Yet another bunch of terrorsimps dissing our great Iraqi ally:
The insistence by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and many U.S. officials that foreign fighters are streaming into Iraq to battle American troops runs counter to the U.S. military’s own assessment that the Iraqi insurgency remains primarily a home-grown problem.
But U.S. military officials said Iraqi officials tended to exaggerate the number of foreign fighters in Iraq to obscure the fact that large numbers of their countrymen have taken up arms against U.S. troops and the American-backed interim Iraqi government.
“They say these guys are flowing across [the border] and fomenting all this violence. We don’t think so,” said a senior military official in Baghdad. “What’s the main threat? It’s internal.”
In a TV interview Sunday, Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, estimated that the number of foreign fighters in Iraq was below 1,000.
“While the foreign fighters in Iraq are definitely a problem that have to be dealt with, I still think that the primary problem that we’re dealing with is former regime elements of the ex-Baath Party that are fighting against the government and trying to do anything possible to upend the election process,” he said. Iraqi elections are scheduled for January.
U.S. military officials said the core of the insurgency in Iraq was — and always had been — Hussein’s fiercest loyalists, who melted into Iraq’s urban landscape when the war began in March 2003. During the succeeding months, they say, the insurgents’ ranks have been bolstered by Iraqis who grew disillusioned with the U.S. failure to deliver basic services, jobs and reconstruction projects.
It is this expanding group, they say, that has given the insurgency its deadly power and which represents the biggest challenge to an Iraqi government trying to establish legitimacy countrywide.
“People try to turn this into the mujahedin, jihad war. It’s not that,” said one U.S. intelligence official. “How many foreign fighters have been captured and processed? Very few.”