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reeds
05-25-2004, 02:23 PM
Al-Qaeda boosted by Iraq war, warns think-tank

LONDON (AFP) - The US-led war on Iraq (news - web sites), far from countering terrorism, has helped revitalise the Al-Qaeda terror network, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) think-tank Warned.

The London-based body said in its annual Strategic Survey 2003/2004 that the deadly train bombings in Madrid in March, the worst terror strike in Europe for more than a decade, showed that Osama Bin Laden's terror network "had fully reconstituted".

It also predicted the Islamic group would step up its anti-Western attacks, possibly even resorting to weapons of mass destruction and targeting Americans, Europeans and Israelis while continuing to support insurgents opposing the US-led occupation of Iraq.

The IISS pointed to devastating blasts in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in 2003 and 2004 as further evidence that anti-US sentiment had soared since the Iraq war.

"In counter-terrorism terms, the intervention has arguably focused the energies and resources of al-Qaeda and its followers while diluting those of the global counter-terrorism coalition that appeared so formidable following the Afghanistan (news - web sites) intervention in late 2001," the report said.

However, since the war it said that arms proliferation and state-sponsored terrorism has dwindled, with Libya giving up its unconventional weapons programs and Syria becoming "less provocative."

Stalinist North Korea (news - web sites)'s secret nuclear programme was somehow contained thanks to a negotiating process while Iran agreed to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency over its nuclear activities, the IISS said.

But another legacy of the war was what the IISS termed a highly questionable recourse to pre-emptive strikes as a means of counter-proliferation, as well as "the uses and abuses of intelligence as a basis for military action."

The IISS said the United States, which has dominated world affairs since the end of the Cold War, had failed to understand that Al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001 attacks were "a violent reaction to America's pre-eminence" and it urged the superpower to temper "the appearance of American unilateralism".

It warned that Washington would have a hard time restoring order in embattled Iraq and stressed that the conflict had brought a political split between the United States and its continental European allies, leaving Britain stuck in the middle.

The survey additionally forecast a possible attention shift away from terrorism, Middle Eastern problems and weapons proliferation should North Korea opt for a more aggressive stance, a humanitarian disaster hit Africa or undesirable regime-changes "produce abrupt and serious security challenges".

The United States will not manage to tackle all of the above single-handedly, warned the think-tank, raising a question mark over Europe's ability to break away from "strategic arthritis."

FishForLunch
05-25-2004, 02:28 PM
There is a silver linning in all this, fighting terrorism is in Europe's interest too now. They cant stand back and hope that US will do their dirty work, while they pontificate about a peaceful UN solution.

madape
05-25-2004, 03:19 PM
International Terrorism at Lowest Levels Since 1969 (http://jskelly.squarespace.com/display/ShowJournalEntry?moduleId=15843&entryId=8714)

FullBurst41
05-26-2004, 07:09 AM
Hmm, a couple of notes on that article, madape.

- I find comparing fatalities a rather questionable method.Furthermore, not including the acts of militancy against US troops in Iraq, in my opinion, is a mistake, because, while I do recognisee that this does not really fit the description of terrorism, it is conducted by militants that could just as well be commiting acts of terror against civilians, and secondly because those militants are supported by organisations that are, all by themselves, terrorist organisations.

- Fatalities is all very well, but if you know that in the Madrid bombings you had something like a thousand injured, it just goes to show how inept this comparison really is.