The London Times reports that not only democrats are looking forward to an American withdrawal from Iraq.
A radical plan by Al-Qaeda to take over the Sunni heartland of Iraq and turn it into a militant Islamic state once American troops have withdrawn is causing alarm among US intelligence officials.
A power struggle has emerged between the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq, an organisation with ambitions to become a state which has been set up by Al-Qaeda, and more moderate Sunni groups. They are battling for the long-term control of central and western areas which they believe could break away from Kurdish and Shiâ€™ite-dominated provinces once the coalition forces depart.
According to an analysis compiled by US intelligence agencies, the Islamic State has ambitions to create a terrorist enclave in the Iraqi provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Salah al-Din, Nineveh and parts of Babil.
â€œAl-Qaeda are on the way to establish their first stronghold in the Middle East,â€ warned an American official. â€œIf they succeed, it will be a catastrophe and an imminent danger to Saudi Arabia and Jordan.â€
The US conviction that the Islamic State could seize power is based on its use of classic Al-Qaeda tactics and its adoption last October of a draft constitution. This was entitled Notifying Mankind of the Birth of the Islamic State and was posted on a website based in Britain. The group named 10 ministers under its emir, Abu Amer Al-Baghdadi. They included a war minister, Abu Hamza Al-Muhajer who is also known as Abu Ayub al-Masri and is Al-Qaedaâ€™s commander in Iraq.