AQ growing in strength in Syria, Iraq

posted at 10:01 am on October 14, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The Syrian opposition in the civil war has increasingly fallen under domination by al-Qaeda, but the problem isn’t limited to that nation, either. First, NBC reports on a series of car-bombings in Damascus by rebels, reported by Richard Engel, who also notes that this has come to mean al-Qaeda. Rebels also kidnapped several Red Cross/Red Crescent aid workers in an ambush north of Damascus:

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The BBC reported shortly afterward that three of the six Red Cross workers were immediately released, along with one of the Red Crescent volunteers.  The ambush might either have been a mistake by the kidnappers, or perhaps they decided they only needed a couple of hostages at a time.

The influence and strength of AQ has grown in Yemen as well.  The group felt strong enough to directly attack the US and Yemen militaries at a post they claim is used to direct drone strikes on AQ targets:

The Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda said on Monday that its attack on a Yemeni army base last month targeted an operations room used by the United States to direct drone strikes against militants, and threatened more such assaults.

Dozens of militants stormed and captured the headquarters of the Yemeni army’s Second Division in the eastern city of al-Mukalla on September 30 and took some military personnel hostage. Military officials said four Yemeni soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a counter-strike to retake the base. …

“The Mujahideen have directed a harsh blow to one of these headquarters,” it said in a message posted on Shumukh al-Islam, an Islamist website, referring to the September 30 attack.

“Such joint security targets, which participate with the Americans in their war on the Muslim people, are a legitimate target for our operations, and we will puncture these eyes that the enemy uses.”

It said that dozens of officers were killed in the three-day assault and the operations room was destroyed. AQAP made no mention of any Americans present in the facility and there were no reports of foreigners killed in the attack.

So far, no one is confirming or denying the claims made in this statement.  It’s impossible to ignore what is happening in Iraq, though, as AQ has surged back to power in the western part of the country, allowing the network to support jihadist efforts in Syria while declaring war on Iraqi Shi’ites.  ABC News reports that al-Qaeda has “come roaring back” ever since the Obama administration failed to secure a new status-of-forces agreement that kept counter-terrorist units where they were badly needed:

Al-Qaida has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late 2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years. The terror group has shown it is capable of carrying out mass-casualty attacks several times a month, driving the death toll in Iraq to the highest level in half a decade. It sees each attack as a way to cultivate an atmosphere of chaos that weakens the Shiite-led government’s authority.

Recent prison breaks have bolstered al-Qaida’s ranks, while feelings of Sunni marginalization and the chaos caused by the civil war in neighboring Syria are fueling its comeback.

“Nobody is able to control this situation,” said Ali, who watches over a Sunni graveyard that sprang up next to the hallowed Abu Hanifa mosque in 2006, when sectarian fighting threated to engulf Iraq in all-out civil war.

“We are not safe in the coffee shops or mosques, not even in soccer fields,” he continued, rattling off some of the targets hit repeatedly in recent months.

The pace of the killing accelerated significantly following a deadly crackdown by security forces on a camp for Sunni protesters in the northern town of Hawija in April. United Nations figures show 712 people died violently in Iraq that month, at the time the most since 2008.

The monthly death toll hasn’t been that low since. September saw 979 killed.

The failure to negotiate an ongoing American presence in western Iraq might end up being the worst strategic mistake of the past five years since the original status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) signed by George W. Bush and Nouri al-Maliki.  Maliki was open to extending the American presence in some significant form, but Barack Obama didn’t lift a finger to consolidate the strategic and tactical ground we had gained from the surge.  Had we done so, the opposition in Syria might still be largely political rather than extremist, and we might have been able to control the departure of Bashar al-Assad for something more stable than the failed state that Syria will almost certainly become if Assad leaves now.


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This can’t be accurate. Al Qaeda is “decimated” and “on the run.”

Drained Brain on October 14, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Blaspheme against the Hussein regime.

antipc on October 14, 2013 at 10:08 AM

It’s obvious that we should arm them, because then they’ll like us more. It worked well in Afghanistan, and was doing great in Syria before those evil republicans defunded the government.

Or something.

Wino on October 14, 2013 at 10:15 AM

As they say in Japan: “This is racist!”

In other news, Detroit is on the verge of eclipsing Tokyo as a glittering, busy metropolis.

Bishop on October 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Remember when the left called for the US to pull out of Iraq early, letting it slip into civil war, after they blamed 9/11 on the US for abandoning Afghanistan and letting it slip into civil war?

Ben Hur on October 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM

I know this is off topic but

MFSofBTcsssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!

http://weaselzippers.us/2013/10/14/incredible-video-younger-vets-help-two-90-year-old-wwii-vets-past-barrycades-and-up-steps-of-lincoln-memorial/

Big Sky Vets.

MontanaMmmm on October 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM

This can’t be accurate. Al Qaeda is “decimated” and “on the run.”

Drained Brain on October 14, 2013 at 10:03 AM

At this point, what difference does it make? The lazy stupid coward got his second term. Besides, remember what noted Middle East expert John McCain told us- Alahu Akbar just means nothing more than “have a nice day” in Muslim.

Happy Nomad on October 14, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Next thing you know one of our embassies in the mideast will be attacked and the Ambassador tortured and murdered.

