Tag Archive 'al Qaeda'

Frank Miller’s Geostrategic Theory

Frank Lovece sat down with Frank Miller for Newsday to discuss his upcoming film The Spirit. Toward the end of it Lovece asked Miller about remarks he’d made in 2007 in support of the Iraq War, and offered him an opportunity to clarify/retract. Miller was unapologetic:

Miller: When the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor, we didn’t just declare war on Japan, we declared war on Germany. It was an international fascist effort. And so when I said that the attack on Iraq made sense, it was the same way we had to attack not just Afghanistan. Instead we had to attack the center of Islamofascism.


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A Separate Cause on Gitmo

In commenting on Barack Obama’s renewed pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Con Coughlin observes that most of the assembled army of Al Qaeda jihadists currently confined there would likely be released for lack of evidence, if the United States mandated their transfer to the civilian court system for trial. He then wonders aloud:

There have already been suggestions that former Gitmo detainees have carried out terror attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq after being released from Gitmo. What if one of those released by President Obama then masterminded a repeat of the 9/11 attacks?
(Daily Telegraph)

For some of us, it is astonishing that there can be an assumption made by anyone that future terrorist attacks wouldn’t happen, should one precipitate the release of the Gitmo rogues gallery. The question before us would seem to be merely one of scale and target location. It is after all extremely implausible that upon their release, the detainees would suddenly and collectively renounce their violent religious war or its tactics, as an act of reciprocal beneficence.


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Armies of the Obsolete

Light and infrared targeting devices for games. (Photo by Rob Stradling | website)

Al Qaeda technicians have apparently pioneered the use of electronics in old SEGA game cartridges for bomb detonators. A smaller precedent than the use of the airliner as suicide missile, but no less remarkable as a demonstration of the the transnational terrorist group’s acumen and artistry at the reuse of civilian technology for military purposes.

The West, having derived its military advantages from the possession of advanced technology for centuries, has been preoccupied with the security risks of technology transfer perhaps since the classical Greeks. But the emergence of massive civilian technology transfers from modern to relatively underdeveloped cultures, and the accelerating pace of Western technological advance, presents a new challenge that promises only to expand in risk and complexity.


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Terrorist Smack

Al Qaeda’s Ayman Al-Zawahri disrespecting Hezbollah on the Lebanon War: “What victory? Retreating 30 miles backwards?”

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A Retreating Periphery

Indian Frontiers
(photo: Mani Babbar)

After 9/11 widened Al Qaeda’s ambitious war against most of the world, Osama bin Laden described his own axis-o-evil as being composed of “Crusaders, Zionists and Hindus.” But at some point, without anyone much noticing, that seems to have changed for Hindus.


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Life Imitates the Onion

9/11 Conspiracy Theories ‘Ridiculous’ al Qaeda says - The Onion April 2nd

Al-Qaeda accuses Iran of 9/11 lie - BBC April 22nd

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AQI’s Last Stand?

Al Qaeda’s efforts in Iraq have been less than successful over the past year, due in large part to the Anbar Awakening and the related Councils of Concerned Citizens/Sons of Iraq movements, and the support offered those movements by Petraeus’ COIN methods manifested by the “surge.” Essentially, as Tigerhawk predicted a while back (and I discussed here), once the locals got sick of the barbaric tactics employed by al Qaeda and its fellow travelers, anti-American feelings simply were not enough to continue even passively supporting the terrorists and insurgents. It was pretty clear who offered the better deal, and the Iraqis rose up in great numbers to protect their families and their homes.

Now, in Nineveh, Michael Yon reports that AQI may be on it’s last legs and that this time they have not found hospitable grounds from which to base their terror tactics (via: Hot Air): (more…)

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Breaking Terrorism Markets

Soldier in night vision

Douglas Farah notes that with the Al Qaeda leadership now dead or in flight from Iraq, we might be on the verge of a replication the experience of the Andean drug wars of the 1980s. In that situation, the death and flight of the cartel leadership (and subsequent cocaine supply network decentralization), only made them harder to directly combat. It’s a sound historical cautionary note. But the difference of course is that in the drug war the market for cocaine remained largely unchanged and highly lucrative during cartel suppression. Whereas in Iraq, it may be that the Awakening has permanently damaged the (niche) market for foreign terrorism.

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Inside Al Qaeda’s Crisis in Iraq

Iraqi CLC in Anbar
A Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) member in Arab Jabour, Iraq (photo: DoD)

In extraordinary documents confiscated in November by the United States, we get an enemy’s eye view of the Awakening in Iraq, and further confirmation about how debilitating the effects were for Al Qaeda. An AQ commander, Abu-Tariq, relates that his own unit declined from 600 terrorists to less than 20 over the summer.

“We were mistreated, cheated and betrayed by some of our brothers,” he says. “Those people were nothing but hypocrites, liars and traitors and were waiting for the right moment to switch sides with whoever pays them most.”
(The Times)

A second unnamed commander acknowledges awareness that Al Qaeda’s hopelessly misguided tactics alienated the population and crippled their capabilities:

“We helped them to unite against us . . . The Americans and the apostates launched their campaigns against us and we found ourselves in a circle not being able to move, organise or conduct our operations.”

“This created weakness and psychological defeat. This also created panic, fear and the unwillingness to fight. The morale of the fighters went down . . . There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organisation.” The emir complained that the supply of foreign fighters had dwindled and that they found it increasingly hard to operate inside Iraq because they could not blend in. Foreign suicide bombers determined to kill “not less than 20 or 30 infidels” grew disillusioned because they were kept hanging about and only given small operations. Some gave up and went home.
(The Times)

The unnamed emir recommends a change of tactics, but one that seems to have taken few lessons from their devastating defeat in Anbar. He suggests offering bounties for killing traitors, using Iraqi doctors to murder Americans and giving gifts to tribal leaders. Strategically he recommended a shift in focus toward Diyala and Baghdad. However, Al Qaeda has met with equally strong resistance in their attempt to do so.

