The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Iraq's foreign militants 'come from US allies

Iraq's foreign militants 'come from US allies'Peter Walker
Thursday November 22, 2007

Guardian Unlimited

Around
60% of all foreign militants who entered Iraq to fight over the past
year came from Saudi Arabia and Libya, according to files seized by
American forces at a desert camp.

The
files listed the nationalities and biographical details of more than
700 fighters who crossed into Iraq from August last year, around half
of whom came to the country to be suicide bombers, the New York Times
reported today.

In
all, 305, or 41%, of the fighters listed were from Saudi Arabia.
Another 137, or 18%, came from Libya. Both countries are officially US
allies in anti-terrorism efforts.

In
contrast, 56 Syrians were listed and no Lebanese. Previously, US
officials estimated that around a fifth of all foreign fighters in Iraq
came from these two countries.

US
officials have also long complained about Iranian interference in the
affairs of its neighbour, accusing Tehran of shipping weapons for
militants over the border. However, any assistance does not appear to
extend to people, the paper said, reporting that, of around 25,000
suspected militants in US custody in Iraq, 11 were Iranian. No Iranians
were listed among the fighters whose details were found.

The
information came from files and computers seized in September when US
forces raided a camp in the desert near Sinjar, a small town in
north-west Iraq, close to the Syrian border. It was believed the camp
was the base for an insurgent cell responsible for smuggling the vast
majority of foreign fighters into Iraq.

The
files also gave details of 68 Yemeni nationals, the third-biggest
source. There were 64 fighters from Algeria, 50 from Morocco, 38 from
Tunisia, 14 from Jordan, six from Turkey and two each from Egypt and
France.

According
to the newspaper, US officials believe the raid stemmed the flow of
foreign militants into Iraq, which dropped to around 40 in October,
down from a peak of more than 100 a month in the first half of this
year.

Last
month there were 16 suicide bombings in Iraq, sharply down from a peak
of 59 in March. According to the report, the US military believes 90%
of such attacks are carried out by foreigners.

However,
US officers fear this effect may be temporary. "We cut the head off,
but the tail is still left," a senior military official told the
newspaper. "Regeneration is completely within the realm of possibility."

The
US has previously estimated the nationalities of fighters crossing over
the Syrian border into Iraq, but the seized files give a more complete
picture.

While
Saudi Arabia is a long-term US ally, its nationals form the nucleus of
al-Qaida; 15 of the 19 September 11 attackers were from the country.

And
while Libya was listed by the US as a state sponsor of terrorism, it
was removed last year after the countries restored full diplomatic
relations.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,331340352-103550,00.html



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