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Bombers, Bank Accounts, and Bleedout: al-Qa`ida's Road in and Out of Iraq

July 2008

Dear Colleague,

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point is pleased to announce the release of its second report of al-Qa'ida's foreign fighters in Iraq: Bombers, Bank Accounts, and Bleedout: al-Qa`ida's Road in and Out of Iraq. The report expands on an analysis of al-Qa'ida in Iraq personnel records conducted by the CTC in December 2007.

The report can be accessed at: http://www.ctc.usma.edu/harmony/pdf/Sinjar_2_July_23.pdf


New Raw Data

Bombers, Bank Accounts, and Bleedout not only expands on the analysis of the Sinjar Records conducted in the first report, it also introduces a host of new data, including:

* Statistics on the exact number and nationality of foreign fighters held by the US at Camp Bucca in Iraq.

* Contracts signed by AQI's foreign suicide bombers

* Contracts signed by AQI fighters entering and leaving Iraq

* Accounting sheets signed by various fighters that indicate funding sources and expenditures

* Several narratives describing AQI’s network in Syria, personnel problems, and ties to Fatah al-Islam in Lebanon

* Weapons reports, etc.


Findings

The report has several major new findings:

* Foreign Fighters were an important source of funds for AQI; Saudi Fighters contributed far more money than any other nationality

* Far more Syrians and Egyptians are held at Camp Bucca than were listed in the Sinjar Records, which likely reflects the demographic shift away from those nationalities

* Approximately 75% of suicide bombings in Iraq between August 2006 and August 2007 can be attributed to fighters listed in the Sinjar Records.

* “Bleedout” of fighters from Iraq is occurring, but in relatively small numbers. Nonetheless, these individual fighters will likely be well-trained and very dangerous. The primary threat from these fighters is to Arab states, Af-Pak, and perhaps Somalia.

* Smuggling of all kinds across the Syrian/Iraqi border has long been linked to corruption in both Syria and Iraq, which limits both government’s ability to crackdown.

* Fighters that contributed money to AQI were more likely to become suicide bombers.



Best,

Reid Sawyer
________________________
Major Reid L. Sawyer
Director, Combating Terrorism Center
Academy Professor
Lincoln Hall, Room 121
West Point, New York 10996