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Secret Report Says Insurgency Is Self-Sustaining

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Posted on Nov 26, 2006

A classified U.S. government report leaked to The New York Times says the insurgency in Iraq has funds to sustain itself annually, thanks to oil smuggling, kidnapping and other nefarious activities.  What’s more, the report finds insurgents may have enough money left over to finance terrorist activity outside Iraq—all while spending less in a year than the U.S. spends per day.

New York Times:

The report offers little hope that much can be done, at least soon, to choke off insurgent revenues. For one thing, it acknowledges how little the American authorities in Iraq know—three and a half years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein—about crucial aspects of insurgent operations. For another, it paints an almost despairing picture of the Iraqi government’s ability, or willingness, to take steps to tamp down the insurgency’s financing.

“If accurate,” the report says, its estimates indicate that these “sources of terrorist and insurgent finance within Iraq—independent of foreign sources—are currently sufficient to sustain the groups’ existence and operation.” To this it adds what may be its most surprising conclusion: “In fact, if recent revenue and expense estimates are correct, terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq may have surplus funds with which to support other terrorist organizations outside of Iraq.”

Some terrorism experts outside the government who were given an outline of the report by the Times criticized it as imprecise and speculative. Completed in June, the report was compiled by an interagency working group investigating the financing of militant groups in Iraq.

A Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the group’s existence. He said it was led by Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, and was made up of about a dozen people, drawn from the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, the Treasury Department and the United States Central Command.

The group’s estimate of the financing for the insurgency, even taking the higher figure of $200 million, underscores the David and Goliath nature of the war. American, Iraqi and other coalition forces are fighting an array of shadowy Sunni and Shiite groups that can draw on huge armories left over from Mr.  Hussein’s days, and benefit from the willingness of many insurgents to fight with little or no pay. If the $200 million a year estimate is close to the mark, it amounts to less than what it costs the Pentagon, with an $8 billion monthly budget for Iraq, to sustain the American war effort here for a single day.


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By chris, November 26, 2006 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment
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perfect.  Right on plan.  the religious zealots are celebrating tonight.

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By Jeanne, November 26, 2006 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment
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That report tells me something in a clear and concise way. The Iraqis are very capable of governing themselves. Despite the chaos you have groups who are flourishing. They have capable leaders, tough patriotic intelligent people who are working to take controll. I think we can stop the foolish propaganda about the Iraqis not being able to shoot a gun. I think we can quit trying to convince the world that the Iraqis aren’t capable of governing. They are governing in a very unhealty way but they are governing. We control nothing. They control everything.

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By Alejandro, November 26, 2006 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
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Are you trying to tell me that its taken 3 years and all the blood shed by our troops and innocent iraq’s to figure out that the insurgency is self sustaining? Boy, what a bunch of idiots. It is very apparent that someone at the highest levels of our government failed counter-insurgency 101. It makes me wonder who’s running the asylum when our trusted leaders are so lacking in the basic knowledge necessary to counter any insurgency, that are the financing and motivations. I am flabergasted at the stupidity and criminal ignorance of the primary understanding of any military or political campaign, and that is to know your f***ing enemy.

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By Santi Ganz, November 26, 2006 at 7:33 am Link to this comment
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There is something worst than an incompetent leader,  and that is a stupid and incompetent leader who has soaked his hands with American and Iraqi blood and thinks nothing of it. I support your position of total troop withdrawal from Iraq.
      Retired Generals A. Zinni, Jphn Batiste, and the current General Abizaid have all argued against doing this. The main reason is that this insurgency will become a full blown civil war. Not necessarily so. Payback time, etc.  Maliki can’t disarm the militias because they are his base of support. You can’t split Iraq in three because Turkey will get involved.  These generals have to step out of the forest and find the solution out of the box .There has always been a solution and he’s been staring them straight in their stupid faces, loudly proclaiming, and rightly so, that he is the president of Iraq. Didn’t we learn from the Russian’s fiasco in Afghanistan? Didn’t we learn from our own fiasco in Vietnam? The Russian’s put their own man as head of that country and took out the sitting head. We took out the head of South Vietnam and put our own man in> Both adventures failed miserably and at great cost in human life, prestige, and money on everyone involved. Why do we have generals, etc. who can’t learn from the past?
      From Bush all the way down to the generals have been ranting and raving that we will leave when we have enough trained Iraqi troops to replace us. Bush and his neocons started this war.

Almost 4 years down the road, Bush still can’t get it right. Why? Because he has been looking at it from the wrong perspective, from the neocons point of view.

    Equilibrium must be established for peace or a stalemate to occur and there is none. Most of the people we are training to be troops are from the Shiites side of the equation and some from the Kurds.
    The Sunnis and Ba’athis’ Republican Army for all extent and purposes have been taken out of the power structure. What do we have to do? There is only one solution to this: Release Saddam and his generals and politicians and the Ba’athists’ Republican Army, arm the whole organization of Saddam and his Ba’athists Party and they will restore order the only way possible, the Iraqi way.
    Equilibrium will be established because now all the camps will armed and can defend each other from one another. It might not be the American way but Bush created this fiasco and the majority of the American public have agreed that this war should NOT have happened, proven in poll after poll and the fact that he lost Congress. Saddam, the Shiites and the Kurds will find an accommodation and it will get us out of Iraq. Think about this. Even the Eqyptian president Mubarak said you should not execute a sitting president. Everyone knows the court where Saddam was tried and “convicted” was a kangaroo court that we put together. He was already sentenced by the Shiites and Kurds even before the trial started. Who are we kidding? It has no legitimacy and that goes the same with its current Maliki administration and thus the reason why it can’t go anywhere but down. The only people who will lose prestige is Bush and the Neocons and the American people won’t think twice or give a hoot about Mr. Bush’s and his neocon administration’s prestige if it will prevent another soldier from getting killed or wounded in Iraq.       
                                                    Respectfully Yours,

                                                    S. R. Ganz

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