Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Paul Had a Point

From Radley Balko at Reason Online

The "blowback" theory isn't some fringe idea common only to crazy Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists. It doesn't suggest that we "deserved" the Sept. 11 attacks, nor does it suggest we shouldn't have retaliated against the people who waged them. It's a well-established theory accepted among most foreign policy scholars that states, simply, that actions have consequences ... This isn't to say we should never bomb or invade an Arab or Muslim country. Certainly, to the extent that the Taliban in Afghanistan gave Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda refuge after the attacks, we had no choice but to invade the country and topple its government. But we also shouldn't just attack any Arab or Muslim country, which is what we seem to have done with Iraq. Saddam Hussein's government was brutal, ruthless and tyrannical. No doubt. But so are a number of countries with which we're allies, most notably Saudi Arabia.

The citizen jihadi

From B Raman at Rediff News

Jihadi terrorism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region is undergoing a disquieting metamorphosis ... The citizen jihadis, who see no television, Internet and video players which they regard as evil, have no way of seeing with their own eyes what is happening in other lands and far-away places. They are being influenced more by what they hear on the hundreds of FM radio stations operating in the tribal areas. Every mullah, who is some mullah in the tribal areas, has his own FM station. These stations have been propagating highly exaggerated accounts of the humiliation allegedly being inflicted on Muslims all over the world and of the evil impact of cultural globalisation on their religion, their men, women and children ... The relentless spread of these jihadi communes across Pakistan and the helplessness of the Musharraf regime make one shudder to think what could happen to the military grade enriched uranium produced at Kahuta and the nuclear-capable missiles stored in Sargodha if Lal Masjids spring up in their midst and take religion, law and nuclear control in their own hands tomorrow.

Islamic militant groups take root in refugee camps

From The Washington Post and The Associated Press

Bernard Rougier, author of Everyday Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam Among Palestinians in Lebanon and a professor at the University of Auvergne in Clermont-Ferrand, France, said Shaker al-Absi has adopted a goal and message that reflect the decline of the Palestinian cause as the chief motivator of aspiring jihadists and their financial supporters in the Muslim world. "Many consider Palestine a useless fight," he said. "By changing their own identities, to one of a Sunni warrior, they also get money from Saudi Arabia and other private sources throughout the [Palestinian] diaspora. You are inventing a new figure of the fighter, and it is very exciting to young people." That fighter's goal is to end perceived Western domination and promote Islamic rule.

Geopolitical Diary: AFRICOM and U.S. Military Priorities in Africa

From Stratfor

AFRICOM will begin operations from a U.S. base in Stuttgart, Germany, but will relocate to Africa once a basing model is determined. The Pentagon has yet to decide whether AFRICOM will follow a single headquarters model or a multiple location, distributive model. In the Horn of Africa region, the United States carries out counterterrorism operations from Camp Lemonier in Djibouti. The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa command, which conducted airstrikes in early January against al Qaeda and Islamists in southern Somalia, falls under the Central Command's responsibility ... The Camp Lemonier base in Djibouti likely will be kept, as it is an excellent location from which to conduct counterterrorism operations in the Horn of Africa. Liberia, the closest U.S. ally to the Sahel region, could also be considered for a base from which to launch into the Sahel.

Complicated Politics in Lebanon

From JINSA (the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs)

Palestinians are Sunni, and Fatah al Islam, an offshoot of al Qaeda said to be associated with Syrian intelligence, has been operating in the camps. Syrian Alawites are a Shiite sect allied with Iran, but it is manifestly true that unlike Muslims work together if it serves their larger purpose. Saudi Arabia is the primary sponsor of Sunni radicalism and al Qaeda (and Fatah al Islam?). But the Palestinians in Syria are in opposition to the pro-Western Lebanese government of Fuad Siniora. After the withdrawal of uniformed Syrian forces in 2005 Palestinian refugee camps took in Syrian weapons and agents ... And here is how the threads began to unravel in Tripoli: Syria denied involvement with Fatah al-Islam. Fatah al-Islam denied involvement in a shopping mall bombing in Christian Beirut neighborhood Saturday night and a bus bombing that killed three Christians, claiming it was only interested in “training young Palestinians... to fight the Jews in Palestine.” Lebanese residents of Tripoli stood outside the camp and cheered for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as it entered.

Al-Qaeda's Media Doctrine: Evolution from Cheerleader to Opinion-Shaper

From Michael Scheuer at The Jamestown Foundation

During bin Laden's hiatus in Sudan from 1991-1996, al-Qaeda's media operations tended to focus primarily on agitating for reform of the governmental system in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden set up the Advice and Reform Committee (ARC) in London and it transmitted regular electronic newsletters in Saudi Arabia supporting the Islamic clerics, scholars and jurists there who were urging the al-Saud family to rule in a manner more consistent with Sharia law and thereby prevent civil disorder and violence ... Even using selective portions of scripture, al-Qaeda's scholars have fashioned a cogent religious foundation for waging a defensive jihad that has won support among tens of millions of Muslims, and especially among the young. Militants are now armed with religious arguments with which to match, and in their own minds trump, the anti-jihad arguments of those the West regards as "moderate" Muslims.

The Lebanon Front

From Dr. Walid Phares at

If the Lebanese Army fails to contain the terrorists, could be very serious to the Seniora Government and the UN. Worse, if the first piece of a Sunni Triangle is put in place in Lebanon, this could affect the geopolitics of the War on Terror globally: The rise of Salafi Jihadism along the coasts of Lebanon, from Tripoli to Sidon, passing by Beirut. This Emirate-to-be could become the closer strategic enclave of Bin Laden to the US Sixth Fleet, Europe’s cities and Israel. The United States and the West are now faced with a new development which they cannot allow to grow unchecked: an al-Qaeda base on the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Myth of Muslim Silence; The Persistence of MSM Silence

From By Stephen Schwartz at

Arabs and Pakistanis are, by a far length, the Muslim communities in the West most saturated with fundamentalism. Thus, it took some time for American pundits, or aspirants to that title, to catch up with the dangerous probability that rather than the Fort Dix conspiracy exposing radical Islam among Muslims in the Balkans, it emerged from the underworld created by Wahhabi domination of Sunnism in America. I have repeatedly argued that radical Islamic ideologues have been more successful in imposing conformity on Sunnis in the U.S. and England than in most Muslim countries. Even Saudi Arabia, the source of Wahhabism, is now undergoing mass discontent with the Wahhabi order.

The "Pro-American" Terrorists

From Julia Gorin at

Meanwhile, the Wahhabi Muslims who started flooding Kosovo upon our intervention have been making sure that young Albanians sour on us anyway. In an article titled Behind Kosovo’s Façade, Balkans observer Russell Gordon writes: "In many areas young Kosovo Albanians are being converted to the Wahabist faction, and are highly visible in their telltale short haircuts, beards, and ankle-length pants. As well, many Arabs are present from the Middle East and France ... Moreover, anti-Western jihadist sermons are now a regular feature at many of the new mosques. Western military intelligence officials have stated that the findings of their investigations into the jihadist terror networks is routinely ignored or blocked by NATO, UN and US officials."