"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

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Is Al Qaeda in Iraq Defeated, Temporarily Laying Low, or just executing it Global Strategy

The Jamestown Foundation has an excellent article about Islamic Army in Iraq's (IAI) current status in an article entitled Al-Qaeda Adapts its Methods in Iraq as Part of a Global Strategy. Specifically this areticle asks the question, Al Qaeda in Iraq defeated, retreating or is this part of their grand strategy. The answer to this question is what many military intelligence personnel are focusing much of their analysis on to answer.

If we believe the dataset coming out of Iraq in which attacks are down 60, 70, and in some cases 80%, one would come to the conclusion that Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated. Part of General Petreous' counter-insurgency strategy involves making Al Qaeda depart their safe havens permanently. Specifically, routing and reducing Al Qaeda's influence and numbers as they move from place to place to attempt to stay alive.

But if an insurgency is to survive in a country, it needs two things. First and foremost, it must have tacit support of the population. Secondly, it must have external agencies or government which is supplying it the means to continue the fight.

As we examine whether or not Al Qaeda still enjoys tacit support of the population, the article points out that,

Al-Qaeda did not understand the Iraqi mentality and tried to lead the community by establishing the Islamic State of Iraq, instead of coexisting with the different Iraqi groups. The targeting of Shiites and their shrines aggravated the Sunnis Iraqis as much as it did the Shiites because it upset the precarious balance between the Sunnis and Shiites. These blunders were exploited by the Iraqi government and Coalition forces, leading to the establishment of the successful Sunni Majalis al-Sahwa, or “Awakening Councils”

The Awakening movements (now about 80,000 strong) are clearly not providing tacit support of Al Qaeda. In addition, these once Sunni only movements are now beginning to also have Shi'ite participation. In fact, many Awakening groups are a mix of Sunni and Shia. But the question still remains is Al Qaeda laying low, waiting out The Surge of American forces? The article points out that this may be Al Qaeda's adaptation to The Surge. Specifically, it states that this setback may be part of Al Qaeda's Seven Point Global Strategy.

1. The Awakening (2000-2003)

2. Eye Opening (2003-2006)

3. Resurrection (2007-2010)

4. Recuperate and Attain Power (2010-2013)

5. Declaration of an Islamic state (2013-2016)

6. Massive Confrontation - 2016

7. Achieving Multiple Victories

We are currently in Al Qaeda's Resurrection phase in which it will be capable of

mobilizing jihadis productively, exploiting unrest in different hot areas to keep the U.S. forces occupied in a war of attrition that will weaken its resolve and pave the way to directly attack Jews in Palestine and elsewhere.

While forces are growing in intensity (and possibly number) in Pakistan and possibly Afghanistan, I do not see this occuring in Iraq, which Al Qaeda established as the central front to their war. In fact, given the mistake above (attacking Shi'ite shrines) and Zarqawi's declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq out of sequence, I would conjecture, that Al Qaeda put the cart before the horse when it comes to Iraq.

While still getting support from external agencies, Al Qaeda in Iraq does not enjoy the tacit support of the population in Iraq. In fact, Al Qaeda is the scorn of many Sunni Iraqi's as they were always the scorn of Shias.

Finally, tactical retreats do not come from positions of strength. And it not defeated, Al Qaeda in Iraq is definitely at least in a tactical retreat. But, they are being pushed North into Mosul and Kurdish territory. While they can count on support in Mosul, they are also much closer to Kurdish Peshmurga, who definitely do not enjoy their beliefs.

Al Qaeda has lost its central front, namely Iraq. However, they are also surging quite successfully in Pakistan, and to a lessor extent in Afghanistan.

The war is not over, but the battle of Iraq will not go to Al Qaeda.

Global Warming Data Variation - An Example

Having moved recently to Alaska, I found it interesting that local weather is not as predictable as in the lower 48 states or during my time in Europe where the weatherman would predict the highs and lows daily with almost pinpoint accuracy.

In Alaska on the otherhand, the weatherman would give a range for daily highs and lows, say 20-30F for a high and 5-15F for a low.

In addition, I started to look at average highs and lows for given months. What I found was interesting to say the least.

For the month of December, the average highs and lows according to:

The Weather Channel: 5F and -9F respectively.

AccuWeather: 4F and -15F respectively.

Intellicast: 5F and -9F respectively.

National Weather Service: 1.8F and -14.8F respectively.

