Irak er ikke blitt den suksess for jihad som mange trodd. Det er langt færre utenlandske jihadister i Irak enn det var i Afghanistan mot Sovjet. Al Qaida i Iraks ekstreme vold har vært en øyeåpener for mange i Midtøsten.
Det skriver Reuel Marc Gerecht i Washingtn Post. Konvensjonell mening vil ha det til at jihadistene strømmet til Irak. Det stemmer ikke, sier Gerecht. Det kom i hundretall, ikke tusentall og nå har de store problemer.
Regarding the Iraq war and jihadism, two facts stand out. First, if we make a comparison with the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979-89, which was the baptismal font for al-Qaeda, what’s most striking is how few foreign holy warriors have gone to Mesopotamia since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Admittedly, we don’t have a perfect grasp of the numbers involved in either conflict. But the figure of 25,000 Arab mujaheddin is probably a decent figure for those who went to Pakistan to fight the Red Army. Most probably did so in the last four years of the war, when the recruitment organizations and logistics became well developed. In Iraq, we see nothing of this magnitude, even though Iraq, unlike Afghanistan, is in the Arab heartland and at the center of Islamic history. Moreover, for Arabs, getting to Iraq isn’t difficult, and once there they speak the language and know the culture. And of course the United States, the bete noire of Islamists, is the enemy in Iraq.
But according to the CIA and the U.S. military, we are now seeing at most only dozens of Arab Sunni holy warriors entering the country each month. Even at the height of the insurgency in 2006-07, the figure might have been just a few hundred (and may have been much smaller).
In the 1980s the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and most well-organized Islamist movement, was at the center of the anti-Soviet jihadist recruitment effort. But in the case of Iraq, the Brotherhood has largely sat out the war. Even in Saudi Arabia, the mother ship of virulently anti-American, anti-Shiite, anti-moderate Muslim Wahhabism, the lack of commitment has been striking. We should have seen thousands, not hundreds, of Saudi true believers descending on Iraq.
Her er merkelige sammenfall: islamismen står sterkere idag enn på 80-tallet. Likevel er entusiasmen for sunni-jihad i Irak mye svakere enn det var i Afghanistan. Hva kan det komme av? Er det den sanseløse volden som har sjokkert?
Throughout the Arab world, fundamentalism today is much stronger on the ground than it was in the 1980s. Yet the fundamentalist commitment to the Iraqi Sunni Arab insurgency pales in comparison with that made to Sunni Afghans.
A second striking fact about Islamism and the Iraq war is that the arrival of foreign holy warriors is deradicalizing the local population -- the exact opposite of what happened in Afghanistan. In the Soviet war, the “Arab Afghans” arrived white-hot -- their radicalization had occurred at home in the 1960s and 1970s, when Islamic fundamentalism replaced secular Arab nationalism as the driving intellectual force. On the subcontinent, Arab holy warriors accelerated extreme Islamism among both Afghans and Pakistanis. We are still living with the results.
In Iraq, as we have seen with the anti-al-Qaeda, Sunni Arab “Awakenings,” Sunni extremism is now in retreat. More important, the gruesome anti-Shiite tactics of extremist groups, combined with the much-quoted statements made by former Sunni insurgents about the positive actions of the United States in Iraq, have caused a great deal of intellectual turbulence in the Arab world.