There are several reasons to doubt the contentions made by the jihadists in this article. One is the fact that long before September 11, there was abundant evidence that violent groups holding the Islamic jihad ideology had spread throughout the world. Another is that there is reliable evidence that they are present today in many more than 60 countries.
Aside from the merits or demerits of the question itself, leaving Iraq will not end the jihad, any more than going to Iraq started it. While it is true that jihadists point to Iraq or Afghanistan or the founding of Israel or the toppling of Mossadegh as the reasons why they are fighting, the nature and history of the jihad ideology make these claims historically preposterous. These are indeed tools of jihadist recruitment, and some have proved more effective than others. However, if one is taken away, another one will be found. The captors here indicate this by complaining that none of the Arab leaders are “truly Islamic.” They thus indicate that their project, like that of other jihadists around the world, is not just to get the US out of Iraq, or the Jews out of Israel, or anything else but the restoration of the caliphate and Sharia.
For that very reason, a realistic appraisal of the jihad ideology also indicates that a long stay in Iraq for the US would most likely be counterproductive. The Wilsonian project of democratizing Iraq may somehow ultimately succeed, but the odds are prohibitive, and the January elections will not determine the outcome of the project as a whole. This will be a work of decades — at least. Democracy in Iraq faces an obstacle far greater than those faced by post-World War II Germany and Japan: the vitality of political Islam, which has not been discredited or disavowed by any of the many Islamic groups in the country. This force can only be neutralized not by military might, but by a large-scale ideological effort that has not been undertaken, because the need for it has not been understood.
From the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), with thanks to Kemaste:
PARIS – An insurgent guarding two French hostages told them his group supported President George W. Bush in the US November election because his policies help Islamic extremism expand, the French daily Le Figaro reported Friday.
Former hostage Georges Malbrunot, 41, told the paper that sometime between September 26 and October 15, he asked his guard if he wanted Bush or Democratic Party challenger John Kerry to win the US presidential election.
“We want Bush,” his guard told him. “We want Bush because with him, the American soldiers will stay in Iraq, and this way we will be able to expand.”
Malbrunot, a journalist employed by Le Figaro, said the guard also told him that the American attack on the Taliban regime in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States enabled Islamic extremism “to spread throughout the world”.
“We are now present in 60 countries around the world,” the hooded guard said. “And our aim is to overthrow Arab rulers and establish a caliphate from Andelusia to the borders of China.”…
Malbrunot said that there were repeated references among the kidnappers to “Sheik Osama” and that the group holding them had an Iraqi agenda” but also “an international and jihadist agenda”.
When he asked his guard what its priorities were, the man replied, “There are two. Saudi Arabia, Egypt … but we know all Arab leaders are traitors. None is truly Islamic.”