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Foreign Fighters Account for 5% of Iraqi Insurgents (and other ignorances denied...)

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posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 07:27 PM
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Well, according to Anthony Cordesman, who holds the Center for Strategic and International Studies Burke Chair in Strategy (and who also briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on July 18th regarding current military options for Iraq) most intelligence estimates put the number of foreign fighters in Iraq as accounting for 5% of the total number of fighters.

Further, Iraq is not, according to Mr. Cordesman, draining Islamist activity from any other regions, including those nearby Iraq.

I've been seeing a lot of arguments to the contrary on both these points here on ATS, and thought I'd present the view of a man considered by many to be an expert on the subject, in the interests of denying ignorance.

Here is his recent article from which he makes the above assertions:

The President's Speech on Iraq: Truth Versus Spin

and, for those interested in some further reading, here is his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Testimony

-koji K.

[edit on 19-7-2005 by koji_K]




posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 08:48 PM
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Great stuff! Yeah, if someone invaded our country there'd be an insurgency here as well. And I might be part of it.


The thought that we're being told the truth on ANYTHING by this administration after all that's been revealed is naïve. It would be an accident at this point if the truth slipped out. People here want to believe we're doing a good thing over there. They can't face the thought that we're in deep doo-doo and it's from our own actions. That's just too scary for some.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 09:20 PM
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Anthony Cordesman is talking out his behind.
How so?
His 5% figure is based off those detained and alive 600 that have been identified as "foreign fighters" out of a total 14,000 alive detainees. Furthermore, he is not taking into his calculations, those "foreign fighters" that have been killed, he is only figuring on those that are alive and detained. Interesting, no? Real accurate there, Mr. "HELLO!?" Cordesman, huh?

Mr. "I'm talking out my behind and have no clue" Cordesman further fails to identify, and calculate in, the possible number of "foreign fighters," that have not been captured or killed and are currently roaming in Iraq.
That would be how many there, Mr. "I have no clue but let me slant this article" Cordesman?
Btw, how many terrorists would you say are in Iraq, as well?

How about some numbers on how many innocent people these "5%" have
killed/murdered/maimed?

Nice try....





seekerof

[edit on 19-7-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 09:39 PM
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Call me crazy but shouldnt the amount of captured foreigner fighters among detained prisoners be a fairly accurate portrayal of the population of insurgents in Iraq? Kind of like the random sampling in a survey? I dont see how the guy is pulling these figures out of thin air.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 09:50 PM
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Erm, no, because he is not giving a realistic portrayal of the total amount of "foreign fighters" that have been and are in Iraq. If a "foreign fighter" is shot dead in Iraq, the "foreign fighter" is in Iraq, thus, should have been figured in to that "5%". And as asserted, he is also not including those that are not captured and roaming Iraq.

How many "foreign fighters" cross the border every day? How many are killed daily? Why only figure a percentage on only those alive and detained that have been identified as "foreign fighters"? Thats like figuring the total number of french fries you have on your plate, and only counting those that are left on your plate as a 'total sum' and not including those that you have already eaten, which was originally on your plate in the first place when the waitress brought the plate of fries to you. :shk:





seekerof

[edit on 19-7-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 09:54 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Anthony Cordesman is talking out his behind.
How so?
His 5% figure is based off those detained and alive 600 that have been identified as "foreign fighters" out of a total 14,000 alive detainees. Furthermore, he is not taking into his calculations, those "foreign fighters" that have been killed, he is only figuring on those that are alive and detained. Interesting, no? Real accurate there, Mr. "HELLO!?" Cordesman, huh?

Mr. "I'm talking out my behind and have no clue" Cordesman further fails to identify, and calculate in, the possible number of "foreign fighters," that have not been captured or killed and are currently roaming in Iraq.
That would be how many there, Mr. "No clue" Cordesman?
Btw, how many terrorists would you say are in Iraq, as well?

How about some numbers on how many innocent people these "5%" have
killed/murdered/maimed?

Nice try....

seekerof

[edit on 19-7-2005 by Seekerof]


How do you know any of this?

The relevant section of his article states the following:



He totally failed to mention the thousands of native Iraqis that make up the core of the insurgency, the fact we have only some 600 foreign detainees out of a total of 14,000, the fact most intelligence estimates put foreign fighters at around 5% of the total, and the fact we face a major native popular Sunni uprising and deep Sunni distrust.


He says "intelligence estimates"... note the plural. Are you saying that multiple intelligence estimates would have failed to take into account a factor as obvious as the one you point out? This mans job is to make sense of statistics and reports... in fact, that's the job of the people compiling the intelligence estimates he mentions. I doubt they'd make an error that fundamental.

In fact, Seekerof, he has taken your concern into account. In another report he mentions the following:



It is unlikely that such groups make up more 10% of the insurgent force, and may make up around 5%. While the number of foreign volunteers has increased with time, it is also important to point out that as of June 2005, they made up less than 600 of some 14,000 detainees. Coalition experts also estimated that they had made up less than 5% of insurgent casualties and detainees to date.


