American Withdrawal from Iraq and the Resurgence of al-Qaeda

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2006-2007 marked a time of violence in Iraq. Following the American invasion of 2003, numerous terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda,were fighting a guerilla campaign against the American occupiers and their colleagues in the Iraqi Security Force. The American response was to implement a surge of troops, which was successful in reducing the organization and effectiveness of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. But, following the 2011 withdrawal of American troops, we have recently seen a resurgence by al-Qaeda in Iraq.

To understand what is happening today, we first have to be able to understand what led us to this point. Prior to the 2003 invasion, al-Qaeda had virtually no presence in Iraq. Therefore, we can conclude that the invasion of Iraq was not to combat terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center, President George W. Bush named three countries as part of an “axis of evil.” Iraq was one of the three, and the easiest target. The stated reason for going into Iraq was that Saddam Hussein was a danger with his stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. The world already knew he had used chemical weapons in his war with Iran during the 1980’s, he had used them against Kurds in Halabja, and had used them to quell an uprising following the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Although the official story is that we did not find anything more than many small caches of chemical weapons, there are still former officials from the Saddam regime as well members of Israeli intelligence who are claiming the weapons did exist and were transferred to Syria, as well as other places, prior to the invasion ( 2013). As we will see, if this is true it could have disastrous conse...

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...oin ISIL forces.

Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Faily said recently that “The administration has to have a better understanding of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to Iraq. It cannot afford a whole town or province of Iraq falling to al-Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national security to do that” ( 2014). With al-Qaeda having recently taken control of the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, it is imperative that the administration works with the Iraqi government to find a way to stem the momentum gained by al-Qaeda. With the rapidity of the American withdrawal from Iraq, it is now our government’s responsibility to ensure that the democratic government of Iraq has the arms, technology, and even training, necessary to mount an effective counterterrorism operation.
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