Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists
"Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the prime training ground for foreign terrorists who could travel elsewhere across the globe and wreak havoc, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials and classified studies" by the CIA and the Department of State, Warren P. Strobel reported July 4, 2005. 
- "To complete the mission, we will prevent al-Qaida and other foreign terrorists from turning Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban, a safe haven from which they could launch attacks on America and our friends," according to Bush's Speech, June 28, 2005. 
Strobel countered, "But Iraq wasn't a source of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism under Saddam and played no role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Critics argue that the U.S. invasion harmed, rather than helped, the war on terror by acting as a magnet and recruiting tool." 
"U.S. ally Saudi Arabia is a prime potential destination for experienced fighters returning from Iraq, the study by the State Department's Intelligence and Research bureau concludes, according to officials familiar with its contents. ... Yemen is another likely destination.
"Saudi citizens are thought to make up the largest contingent of foreign fighters in Iraq, and the Saudi royal family has expressed alarm to the U.S. government over the prospect of battle-scarred militants returning to the oil-rich kingdom.
Regarding the January 15, 2005, report released by the National Intelligence Council, Dana Priest reported:
- "Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of 'professionalized' terrorists.
- "Iraq provides terrorists with 'a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills ... There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries', ... said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats." 
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- George W. Bush, Remarks by the President in Texas, Welcome Southern Methodist University, Moody Coliseum, Dallas, Texas, November 4, 2002: "Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground, so that a Saddam Hussein could use this shadowy group of people to attack his enemy and leave no fingerprint behind."
- Michael Ware, "Meet the New Jihad," Time, June 27, 2004.
- "Report: Bush admits Iraq 'miscalculations.' But president insists strategy has been 'flexible enough' to respond," Reuters, August 27, 2004.
- "Iraq Called Terror Breeding Ground," Associated Press, December 15, 2004.
- Dana Priest, "Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground. War Created Haven, CIA Advisers Report," Washington Post, January 13, 2005.
- William S. Lind, "Coming Unglued in Iraq," Washington Dispatch, January 24, 2005.
- Dana Priest and Josh White, "War Helps Recruit Terrorists, Hill Told. Intelligence Officials Talk Of Growing Insurgency," Washington Post, February 17, 2005. Text: CIA Director Porter Goss; Text: FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III; and Text: DIA Director Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby.
- Anna Badkhen, "Curbing terrorism stumbles over Bush's war on terror. Iraq desert becomes chief training ground for killing Americans," San Francisco Chronicle, March 20, 2005.
- "Iraq urges neighbours to help secure borders," ABC News (Australia), May 1, 2005: "Turkey has warned that Iraq is turning into a training ground for terrorist groups."
- "CIA says Iraq is now a terrorist training ground," Reuters, June 22, 2005: "The CIA believes the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, officials said on Wednesday."
- Evan Kohlmann, "Breeding Ground. A home for al Qaeda in Iraq," National Review Online, May 14, 2005.
- Billmon, "The Flytrap," Whiskey Bar, June 10, 2005.
- Douglas Jehl, "Iraq May Be Prime Place for Training of Militants, C.I.A. Report Concludes," New York Times, June 22, 2005.
- Douglas Jehl, "CIA describes Iraq as terrorist laboratory," New York Times, June 23, 2005.
- Tom Rinaldo, "Rove Has Me Figured Alright," Democratic Underground, June 25, 2005. Re Karl Rove.
- Jason Motlagh, "Terrorists in Iraq seen from Africa," UPI, June 25, 2005: "The disclosure of an Iraq-Africa connection coincided with Operation Flintlock, the first phase of the U.S. military's expanded Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI), headed by EUCOM. ... U.S. Special Forces are engaged in a two-week military exercise, which ends tomorrow, to train 3,000 African troops from nine countries: Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria and Tunisia."
- George Packer, "The Home Front. A soldier’s father wrestles with the ambiguities of Iraq," The New Yorker, June 27, 2005 (July 4, 2005 issue): "When Bush’s first chief of the postwar operation, the retired general Jay Garner, was replaced by L. Paul Bremer III and recalled from Iraq, in May, 2003, he was taken by Rumsfeld to the White House for a farewell meeting with the President. The conversation lasted forty-five minutes, he told me, with Vice-President Dick Cheney and Rice sitting in for the second half, and yet the President did not take the chance to ask Garner what it was really like in Iraq, to find out what problems lay ahead. When Garner had come back from northern Iraq in 1991, after leading the effort to save Kurdish refugees following the Gulf War, he had answered questions for four or five days." Al Franken commented "this is a president without the intellectual curiosity to find out what's wrong in Iraq, and the solutions to those problems." 
- Iraq: A Wasted Opporunity: "How Bush Turned Iraq into a Terrorist Training Ground," Center for American Progress, June 29, 2005: "The thrust of President Bush's address last night was that the Iraq war has now become the 'latest battlefield' in the war on terror, and that we must 'defeat [the terrorists] abroad before they attack us at home.' There is little doubt, as a new CIA report concludes and director Porter Goss said previously, that Iraq has become the new Afghanistan -- the training ground for the next generation of insurgent fighters. But Iraq certainly wasn't this type of breeding ground before the war. In fact, one rationale Bush proffered for the war was to prevent Iraq from becoming 'a training ground' for terrorists. Bush said in November 2002: 'Imagine a terrorist network with Iraq as an arsenal and as a training ground...' We don't have to imagine anymore; Bush's war has made it a reality due to the whole host of mistakes that were made in the post-war phase." (Total segment.)
- " Terror operatives forego camps, but training continues," AFP, July 3, 2005: "Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of Saint Andrews in Scotland [said]. ... 'I don't think you can find full-fledged training camps in Pakistan or even Afghanistan on the same level as we had before, .... From 2007, the United States aims to pour 100 million dollars annually for five years into a new Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative in a bid to boost the capacity of the region's armed forces."
- Warren P. Strobel, "Iraq seen emerging as prime training ground for terrorists," Knight Ridder Newspapers, July 4, 2005.
- Michael Moss and Souad Mekhennet, "Militants Widen Reach as Terror Seeps Out of Iraq," New York Times, May 28, 2007.