Source:
Iraq's Evolving Insurgency, CSIS

If what you say is correct, then the percentage of casualties would be much higher. In fact, what you say is completely wrong- he's clearly not basing his figure on foreign fighters that haven't been killed... he's basing it on coalition estimates of casualties AND detainees. Care to tell me that you have better knowledge than the coalitions own experts? They are the ones actually there, after all.... Nice try, right back at ya...

Finally, what's with the name calling? Are you someone of equal or higher authority than Cordesman or the CSIS, or have some kind of inside scoop that extends beyond what the intel services know? Do you know the man personally, and he's done something to offend you?

-koji K.

[edit on 19-7-2005 by koji_K]



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:02 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Anthony Cordesman is talking out his behind.
How so?
His 5% figure is based off those detained and alive 600 that have been identified as "foreign fighters" out of a total 14,000 alive detainees. Furthermore, he is not taking into his calculations, those "foreign fighters" that have been killed, he is only figuring on those that are alive and detained.


Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, the U.S. military's chief spokesman in Iraq, also says it's 5%.



www.mnf-iraq.com...

GEN. ALSTON: Your question is specifically about -- kind of the Zarqawi piece of this, the Islamic extremists, the foreign fighter component to this. I don't know what the numbers were back in June of last year. I know right now we loosely characterize it as about 5 percent of the enemy as foreign fighters.

I have read that the percentage of foreign suicide bombers is higher though.

[edit on 19-7-2005 by AceOfBase]



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:06 PM
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AceOfBase- Number of suicide bombers higher than the number of foreign fighters? But... whatever could that mean?


-koji K.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:07 PM
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You can respect the man as you see fit.
I call it likes it is regarding my respect for Mr. Cordesman.
Definately was not directed at you.

Percentages run higher than that for which you present, koji_k.
Estimates run as high as 15% and in the thousands.
A Google check on this will indicate "thousands" and a rare percentage or two mention.

If 5% of 14000 is 700 and you have 600 alive and detained, is that a true representation of the total number of "foreign fighters" that have or are in Iraq, koji_K?

And when you calculate in "thousands," that percent jumps to what?
Not buying Mr. Cordesman's "5%" or the singular or two sources you are putting forth. All this amounts to nothing but another attempt to say that Bush and the US "inflated" the number of "foreign fighters" in Iraq.
Nothing more. You know it and I know it,cause quite frankly, it will never be accurately known how many "foreign fighters" have been or are in Iraq.





seekerof



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:20 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof

If 5% of 14000 is 700 and you have 600 alive and detained, is that a true representation of the total number of "foreign fighters" that have or are in Iraq, koji_K?



I'm not sure what you mean (probably because I'm not very good at math.) The 5% figure is not based on the total number of detainees... it's based on the percentage of foreign fighters coalition forces have killed, injured, or detained out of the total number they have done the same with.

It's like this: Coalition troops detain or kill X amount of "bad guys" in Iraq. Coalition intelligence experts deduce that of X amount, 5% are foreign fighters. That's all there is to it, as far as I can see.




And when you calculate in "thousands," that percent jumps to what?
Not buying Mr. Cordesman's "5%" or the singular or two sources you are putting forth. All this amounts to nothing but another attempt to say that Bush and the US "inflated" the number of "foreign fighters" in Iraq.
Nothing more. You know it and I know it,cause quite frankly, it will never be accurately known how many "foreign fighters" have been or are in Iraq.



Again, not sure what you mean with the calculating in the thousands.

So... you are saying that an expert who advises the government is trying to smear the US? Maybe he has his own political views, I don't know. But the US asks him to advise it! They obviously respect his opinion, why don't you? I'm not saying you have to, but if your only reason is because it's contrary to what Bush said in his speech, then that doesn't seem a good reason.

You are correct, we will never know the *exact* amount of foreign fighters in Iraq. But what we can use are the estimates of experts who:

1.) Are asked to brief the Senate on such issues.

2.) Make multiple trips to Iraq for the very purpose of interviewing coalition experts on the subject on the ground.

and 3.) Are members of large, respected organizations whose job it is to collect and advise on these types of issues.

This is the type of guy I would listen to. You can blame him for having an agenda (which I think is questionable, he wouldn't have survived so long in his circles if he was notorious for being one sided) BUT I think it's even more obvious that Bush has an agenda... who has more to lose here? Who is the politician?

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:22 PM
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BTW, I followed your google link, most of what I saw supports the view that the vast majority of fighters in Iraq are domestic, not foreign.


I should say that the figure could easily be 10% or 20% or 30%, the illusion I was trying to dispel was that foreign fighters are the majority of fighters in Iraq, which like it or not IS the impression the administration is trying to convey.

