National Security Watch: Eurolefties fund Iraq insurgency
Who's funding the insurgents in Iraq? The list of suspects is long: ex-Baathists, foreign jihadists, and angry Sunnis, to name a few. Now add to that roster hard-core Euroleftists.
Turns out that far-left groups in western Europe are carrying on a campaign dubbed Ten Euros for the Resistance, offering aid and comfort to the car bombers, kidnappers, and snipers trying to destabilize the fledgling Iraq government. In the words of one Italian website, Iraq Libero (Free Iraq), the funds are meant for those fighting the occupanti imperialisti. The groups are an odd collection, made up largely of Marxists and Maoists, sprinkled with an array of Arab emigres and aging, old-school fascists, according to Lorenzo Vidino, an analyst on European terrorism based at The Investigative Project in Washington, D.C. "It's the old anticapitalist, anti-U.S., anti-Israel crowd," says Vidino, who has been to their gatherings, where he saw activists from Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Italy. "The glue that binds them together is anti-Americanism." The groups are working on an October conference to further support "the Iraqi Resistance." A key goal is to expand backing for the insurgents from the fringe left to the broader antiwar and antiglobalization movements.
One conference sponsor, Campo Antiimperialista (the Anti-Imperialist Camp), credits the 10-euro campaign for buying 2 tons of medicine for Al Anbar province, a hotbed of resistance, to be distributed "completely independent from both the occupiers as well as their local puppets."
But some funds may be buying more deadly stuff; one leader boasted to Vidino that the campaign will send "everything it takes" for the resistance to win, including weaponry. Neither Iraq Libero nor Campo Antiimperialista responded to questions from U.S. News about where their funds end up. The groups' impact, though, may ultimately be limited. "They have a pretty big following, but we're not talking about big money," says Vidino. At one conference, he notes, many militants looked so ragged he doubted they even had 10 euros in their pockets.