Thursday, March 6, 2008

Daniel Byman on Al Qaeda's Future, post-Iraq

Key graph from the august Middle East Strategy at Harvard blog:

Yet today Al Qaeda in Iraq—though not the Al Qaeda core—is on the run. Sunni tribes and “concerned local citizens” groups are killing or arresting many of its cadre and transforming parts of Iraq from sanctuaries to hunting grounds. In addition to improving the chances for a semi-stable Iraq, these blows have tremendous implications for the future of the organization outside Iraq. At the very least, Iraq will be a less useful base for salafi-jihadists to plot attacks in neighboring countries such as Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which they have done for several years now. Iraq will also be less of a draw and training ground for young radicals from the Middle East and Europe, who have flocked to Iraq since the 2003 invasion to fight the United States. Would-be fighters may come to see Iraq as a place where local Sunnis will pursue them mercilessly rather than as the center of the anti-U.S. struggle.

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