After the death of Osama bin Laden, President Obama has consistently maintained that Al-Qaeda is a waning threat. Real-world assessments show that to be merely a politically self serving view, however, and none of the articles written in recent months have demonstrated that better than the one from earlier this week by Dr. Shaul Shay, a Colonel in the Israeli reserve forces, former Deputy Head of the Israeli National Security Council, and currently, a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Dr. Shay writes that the Sunni Salafi Muslim are confronting not only the western forces in the Middle East, but also the Shiite and Aliwite factions. This on Al-Qaeda in Iraq, from Dr. Shay’s article:
In the face of successful US counterterrorism efforts and the Sunni tribal awakening, AQI’s violent campaign has diminished since the peak years of 2006-2007, though the group remains a threat to stability in Iraq and the broader Levant. Since the withdrawal of US forces in late 2011, AQI has accelerated the pace of attacks on predominantly Shiite targets in an attempt to reignite conflict between Iraq’s Sunni minority and the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
Meanwhile, AQI has expanded its reach into neighboring Syria. In April 2013, AQI announced that it was changing its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and that the Syrian group Jabhat Nusra would join it. Jabhat Nusra’s leaders objected, however, and the two groups have remained independent.
Much of the violence in Iraq is blamed on ISIS, which has launched a vicious bombing campaign in Iraq as part of an anti-Shiite insurgency that claimed more than 8,000 lives in 2013. On January 3, ISIS asserted control over the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, declaring it an Islamic state. The capture of Fallujah came amid a campaign of violence across the western desert province of Anbar, in which local tribes, Iraqi security forces, and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants have been locked in fighting. The ISIS fighters have steadily asserted their control over Anbar’s desert regions for months, and resisted assaults by both Iraqi government forces and local tribal leaders to maintain control of all of Fallujah, and perhaps as much as half of Ramadi, Anbar’s capital.
The sectarian tensions between Iraq’s Sunnis and the Shiite-led government have been further inflamed by the war in Syria. Al-Qaeda’s growing influence in Syria has given terrorists control over the desert territories spanning both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border, enabling them to readily transfer weapons and fighters between the two arenas.
The complete article, HERE, also goes into detail on the activities of Al-Qaeda in Syria and Al-Qaeda in Lebanon.
In related news, the Daily Caller has published THIS piece reminding us that:
Four-star General David Patraeus and former Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker effectively predicted much of the conflict that is sweeping post-war Iraq in a 2007 report.
The report named troop withdrawal, an issue that has divided U.S. voters and politicians since 2004, as a major turning point in deciding state stability.
In the joint Petraeus and Crocker report, released Sept. 10, 2007, the pair questioned whether the divided country could withstand the inevitable sectarian violence that a majority-Shia led government was expected to take on, without the backing of substantial U.S. forces.