Counterterrorism and intelligence professionals are having difficulty coming to terms with the significance of the Al Qaeda jailbreak in Iraq that occurred early last week, reports Eli Lake of The Daily Beast.
The ramifications could be disastrou, experts tell The Beast:
Members of the Iraqi parliament noted that many of the escapees were Al Qaeda In Iraq’s (AQI) “top emirs” — who analysts expect to oversee retribution on those who aided their arrests, galvanize extremists in Syria, and organise another rise of AQI in western Iraq.
The jailbreak effectively erases gains made through an American partnership with local Sunni leaders to oust Al Qaeda from western Iraq in the last years of the war.
Max Fisher of the Washington Post writes:
For all the very real mistakes and setbacks of the U.S.-led Iraq War, one success was a program to kill or capture large numbers of Sunni extremist leaders, including officers and fighters with the once-powerful al-Qaeda affiliate there. These are very bad people who did terrible things to Americans and to Iraqis, often civilians.
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