Al Qaeda in Iraq Still Threatens America


Soldiers wearing gas masks hold bottles containing chemical materials during a news conference at the Defence Ministry in BaghdadA week ago, Obama declared that Al Qaeda was on a path to defeat. Not only is that not true of Al Qaeda as a whole; it’s not even true of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

During his multiple withdrawals from Iraq, Obama claimed that the mission had been successfully concluded and that the war there never had anything to do with Al Qaeda. Unfortunately Al Qaeda in Iraq begged to differ.

This May, over a thousand Iraqis have been killed, nearly equaling the death toll from the worst days of the Iraq War. Car bombings in Baghdad no longer make the evening news, but they are commonplace and despite the withdrawal, Americans haven’t been immune from the violence.

Among the Benghazi attackers were about a dozen members of Al Qaeda in Iraq. The four Americans who died in the attack could be considered four additional Al Qaeda in Iraq kills.

But Al Qaeda in Iraq’s real mission lay in Syria. The Al-Nusra Front has dominated the Sunni side of the Syrian Civil War. Robert Ford, the United States ambassador to Syria, has said that the Al-Nusra Front is just Al Qaeda in Iraq operating under another name.

While Obama has been taking an extended victory lap, his unfinished business in Baghdad is on the way to accomplishing in Syria what it failed to accomplish in Iraq; take over an entire country. The Al-Nusra Front started life as a Syrian arm of Al Qaeda in Iraq which fed foreign fighters into the Iraq War and made the fighting so bloody. It has now become Al Qaeda in Iraq’s biggest success story.

In April, the head of Al Qaeda in Iraq announced the creation of an Islamic state encompassing Iraq and Syria. The Al-Nusra Front responded by pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda while avoiding acknowledging that they are not a Syrian independence movement, but a transnational Salafist front operating in Syria.

All this might seem academic. After years of trying to police Iraq, most Americans could be forgiven for not giving a damn who is blowing up who in Syria or Iraq. Unfortunately as we found out in Benghazi, what happens in Iraq, doesn’t stay in Iraq. It doesn’t stay in Benghazi either.

Iraqi authorities have arrested five members of Al Qaeda in Iraq and seized a production facility for manufacturing Sarin nerve gas along with remote controlled planes that they planned to use as drones to deploy their chemical weapons.  Their immediate targets were Shiite Muslims, but the Iraqi defense ministry stated that there were plans to smuggle the weapons to the United States and Europe.

Meanwhile Turkey arrested members of an Al-Nusra Front cell with their own stockpiles of Sarin nerve gas. Syria claims to have done the same thing.

While there are good reasons to be skeptical of any claims from the Syrian government, Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry, had stated earlier that evidence pointed to the use of Sarin nerve gas by the Sunni rebels.

The seizure of multiple WMDs from Al Qaeda in Iraq’s operations across three countries shows just how big the problem has become.

In his recent national defense speech, Obama repeated the familiar theme that Bush had diverted focus from the fight against Al Qaeda by going into Iraq and that he had restored the proper focus by moving back to Afghanistan.

In fact, Al Qaeda was far stronger in Iraq than in Afghanistan when he took office and remained so during his failed attempts at defeating and then appeasing the Taliban. While Obama threw away lives fighting the Taliban, Al Qaeda in Iraq was laying plans for capturing an entire country and its WMD stockpiles.

There is a certain irony to Al Qaeda in Iraq threatening the United States with Sarin, classified officially as a weapon of mass destruction, long after the Democrats had discredited the Iraq War with taunts of “Where are the WMDs?”

Chemical weapons are notoriously tricky and it’s likely that Al Qaeda in Iraq still has some work to do before it can successfully deploy a WMD. In the nineties, a Japanese doomsday cult’s Sarin nerve gas attacks only killed twenty people and sickened thousands. But 0.5 milligrams of Sarin is a lethal dose for an adult and the Al-Nusra Front cells had kilograms of it.

Syria as a whole may have a thousand tons of Sarin. The Tokyo doomsday cult planned to kill millions with its 70 tons. And as Syrian bases and facilities fall into the hands of the Al-Nusra Front, it will no longer have to rely on crude attempts to manufacture weapons that it can just pick up wholesale.

In his speech at the National Defense University, Obama declared that the war must end. And no doubt it will. One way or another. Nothing lasts forever. But his implication that America can end the war by becoming more passive is wrong.

The war did not begin because the United States was too active, but because it was too passive and took refuge in the cult of root causes instead of dealing directly and immediately with threats. September 11 was shocking, but it was also inevitable. It is equally inevitable that a terrorist attack will one day occur that will be bigger and more devastating than it.

