War in Iraq may be fuelling global insecurity, Canadian spy chief
By The Brandon Sun
10/20/05 -- -- MONTREAL (CP) - The head of Canada's spy agency
strongly suggested Thursday the U.S.-led war in Iraq is making the
world a less secure place.
"Diplomacy is not my field, security and intelligence is," CSIS
director Jim Judd said at a conference on intelligence studies. "And
I think from a security and intelligence perspective, the conflict
in Iraq may be creating longer-term problems, not just for Iraq but
other jurisdictions as well."
The head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service said Iraq is
becoming a "kind of a testbed for new techniques" for Islamic
extremists, such as suicide attacks and the use of improvised
A number of radicals from Canada - fewer than 10 - have slipped
across borders to join the fighting in Iraq, Judd said during a
break in the annual gathering of the Canadian Association for
Security and Intelligence Studies.
"We know of others who may be planning to," he added.
"I don't think there's anything we can do legally to prevent this."
Judd expressed concern about the dangers extremists from North
America, Europe and the Middle East pose once they leave Iraq.
"It raises the longer-term question of what do they bode for the
future?" Judd said.
Journalist and author Peter Bergen warned that the war in Iraq could
spawn a new generation of trained warriors - the "shock troops of
the new international jihad" - determined to carry out terrorist
attacks against the West.
Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network has proven alluring to wayward
extremists partly because western societies have done a poor job of
challenging his arguments, terrorism experts told the conference.
Young students who attend the most radical Muslim schools are
presented with a violent world view and taught to despise
"corrupting western influences" from an early age, said Karin von
Hippel of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and
"We've lost the moral high ground to the wrong people, and we need
to get it back," von Hippel said.
Bergen, a commentator for cable news network CNN, said the next time
a westerner is beheaded by Islamic extremists, those who oppose
terrorism should stress that the Koran in no way endorses such
Both von Hippel and Bergen took issue with the notion that poverty
is a driving force behind terrorism.
"If poverty were really a true cause of terrorism, more terrorists
would come from the poorest parts of world, such as sub-Saharan
Africa, and thus far this is not the case," von Hippel said.
Bergen said an attack by Islamic extremists on a major city with a
radiological weapon - a conventional bomb that spreads radiation
over an area of several blocks - "seems probable" in the future.
But Bergen, who once interviewed bin Laden, believes Europe, with a
large and continuing influx of Muslims from African and the Middle
East, is more likely than North America to experience such violence.
"I think this is where the future of al-Qaida will be, not in
Montreal or Washington."
Presenters pointed to history in an effort to put the terrorist
threat in perspective.
Stephane Leman-Langlois of the University of Montreal dismissed the
assertion, voiced last year by Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan,
that the world is more dangerous than at any time in collective
He argued the threat of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War
amounted to "a far more scary time" than the possible fallout of the
The conference, which continues through Saturday, has attracted
about 360 security officials, academics and commentators, including
well-known American journalist Seymour Hersh.
Hersh, who has reported extensively about the abuse of prisoners in
Iraq, said he has become fascinated by what he sees as a
neo-conservative coup in the corridors of U.S. power.
He believes the Americans should pull out of Iraq immediately.
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