The foreign fighter and Iranian myths blew up in the Bush Administration’s face in a big way this week. Despite repeated declarations over the last year that the violence racking Iraq is the result of Al Qaeda operations and influence and Iranian meddling, the facts on the ground do not support these claims. The U.S. Army confirmed this week that the foreign fighters constitute a small fraction of the insurgent activity and that most of insurgent activity is the handiwork of Iraqi Sunnis. The New York Time’s Richard Oppel wrote:
The . . . insurgency in Iraq remains both overwhelmingly Iraqi and Sunni. American officials now estimate that the flow of foreign fighters was 80 to 110 per month during the first half of this year and about 60 per month during the summer. The numbers fell sharply in October to no more than 40, partly as a result of the Sinjar raid, the American officials say.
Oppel’s article contains three critical facts: (more…)