Most Foreign Insurgents In Iraq Are Saudis

Published on WSWS World Socialist Web Site, by Peter Symonds, July 17, 2007,
republished on, same day.

2 excerpts: An article in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times detailing the national origins of foreign insurgents in Iraq has punctured a large hole in the Bush administration’s relentless propaganda against Iran. For months, the White House has been demonising Tehran for “meddling” in Iraq by establishing networks to arm, train and finance anti-US insurgents. Most foreign fighters, however, come, not from Iran, but Saudi Arabia, a close American ally, with which the Bush administration in particular has intimate ties.

According to military statistics provided to the Los Angeles Times, about 45 percent of the hundreds of foreign militants involved in attacks on US troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia. Another 15 percent are from Syria and Lebanon and 10 percent from North Africa. Nearly half the 135 foreigners currently held in US detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis.

A senior American military officer told the newspaper that Saudis are believed to have carried out more suicide bombings in Iraq than those of any other nationality. He estimated that half of all Saudi jihadists come to Iraq as suicide bombers, who in the past six months have been responsible for killing and maiming at least 4,000 Iraqis …

… The danger that the sectarian war in Iraq will spark a broader regional confrontation underscores the reckless and incoherent character of US foreign policy. Having ousted Saddam Hussein and installed a puppet government dominated by Shiite parties with strong links to Iran, the Bush administration is attempting to marshal support from autocratic “Sunni” regimes like Saudi Arabia in its confrontation with Iran. Incapable of resolving these contradictions, the Bush administration simply maintains a stony silence on Saudi activities in Iraq.

Last week, the Saudi taboo reached absurd proportions when US military spokesman Brigadier General Kevin Bergner gave a press conference on the rising toll of destruction caused by suicide bombers. He pointed out that most suicide bombers were foreigners, as Sunni extremist groups were not able to recruit Iraqis to indiscriminately slaughter their fellow countrymen. Like President Bush, Bergner repeatedly invoked the role of Al Qaeda to justify the continued US occupation. To illustrate his argument, he provided details of a particular suicide bomber from a middle class family, recruited at a mosque, and sent into Iraq via Syria. Bergner omitted to state his nationality, claiming he had not received clearance. According to the military source of the Los Angeles Times, the man was a Saudi citizen, like many of the suicide bombers entering Iraq. (full text).

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