TERRORISTS IN IRAQ

YahooNews reports something I hadn’t seen until just now:

U.S. forces in Iraq are holding 19 suspected members of the al-Qaida terrorist network, the American civilian administrator said Friday.

The suspected al-Qaida members are among 248 non-Iraqi fighters being held by the Americans in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer said in a Pentagon news conference.

Bremer said authorities determined the suspects’ al-Qaida links through interrogations and documents the suspects were carrying. He said he did not know what countries they came from.

The largest number of foreign fighters–123 of the 248–came from Syria, Bremer said. The next-highest numbers came from Iran and Yemen, he said, adding he did not have precise figures for those countries.

The flow of terrorist fighters into Iraq is the biggest obstacle to the peaceful reconstruction of the country, Bremer said. The fighting between anti-American elements and U.S. forces hasn’t hampered the reconstruction effort so far, though, he said.

Reconstruction of Iraq is critical to the global war on terrorism, he added.

“We don’t want Iraq to become a breeding ground for terrorism in the future,” Bremer said.

Hmm.

(Hat tip: Steven Taylor)

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.