Washington, D.C. often lives in its own bubble. Having forgotten about Iraq once it stopped being a political football, Democratic politicians imagine that Iraq and its Al Qaeda legions have forgotten about them. The Sarin raids in Iraq, Turkey and Syria are a reminder that Al Qaeda in Iraq may now be a bigger threat than it ever was before.

The Clinton Administration chose not to take down Bin Laden when it had the chance, instead taking refuge in outreach and “smart” targeted strikes that were the predecessors of today’s drone warfare. It believed that showing Muslims that we would engage in humanitarian intervention to empower their national aims in Yugoslavia would count for more than hunting down Osama bin Laden. It was wrong.

September 11 was the outcome of its neglect. Now the Obama Administration is allowing history to repeat itself with more humanitarian interventions and smart strikes that overlook the real threat growing on the horizon.

The Sarin raids should be a wake up call. But this is not an administration that takes 3 AM calls.

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  • Patricia Helvenston

    This is truly scary news disseminated in this paper. Write to the President of the US, your congressmen and representatives and demand that we prepare ourselves for sarin attacks. Buy gas masks and urge your friends, family and acquaintences to spread the word about Islamic Jihad and what Al Qaeda plans to do.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Read Revelation. In GOD We Trust.

  • UCSPanther

    Bush was right about WMDs after all, but it turns out, he was looking in the wrong places…

    I can't help but wonder how Obama & co, and their supporters (MSNBC et al) would react if the worst did happen and some of those al quada maniacs succeeded in fumigating a crowded public place.

    Probably would try to blame it on phantom "right wing terrorists"…

    • EarlyBird

      Your ridiculous, cheap shots at Obama aside, the fact is that every president, no matter what foreign policy he chooses, is going to govern an America which is vulnerable to these horrible attacks you're describing. Every nation, let alone free nation, is vulnerable to them.

      And even if the WMD that are in Syria had been in Iraq, that does nothing to redeem W. Bush's disastrous, idiotic, self-defeating war in Iraq. It further indicts him for his incompetence.

      • NAHALKIDES

        In other words, Saddam should have been permitted to continue his low-grade war against the U.S. until the day he finally gave some WMD to al-quaeda or some other terrorist group so they could deploy them against us. Good thinking, EarlyBird – now go eat some worms.

        • EarlyBird

          No, you fool, in other words, there was no "Al Queda in Iraq" before Bush's epic disaster. What "low grade war?" You mean that he was launching missile at our planes which enforced teh No Fly Zone? We had to invade and occupy that hell hole at a cost of $1 trillion + dollars, 4,500 dead Americans, 10,000 injured, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis? THAT is how to fight a "low grade war"?!

          AND we are even LESS safe today than we were before Bush's disastrous war on Iraq!

          But fools like you are still promoting that disaster cuz you gotta fight "dam libruls!" And you wonder why the right is no longer taken seriously on foreign policy.

          Now go eat s**t.

          • UCSPanther

            "Now go eat s**t. "

            When you resort to obscenities, it confirms that you just lost the debate.

          • EarlyBird

            You haven't "debated" at all.

          • UCSPanther

            Don't need to. I just watch.

      • UCSPanther

        Don't like what I say, democrat, don't read it. There's a little right called "freedom of speech" and that includes criticizing the president…

        Your Dear Leader combines the worst of both Nixon and Carter, and boosts it to a whole new level…

        • EarlyBird

          Freedom of speech means you get criticized for stupid comments, even when it hurts your little feelings. If you're gonna post on a public forum you'd better be ready to suck it up.

          Oh right! On this site nobody gets to think outside of the right wing orthodoxy, or they'll told to go away. Must stay in the right wing echo chamber here.

          • UCSPanther

            Take a look at your words, pal. I find them very ironic considering how butt-hurt and angry you get when we criticize Obama, and how you cry "racism" when we do.

            You don't like this site, leave. Stay here, and you will get pounded on.

          • EarlyBird

            Gee I hope I can handle the drubbing from your intellectual giants.

          • UCSPanther

            Get used to it pal.

          • ziggy zoggy

            GirlyBird;

            Al Qaeda in Iraq was resurrected by Barack Hussein Obama and now has WMD to bolster their arsenal.

            And she is happy about it – except for the bad P.R, of course.

            Most. Ineffective. Troll. Ever.

          • EarlyBird

            Yeah! And we coulda won Viet NAM if only them dam libruls hadn't gotten da way!

            You drooling idiot. Keep promoting the right wing disaster of Iraq and try to pin it on someone to the left of you. What a tragedy you are.

