The New Jihad
Michael Ware, writing in TIME, argues that the Iraq War has created “A New Jihad.”
The insurgents have no intention of laying down their arms. Indeed, the nature of the insurgency in Iraq is fundamentally changing. Time reported last fall that the insurgency was being led by members of the former Baathist regime, who were using guerrilla tactics in an effort to drive out foreign occupiers and reclaim power. But a Time investigation of the insurgency todayÃ¢€”based on meetings with insurgents, tribal leaders, religious clerics and U.S. intelligence officialsÃ¢€”reveals that the militants are turning the resistance into an international jihadist movement. Foreign fighters, once estranged from homegrown guerrilla groups, are now integrated as cells or complete units with Iraqis. Many of Saddam’s former secret police and Republican Guard officers, who two years ago were drinking and whoring, no longer dare even smoke cigarettes. They are fighting for Allah, they say, and true jihadis reject such earthly indulgences.
Their goal now, say the militants interviewed, is broader than simply forcing the U.S. to leave. They want to transform Iraq into what Afghanistan was in the 1980s: a training ground for young jihadists who will form the next wave of recruits for al-Qaeda and like-minded groups. Nearly all the new jihadist groups claim to be receiving inspiration, if not commands, from Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the suspected al-Qaeda operative who the U.S. believes has masterminded the insurgency’s embrace of terrorism.
In fact, it’s the old one merely concentrated into a more convenient killing field. Much more on this in a piece I’m writing for publication elsewhere.
Hat tip: Kevin Aylward