MESOP COMMENTARY: US should not give in to Al Qaeda terror in the Middle East / Kurdistan Tribune

By Mufid Abdulla: 6.8.2013 – One of the biggest stories of recent days is the closure of American embassies across the Middle East due to the threat of major attack from Al Qaeda. The CIA has for a long time underestimated the ferocity of the Jihadis in Iraq and their links to terrorist networks all over the Middle East. Sources close to the Iraqi interior minister have told me, on condition of anonymity, that the whole US security alert was triggered by the recent break-out from Taji and Abu Ghraib jails, organised by Al-Qaeda, which allowed hundreds of prisoners to escape.

The Iraqi government has managed to recapture some of them but the most dangerous elements remain free and available to cause terror on the streets of Baghdad, Damascus and elsewhere. These escapees are classified as among the most dangerous personnel of the Al Qaeda terror group.

For many months all American personnel in the country have been wearing bulletproof jackets to protect themselves from the terror of Al Qaeda in Iraq. But, at this stage, Al Qaeda has called the shots and defeated America’s CIA.

The terrorists in Iraq have proved they can do ‘the impossible’ in this sophisticated operation. They managed to blow open the largest secured jail in Baghdad after eight suicide bombers got past all the checkpoints. The Nuri Maliki government has accused major states of supporting this action. In reality, Al Qaeda took advantage of the security vacuum and political chaos in Baghdad.

The USA is prepared to sacrifice a lot of individual liberties for the sake of its national security. Striking the right balance between protecting US embassies and pursuing their overall security mission has always being the most difficult problem for its forces in the region. But for US embassies to close down in the face of this threat is a mistake, making US security services look incompetent, in contrast to the region’s Jihadists.

US forces need more coordination rather than just data collection. The Americans should not bow to Al Qaeda’s attacks and try to learn more. Why is Al Qaeda choosing Baghdad as the hotbed for its operations? The forces behind this organization in Iraq are likely to be fed by Tehran to permanently destabilize its neighbour. They are causing American forces further confusion about their mission in the region. The Americans need to review and sharpen their strategy for dealing with this threat.

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