“A string of recent arrests of terror suspects has shown that Al Qaeda and groups linked to it have established a network across Europe that is moving recruits into Iraq to join the insurgency against American and allied forces, European intelligence and law enforcement officials said this week.” This from the New York Times.
“Over the past year, the officials estimate, the network of recruiters working in at least six European countries “” Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Britain and Norway “” has assisted hundreds of young men trying to get to Iraq. The network provided high quality fake documents, training, money, and infiltration routes into the country, the officials said.
“They said the evidence indicated that the campaign to recruit young militant Muslims for Iraq had become better organized and coordinated in recent months.”
You mean there were militant Muslims in Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Britain and Iraq? Wouldn’t that fact indicate that concern about the Muslim populations in those countries doesn’t stem simply from “racism”?
“According to an investigating judge in Italy, the new network is building on an underground that helped smuggle fighters out of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the fall of 2001, when Taliban and Qaeda forces were routed by American-led allied troops. But since the end of last year the flow of recruits, including young men from Europe and North Africa, has turned toward the new front in Iraq, the judge said. ‘In August and September people were approaching the borders of Iraq, in Turkey and Syria,’ he said. ‘These people got very close and it’s very easy for them to slip in.’
“An Italian investigation of a terrorist group with links to Al Qaeda led to the arrest of three men in Italy and Germany last week. Two of the men who were arrested in Milan were accused of providing false passports and money to the network for Iraq. Six men arrested in northern Italy in April were also accused of aiding the recruiting operation.
“Officials in Italy said the conclusions emerging from their case were supported by investigations in other European countries. . . .
“It is not clear how significant a role foreign terror recruits may have in the surge of violence in Iraq. President Bush and L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator in Iraq, have said that ‘jihadists’ and foreign terrorists have entered the country. But American military leaders there say they have not seen signs of a large influx of foreign fighters. They say that about 300 people of 5,000 prisoners in Iraq are holding non-Iraqi passports.”
Why the sneer quotes around “jihadists”? That’s how they describe themselves.
How extensive is this effort? Armando Spataro, coordinator of terrorism investigations at Milan’s Justice Department, says that “almost all Western European countries have been touched by recruiting.” . . .
“Investigators in several European countries, including Italy, Germany and Britain, have focused on the participation in Iraq recruitment of a terrorist organization named Al Tawhid. The group is led by Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian who collaborated with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, and has been implicated by American and European intelligence agencies in recent terror attacks in Jordan.”
Tawhid is a term of Islamic theology. It refers to the absolute unity of Allah, and its implications.