A hard-to-understand story in tomorrow's New York Times on a secret U.S. report that finds Iraqi insurgent groups are self-financing.
What makes the piece murky is no distinction is made between "insurgents," "terrorists," and other militant groups in Iraq. Maybe that's the approach of the secret report that the NYT piece is based on. But it would seem to me that lumping all of the various armed factions in Iraq into one category called "the insurgency" would be to miss many important differences in the goals and strategies--and the means of funding--of the many disparate groups currently operating in Iraq.
For instance, one of the secret report's more surprising conclusions, according to The Times, is "that terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq may have surplus funds with which to support other terrorist organizations outside of Iraq.â It seems counterintuitive that the armed Shiite and Sunni militias battling for control of Iraq would be financing terrorists outside of Iraq while the battle inside of Iraq still hangs in the balance.
In fairness, The Times makes clear that the secret report may be flawed: "Some terrorism experts outside the government who were given an outline of the report by The Times, criticized it for a lack of precision and a reliance on speculation."
The overwhelming impression I'm left with from the piece is that more than three and half years after ostensibly seizing control of Iraq, the U.S. government is still largely ignorant of the armed groups arrayed against its efforts there.