War in Iraq is fueling global terrorism

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The war in Iraq is fueling global terrorism.

The "global jihadist movement—which includes al-Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts," according to "Key Judgments" contained in the declassifed portion of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate"Declassified Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate 'Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States'"—posted September 26, 2006, on the website of Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.

"Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement"

According to the April 2006 NIE, there are four "underlying factors" which are "fueling the spread of the jihadist movement":

  1. "Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness;
  2. "the Iraq 'jihad';
  3. "the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and
  4. "pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims—all of which jihadists exploit."

Other "assessments"

The April 2006 NIE also reports a number of other "assessments":

  • "a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and geographic dispersion."
  • "If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide."
  • "the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse. New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge. The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups."
  • "the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere."
  • "The Iraq conflict has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight."
  • "Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role."
  • "Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al-Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation."
  • "most jihadist groups—both well-known and newly formed—will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks focused primarily on soft targets to implement their asymmetric warfare strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist attacks in urban environments. Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership for jihadists pursuing these tactics."
  • "While Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, remain the most active state sponsors of terrorism, many other states will be unable to prevent territory or resources from being exploited by terrorists."
  • "Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests."
  • "The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint."

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September 2006

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