While one would argue that these numbers are close together, I would argue that given Global Warming scares that say the temperatures will rise 2F or 5F and cause flooding, severe storms, etc, etc, it would seem these temperature rises are within the variability of historical observable data.

To represent another way, lets say it is 5F warmer now than historically. If I take the National Weather Service Data then that would bring my December highs and lows to 7F and -9.8F respectively. Comparing this to The Weather Channel or Intellicast data would put me right around the norm of 5F and -9F respectively.

However, if I used a rise of 5F and added to The Weather Channel data of 5F and -9F, I would get a rise of 10F and -4F respectively. If I then compared to National Weather Service data of 1.8F and -14.8F respectively, I would then have Global Warming of +8.2F and +10.8F respectively.

My point is that observable data depends on what data set and source is used. How I then combine this data will lead me to no change from normal or a +9F change from normal. Given this variability, it is hard to believe models which are much less accurate than historical data. And given the fact that with historical data, I was able to add 5F and maintain normal temperatures or rises of +9F, it leads me to question many reports.

Unfortunately, most news reports do not include links to source data, whether in print or on the internet. However, when source data is given and examined, one usually finds what I just found. Given data set A, no change. Given data set B, +9F global rise. Statistical error of + or - 5F which leads me back to my historical original error, or stated another way, given both data sets, it could either be -5F change or a +14F change.

I do not know of anybody who would bet their wealth on a 19F variation, but this is typically what is seen when analyzing global warming data when one gets into the report.

Using the high numbers, as the MSM usually does, is used to scare.

I really don't like scare tactics. I like facts. With Global Warming, the facts just are not there.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri In New Video: "Iran Has Stabbed A Knife Into The Back Of The Islamic Nation"

MEMRI has an excepts from Al-Qaeda deputy, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, and Al-Qaeda media company, Al-Sahab. In it, Al-Zawahiri states,

Iran of collaborating with the U.S. in the latter's invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Further, he expresses,

"Iran has stabbed a knife into the back of the Islamic nation, and the traces of this stabbing will remain in the memory of the Muslims for a long time to come."

Later, he called on,

The jihad fighters in Iraq to unite their ranks, to ignore the regime's clerics, to fight the Crusaders and those who collaborate with them, and to join with the Islamic State of Iraq in order to establish the Islamic Caliphate.

I got a couple of points here:

1. Al Qaeda in Iraq must be on the ropes if Al-Zawahiri is trying to convince Shi'ites to be part of the Islamic Caliphate that Sunni terrorists are trying to establish in Iraq.

2. Al Qaeda in Iraq has gone out of its way to kill Iraqi Shi'ites in the last several years, but now wants these same Shi'ites to join the ranks of Al Qaeda.

3. Is accusing Iran, a Shia Theocracy long known for its hatred of the U.S., which has in several ways prolonged the war in Iraq through its own actions against the Coalition, of partnering up with the U.S./Coalition.

All I can say is this:

When things start going bad, people look to lay blame. Al-Zawahiri is now blaming Iran for its failures in Iraq.

I read an article long ago that said if your organization is not good, look at ever increasing concentric circles around yourself.

U.S. Troops Discover, Destroy al-Qaida Tunnel Network

The bad news is Al Qaeda is beginning to go underground according to an MNF-I report.

A network of underground tunnels near Iskandariyah used by al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) to store weapons, hide fighters and launch attacks against U.S. forces was discovered and subsequently destroyed by Coalition forces, Dec. 16. It was the first known find of a tunnel system in the Multi-National Division – Center area.

The good news is we are finding the tunnels.

Iraqi tribesmen kill 22 Al-Qaeda terrorists

Kuna reports that Iraqi Tribesmen (read CLCs) have killed 22 Al Qaeda terrorists in Diyala.

A police source told KUNA Al-Qaeda militants launched an attack against the Nai and Safit villages in Diyala, northeast of Baghdad, but the tribesmen confronted them and killed 22 of them.

Seventeen CLCs were also killed according to KUNA.

One may ask, what is the significance of this action?

1. Diyala is a mix region of both Sunni and Shias. Many CLCs in this region are mixed CLCs, that is they have both Sunnis and Shias in them.

2. With Arab Jabar (southeast of Baghdad) and Ramadi (west of Baghdad), Diyala (northeast of Baghdad), it is one of the most important ratlines for weapons smuggling into Baghdad. The recent rout of Al Qaeda and Iranian Special Groups from all of these areas is obviously being contested, this time by Al Qaeda.

