[News] Text of the parts of the US National Intelligence Estimate report declassified
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 27 08:55:15 EDT 2006
Full text: US intelligence findings
Wednesday 27 September 2006 6:15 AM GMT
The full text of the parts of the US National Intelligence Estimate
report declassified on Tuesday.
The document was written in April, before the death of al-Qaeda in
Iraq leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the
leadership of al-Qaeda and disrupted its operations; however, we
judge that al-Qaeda will continue to pose the greatest threat by a
single terrorist organization to the homeland and US interests abroad.
We also assess that the global jihadist movement, which includes
al-Qaeda, affiliated and independent terrorist groups and emerging
networks and cells, is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.
Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a
large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists
identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of
Muslims, are increasing in number and geographic dispersion.
If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad
will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.
Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in
Muslim-majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances
Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted
programmes aimed at the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and
continued pressure on al-Qaeda, could erode support for the jihadists.
We assess that the global jihadist movement is decentralised, lacks a
coherent global strategy and is becoming more diffuse.
New jihadist networks and cells, with anti-American agendas, are
increasingly likely to emerge.
The confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it
harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.
We assess that the operational threat from self-radicalised cells
will grow in importance to US counterterrorism efforts, particularly
abroad but also in the homeland.
The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking
Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe
facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated
by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.
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
We assess that the underlying factors fuelling 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 fuelling 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
2. The Iraq jihad.
3. The slow pace of real and sustained economic, social and political
reforms in many Muslim majority nations.
4. Pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims, all of which
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 ultraconservative interpretation of
Shariah-based governance spanning the Muslim world - is 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
co-ordinated 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-Qaeda, now merged with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's network, is
exploiting the situation in Iraq to attract new recruits and donors
and to maintain its leadership role.
The loss of main leaders, particularly Osama bin Laden, Ayman
al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi, in rapid succession, probably would cause
the group to fracture into smaller groups.
Although like-minded individuals would endeavor to carry on the
mission, the loss of these main leaders would exacerbate
strains and disagreements.
We assess that the resulting splinter groups would, at least for a
time, pose a less serious threat to US interests than does al-Qaeda.
Should al-Zarqawi continue to evade capture and scale back attacks
against Muslims, we assess he could broaden his popular appeal and
present a global threat.
The increased role of Iraqis in managing the operations of al-Qaeda
in Iraq might lead veteran foreign jihadists to focus their efforts
on external operations.
Other affiliated Sunni-extremist organizations, such as Jemaah
Islamiya, Ansar al-Sunnah and several North African groups, unless
countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable
of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional
areas of operation.
We assess that such groups pose less of a danger to the homeland than
does al-Qaeda, but will pose varying degrees of threat to our allies
and to US interests abroad.
The focus of their attacks is likely to ebb and flow between local
regime targets and regional or global ones.
We judge that most jihadist groups - both well-known and newly formed
- will use improvised explosive devices and suicide attacks, focused
primarily on soft targets, to implement their asymmetric warfare
strategy, and that they will attempt to conduct sustained terrorist
attacks in urban environments.
Fighters with experience in Iraq are a potential source of leadership
for jihadists pursuing these tactics.
(Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapon) capabilities
will continue to be sought by jihadist groups.
While Iran, and to a lesser extent Syria, remain the most active
state sponsors of terrorism, many other states will be unable to
prevent territory or resources from being exploited by terrorists.
Anti-US and anti-globalisation sentiment is on the rise and fuelling
other radical ideologies.
This could prompt some leftist, nationalist or separatist groups to
adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests.
The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely,
and more anonymously in the internet age, raising the likelihood of
surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may
be difficult to pinpoint.
We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the
internet to communicate, propagandise, recruit, train and obtain
logistical and financial support.
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