U.S. Troop Departure Will Not Hand Iraq To al Qaeda


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Ted Carpenter, vice president of the Cato Institute, has stated his belief that departing U.S. Forces would not leave Iraq in the hands of al Qaeda; and, he's got the numbers to prove it.

UPI has the coverage of Carpenter's citation of some persuasive statistics in his assertion that al Qaeda is incapable of filling any void left by a withdrawing American force.

The first point contrasts the sheer numbers. While al Qaeda was a meaningfully sized 18,000 fighters in Taliban-run Afghanistan, there numbers are much smaller in Iraq, perhaps only 1,300. That is a small force compared to the nearly 26 million Iraqi civilians. That's a ratio of one al Qaeda fighter to every 20,000 Iraqis.

The second point is the results of a poll conducted in 2006 regarding civilian support for al Qaeda amongst Iraqi civilians. While a mere 94% of Sunnis disapprove of al Qaeda it gets even worse amongst Shiites and Kurds at 98% and 100% respectively.

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