Debkafile: Zarqawi Is Exporting Terror from Iraq

If you haven't heard of Debkafile, they're a web-based Israeli news organization run by a couple of (former?) reporters for the Economist. They have a weekly news summary to which (apparently) a lot of companies subscribe so they'll get a heads-up on matters of security. I heard about them on the radio show Marketplace in 2002 and started listening to them to see how accurate they were.

Now I didn't keep records of their supposed scoops and goofs, but my impression during the Iraq war was that they scooped major media about half the time, and the other half they fell for some of the most ridiculous Chalabi-type defector fantasies. (Saddam had a ginormous shark pool under a palace, there were mobile weapons labs--sound familiar?--buried beneath the dunes, and beneath Baghdad itself was a giant underground complex are just three examples.)

So recently they came out with a detailed report on the recent spate of bombings, from Syria to London to Sharm-El Sheikh. Given their track record, I can't say if it's true, but it reads like their scoops, not their goofs. If it's accurate, it explains a lot about the recent attacks and the ones that might come—and confirms what three think tanks have so far said, that invading Iraq has created lots of terrorists and given them a spectacular training ground. If it's not, so what? Worth keeping in mind, though.

The gist of their report is that Zarqawi's Al-Qaeda franchise is sending over 1000 foreign jihadis from Iraq to their home countries and then back to the West. According to Debkafile, we're already seeing the effects.
On July 15, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 214 reported that al Qaeda was diluting its Iraq force for a major terror offensive in Europe and Middle East engineered by Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and on its recommendation.

The countries targeted were named as Britain, Italy, France, Denmark, Russia – with the UK and Italy at the top of the list; and, In the Middle East, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Zarqawi in one recent release: Israel is in our sights – and very soon.
The car bombs blown up at Sharm el Sheikh bore Egyptian customs marks, indicating they were imported from outside Egypt. One fairly easy route would be the sea car ferry connecting Sharm el Sheikh to the Jordanian port of Aqaba.
The part of the article that quotes Debkafile's weekly newsletter has the best details about Zarqawi, Jordanian crime orginizations and a thrwarted major operation. After going over that, Debkafile turns to Iraq:
According to intelligence estimates, Zarqawi holds on to Anbar – a territory roughly the size of Texas - with a little more than 5,000 men, of whom roughly 1,000 are Saudi and Yemeni zealots, 300 Jordanian and an unknown number of Syrians, Moroccans and Palestinians. His firm grip on Anbar persuaded the al Qaeda hierarchy in Pakistan and Afghanistan that 1,000 men could be expended from other parts of Iraq and diverted to the new terror offensive outside Iraq.

In a message to his superiors, revealed here for the first time, Zarqawi offered his estimate that after three years of joint combat, Iraqi insurgents ought to be capable of running the guerrilla war against the Americans on their own. He therefore recommended reducing the terror organization’s involvement in Iraq to the minimum needed to retain its control and focus on preserving al Qaeda-Iraq’s grip on Anbar Province for use as a territorial base and springboard for attacks in other parts of the Middle East and Europe.

These attacks will aim at engulfing additional territories in the region and toppling regimes.

The onset of the new al Qaeda offensive in London, Syria, Jordan and now Egyptian Sinai, indicates that Zarqawi’s superiors gave him the go-ahead.
Read it here.

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