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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

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Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Syria being used to facilitate Al-Qaeda attacks against US and Coalition in Iraq
Syria being used to facilitate Al-Qaeda attacks against US and Coalition in Iraq PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 16 July 2007

Coalition Forces Iraq
Coalition Forces Iraq

On July 1, two foreign-born suicide bombers driving tanker trucks loaded with explosives approached a key bridge in Ramadi in western Iraq. One blew himself up, partially collapsing the bridge. The other changed his mind at the last moment and surrendered to Iraqi police, who also disabled his bomb.  

Coalition Targets Al Qaeda
David Axe | July 16, 2007
On July 1, two foreign-born suicide bombers driving tanker trucks loaded with explosives approached a key bridge in Ramadi in western Iraq. One blew himself up, partially collapsing the bridge. The other changed his mind at the last moment and surrendered to Iraqi police, who also disabled his bomb. 

The capture was a major windfall for coalition forces that are engaged in a months-long campaign to win back and hold Iraq's major cities from extremists, including the dominant Al Qaeda in Iraq organization (AQI). Interrogation of the would-be bomber has shed light on the complex networks for recruiting and equipping foreign extremists to perpetrate terrorist acts in Iraq.

The man was first approached for recruitment by a fellow worshipper at the mosque both men attended, U.S. Army Brigadier General Kevin Bergner said last week, adding that extremist propaganda, including audio tapes, played a major role in priming the man for recruitment. "He was given the equivalent of 1,000 U.S. dollars to pay for his travel expenses. He was instructed to get a passport and make his way to Syria where an individual would facilitate his illegal crossing into Iraq."

The Syrian facilitator smuggled the future bomber into Iraq in a succession of vehicles, Bergner continued. "Once across the border, the Syrian handed him off to an Iraqi who drove him to a small mud structure in the middle of the desert. He stayed at this remote location for approximately four days. It was here that he was partnered with another foreigner."

"The two men spent 10 days in hiding around Ramadi and were frequently moved from one location to another. It was at this point they were told they would become suicide bombers."

Soon afterwards, the men were provided with tanker trucks rigged with explosives and told to blow themselves up on the Ramadi bridge.

The surviving bomber's tale emphasizes the importance of terrorist propaganda and of "facilitators" who bring new recruits into extremist groups and help them perpetrate terrorist attacks. By exploiting intelligence such as that provided by the Ramadi bomber, the coalition has had increasing success in recent months targeting both the propaganda production centers and the facilitators.

In June U.S. forces uncovered an AQI propaganda factory in Samarra containing hundreds of posters, CDs, DVDs and the equipment to make them. In May and June, coalition forces killed or captured 26 AQI leaders including seven that Bergner characterizes as facilitators.

Increasingly effective Iraqi forces have played a key role in these recent successes, as they did in the capture of the Ramadi bomber. Like extremist groups, these forces need to recruit constantly in order to maintain and grow the existing force. Also like AQI and other terror groups, this recruitment depends upon a message. For extremists, it's a message of hate and violence. For Iraqi forces, it's a message of unity, according to U.S. Navy Captain David Pine, a trainer for Iraqi military senior staff.

Pine recalls a story related by an Iraqi general who was touring some of his new units to speak to trainees. He asked each new "jundi" where he was from. Most replied with their hometowns, but one stood and said, "I'm from Iraq."

"The general said that's exactly the right answer," Pine says. "The Iraqi army is the most professional and disciplined of [Iraqi security] organizations, and they are all about being Iraqis." (military.com)


David Axe is a freelance writer and photographer and a regular contributor to Military.com. His credits include Popular Science, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Times, The Village Voice, C-SPAN and others. David has been to Iraq six times reporting on the conflict. His graphic novel War Fix was published in June by NBM. His nonfiction book Army 101 is due in the fall from The University of South Carolina Press. David blogs at Defensetech.org, a Military.com site.



 
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