Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Recruiting Jihadis

Iraq, our Left assures us, is just creating more jihadis than we kill. Actually, they say that about any effort to fight back. And while I do not question that a fight against jihadis requires nonmilitary means to undermine the appeal of jihad, making sure there are few survivors among the jihad recruits is a major element of undermining the appeal of jihad.

Strategypage writes:

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was seen by al Qaeda as a challenge (infidel troops in the Middle East) and a tremendous opportunity (infidel troops in the Middle East). For the last five years, Iraq became a magnet for al Qaeda fans, making it difficult to organize attacks outside the Middle East. Worse, the fighting in Iraq killed far more Iraqis than Americans. This eventually destroyed al Qaedas popularity among Moslems. Iraq is lost to al Qaeda, where it has been the most hated organization for the last three years. Al Qaedas poll numbers are down across the Moslem world. So bin Laden is playing to the few strengths al Qaeda still has. The cartoon controversy first showed up a year ago, when al Qaeda found out about Danish political cartoons that protested Islamic terrorism. Al Qaeda got on the web and turned this around by calling the images blasphemy. There were demonstrations all over the Islamic world, and dozens died. Then it all died down. Recently, one of the cartoons was published again, in response to the arrest of three Moslem men, in Denmark, who were accused of plotting to murder one of the Danish cartoonists. This time around, there are not as many demonstrations, and not as much violence. Al Qaeda sees it as a recruiting opportunity. However, the last time around, most of the recruits went off to Iraq, where they largely died. European counter-terror organizations are noting who is calling for violence against the cartoonists.

I find it fascinating that even though Iraq is supposed to be bin Laden's greatest recruiting tool, he is now fanning the flames of cartoon resentment as the appeal of fighting America in Iraq wanes.