3. It is important to understand that CLCs held fast in what appears to have been a major battle resulting in almost 40 casualties on both sides. This fact alone leads to the conclusion that this battle was intense, severe, and prolonged, yet the CLCs held their ground with Al Qaeda personnel finally retreating from the field of battle.

4. Any insurgency needs support (at least tacit) from the populous. It would seem that the residents of Diyala, once called the headquarters of the Caliphate in Iraq, have completely turned their back on Al Qaeda, especially given the apparent intensity of this fight.

It is being questioned by both military leaders and the Iraqi Government whether on not these CLCs are just biding their time for Surge forces to subside so they can then battle against the ISF after the US redeploys many of its forces or is the Awakening a real turning against Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Battles such as the one described above lead more credence to the argument that the Awakening is a real force gaining momentum in Iraq.

Only time will definitely tell, but intense, prolonged battles like this one in Diyala are encouraging that the insurgency in Iraq sponsored by Al Qaeda and to some extent Special Groups sponsored by Iran, are no longer actively or tacitly supported by the population.

The beacon of democracy in the Middle East, that is Iraq, is shining brighter and brighter daily. Now is definitely the wrong time to accept defeat in Iraq as many liberal members of Congress has espoused we should.

It was a bold move by President Bush to attempt to resolve at least one crisis in the Middle East. It has been a long, hard road for the U.S. Military. However, it all seems to be coming to fruition now.

With Iraq wanting U.S. Forces to stay in Iraq for another decade to ensure their county's growth in democracy, I believe major warfare in Iraq has crested and the country can now start to rebuild and shine for all of their neighbors.

Iraq sees need for foreign troops for 10 years

Yahoo has a story today which is bound to make some liberal, anti-war, anti-surge politicians gasp. In the story, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, states,

Iraq will need foreign troops to help defend it for another 10 years, but will not accept U.S. bases indefinitely

Further down in the article, it states,

Iraq has asked the Security Council to extend the mandate for what it says will be a final year to the end of 2008, and conditions for U.S. troops to stay on beyond that date are to be negotiated in the next few months.

With the great success of The Surge thus far and longterm deployment of US forces in Iraq to be set early next year, it will be interesting to say the least how campaigns shape up in the run up to November presidential elections.

Democratic leadership is notably been on the record of not supporting the Iraqi war or a continual presence of US force in Iraq. However, by the time any Democrat takes office (if that happens), conditions will already be established for a decade long presence in Iraq.

How will the Democratic candidate for President explain this fact to his/her anti-war base? This election cycle will be fun to watch as we get into the middle of next year.

Benedict Arnold - Al Gore

Nolan Finley of Detroit News has an article which in the end compares Al Gore to Benedict Arnold. He concludes with,

A generation from now, Americans may well look back at Al Gore as the Benedict Arnold of his age, someone so determined to save the earth he was willing to ruin his country.

Mr. Finley notes,

He could have reminded the delegates that in 2006, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 1.5 percent -- and the intensity of those gases fell 4.2 percent -- without an international pact.

By contrast, the European Union, which is loudly proud of signing on to the Kyoto Protocol, increased greenhouse gas emissions 0.4 percent.

While admirable of Mr. Finley (showing US CO2 reduction) and truly representative of Al Gore (the traitor part), it still does not take into account that CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with Global Warming as pointed out in a recent post. CO2 is, at best, not a significant cause of Global Warming. Several studies, in fact, have shown that CO2 concentration increase as a result of Sun-made Global Warming.

To paraphrase Gen Honore, Its the Sun, Stupid.

They Killed General Hajj

W. Thomas Smith, Jr, writing for Townhall, comments on Lebanon General. Francois Hajj, who was assassinated Wednesday and expected to take over as head of the military if General Michel Suleiman was elected as Lebanon's President.

Three motives for killing General Hajj are given in the article by Dr. Walid Phares.

1. Demoralize the Lebanese Army.

2. Prevent him from becoming the next head of the Lebanese Military.

3. Revenge killing for his engineering of Fatah al Islam's defeat a few months ago in Lebanon.

Later, however, Mr. Smith gives a fourth and important motive.

From what I knew of Gen. Hajj – and admittedly that knowledge is limited to what I learned while there -- he was a good man. He was a “strong man,” as others have said. He was a man who wanted freedom and democracy in Lebanon. He wanted the truth told about what is actually happening in Lebanon, and what was and is too often not reported, or what is manipulated by the Axis-influenced media.
And now they have killed him.

