Baghdad buttresses defenses ready for wholesale Al Qaeda assault on city

Baghdad buttresses defenses ready for wholesale Al Qaeda assault on city, DEBKAfile, April 15, 2014

(Are Iran and al Qaeda now allies and might that be why al Qaeda leaders are leaving Iran and going to places like Iraq? — DM)

In Diyala province, al Qaeda is setting up bases along the Iraqi-Iranian border. As the menace edged toward their borders, 6,000 Iranian border patrol troops Sunday launched a four-day war game dubbed “Eqtedar (Might) 3” in Qasr-e Shirin, the westernmost county of Kermanshah provinceThe al Qaeda push finds an Iraqi army scared of hitting back to contain its rapid advance on Baghdad for fear of being outgunned and beaten by superior fighting strength.Drying_Banks_of_the_Euphrates_near_Karbala10.4.14Drying banks of the Euphrates dammed by al QaedaThe Iraqi army began buttressing its defense lines on April 12 to save parts of the capital city of Baghdad from the approaching danger of falling to al Qaeda’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Iraqi intelligence reports that terrorist forces have broken through into the city’s western outskirts and preparing to head out to other parts of the city of more than seven million and the Green Zone government headquarters.In addition to the lethal bombings and shootings which have reduced the country to misery, DEBKAfile’s counter-terrorism sources describe a more insidious ISIS tactic of conquest: Armed al Qaeda fighters in brown military fatigues are going around Baghdad city quarters distributing candy to children. Notes attached to the packets invite their parents to attend “repentance” rites, which are really oaths of adherence to al Qaeda.Six years ago, the contest between US troops and al Qaeda’s savage Iraqi commander, the Jordanian Mussab Al Zarqawi, ended in his death at American hands and saved Baghdad. Two years ago, President Barack Obama ordered US forces to shake the dust of Iraq off their boots.Now the Americans are back – only now they are not US soldiers but jihadi fighters of al Qaeda, fighting to overrun Iraq and establish an Islamist state there. They are pushing towards Baghdad after seizing the western province of Anbar, the city of Tikrit and the eastern province of Diyala on the border of Iran.They show their faces openly, unafraid of Iraq security, in parts of Baghdad as well as in the big Iraqi cities of Falluja, Ramadi, Baquba, Salahudeen and Nineveh.Al Qaeda’s operational arm in Iraq fields more Western fighters than any other of its branches. They are nationals of the US, Canada, the UK, France, Holland, Belgium and Italy. Many are battle-hardened veterans of Afghanistan and latterly Syria. From mid 2013, most of the Islamists fighting in Syria were scooped up by ISIS for its jihad in Iraq.Western intelligence watchers have never established who exactly gave the order for an estimated 3,500 al Qaeda fighters to migrate from Syria to Iraq – and so obtain a clue to the movement’s contemporary chain of command.In a Senate appearance in February, US National Intelligence Director James Clapper called the Syrian civil war an “apocalyptic disaster” and estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000-26,000 Islamist “extremists” were fighting in that war, including 7,500 from 50 foreign countries. “All are al Qaeda veterans from Afghanistan and Pakistan, who aspire to attack Europe as well as the United States,” he warned.DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources report that most of the 7,500 are currently fighting in Iraq under the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.This group was large and experienced enough in brutal combat to tip the scales of war decisively against the Iraqi army and catapult ISIS to the fore on three major fronts:

Read more via Baghdad buttresses defenses ready for wholesale Al Qaeda assault on city.

Didn’t Obama say al Qaeda was defeated? Why did we waste American lives in Iraq and why are we wasting them in Afghanistan?

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