Al Qaeda's war against the US in Iraq and the US

Jeff Emanuel:

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... information has recently come to light regarding plans established by Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) which, if fully and properly presented to the American people, could go a long way toward helping reverse the disconnect among the populace between Iraq, the War on Terror, and our nation’s security.

In a recent appearance before Congress, Defense Intelligence Agency chief Lt. Gen. Michael Maples confirmed that documents confiscated in a raid on an AQI safe house “revealed that Al Qaeda in Iraq was planning terrorist operations in the U.S.” Given the timing – roughly six months ago – and the relative secrecy regarding the capture of these documents, it is not a stretch to suppose that they were among the computer files and other intelligence items recovered from the remnants of the building which had been used as a hideout and meeting place by terrorist leader Abu-Musab al Zarqawi until his death there at the hands of US forces on June 8.

Called "the first hard evidence al Qaeda in Iraq was trying to attack us here at home” by former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, this plot demonstrates that AQI’s leader took his marching orders from Ayman al-Zawahiri – known as Osama bin Laden’s "right-hand man" – with frightening seriousness. In a 6,000-word memo sent shortly after the 2005 subway bombings in London, in which Zawahiri laid out the plan for a post-Iraq Islamist state (and the goal of using it to topple the regimes around it en route to destroying Israel), Zarqawi had been instructed to, among other things, use his forces to “attempt an attack inside the United States."

According to an ABC News report, the plot outlined in the captured documents involved repeating the tactic used by the 9/11 hijackers to infiltrate the US, using student visas to secure entry for ten to twenty AQI members. Fortunately, the monitoring of those in the country on student visas has been stepped up since 9/11, as seen last August – right around the time that the liquid-bomb plot was being foiled in Britain – when the disappearance of eleven Egyptian students who enrolled in a program at Montana State University (but never showed) up led to a nationwide manhunt.

All eleven students were eventually located – in locations ranging from Virginia to Minnesota – thanks in large parts to the efforts of the bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Identity and Benefits Fraud Unit (IBF). The agency responsible for cracking down on immigration fraud, the IBF opened nearly 4,000 new cases in 2006 alone (this being the most high-profile), and, if the case of the Montana State students is any indication, does its job very effectively. However, as ABC pointed out, “some security analysts fear that skilled terrorists – handpicked because of their clean records and because they are carefully trained – could still slip through an academic setting.”

Beyond reinforcing concern about terrorists who try to come here by abusing legal means of entry, this revelation of a plot by Al Qaeda in Iraq against America not in the middle east but on US soil should serve as a wake-up call to Americans who have become complacent about the constant threat this nation faces, and who have written off the conflict in Iraq war as a pointless "mistake" which we need to remedy through hasty withdrawal. If anything, this new knowledge regarding the intentions of AQI – both in the middle east and here – should reinforce the idea, often repeated by President Bush, that we are "fighting terrorists in Iraq so that we don’t have to fight them here."

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It also show how wrong opponents of the war are in claiming that Iraq has nothing to do with al Qaeda or the war on terror. It has pulled al Qaeda into a quagmire of its own making and is bleeding it and defeating it. The real question is whether our troops will be given the time to finish the job before the anti war left's desperation for defeat wins the war for al Qaeda in Washington.

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