Small Wars Journal

Once-Secret Iraqi Documents Offer Lesson for Libya

Once-Secret Iraqi Documents Offer Lesson for Libya by Yochi J. Dreazen, National Journal. BLUF: "An analysis of the documents by the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center found that Libya sent more fighters to Iraq on a per-capita basis than any other Muslim country, including Saudi Arabia. Perhaps more alarmingly for Western policymakers, most of the fighters came from eastern Libya, the center of the current uprising against Muammar el-Qaddafi."


Wondering (not verified)

Sun, 03/13/2011 - 10:10am

I wonder if these FFs are going to Iraq on their own initiative, or rather, being sent by a dictator known for using mercenaries? Just Asking.

Anonymous (not verified)

Sat, 03/12/2011 - 12:18am

This is an epic fail on so many levels. Dreazen usually does great work, but in this case he ran with a brief, poorly reasoned blog post from Exum and added some mystery meat to it.
<blockquote><em>"Libyans were more fired up to travel to Iraq to kill Americans than anyone else in the Arabic-speaking world," Andrew Exum, a counterinsurgency specialist and former Army Ranger noted in a blog posting on Thursday. "This might explain why those rebels from Libya's eastern provinces are not too excited about U.S. military intervention. It might also give some pause to those in the United States so eager to arm Libya's rebels."</em></blockquote>

We are presented with this evidence:
- 5 years ago, 0.0007% of the Darnah's population is believed to have traveled to Iraq as FFs.
- the 0.0007% rate in Darnah is much higher than the 0.000012% rate from Riyadh

We are to infer:
- the comparison with other cities is apparently a useful means of determining anti-American fervor in a general locale
- FFs travel to Iraq out of a desire to kill Americans

We are to believe, without evidence:
- the rebels in Libya do not want us to assist them
- the inferences above reinforce the "fact" that rebels do not want us to assist them; after all, they sent 0.0007% of their population to kill Americans in Iraq out of political and/or religious fervor

Here is the problem:
Many of the foreign fighters who traveled to Iraq from Libya were duped by promises of large payments to their families (that were never paid), coerced into going, and/or were sent with assistance by the Libyan government. That is not an indication of them being "fired up" to "kill Americans." And it also does not "explain why those rebels... are not too excited about U.S. military intervention." On the contrary, we're not even sure what the consensus opinion is. Reports about whether they seek our assistance are conflicting. And why is it significant that 0.0007% of fighters from a town became FFs in Iraq, even if we stipulate that all FFs go there with a desire to kill Americans? What about the other 99.9993%?