George W. Bush repeatedly and dishonestly tries to link the invason of Iraq to the 9/11 attack and the terrorist threat to the United States. With this in mind it is worth taking a look at the suicide bombers in Iraq. Those suicide bombers serve as a useful reminder of where the real terrorist threat emanates from. A few nights ago C-SPAN broadcast hearings from Washington DC by an organization that is supposed to be the successor to the 9/11 Commission. Former Senators Sam Nunn and Bob Kerrey are among the notables in this organization (whose title escapes me). Well, on one of the discussion panels Juliette Kayyam of the Harvard JFK School of Government noted in passing that 40% of the suicide bombers in Iraq are from Saudi Arabia. This is in the ballpark with other sources that place Saudi suicide bomber participation at 50% and 60%.
In a paper published in March, Reuven Paz, an Israeli expert on terrorism, analyzed the lists of jihadi dead. He found 154 Arabs killed over the previous six months in Iraq, 61 percent of them from Saudi Arabia, with Syrians, Iraqis and Kuwaitis together accounting for another 25 percent. He also found that 70 percent of the suicide bombers named by the Web sites were Saudi. In three cases, Paz found two brothers who carried out suicide attacks. Many of the bombers were married, well educated and in their late twenties, according to postings.
"While incomplete," Paz wrote, the data suggest "the intensive involvement of Saudi volunteers for jihad in Iraq."
In a telephone interview, Paz said his list -- assembled from monitoring a dozen Islamic extremist Web forums -- now had more than 200 names. "Many are students or from wealthy families -- the same sociological characteristics as the Sept. 11 hijackers," he said.
These people who are blowing up American soldiers and Iraqis never would have managed to get to the United States to blow up Americans.
"This is not al Qaeda's first team," said Hammes of the National Defense University. "These are the scrubs who could never get us in the States."
Another researcher estimates Saudis make up over 50% of suicide bombers.
Evan F. Kohlmann, a researcher who monitors Islamic extremist Web sites, has compiled a list of more than 235 names of Iraqi dead gleaned from the Internet since last summer, with more than 50 percent on his tally from Saudi Arabia as well.
Another list puts Saudis at 44% and puts Iraqis at less than 15% of suicide bombers in Iraq.
Saudis were also the leading group on this list, representing 44 percent, followed by Syrians and Iraqis at less than 15 percent each.
Think about that. The Iraqis are all already in Iraq and yet make up less than 15% of the suicide bombers while the Saudis make up about half. Iraq has a population of 26 million. Saudi Arabia also has a population of 26 million. Obviously Iraqis are far less interested in a world religious jihad against Americans than the Saudis are. Now, one could explalin this disparity by pointing out that only about 20% of Iraqis are Sunni Arabs. So only about 5 million are going to fight for Sunni Arab supremacy or join in Sunni Arab jihads. But that still means that fewer Iraqis are interested in joining Al Qaeda or similar organizations that have global aspirations to jihad.
A Saudi who wants to do a suicide bombing against American forces has to travel to Syria, get hooked up with a jihad organization, and then sneak across the border. He probably has to get a passport first. He has to get the money to pay for an airplane ticket and make the trip. Iraqis, by contrast, are right there. Why are Iraqi Sunni Arabs more likely to operate as conventional guerrillas rather than as suicide bombers? Could it be that they simply want the Americans out and don't harbor global Islamic aspirations or martrydom aspirations?
Then there are the Saudis versus all the other Arab countries. Where are the Egyptians? Or Libyans? Suicide bombers in Iraq come from many countries. But the Saudis make up about half even though Egypt at 77 million has almost 3 times the population of Saudi Arabia. Libya has 5.7 miliion. Jordan also has 5.7 million. Morocco has 32 million. Why aren't Egypt, Libya, Jordan, and Morocco together accounting for far more of the suicide bombers than Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest source of global Islamic Jihadists.
The conditions created by the American invasion of Iraq demonstrate once again (as if we didn't already know) that Saudi Arabia poses the biggest threat of terrorism against Americans. While the necons talk about Iraq, Syria, and Iran the elephant is standing in the room. The elephant isn't seen as much of a threat to Israel. That's a shame. If it was then the neocons would shift their attention more in the direction that matters to Americans.
The Iraqi Sunni Arabs are fighting Americans for two reasons:
If we leave then the Shias might get up the cojones to put down the Sunni Arab rebellion and to hunt down and kill all the foreign Sunni jihadists. Or the Shias might be a bunch of pussies and let the Sunnis once again lord over them. But as long as we stay all we are going to see is a constant reminder that A) a lot of Saudis want to blow us up, B) the Iraqi Sunni Arabs want us out, and C) the Shias do not care enough about having their own government to put their own lives at risk. I've already learned this lesson. Have you? If not, how many more Americans have to die or become injured for life before you learn?
Since 2003, less than 10 percent of more than 500 suicide attacks have been carried out by Iraqis, according to one defense official.
As much as 20% of the suicide bombers might be from Algeria.
Up to 20 percent of the bombers might be from Algeria, according to forensic investigations after attacks, senior U.S. military officials have said on condition they not be named for security reasons. Another 5 percent each might be from Morocco and Tunisia, the officials said.
The Sunnis are streaming in to Iraq to fight for their fellow Sunnis against the Shias according to former CIA officer Robert Baer.
Baer said Sunni Arabs who take carry out suicide attacks feel Shiites are attacking Sunnis in Iraq. ``They look at the war in Iraq as an attack on Sunni Islam, not Iraq, not Saddam,'' he said.
In interviews while visiting prisons, terror groups and government officials, he was told that there are so many suicide bombers coming out of the Persian Gulf states that the loose networks that deploy jihadist martyrs - many run through mosques - are turning away potential attackers.
He said the mentality is: ``They have taken what is ours and they will take more if we don't stop them.''
Think about the underlying feeling Sunni entitlement. The Sunnis are killing many more Shias than the other way around. Yet the Sunnis feel they are the ones being attacked.
When the US pulls out of Iraq will the Shias be able to make peace with the Sunnis? Will even more Sunnis flow in from other countries to fight for their Sunni brethren in Iraq?
Also, will the Sunni smuggling network scale up to take in all the Sunnis who want to go to Iraq to fight? Just how many more will volunteer if the smuggling routes expand to handle them?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2005 June 30 09:33 AM Mideast Iraq|