the authorities said they believed that the bomb maker flew from Baghdad to prepare the explosives for Mr. Darsi.
But the bomb maker probably did not originate in Iraq, and he certainly did not prepare a belt to use himself.
Estimating the number of fighters leaving Iraq is at least as difficult as it has been to count foreign militants joining the insurgency. But early signs of an exodus are clear, and officials in the United States and the Middle East say the potential for veterans of the insurgency to spread far beyond Iraq is significant.
And it would increase if we pull out of Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, general director of the Internal Security Forces in Lebanon, said in a recent interview that “if any country says it is safe from this, they are putting their heads in the sand.

Last week, the Lebanese Army found itself in a furious battle against a militant group, Fatah al Islam, whose ranks included as many as 50 veterans of the war in Iraq, according to General Rifi. More than 30 Lebanese soldiers were killed fighting the group at a refugee camp near Tripoli.
I blogged about that here
The army called for outside support. By Friday, the first of eight planeloads of military supplies had arrived from the United States, which called Fatah al Islam “a brutal group of violent extremists.”

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