The Axis forces that Dr. Walid Phares points to in the article want the top three motives he points to as they weaken the Lebanese government and strengthen Hezbollah and other jihadist forces in Lebanon. However, first and foremost, all these parties want to destroy the Cedar Revolution and the fragile democracy in Lebanon.

The Axis forces are doing this in Iraq. The Axis forces are doing this in the Gaza Strip. The Axis forces are now supporting the Taliban against another young democracy in Afghanistan.

While I know we do not have the ground forces available in the U.S. Military to go after the leading Axis country, Iran, we do have the air and sea forces to signifcantly disrupt their country and hence their ability to export terror.

Fellow peers point out to me that if we attack Iran, we are just asking for more interference in our ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I point out to them, can it be worse than killing 10,000's of Iraqis, 1,000's of Afghanistanis, 100's of Palestinians, and attempting to destroy a young demorcracy in Lebanon. Quite frankly, diplomacy has failed to get them back in their box for over six years.

Bullies continue to be bullies until they are confronted at which point they either run away, get more friends to help them, or get more weapons to make them invincible. The Iranian leadership (and the whole Axis in general) is nothing more than a bunch of bullies. While they have friends they will surely call upon, calling upon them makes them play their hand on our timetable. We must confront the bully prior to them getting nuclear weapons.

Iran has been bullying the Middle East for almost three decades. Its high time to stick up to the bully, expose his friends, and put them in their place before they have weapons capable of massive destruction.

Its high time to put them in their place prior to them killing more innocent people and destroying democracies which are trying their best to enhance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for their people.

This fact is, after all, what our Founding Fathers charged us with in the beginning for the Creator did not only endow Americans with these unalienable rights, but all people.

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Why are the wheels coming off the Clinton bandwagon?

Dick Morris, who managed Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign has written an interesting article in Townhall, answering the question, Why are the wheels coming off the Clinton bandwagon? In the article he makes some salient points.

In the abstract, Hillary is a captivating idea. The first woman to run for president, she is the living reminder of the better economic times and international peace of the Clinton administration. But, up close and personal, she is far less attractive. As the rest of the country is exposed to the former first lady, if they emulate the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire and revise their opinion of her, the results will not please the Clinton camp.

Moreover, he states,

The conclusion is obvious: neither Hillary nor her staff know how to campaign. After the Clinton re-election in 1996, they have never been tested in a competitive race. When Giuliani dropped out of the New York State Senate race and the young Congressman Rick Lazio had to enter at the last minute to try to stop Hillary’s bid, the conclusion was pre-ordained. Hillary’s re-election was a cakewalk against a totally under funded opponent. She doesn’t know how to win.

It will be interesting if her campaign continues to implode.

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Israeli Abuse Of Palestinians Rampant

Iran Daily has a story about abuses committed against Palestinians at the hands of Israeli forces. Specifically,

One in four of Israeli troops serving at the hundreds of checkpoints across the occupied West Bank have engaged in or witnessed abuse of innocent Palestinians, an army-commissioned survey said on Sunday.

A full 25% of IDF Soldiers have apparently engaged in or witness abuse, physical or verbal according to a survey commissioned several months ago by the commander of Israel’s central command. Quoting a senior military officer, the article continues,

"We knew there was a problem, but we never imagined it was this grave."

This article leads me to a few questions/comments.

1. Israel's central command, realizing there may be a problem, commissioned a survey to see if suspected abuse did in fact occur. They obviously commissioned the report to confirm or deny abuses and the extent of abuses. The only reason to do this would be to know how to prevent or limit such abuses in the future.

2. The article does not state the extent of verbal abuse vice physical abuse, but I would assume that verbal abuse was more prevalent.

3. I have never seen an article from the Palestinian Authority commissioning a survey of abuse of Israelis at the hands of Palestinian officials. If they did commission one, the PA would probably be shocked that only 25% of PA officials witnessed or engaged in abuses against Israelis.

Just some thoughts.

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The Winners and Losers of Israel's Second Lebanon War

I read a few months back that Hezbollah's Chief, Nasrallah, was days from suing for peace when Israel backed out of Lebanon. While citing Hezbollah's ability to confront and endure Israeli attacks as victory, we are now hearing something completely different from Iran, namely, a change in leadership of Hezbollah from Nasrallah to Kassem.

Western intelligence sources cited by Asharq reported that Teheran was furious over Nasrallah's conduct during the Second Lebanon War and that was the reasoning behind the decision to diminish Nasrallah's authority.

