War on Terror

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U.S. Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu

The War on Terror (or War on Terrorism) is a campaign that was launched by the United States of America with support from NATO and other allies with the stated goal of ending international terrorism, which is typically understood to refer particularly to radical Islamist terrorism. The campaign was launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, for which Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. The "War on Terror" has taken many forms, such as diplomacy, going after "terrorist financing," domestic provisions aiming to prevent future attacks, and joint training and peacekeeping operations with a wide variety of nations.[1]

Contents

Congressional debate

In March 2007, a memo sent to Democratic staffers on the House Armed Services Committee instructed Congressional aides not to use the specific phrases, "global war on terrorism" and "long war" in Defense authorization requests for the fiscal 2008 budget. The memo reads,

"When referencing military operations throughout the world, please be as specific as possible. Please avoid using colloquialisms such as, "the war on terrorism", or the "Long War" Please do not use the term "global war on terrorism" [2]

CNN's Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware reported in April 2007,

"If U.S. troops leave now, you’re giving Iraq to Iran ... and al-Qaeda. If U.S. troops leave now, that’s who will own it. ... Coming back I'm struck by the nature of the debate on Capital Hill, how delusional it is." [3]

Obama Administration Directive

Obama administration has discontinued use of the phrase 'war on terror', and its multiple variants. He claims that he will "go after" extremists and "win this fight."[4] The administration has also introduced the term "Overseas Contingency Operation", in order to downplay the importance of the conflict.[5]


Campaigns

Afghanistan

In immediate response to the 9/11 attacks, the United States invaded Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and deny al-Qaeda a base of operations.

Iraq War

The Iraq War, also known as the Second Persian Gulf War, began in March 2003 when the United States and a coalition of forces willing to enforce United Nations Resolutions removed Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein's from power. Gen. David Petraeus, commander of the multinational forces has characterized the Iraqi war as a decentralized fight against clan or family-based terror networks supplied by Iran and Syria, against which more and more Iraqis are willing to fight. Research using robust surveying techniques has estimated that over 650,000 Iraqis have died [6] since the fall of the Ba'athist regime.

Iran is actively assisting the major Shiite Muslim political factions in Iraq, most of which have long-standing ideological, political, and religious sectarian ties to Tehran. A key U.S. concern is that Iran is purportedly arming the militias fielded by those factions - militias that are committing sectarian violence and, to some extent, attacking U.S. forces. Since December 2006, the Administration has tried to reverse Iranian influence in Iraq while also engaging Iran diplomatically on Iraq.

Of greater concern to U.S. officials than the Iranian political support to Iraq’s Shiite factions is Iranian material support to militias fielded by the major Shiite groupings. The militias are widely accused of the sectarian violence against Sunnis that is gripping Iraq and which has been repeatedly identified by U.S. officials as a leading security problem, although Iraqi Shiites say they are retaliating for Sunni violence against them.

Senior U.S. and allied military officials and policymakers have provided specific information on Iranian aid to Shiite militias.

  • In March 2006, senior U.S. defense officials, including then-Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. John Abizaid asserted that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard — particularly its "Qods (Jerusalem) Forces" that conduct activities outside Iran in support of Shiite movements — is assisting armed factions in Iraq with explosives and weapons. The Qods Force is an arm of the Iranian government, but some experts believe it might sometimes undertake actions not fully vetted with senior leaders.
  • On August 23, 2006, Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy chief of operations of the Joint Staff, said the Iranian government is training, funding, and equipping Shiite militiamen in Iraq. On September 28 2006, Maj. Gen. Richard Zahner, deputy chief of staff for intelligence of the Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I), said that the labels on C-4 explosives found with Shiite militiamen in Iraq prove that the explosives came from Iran. He added that only the Iranian military apparatus controls access to such military-grade explosives.[7]
  • On September 19, 2006, Gen. Abizaid said that U.S. forces had found weaponry in Iraq that likely came from Iran, including a dual-warhead rocket-propelled-grenade RPG-29, as well as Chinese-made rockets. He added that Lebanese Hezbollah members were conducting training in Iran and that they could also be training Iraqi Shiite militiamen but that "[these linkages are] very, very hard to pin down with precision". [8]
  • On January 31, 2007, the commander of Multinational Corps-Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, said that the United States had traced back to Iran serial numbers of weapons captured in Iraq. The armaments included rocket-propelled grenades, roadside bombs, and Katyusha rockets.
  • In a February 11, 2007, U.S. military briefers in Baghdad provided what they said was specific evidence that Iran had supplied armor-piercing "explosively forced projectiles" (EFPs) to Shiite militias. EFPs have been responsible for 170 U.S. combat deaths from 2003 until April 2007.
  • On April 11, 2007, when U.S. military officials said they had found evidence that Iran might also be supplying Sunni insurgent factions, although without asserting Iranian government approval for the shipments. Some experts believe such shipments would not comport with Iranian government objectives because Sunni insurgents are fighting Iran’s protégés and allies in Iraq.
  • On July 2, 2007, Brig. Gen. Kevin Begner, in a briefing for journalists, said that the Qods Force is using Lebanese Hezbollah to train and channel weapons to Iraqi Shiite militia fighters, and that Iran is giving up to $3 million per month to its protégé forces in Iraq. Bergner based his information on the March 2007 capture – in connection with a January 2007 attack on U.S. forces in Karbala – of former Sadr spokesman Qais Khazali and Lebanese Hezbollah operative Ali Musa Daqduq.
  • On July 23, 2007, it was reported the US military found missiles manufactured in China which have been smuggled into Iraq from Iran.[9]