          • Everett

            not like its the same as CNN, but hey! at least in CNN you get bashed from everyone if your opinion isnt the same as theirs! now please, go away you pest

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The notion of democratizing Iraq (as a spin off for the Mid East into western norms) was a fool's errand, and dangerous to boot. That being said, jihadists will always, regardless of this or that, aim to kill "infidels". Not only that, but Obama Inc's entry into Libya let loose the floodgates for Al Qaeda, even as he claimed that Al Qaeda was no longer a threat, as he sought to pump up his foreign policy creds before re-election! Liar…liar.. http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/04/29/solving-bengh

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • patron

      That assumes Iraq under Saddam Hussein was no threat. There are multiple times members of Saddam's government worked with al Qaeda to commit terrorism. The US found no evidence of Saddam explicitly sanctioning al-Qaeda terror attacks, but either Saddam was powerless to stop it, or approved.

      • EarlyBird

        To the extent that Saddam was a threat, the proper response was not to invade and occupy that country at a cost of over $1 trillion dollars, 4,500 American dead, tens of thousands maimed, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, lives mangled, creating a playground for Al Queda and strenghthening Iran.

        As long as we cling to the official reasons for waging that disastrous, immoral and stupid war, we won't understand why we did so. It was not that Iraq was a threat, but an opportunty, in the minds of the neocons who wrote that script, to remake the Middle East and establish a Pax Americana in response to 9/11 and the clearly untenable relationship the US had had with so many dictators. It was not an immoral goal, but ultimately it was a wild fantasy created out of jaw-dropping hubris.

        • UCSPanther

          Sounds like anti-Iraq war rhetoric. That is so 2000s…

    • EarlyBird

      "That being said, jihadists will always, regardless of this or that, aim to kill "infidels"."

      Theoretically, perhaps. But they are far more likely to kill infidels who they see as oppressing, manipulating and mangling their societies in places like the Middle East. The guys who beheaded that poor English soldier in London could not have been more explicit, that they wanted Great Britain to get out of "their" territories." They may "hate" infidels, but they kill infidels who they see as harming them. If Israel had been established on the North Pole, for instance, they may still especially hate Jews, but they wouldn't be killing Israelis.

      • UCSPanther

        " The guys who beheaded that poor English soldier in London could not have been more explicit, that they wanted Great Britain to get out of "their" territories.""

        I'll save that comment to use against you in the future, you sicko.

        • EarlyBird

          What's sick about acknowledging, literally nearly verbatim, what that guy stated? Why are you so frightened of facts and reality?

          These evil people have very rational, conventional war aims. They are like Japanese kamikazes, fanatics in the service of very tangible goals. Why do we care what they do with their own countries? They are wreaking havoc in the West because of the havoc that it wreaks in their lands, both actual and perceived.

      • Everett

        that first part you said includes EVERYONE in America and Britain that isnt a true muslim and hates our western way of life. and when you said they kill only the infidels that harm them, if thats what you truly believe then you're more stupid than i originally thought

        • EarlyBird

          Everett, to quote Netanyahu, we aren't fighting ghosts, but real live human beings. They are not zombies infected by some disease called Islam. They are fighting for the very same things humans have fought about since the dawn of man: land, resources and influence.

          Have you noticed, for instance, that the Egyptians aren't burning American flags in the streets of Cairo? Oh, the Islamists still hate us, but they can't say that we're helping an autocrat keep them down. THAT is the difference.

      • Drakken

        As per usual, you don't know jacksh** about how muslims think or what drives them and it sure as hell isn't our foreign policy. Get used to the being slaughtered in the street in broad daylight for there is more to come, so in your little liberal world we should just bend over and take it from the sand apes and beg for their forgiveness. That fact that the jews are in the ME and are going to stay really must chap your ass doesn't it? Guess what? When the jews tell you never again, believe them. So go apologize to the sand apes, most of us won't.

        • EarlyBird

          Oh that's right, Killer. You're the expert in "savage" slayin'. Remind us: when we bayonet them should we bring the blade upwards or sideways? I always forget.

          What rank are you up to now? You've gone from security guard to "Gunny" and now you're leading Special Ops commandoes into battle aren't you? (Oh sorry, that's probably Top Secret.)

          You macho A$$. You're a little boy drunk on playing war. Go back to watching History Channel or something.

          • Drakken

            Son, you keep running your suck, your all talk and certainly no action, all nice and comfortable sitting on your couch. Anytime you want to come on out and bark with the big dogs you let me know Sparky, because clearly your liberal approach of appeasement to the Islamic world isn't going to work, but hey boy, keep singing kumbaya and do more wishful thinking. You can insult me till your little pointy head explodes, but boy, I'll continue to call your nonsense what it is. The blade always goes in and up dumbass, but then a REMF like you would cut yourself handling such and implement.

