What are American troops doing in Iraq? This is the question of the day. Even as one who supports our involvement in Iraq, I have to say that the current administration has not done a great job explaining to us why we are there and why there are continuous attacks on American and coalition troops. So I did a bit of research to find out the reasons.
What I found is that Iraq is the new front of the War on Terror. While we are still tracking down al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, some of those terrorists are coming to Iraq to join in the fight against the United States. Coalition troops are not fighting discontented Iraqis who don’t want us there, we are fighting an international group of terrorists. Polls show that 70 percent of Iraqis are happy that we liberated them from Saddam Hussein's regime (nationalreview.com/comment/lerner200310270835.asp). These are not the people that are attacking us.
How are these international terrorists getting into Iraq? There are four routes into the country. First is the Pakistan-Iran route, where they cross over the Pakistan border into Iran. With more than a thousand members they have organized themselves into two units: Jund al-Allah meaning “The Soldiers of Allah”, and al-Usad, “The Lions”. These groups have already caused the coalition much trouble, and are responsible for the attack on the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad and other attacks in Mosul.
The second route is through Syria. Approximately 1,000 al-Qaeda terrorists have traveled to Iraq in this way. The region between Syria and Iraq is known for their allegiance to Hussein and his family. Saddam had sent money to families and tribes living in this area to keep their loyalty strong. There are two million tribesmen in this area loyal to Saddam Hussein. On an interesting side-note, the terrorist groups of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, located in Syria, get their funding from Iran and in receive additional money for each al-Qaeda they train.
The final two routes are Saudi Arabia-Iran, and Saudi Arabia-Syria. Approximately 1,500-2,500 al-Qaeda have come the Saudi Arabia-Iran route, with an unknown amount through Syria by way of Saudia Arabia. (debka.com/article_print.php?aid=548).
These terrorists are not just coming for the fun of shooting American troops. They are being paid and paid well. They are being recruited from all over the Middle East and are being trained in the latest in the terrorist art of murder. At this point, most are coming from the countries of Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Al-Qaeda is offering these new recruits hundred of dollars a month which is 10 times the amount that they would be making back at home. (World Tribune, http://22.214.171.124/2003/me_terror_09_29.html)
It is now time to be clear about what is happening in Iraq. We won the war with Saddam Hussein. But we are not done. It isn’t time to go home. We need to be aware that this not a local war anymore. Terrorists from across the Middle East are all joining the fight, and we cannot ignore that this is part of the larger War on Terror. It’s time that the President realizes this and gives us the truth.