Friday, February 01, 2008

Jihadists retreating from Iraq expected in Europe

Spanish intelligence services warn that al Qaeda foreign fighters in Iraq will retreat to Europe. In the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, Eduardo Martin de Pozuelo and Enrique Figueredo report (in “Spanish intelligence warns jihadists coming from Iraq,” January 31, 2008, English translation by BBC Monitoring) that Spanish intelligence base their analysis on field work done in Iraq by the Madrid-based National Intelligence Center (CNI), who have lost eight agents killed in Iraq.

The exodus from Iraq is the result of a loss of trust in al Qaeda by the Iraqis, who no longer regard “the foreign jihadists to be mujahidins, but takfiris, that is to say, extremists and assassins of their Islamic brothers.” The initial destination for this retreat is said to be Mosul.

Many of the jihadists originally found their way to the insurgency in Iraq by journeying through Spain. Return to their country of origin, to Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Algeria or Morocco, would place them under strict surveillance of the intelligence service of their home country, where their identities and recent absence are known. This leaves Europe as the likely destination for the retreating jihadists, with Spain as one of the entrance gates.

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|| headland, 2:05 AM

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