One press report said there are 150 Iranian Qods Forces and intelligence personnel in Iraq.[10] In December 2006, U.S. forces arrested two Qods Forces senior officers in the compound of SICI leader Hakim, where they were allegedly meeting with Badr Brigade leader (and member of parliament) Hadi al-Amiri; the two were later released under Iraqi government pressure. In January 2007, another five Iranian agents were arrested in a liaison office in the Kurdish city of Irbil, reportedly against the urging of Iraq’s Kurdish leaders. They remain under arrest until at least October 2007 when their case will be reviewed. Iranian diplomats were allowed access to the five on July 7, 2007, and the Iranians reportedly were told that there are two other Iranian government employees held by U.S. forces.

South America

MSNBC reports that Hezbollah, the Iranian created and supported terror organization that until the September 11 attacks had killed more Americans than any other terrorist organization, has set up operations within the rural regions known as South America’s Tri-Border Area. [11] This area is located between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina, and borders Venezuela and Bolivia. All of these countries face the common enterprise of narco-terrorism. These funds are, in turn, are used to wage war against US and Coalition Forces in the Middle East and for clandestine training of future terrorist operatives in their jihad against the West. Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda are all coordinating to affect jihad in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and South America. Further, many Western intelligence agencies report that al Qaeda nuclear whiz-kid Adnan el Shukrijumah has been spotted throughout South America, the United States and Canada.

Other known terrorist organizations in the region, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), facilitate the trafficking of narcotics and the laundering of money derived from that enterprise. [12]

Second Lebanon War

The Second Lebanon War was fought between Israel and Hezbollah, primarily in northern Israel and southern Lebanon, in the summer of 2006.

Waziristan War

The Waziristan War (2004-2006) was fought between Pakistan and al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and sympathetic tribal militias in the Waziristan province of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan. A second offensive was carried out by the during early May to early December 2009, driving the Taliban from the region. [13][14]

Arabian Peninsula War

After Saudi Arabian missiles were located by Egyptian insurgents, a militant group of Egyptian insurgents launched a reconnaissance mission in late 2008. Al queda forces were located in several strongholds; the Egyptians fought and captured the missiles, preventing a nuclear holocaust. Due to cover up by the lamestream media, very few people know this story.[Citation Needed]

Other theaters

The U.S. has also used armed drones, CIA operatives, Special Forces, and local allies to fight Islamists and Al Qaeda in many other countries. Missile strikes on Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan are now routine, having been escalated under the Obama administration. Special Forces incursions, especially the Bin Laden raid, are now increasingly common. Drone strikes by the military and CIA have also increased in Yemen, recently killing Anwar al-Awlaki and several others. CIA operatives are also present in other countries, including Somalia, where they assist the Transitional Federal Government.

International Perception

Some disapprove of the War on Terror, claiming that deliberate deception was used to justify the Iraq war. Many people internationally disagree with their countries joining the "Coalition of the willing", Germany and the United Kingdom for example[15][16]. They also feel that the use of extrajudicial internment and trials which are perceived to be unfair in Guntanemo Bay are a disgrace to the United States.

References

  1. War on Terrorism. Newsmax.
  2. Style Guide for Defense Authorization Report. House Committee on Armed Services. U.S. House of Representatives. 110th Congress. 27 March 2007.
  3. CNN, Pullout would hand Iraq to Iran and al-Qaeda, 04/26/07.
  4. Obama administration drops 'war on terror' phrase AP, February 2, 2009
  5. Fox News; Obama Administration backing away from "War on Terror"
  6. Iraqi death toll withstands scrutiny, Nature
  7. Iranian Government Behind Shipping Weapons to Iraq. American Forces Press Service, September 28, 2006.
  8. New Weapons From Iran Turning Up on Mideast Battlefields: Abizaid. Agence France-Presse, September 19, 2006.
  9. US Army claims Iran is smuggling Chinese weapons into Iraq, Daily Star, July 23, 2007.
  10. Linzer, Dafna. Troops Authorized To Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq, Washington Post, January 26, 2007.
  11. Hezbollah builds a Western base, From inside South America’s Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets U.S. By Pablo Gato and Robert Windrem, NBC News, May 9, 2007. Retrieved from MSNBC.com June 4 2007.
  12. Venezuela: In the Spirit of The Monroe Doctrine], Frank Salvato, New Media Journal, June 1, 2007.
  13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8065062.stm
  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8409486.stm
  15. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2747175.stm
  16. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=aSS1cBdEHQ.I&refer=germany
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