Central to the Bush administration's strategy in the war on terror is the idea that establishing democracies in Muslim countries through the use of military force will cause Islamic extremists to throw down their weapons and give up a life of terrorism and jihad against the US. Almost 5 1/2 years into the war on terror, indications are that this strategy is having the exact opposite effect as the Washington Post reports:
Al-Qaeda has rapidly extended its influence across North Africa by aiding and organizing local groups that are demonstrating a renewed ability to launch terrorist attacks in the region, such as the triple suicide bombings that killed 33 people here last month, according to counterterrorism officials and analysts.
The bombers who struck the Government Palace and a police station in Algiers, the capital, are believed to have been local residents. But Algerian authorities are examining evidence that the bombers were siphoned from recruiting pipelines that have sent hundreds of North African fighters to Iraq and perhaps were trained by veterans of the Iraqi insurgency, U.S. and European intelligence officials said.
The April 11 attacks were the first suicide bombings in this war-torn country in more than a decade and the worst strike in Algiers in several years. In terms of tactics and targets, however, they mirrored scores of recent bombings in Iraq, right down to the photos of the three "martyrs" posted on the Internet hours later by a group claiming to act on behalf of al-Qaeda.
Iraq is a magnet that is drawing young men from across North Africa to join in the jihad against the "infidels" (us):
The bombings in Algiers have coincided with a renewed crackdown against the Iraqi recruiting networks across North Africa. Last month, Algerian police broke up a long-standing ring based in the Saharan desert city of El Oued that had sent an estimated 60 men to Iraq to fight. In neighboring Morocco, authorities said they have disrupted three similar networks since late last year.
According to intelligence officials in Europe, more than 100 Algerians are in prison here after being detained on their way to Iraq or upon their return, adding to worries that the far-off conflict is breeding battle-hardened fighters who could come back to haunt North Africa or nearby Europe.
Al Qaeda affiliated groups are spreading like wildfire across the Islamic world.
Since the invasion of Iraq, local networks with "al-Qaeda" appended to their names have surfaced in at least 12 countries.
The occupation of Iraq is life-giving oxygen for the global jihadist movement. Recognizing this, it is absolutely essential that we cut off their oxygen by withdrawing from Iraq. The presence of 150,000 US troops in the heart of the Middle East will make it impossible to defeat Al Qaeda in the long run. Bush's strategy in the war on terror not only hasn't worked, it has made the problem far worse. It's time for plan B.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!