24 Nov 2007

Saudi Arabia and Libya Supply Most Jihadis

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New York Times (11/22):

Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials.

The data come largely from a trove of documents and computers discovered in September, when American forces raided a tent camp in the desert near Sinjar, close to the Syrian border. The raid’s target was an insurgent cell believed to be responsible for smuggling the vast majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The most significant discovery was a collection of biographical sketches that listed hometowns and other details for more than 700 fighters brought into Iraq since August 2006. …

Saudis accounted for the largest number of fighters listed on the records by far — 305, or 41 percent — American intelligence officers found as they combed through documents and computers in the weeks after the raid. The data show that despite increased efforts by Saudi Arabia to clamp down on would-be terrorists since Sept. 11, 2001, when 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, some Saudi fighters are still getting through.

Libyans accounted for 137 foreign fighters, or 18 percent of the total, the senior American military officials said. They discussed the raid with the stipulation that they not be named because of the delicate nature of the issue.

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Dominique R. Poirier

“Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism (….)”

Okay, but…

“There is no doubt that many past Syrian actions are in direct conflict with U.S. interests in the region and that the current posture of the Syrian government towards terrorism continues to be wholly unacceptable. As a state sponsor of terrorism, Syria has repeatedly shown an unwillingness to fundamentally change its behavior regarding support for terrorism. While we continue to have hope for eventual improvements in Syrian attitudes, policies and actions, we see little at this time to indicate that Syrian support for terrorism is diminishing.
Syria remains a security concern not just because of terrorism, but also because of its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Since Undersecretary John Bolton has recently testified on the latter, which is his area of expertise, I will focus on the former. The threat to our country posed by states who both sponsor terrorism and pursue weapons of mass destruction is one which we cannot and will not ignore. “ -U.S. Ambassador Cofer Black, Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC, October 30, 2003.

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/2003/25778.htm

“Syria has halted military and intelligence cooperation with the United States, its ambassador to Washington said in an interview, in a sign of growing strains between the two nations over the insurgency in Iraq.” -WASHINGTON, May 23, 2005. Quotation found in SyriaComment.com.

http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/L/Joshua.M.Landis-1/syriablog/2005/05/syria-arrests-many-and-stops.htm

Well, I have to confess that I find all this a bit confusing, to say the least; and I just hope someone, someday, will unambiguously enlighten us once and for all about U.S. – Syria relations.

In the meantime, sorry but I just don’t get it!



Dominique R. Poirier

ERRATUM.

I guess I found a nice opportunity to pass as an imbecile when I published the previous comment.

I have been confused between Lybia and Syria as you could notice it.

My apologies to JDZ and to everyone else for this mistake.



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