UN report says U.S. breaking Qaeda
BY JAMES GORDON MEEK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON - A United Nations report on Iraq echoed many of the dire predictions in an American assessment, but was also more optimistic about the fight against Al Qaeda.
Like the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate released this week, the survey for the UN Security Council made public yesterday concluded the Iraq war has "provided many recruits and an excellent training ground" for Al Qaeda.
It also said the war has increasingly exported deadly new tactics to Afghanistan.
"New explosive devices are now used in Afghanistan within a month of their first appearing in Iraq," the report said.
But the UN report was more upbeat than the National Intelligence Estimate.
It claimed Al Qaeda "may see more losses than gains" in Iraq.
The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq hasslowed to a trickle, and the slaying of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may have confused the uprising, the UN revealed.
Jihadists have reportedly been angered at being turned away from the fight against U.S. forces by Iraqis, who often offer only suicide bombing missions, the UN report said.
Zarqawi's death probably pleased Osama Bin Laden, since the Jordanian "undermined the righteous image of Al Qaeda" by slaughtering fellow Muslims and beheading captives.
Yet Bin Laden replaced Zarqawi with Egyptian Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, a foreigner whom Iraqi nationalists are just as unlikely to follow, the UN concluded.
In Afghanistan, however, "there are few areas where the Taliban have lost ground," the report said. Supported by non-Afghan foreign fighters, the Taliban and Al Qaeda "have no shortage of recruits or arms," and are thriving this year because reconstruction efforts by the U.S. and its allies faltered.
Originally published on September 28, 2006