  • tanstaafl

    Is this the time to have an administration of dhimmis?

    • EarlyBird

      If it is being a "dhimmi" to stay the hell out of wars in the Middle East which we don't need to be in, which have zero upside and infinite downsides for the United States, let's hope that all of our next presidents are "dhimmis."

      Remember, the choice wasn't between Obama and a wise elder. It was a choice between Obama and John McCain who's never met a war he didn't want to get the US into, and then Romney, who vowed to see "zero daylight" between US and Israeli foreign policy.

      Does Israel want the US to continue doubling down on its attempts to control the Arab world? Of course. Thats what this entire Israeli First propaganda site is all about.

      • UCSPanther

        "Does Israel want the US to continue doubling down on its attempts to control the Arab world? Of course. Thats what this entire Israeli First propaganda site is all about."

        Spoken like a true WWII era "America First" pseudopatriot.

        • EarlyBird

          Answered like a true simpleton. If you're not asking why your country is fighting and what it's fighting for, you're no patriot. We knew why we were fighting WWII, to keep the world's economic and military super powers from enslaving most of the human population. Why are we fighting to keep the harness on the Arab world that the Great Powers put there 100 years ago?

          And I've served my country in uniform.

          • UCSPanther

            Can you give me any proof that you indeed did serve, so I can make sure that you are not cooking it up just to look good.

            Too many people pretending to be veterans these days…

          • EarlyBird

            I don't need to prove a dam thing to you, moron. I served in the US Air Force from '84 – '88.

            You really don't have any information or thoughts to share on this board, do you? Why don't you find somewhere else to play.

          • UCSPanther

            No proof? I'll just assume you are a phoney.

            I've both been threatened by and seen way too many internet tough guys pretending they are veterans.

          • Drakken

            I hate to defend early, but he is an air farce vet, so cut him a little slack where that is concerned, he just went to college in CA after that and got reeducated in the typical leftist fanfare of stupidity.

      • Drakken

        The effing muslims will be pushing us to war soon enough you dolt, but hey if we just do everything the muzzys want they will like us right? PSSST, hey dummy, Israel is our western ally, if Israel goes where do you think the sand apes will turn their attentions to next?

        • EarlyBird

          Jarhead, we can and must disengage from THEIR lands to the greatest degree possible, and annhilate any of them which become ACTUAL threats to us. (And we ought to be extra careful about who from the Muslim world we allow to immigrate here.)

          It is not being apologist for these evil mo-fos to acknowledge that they want us out of their lands and that the West has been running their lives for 100 years. We'll be surprised how much the air goes out of their radical balloon when we get out of their way. The question is why do we give a care about their sand pit? (Oh, to defend Israel. That's right.)

          • Drakken

            Why do we care about their sand pit? Because the west runs on oil and gas and we have 100,000's of westerners working their that's why. If we leave our FOBs behind the little savages will go completely bats**t crazy and no westerner will be safe and the oil will be cut off.

    • Looking4Sanity

      NO. Then again, it never was and it never will be…but there's no denying that is what we are.

  • Looking4Sanity

    As a Nation, we are a singularly schizophrenic psychopath. Perhaps it would be better for us if someone did put us out of our misery to save us the shame of suicide by politics and social perversion.

  • Ellman

    "The Sarin raids should be a wake up call. But this is not an administration that takes 3 AM calls."

    Not when there's a fund raising event scheduled for the next day. If our adversaries want to attack us with Sarin gas or another WMD the best time to do so would be when Obama is at a fund raiser. That would give them at least a 24-hour window in which the US would not issue a response to such an attack. Of course, even then the response might be that the Tea Party and Republicans are to blame because Obama and his Party are NEVER TO BLAME – FOR ANYTHING BAD!

  • Thomas

    Arab Spring…Turkish Summer…Christian Fall?

  • pj4me

    BO has underestimated the terrorists! He’s off golfing while embassies are being closed all across the Middle East. Al Qaeda is NOT on the run. They have grown bigger and stronger since BO took office and he has ignored the real terrorists who threaten the world. He looks at it as “workplace violence,” and refuses to use the word TERRORIST or define it like it is — an act of terrorism!

    BO took an oath to DEFEND the United States of America. He is NOT defending America. He needs to be IMPEACHED!!! OMG!!! What the HECK are our elected officials in Congress doing ignoring the seriousness of the damage this FRAUD has done, is doing, and will continue to do! If BO can Executive Order his way around Congress, then the HOUSE needs to circumvent the president and the Senate and IMPEACH BO!!