Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

AQ/AQI fighters leaving Iraq

Yep. That's right. more than a few have decided that Iraq just isn't any fun for them anymore. HT to Captain Ed. From USA Today:

A growing number of foreign fighters are leaving or attempting to flee Iraq as U.S. and Iraqi forces have weakened al-Qaeda and forced its members from former strongholds, U.S. military officials say.

The trend reflects a broad disenchantment among foreign fighters, particularly since al-Qaeda has lost sanctuaries in parts of Baghdad and Anbar, a Sunni province west of the capital, U.S. military intelligence officials say.

"They're being told in their countries of origin by facilitators that, 'Hey, we're basically winning the war against the apostates,' " said Brig. Gen. Michael Flynn, intelligence director for Central Command, which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East. "They go there and find out it's not quite the case."

Foreign militants constitute about 10% of al-Qaeda's strength in Iraq, but Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said they make up about 90% of the suicide bombers.

The departure of some fighters doesn't mean al-Qaeda is quitting the fight, said Brig. Gen. Brian Keller, the chief intelligence officer for the U.S. command in Iraq. "We're just starting to see more and more fissures in the morale and leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq," he said.

They go on to explain that while many of these foreign fighters that comprise AQI arrived with a sense of adventure, and a chance to kill Americans, many grew disillusioned with the idea they'd be attacking fellow Muslims. Worse yet, the Muslims they'd be bombing, killing, and desecrating were retaliating against AQI for it's brutality. In other words, the foreigners understood why the Sunnis and Shias were fighting back.

In terms of strength, last year as many as 120 foreign fighters were coming into Iraq. Now it's down to about 40. Furthermore it's actual strength has significantly diminished. Before February of last year, estimates put AQI's total strength at right around 10,000. By December that number was right around 4000. Now the estimate is below 3000.

Know why this happened? The Surge. General David Petraeus's strategy. February of 2007 the Surge started it's initial phases. By August of last year, it was at full capacity and rolling up the problems in and around Baghdad. And, of course, once that started, the Mahdi Army announced a cease-fire, realizing that if they got in our way they were going to be torn down like AQI was. (It should be noted that Moqtada al-Sadr has admitted defeat in Iraq, which is another blow to the critics of our strategy.) In short the surge has worked beyond everyone's expectations.

Publius II


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