Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Selected Portions of NIE Released

(Bumped and Updated)

In what I can only assume is a reaction to the Blog Brief's item yesterday demanding release of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), the Bush Administration has now declassified a very select portion of it, (some of) the Key Judgments. You can read them for yourself here.

Here are a few of the judgments:
  • We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.
  • The Iraq conflict has become the .cause celebre. for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
  • We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.
  • Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq .jihad;. (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims.all of which jihadists exploit.
  • Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists. radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens.
  • The jihadists. greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution. an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari.a-based governance spanning the Muslim unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists. propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.
  • Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.
  • Countering the spread of the jihadist movement will require coordinated multilateral efforts that go well beyond operations to capture or kill terrorist leaders.
  • If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.
  • Al-Qa’ida, now merged with Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi’s network, is exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors and to maintain its leadership role.

I doubt the parts they didn't declassify were any more helpful to Bush in proving his constant refrain about how we're "safer" because of his decision to invade Iraq (when we were actually attacked by Al Qaeda). Incidentally, "safer, but not yet safe," one of his favorite lines, sets an awfully low standard. Still, it looks like there is now agreement that he hasn't even met that low bar of being gradually better than the previous safety level.


Former CIA analyst and counterterrorism expert Larry Johnson has quite a bit more on this topic (and graphs!).

DarkSyde offers a reality check.

DemFromCT adds the following:

Jane Harman is very clear that the second Iraq study is being kept a draft so as not to surface prior to the election (it's bad news for the GOP).

Harman Calls for Release of Second Secret Iraq Report


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