Prez Pushes Osama's Link to Insurgency

Commander-in-chief adamant al-Qaeda in Iraq is key branch of broader network
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2007 6:13 AM CDT
President Bush talks with an airman driving a cargo loading truck during a visit to Charleston Air Force Base, Tuesday, July 24, 2007, in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Alan Hawes, Pool)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – President Bush insisted again yesterday that a Sunni insurgent group in Iraq is an integral part of Osama bin Laden's worldwide al-Qaeda network—-rebuffing several experts' claims to the contrary. Recent reports have suggested that Sunnis fighting under the "al-Qaeda in Iraq" banner are local insurgents with a weak connection to the eponymous parent organization.

The distinction is critical because it determines whether Iraq is truly, as the administration has asserted, essential to a global war on terror. "Some will tell you al-Qaeda in Iraq isn't  really al-Qaeda," Bush told military personnel. "That's like watching a man in a bank with a mask and a gun and saying he's just there to cash a check. We are fighting bin Laden's al-Qaeda in Iraq."