Argument: If the US withdraws from Iraq, it will become an Islamist base for Al Qaeda

Issue Report: Withdrawing from Iraq

Supporting quotes

  • Mortimer B. Zuckerman. “Seeing the Job Through”. U.S. News and World Report. December, 4th, 2005 – “The consequences of leaving Iraq prematurely could be a radical Islamic regime funded with oil revenues, an unfettered platform for terrorist attacks, destabilizing the Middle East and threatening America itself. Know the enemy. Zarqawi has a long history of terrorist activities. He organized the assassination of Lawrence Foley, a U.S. Agency for International Development official, in Amman in 2002, he planned terrorist attacks in Germany a year later, and he plotted last year to attack Jordan’s intelligence service and prime minister’s office, as well as the U.S. and Israeli embassies there. Three al Qaeda operators crossed from Iraq into Jordan, smuggling seven Katyusha missiles in the underbelly of an aging Mercedes with a hidden second gas tank. Moreover, Jordanians discovered a warehouse of chemical substances and 20 tons of explosives. The 71 types of chemical substances included nerve gas and substances that cause third-degree burns and asphyxiation. Ultimately, the terrorists were diverted, but this is the kind of mayhem we can expect if al Qaeda is permitted to establish paramountcy in Iraq. This year, of course, it was Zarqawi who masterminded the suicide attacks on the three tourist hotels in Amman in which dozens died.”
  • CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen said in 2007, that a rapid withdrawal of all U.S. troops “would also play into their strategy, which is to create a mini-state somewhere in the Middle East where they can reorganize along the lines of what they did in Afghanistan in the late ’90s. […] What we must prevent is central/western Iraq [from] becoming a Sunni militant state that threatens our interests directly as an international terror hub.”[1]
  • Don Shepperd, a retired Air Force major-general and military analyst for CNN, said in 2007 that Sunni Muslim fighters who support al Qaeda would seek an enclave inside a lawless Iraq, and noted “increasing attempts by terrorists to establish a training sanctuary in Iraq.”[2]