ROFL

Yeah, like that could happen, Bark would unleash the U.S. military against the attacking force like a hurricane of steel and everyone knows it.

Bishop on October 14, 2013 at 10:32 AM

As they say in Japan: “This is racist!”

Bishop on October 14, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Well that’s interesting. I would have thought they would have said something in Japanese.

Happy Nomad on October 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM

It’s becoming ever clear that not only is Obama unable to manage our economy, but is more catastrophic in running our military. His rush to remove our troops out of Iraq has created a worse scenario. In 2014 he’s doing the same in Afghanistan. A country uneducated, primitive in behavior & the worse abuser of human rights. Women are doomed once the Taliban return. The Afghan military & police who we’ve trained will be more dangerous & destructive than ever once they return to the Taliban

RdLake on October 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Well that’s interesting. I would have thought they would have said something in Japanese.

Happy Nomad on October 14, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Everyone in Japan speaks Japanese? As they say in Sudan, “I’m tired of you bigots.”

Bishop on October 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Bush’s fault…

right2bright on October 14, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Everyone ready for the era of the new world order under Chinese standards of behavior? What a revolting idea.

SC.Charlie on October 14, 2013 at 10:53 AM

“The Mujahideen have directed a harsh blow to one of these headquarters,”

Muslims call themselves what they are. Why do Westerners use weasel words like Al_Q to cover their identity and shield filthy Islam? The wages of being co-opted and compromised by oil tick money are no profit to most Westerners. I guess you get what your betters sold you out for.

BL@KBIRD on October 14, 2013 at 11:11 AM

Al-Qaida has come roaring back in Iraq since U.S. troops left in late 2011 and now looks stronger than it has in years.

That can’t be right?!
/s

bofh on October 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM

RdLake on October 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM

You should know that I’m not an apologist for the current Fraud-in-Chief but it’s really not a consequence of his actions. This was inevitable the first day we invaded Iraq. Bush should have known there is no way to tame the Islamic monster. He should have left well enough alone.

Cleombrotus on October 14, 2013 at 11:26 AM

OBL is dead and AQ is on the run. Sounds like this clown knows what he’s doing, right?

rjoco1 on October 14, 2013 at 11:37 AM

How long until we are sending arms and aid to Assad to fight AQ? That way, we can alienate both sides again, like in Egypt.

besser tot als rot on October 14, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Libs: Blame Bush
Obama: Plan proceeding according to schedule

Middle East expert John McCain told us- Alahu Akbar just means nothing more than “have a nice day” in Muslim.
Happy Nomad on October 14, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Hey, he was only slightly off on the timeframe – actually it’s “have a nice last five seconds.”

Marcola on October 14, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Obama is achieving more of Osama’s goals than the Al Qaeda boss ever did.

profitsbeard on October 14, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Obama thought that Afghanistan was such a good war that he decided to turn Iraq and Syria into unstable states/fertile al Queda breeding grounds just like Afghanistan so that one day our sons and daughters can go to war and die in those Godforsaken places.

OxyCon on October 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

This is good news. Clearly America needs to import more Muslims to become more like the Middle East.

David Blue on October 14, 2013 at 12:59 PM

On the plus side Chevy Volts are selling like hot cakes, and Detroit is coming back!

WryTrvllr on October 14, 2013 at 1:13 PM

AQ growing in strength in Syria, Iraq

Well of course they are, traitors in the US government have been giving them aid and comfort for months, if not years, already! And Al Qaeda will grow stronger and stronger until we get rid of the traitors in the US government.

FloatingRock on October 14, 2013 at 2:04 PM

The pace of the killing accelerated significantly following a deadly crackdown by security forces on a camp for Sunni protesters in the northern town of Hawija in April. United Nations figures show 712 people died violently in Iraq that month, at the time the most since 2008.
The monthly death toll hasn’t been that low since. September saw 979 killed.
.

King Putt and his muttonheads in the Spite House and Foggy Bottom have our foreign policy working so smoothly, don’t they?

When you think things are fine … go read both The Looming Tower and American Betrayal

The next administration will have to be superior in every way to rectify the total POS they’ll inherit when President Kardashian Asterisk, The Narcissistic Dunce leaves office.

Missilengr on October 14, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Your tax dollars at work!

Is anyone surprised, especially since multiple media sources reported a month ago that the Obama administration / CIA are CONTINUING to supply Al Qaeda and Jihadists in Syria with weapons?!

Our President is a terrorist supporter, sympathizer, and arms dealer for them! 2001 Al Qaeda perpetrates 9/11/01…12 years later Obama hires Al Qaeda to protect a US Ambassador & Americans in Benghazi, only after he aided them – even ordered the USAF to become Al Qaeda’s air force – to help them take over Libya.

He aided the Muslim Brotherhood take over Egypt, a US ally, & he is now cutting funding & support to Egypt’s military that is still trying to get the terrorists Obama helped take over it of their country!

Even before Benghazi Obama has been helping All Qaeda in Syria…and most Americans are dumb as dirt, ubre partisan, and/or COLOR (biased) blind to see the President is an Enemy of the State!

easyt65 on October 14, 2013 at 11:03 PM