Our Actions In Iraq, Bad For Us, Good For Al-QaidaMay 20, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Posted in American politics, Bush Administration, Iraq, Military, Osama Bin Laden, violence, War, War on Terror | 1 Comment
Well, we’ve had over 3400 of our soldiers killed, tens of thousands wounded, over one hundred thousand Iraqis killed, nearly half a trillion dollars poured into Iraq, and well, guess who’s making a cash windfall in Iraq? Why none other than Al-Qaida:
A major CIA effort launched last year to hunt down Osama bin Laden has produced no significant leads, but has helped track an alarming increase in the movement of al-Qaida operatives and money into Pakistan’s tribal territories, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials.
In one of the most troubling trends, U.S. officials said al-Qaida’s command base in Pakistan increasingly is being funded by cash from Iraq, where the terrorist network’s operatives are raising substantial sums from donations to the insurgency as well as kidnappings of wealthy Iraqis and other criminal activity.
The influx of money has bolstered al-Qaida’s leadership ranks at a time when the core command is regrouping. The trend also signals a reversal in the traditional flow of al-Qaida funds, with the leadership surviving to a large extent on money from its most profitable franchise, rather than distributing funds from headquarters to distant cells.
Al-Qaida’s efforts were aided, intelligence officials said, by Pakistan’s withdrawal in September of tens of thousands of troops from tribal areas along the Afghanistan border where bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding.
Little more than a year ago, al-Qaida’s core command was thought to be in a financial crunch. But U.S. officials said cash shipped from Iraq has eased those troubles.
“Iraq is a big moneymaker for them,” a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said.