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Iraq war fuels global Jihad

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Muslims initially condemned Al Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on the US. But then the US invaded Iraq, triggering chaos that could overwhelm more than one country throughout the Middle East. As a result, even more moderate Muslims support anyone who defends Muslim lands and values against occupiers, particularly in Palestine and Iraq. Jihadists emerged during the early 1980s, opposed to Egypt and Israel seeking peace; then during the 1990s in Afghanistan, in armed opposition to the Russian invasion. But the war in Iraq has unleashed deep bitterness and instability throughout the region, and many more young Muslims with minimal education aspire to a form of jihad more volatile and deadly than what was seen in the previous decades. Instead of containing terrorism with war in Iraq, the US has fortified it, giving terrorists a new base of operations, argues international affairs professor and author Fawaz Gerges. US voters have rejected their president’s strategies for the Iraq war. If US leaders and Iraqis can find a way to stop fighting and set goals that benefit ordinary Muslims, then jihadists may still be discouraged and political stability for Iraq may yet be a reality.

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