More specifically,

Hizbullah's budget in the last 18 months has been $1 billion, to compensate the organization for the losses it suffered during the war. Hizbullah's yearly Iranian budget stands on $400 million, the officer added.

So for all those that say Hezbollah was victorious and Israel was defeated, these two factors show that Hezbollah was on the ropes at the end of the Second Lebanon War. Like the US in Iraq, if Israel would have stuck it out, things may be completely different in Lebanon now.

Progress in Iraq-Progress in the Middle East

Among several other good news stories in Iraq that will not appear in the MSM, oil production is now at 2.2-2.3 million bpd, which is above pre-war levels. According to MEFAFN.com,

Iraq is seeking to hike its oil productivity to more than four million barrels per day by 2010, Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al-Sharastani said on Thursday.

And that is not all.

Iraq also aspires to be among the top oil producers and seeks to hike the crude output to six million bpd, following development of oil fields, exploring new ones, upgrading the oil sector and building new refineries.

While much work needs to still be done in Iraq, its oil sector is extemely important for its continual development and march towards a strong democracy.

I have said several times before, Iraq is the beacon of democracy in the Middle East. All totalitarian governments/people in this region fear this beacon shining brighter and brighter on a daily basis.

This fact alone is why Al Qaeda made Iraq its central front in the global jihad. This fact alone is why Iran continues to pursue violence in Iraq. Four million bpd of oil production by 2010 is why Al Qaeda will lose the war it started, why Iran will be unable to see its form of the caliphate take shape, and why democracy will strengthen and reign in this region in the years to come.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, those unalienable rights given by the Creator, not man, are what all totalitarian governments fear from a stable Iraq.

One wonders why the Democratic Party also fears a stable, democratic Iraq?

Inside the Taliban’s fallen town of fear

Stephen Grey, reports from Musa Qala, Afganistan. His reporting shows that while Coalition forces now control this town, that much more work needs to be done to save the town and its people. Some residents despise the Taliban.

Some said the Taliban had extorted money to fund their jihad against the Afghan government and Nato forces.

Some residents despise Americans.

“No one sent their kids to the school because they were afraid the Americans would drop bombs and everyone would be killed,”

Most residents are involved in opium production.

"If the British and Americans destroy the poppy, everyone will leave and join the Taliban.”

While the town of Musa Qala is now under the control of Coalition forces, much work needs to be done to eliminate the Taliban and its influence.

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Islam: Not Just Another Religion

Janet Levy does an excellent job of detailing why Islam is not just another religion. She states,

Yet, viewing Islamic fundamentalism as just another faith is to play into the hands of those who would destroy us.

She expresses how CAIR founder, Omar Ahmad, stated in 1998,

"Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."

She points out that other cultures have always strengthened America by assimulating into its society; however, this is not the goal of Islam.

It is unprecedented that a minority group that freely immigrated to the United States and Europe of its own accord is now endeavoring to overhaul Western civilization to its Koran-dictated, specifications. The West, particularly America, has a tradition of welcoming people from other cultures and practitioners of different religions. However, immigrants have always assimilated and strengthened American society rather than demand that we adopt their ways at the expense of our own.

She goes on to warn us how Islam is not tolerant of other faiths

In the "enlightened" West, Muslims are free to perform "Dawa" or proselytizing on behalf of Islam. They openly engage in organized efforts to spread the message of Islam and invite non-Muslims to join the faith. Furthermore, the building of mosques and the opening of madrassas proceed without hindrance. Yet, in many Muslim countries, non-Muslims are not free to practice their religion, let alone proselytize, and may be prosecuted for doing so. A Muslim convert to Christianity may be sentenced to death for apostasy.

Finally, she explains how according to the Koran, Christian people have one of three choices under Islam.

The popular, pluralistic bumper sticker "Coexist" espouses a philosophy of religious harmony, mutual acceptance and brotherhood across all faiths and nations. Yet, in Islam, the word of Allah, as represented in the Koran, reigns supreme and overrides any state-imposed laws. The Koran dictates three options for non-believers: conversion, subjugation or death.

We need not forget what The Long War is about. It is a global war. It is a religious war. It is a war for survivial of the Judeo-Christian ethic. Our founding fathers made a bold and uncompromising statement over 200 years ago in the Declaration of Independence,

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I do not believe life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are to be mistaken for conversion, subjugation, or death. While we should be tolerant of Muslims in western societies and allow them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we should ensure they allow others these unalienable rights. If they do not, they need to be removed from this society.

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