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A Witness in Mauritania

Israel Matzav has a of a report on the Al Qaeda attack on the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania. You have to lament for the investigation when your eye witness refers to the scene of the attack as “the embassy of the Zionist Entity.”

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A Decisive Battle?

I think that may be overstating it, but the Iraqi army is planning a major offensive against the last area where al Qaeda has a significant presence, Mosul and its environs.

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Al Qaeda Casualties

Here’s an interesting figure from 2007 operations in Iraq: “Military operations against al Qaeda in Iraq resulted in the capture of 8,800 militants, while 2,400 were killed.”

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Al Qaeda in Thailand?

The Thai government may be divided over whether AQ is funding Islamic militants in the south.

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A Waziristan Awakening?

Sunni tribal leaders in Pakistan are organizing militias and some are ready to revolt against Al Qaeda. David Montero at the CSM takes a look at the risks and rewards of applying our successful counterterrorism strategy from Anbar, in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

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Top Al Qaeda Operative Nabbed In Iraq, and Other Good News

Bill Roggio has the scoop at Long War Journal:

The Iraqi Army claimed to have captured the minister of defense of the Islamic State of Iraq, al Qaeda’s political front organization. Ahmed Turki Abbas was captured after being wounded in a skirmish near Mahmudiyah and “claimed the rank of defense minister,” Qassim al Moussawi, Iraq’s military spokesman told Reuters.

Confirmation on the arrest of Abbas — likely a nom de guerre — has not been given by Multinational Forces Iraq at this time. The Iraqi government has made claims of killing and capturing Abu Omar al Baghdadi several times this year, which turned out to be false reports or cases of mistaken identity.

There’s an important caveat there, i.e. that the capture of Ahmed Turki Abbas has not yet been confirmed. If it turns out to be true, however, it is very good news indeed. Not just because another al Qaeda leader was taken down, but also because it was the Iraqi Army that made the capture.

I also thought this was interesting (my emphasis):

After learning of the arrest of Abbas, Marvin Hutchens of ThreatsWatch.org agreed with that assessment. “For purely pragmatic reasons, Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq need as many Iraqi names in leadership posts as possible,” said Hutchens in an interview. “They are selling their legitimacy as the Iraqi state and having al Masri known as the minister of defense hides his real role as the foreign leader of an illegitimate insurgent state.”

By making it appear that Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq are headed by real Iraqis, the terrorists hope to influence the populace to take their side. It apparently worked for awhile, but the Awakening Councils seem to have put a stop to that.

U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner said Wednesday that that the creation of groups known as Awakening Councils — which the U.S. military has dubbed Concerned Local Citizens — was a key factor in the reduction of violence.

“This is perhaps one of the most important developments in 2007,” Bergner said. “This was a decision by Iraqi citizens to confront al-Qaida and kick them out of their neighborhoods.”

Hopefully, these councils of citizens can be integrated into the new government. If they can, then I would think that the chances of al Qaeda, it affiliates, or any other terrorist group gaining a foothold in Iraq drop sharply.

In other good news from Iraq, a suspected terror cell leader was captured in Baghdad:

Iraqi Special Operations Forces, with U.S. Special Forces as advisors, detained a suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist cell leader and three additional suspects in two separate raids Dec. 26.

In Baghdad, Iraqi and U.S. Forces detained the leader of an AQI terrorist cell.

Intelligence reports indicated the cell is responsible for several improvised explosive device and sniper attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces, as well as the kidnapping and torture of innocent Iraqis.

In Balad, Iraqi and U.S. Special Forces conducted a raid to degrade al-Qaeda in Iraq leadership, deter IED attacks and to prevent the killing of Iraqi citizens.

Three suspects were detained in the raid for questioning.

No Iraqi or U.S. Forces were injured during these operations.

And “insurgents” who kidnapped three soldiers back in May were captured:

Seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter came under attack Saturday May 12, 2007, during a patrol in a Sunni insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad. Five were killed and three went missing.

Today the US announced that they captured the insurgents responsible for the kidnapping of the 3 US soldiers.

Jim Hoft :

The U.S. military said in a statement it caught the two suspects believed to have ties with al Qaeda on Monday and Tuesday in Ramadi in the western province of Anbar.

One of the men was believed to have “facilitated the kidnapping and is reported to have used his residence to aid in the hiding and transport of the captured soldiers,” it said.

More can be found here.

Finally, it has been confirmed that another senior al Qaeda leader was killed last month:

The U.S. military announced Wednesday that an insurgent killed last month had been identified as a senior leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Separately, a bomb explosion in the northern province of Ninevah killed three children and wounded another two, the U.S. military said, quoting Iraqi police.

Abu Abdullah, also known as Muhammad Sulayman Shunaythir al-Zubai, was killed north of Baghdad on Nov. 8, the military said, calling him “an experienced bomb maker and attack planner who coordinated numerous attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces over the past three years, using a variety of improvised explosive devices combined with small-arms fire.”

He was also described as a former associate of al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — who was slain by U.S. forces last year.

As an aside, if you want to see a pristine example of media bias regarding the war, read the whole AP piece linked above. It is, quite simply, one of the most bizarre attempts to stick bad news in where it does not belong that I’ve ever seen.

In sum, two senior al Qaeda leaders taken out (1 killed and 1 allegedly captured), one suspected terror cell leader nabbed, and two al Qaeda fighters who kidnapped U.S. soldiers taken into custody. That sounds pretty good to me. It’s a wonder we don’t hear more about this stuff.

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