-koji K.

[edit on 19-7-2005 by koji_K]



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:28 PM
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Oh good grief:


Few Signs of Infiltration by Foreign Fighters in Iraq
In Washington late last month, officials estimated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq at 1000 to 3000, and the White House has been suggesting that ...
www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1119-12.htm - 17k - Cached - Similar pages


Foreign fighters increase presence in Iraq - (United Press ...
One source put the number of foreign fighters looking to enter Iraq to fight America by way of that route in the thousands, having started moving in small ...
washingtontimes.com/upi-breaking/ 20040623-094344-1804r.htm - 53k - Cached - Similar pages


Iraq | A foreign tide that ebbs and flows | Economist.com
... the Russians in Afghanistan, then trained in al-Qaeda's camps there the number of foreign fighters in Iraq is small, perhaps in the low thousands. ...
www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=4113501 - Similar pages


A number of ways to Google will substantiate those "thousands," just as you and AceOfBase are doing when locating those "5%" numbers....






seekerof



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:31 PM
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OK- but, the figure could easily be 10% or 20% or 30%, the illusion I was trying to dispel was that foreign fighters are the majority of fighters in Iraq, which like it or not IS the impression the administration is trying to convey. I wasn't talking about actual numbers, just proportions. It could be 1,000, 2,000, or 3,000, I don't deny this and wasn't trying to.

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:36 PM
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Originally posted by koji_K
...the illusion I was trying to dispel was that foreign fighters are the majority of fighters in Iraq,

, ok, I'm with you on this one. I certainly hope I never thought that.




...which like it or not IS the impression the administration is trying to convey.

That may or may not be, koji_K.
I'm not sure, it may be a perception thing.

I do apologize if you took offence, mate, was not my intention. I just vehemently disagree with Mr. Cordesman.
Though I don't agree with the Cordesman assessment, it is something that needs to be addressed.

Good job in reporting this.






seekerof

[edit on 19-7-2005 by Seekerof]



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:42 PM
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No offence taken at all
Just a good, heated debate!

I guess I get a bit riled up... well, it certainly is a perception thing, I agree. I guess this is one of those things that can never be really known. I have a feeling even 50-100 years from now historians will have conflicting views on this issue.

Also, I may have spoken too soon about issues the administration wanted to convey.. I should have phrased it more like, "it's an issue they would like to portray, and refrain from publicizing when they can." I don't think they are actually obfuscating the figures.

-koji K.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:42 PM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
A number of ways to Google will substantiate those "thousands," just as you and AceOfBase are doing when locating those "5%" numbers....


seekerof


The estimated number of insurgents was 20,000 back in November so 1,000 out of 20,000 still equals 5%. If you take the higher number of 3,000, that's still only 15%.



posted on Jul, 19 2005 @ 10:48 PM
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AceOfBase, your coolness and research skills are admirable.

As to what you mentioned, I think I mentioned 15%, though I did not source it.

I am seriously of the opinion that the true numbers will never be known. Estimates are cool, but in the end, they are educated or not estimates.


Thanks for the links and such.




seekerof



posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 12:23 AM
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Originally posted by Seekerof
Thats like figuring the total number of french fries you have on your plate, and only counting those that are left on your plate as a 'total sum' and not including those that you have already eaten, which was originally on your plate in the first place when the waitress brought the plate of fries to you. :shk:
seekerof

[edit on 19-7-2005 by Seekerof]


I beg to differ its closer to estimating the proportion of fries that are over cooked versus cooked perfectly by comparing the random sample of french fries brought to you on your plate with projected amounts of french fries produced..

Correct me if I'm wrong but the way a survey works is a random sample of respondents are taking from the general population and then the results are compared with the total population number right? I'm sure we can agree that the population of insurgents detained represents a fairly accurate cross-section of iraqi insurgents its not like we're targeting some while ignoring others. So if we compare the results of the "survey" of origin and compare it to projected insurgent population numbers shouldnt we come up with a reasonable estimate of the population proportions of the insurgents?
Maybe not a hundred percent accurate but what ever survey is.



posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 03:12 AM
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Any way you spin it, this is more compelling evidence that foreign fighters do not comprise a "majority" of the insurgency, as war proponents are prone to claim.

Instead the majority of the Iraq insurgency appears to be homegrown.

[edit on 7/20/05 by xmotex]



posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 04:45 AM
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Iraqi insurgents now outnumber coalition forces



The head of intelligence services in Baghdad says that there are more than 200,000 fighters...


Iraq battling more than 200,000 insurgents: intelligence chief



Iraq's insurgency counts more than 200,000 active fighters and sympathisers, the country's national intelligence chief told AFP, in the bleakest assessment to date of the armed revolt waged by Sunni Muslims.


Hmmm.....

Maybe its 5% of the 200.000 = 10.000 Foreign Fighteres...



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