With mid term elections in November fast approaching, the Bush administration is trying hard to silence its detractors. But it doesn’t seem to be working. Feud with Bill Clinton on his administration’s failures on terrorism to the leaked intelligence report, things have taken a bad turn.
This week The New York Times leaked the information contained on the classified intelligence report, which essentially said that Iraq war is driving up the global jihadist movement and has become the “cause celebre” for the extremists. This prompted the Democrats and opponents of the Bush administration’s terrorism policy to repeat their “I told you so” stand and demand immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
In a damage control strategy, Presidents Bush announced that he is declassifying parts of the intelligence report so that people can read it and make their own opinions. So today CNN has posted the declassified parts of the report in its website. To read, visit: http://www.cnn.com/2006/images/09/26/nie.declass.pdf.
So what does the report say? Some key findings are:
#Number and geographic dispersion of jihadists is increasing worldwide.
#Spread of democracy and pluralism in Muslims societies will help in combating the jihadists, by giving them fewer issues to exploit.
#Europe as immerged as a vulnerable target for the jihadists. It has a large immigrant and local Muslim population which have been targeted actively by the jihadists for recruiting.
#Conflict in Iraq is aiding the spread of extremism and the jihadist’s movement. It is also becoming a breeding ground for the spread of anti-American sentiments in the Muslim world.
#The report has pointed to the merger between al Qaida and al Zarqawi’s network to exploit the current instability in Iraq. It says that if in future there is a loss of top leadership, the organization might fracture into smaller groups.
While the declassified findings of the report offer nothing new in terms of core information, like the fact that extremists are using Iraq war in expanding their network or the vulnerability Europe to terrorist attacks, the classified part may hold some serious and new information. We are forced to speculate because the White House has refused to declassify the whole report citing security concerns.