BAGHDAD — Al Qaeda wants to build a political operation in Iraq to broaden its campaign against the U.S.-backed government, a top U.S. general said on Wednesday. Citing intelligence mostly gathered since the death of al Qaeda’s former leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in June, Major General William Caldwell said the militant group appeared to be refining its approach beyond bombings and beheadings. ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq wants to present itself as a legitimate organization and is striving to increase its operational power by building a political base with a military wing,’ Caldwell told a news briefing. He did not give specific examples. Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike on June 7 and was quickly replaced by Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, who al Qaeda said would continue the Jordanian-born militant’s bloody campaign. But Caldwell said the group was also developing more subtle ways to undermine the government and drive U.S. troops from Iraq, in addition to bloody sectarian attacks. He said the militant group was producing propaganda to exploit Iraqi anger over high unemployment, poor security and unreliable supplies of electricity and fuel, and turn it against the government and its U.S. backers. ‘Al Qaeda […]

Read the Full Article