A footnote to Fred Kagan’s exceptional work on events in Iraq: he rightly says “al Qaeda in Iraq is a foreign-run Iraqi terrorist organization.” Moreover, one has to stipulate that “Iraqi terrorist” is a term rather more complicated than outfits like al-AP seem to understand. Many Iraqis went to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war, where they were trained/indoctrinated by the mullahs for twenty-plus years. We’re talking about several million people, not a few cadres. Some of them, along with children, were sent into Iraq to fight us. It’s very misleading to simply call them “Iraqis.” Maybe they–and their children even more so–should be called “Iranians of Iraqi origin,” or “Iranian agents” or some such.
Groups like AQI, along with shi’ite militias, have a strong “foreign” component well beyond the foreigners who run them. For extras, as Fred points out in his Weekly Standard piece, the overwhelming majority of suicide terrorists are Arabs–mostly Saudi, it seems–who are trained in Syria (often by Hezbollah) before being sent into Iraq.