Sunday, September 12, 2004

The Accidental Terrorist

Yesterday in my other blog, I had mentioned why the War on Terror canot be won - because terror is a tactics, and not the enemy.

Today I found this interesting news article in The Guardian, which provides a proof for the above thesis:

Early one morning this week, when the police have yet to set up too many checkpoints, Abu Mujahed will strap a mortar underneath a car, drive to a friend's in central Baghdad and bury the weapon in his garden. In the evening he will return with the rest of his group, sleep for a few hours and then take the weapon from its hiding place. He will calculate the range using the American military's own maps and satellite pictures - bought in a bazaar - and fire a few rounds at a military base or the US Embassy or at the Iraqi Prime Minister's office. Then Abu Mujahed will shower, change and, by 10am, be at his desk in one of the major ministries.

Last week he sat in a Baghdad hotel speaking to The Observer. A chubby man in his thirties with a shaven head, a brown sports shirt, slacks and a belt with a cheap fake-branded buckle, he... talked for more than three hours and revealed:

· How his resistance group, comprising self-taught Sunni Muslim Iraqis, is almost completely independent, choosing targets and timings themselves, but occasionally receiving broad strategic directions from a religious 'sheikh' most of them have never met.

· How it is funded by Iraqis in Europe, including the UK, and from wealthy sympathisers in Saudi Arabia.

· How it has rejected any alliance with al-Qaeda affiliated 'foreign fighters' and Shia militia.

· How it receives intelligence from 'friends' within the coalition forces.

· How it runs a counter-intelligence operation that has resulted in the execution of two suspected spies in recent weeks.

· How it is learning increasingly sophisticated techniques and plans to detonate big bombs in Baghdad soon.

...Intelligence experts in Iraq talk of three main types of insurgent. There is the Mahdi Army of Shia Muslims who follow the radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and have led recent resistance to coalition forces in northern Baghdad, the central shrine city of Najaf, and Basra, the southern port under British control. There is also 'al-Qaeda' - non-Iraqi militants who have come to Iraq to wage jihad. And finally the 'former regime loyalists', who are said to want the return of Saddam Hussein or, if that is impossible, his Baath party.

Abu Mujahed, worryingly for the analysts, fits into none of these easy categories....

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