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

New York

Media Spins Success in Afghanistan as Failure

From the American Thinker.

American and Coalition forces have taken the initiative in Afghanistan, and have the Taliban on the run. Yet major American media outlets, to the extent they cover fighting in Afghanistan, are portraying the Taliban as "resurgent". Going on the offense and succeeding at it always increases violence. But is being spun onto bad news?

The increase in fighting in Afghanistan is not a sign of a stronger Taliban, but rather a more desperate one. Despite all the media reports to the contrary it is we who are surging in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Iran starts up advanced centrifuges

From Yahoo via AP.

Iran's nuclear project has developed its own version of an advanced centrifuge to churn out enriched uranium much faster than its previous machines, diplomats and experts said Thursday.

They said that few of the IR-2 centrifuges were operating and that testing appeared to be in an early phase, with the new machines rotating without processing any uranium gas.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

Pakistan's Interior Minister orders negotiations with Baitullah Mehsud

From Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal.

The Pakistani government and the Taliban appear close to signing the next round of "peace" accords to end the fighting in the tribal areas and the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province. Pakistan's Interior Minister stated a deal can be made with Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, while Baitullah announces a cease-fire in northwestern Pakistan.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

China battles "coldest winter in 100 years"

From Yahoo via Reuters.

Millions remained stranded in China on Monday ahead of the biggest holiday of the year as parts of the country suffered their coldest winter in a century.

After reading the whole article I was not surprised there was no linkage to global warming. I guess the global warming crowd only uses weather which supports their case to shock the public.

Oh, by the way, it snowed in Baghdad for the first time in a century too. Again, nothing from the global warming crowd about that record breaker either.

For a full read, click here.


Ahmadinejad battles on the home front

From Asia Times Online.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has garnered headlines around the world for his defiance of Washington, as well as his rhetorical grandstanding on Palestinian issues, Israel and his government's alleged support of Shi'ite militias in Iraq.

Still, it appears that Iran's parliamentary elections in March will be determined less by debates over the country's foreign policy than by rising criticism of incompetence and economic mismanagement of conservatives and hardliners in the legislature and in Ahmadinejad's office.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

Iran tries to make up lost ground

From Asia Times Online.

The conventional wisdom, particularly in the United States, is that Iran has gained from the US's invasion of Iran's neighbors since the events of September 11, 2001. Yet, a careful reading of the changing security calculus caused by the exponential increase in the US's military presence in Iran's vicinity leads to the opposite conclusion.

Sure, Iran has gained from the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein and his dreaded Sunni Ba'athist regime in Iraq, yet the problem with the standard analyses, for example by the US's ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, is that even though they are couched in the language of "balance of power", nonetheless these analyses are tainted by a major gap. That is, forgetting the US superpower's role in the equation that, on balance, has tipped the scales away from Iran, in a word, amounting to a net loss for the country.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Swat fighting more deadly than Iraqi insurgency

From Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal.

More than two months after the Pakistani military launched an operation to clear the district of Swat in the Northwest Frontier Province, pockets of Taliban forces and safe havens remain. The Pakistani military and police have taken casualties far greater the combined US and Iraqi forces have fighting the insurgency in Iraq, according to an Interior Ministry report obtained by the Daily Times.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Al-Qaida's ISI Reponds to Ongoing Events in Mosul

Counterterrorism Blog reports the NEFA Foundation has released the latest ISI communique. In it, Al Qaeda denies being behind the recent large explosion in Mosul. However, more interesting is this statement.

the battle is now in its final stages, and it will be a energizing victory for the Muslims, Allah willing. The enemy has begun to stagger, and now has reached its final page, so do not let the opportunity to participate in that historic battle pass you by. In the name of Allah, this battle is of critical importance.... and it will collapse the American strategy in Iraq and elsewhere across the fields of jihad in the Muslim world. (emphasis added)

Maliki also called it a decisive battle.

"It is time to launch a decisive battle against terrorism," Maliki said after Saturday's meeting attended by US commander in Iraq General David Petraeus and Iraq's national security advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie.

"The battle that our armed forces will launch will destroy terrorism and the criminal gangs and outlaws in Nineveh," he said.

American commanders also believe the battle for Mosul is of strategic importance for the ISI.

"Coalition forces recognise the strategic importance of Mosul to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and our operations will continue in the area," said Commander Scott Rye, a US military spokesman.

"This is not a new plan but part of a larger, comprehensive effort to root out Al-Qaeda and disrupt its networks throughout Iraq... We will continue to coordinate closely with the government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces in our efforts to free all areas of Iraq from Al-Qaeda," Rye told AFP. (emphasis added)

The most interesting point of these quotes is both sides believe this will be the decisive battle. Given recent news reports of how Al Qaeda is on the run and making an apparently last stand in Mosul, I do not believe coalition forces are beginning to stagger as the ISI communique states but it is the ISI itself which is beginning to stagger.

In addition, the the ISI communique clearly lays out the importance of holding out in Mosul if the ISI is to have any possibility of continuing activities in Iraq, noting three times the importance of Mosul, "final stages", "historic battle", "critical importance". While two other references are pointed at Coalition forces ("final page" and "collapse"), it seems the ISI is predicting its own collapse in Iraq if it loses this battle.

What is even more telling is the the last line quoted,

and it will collapse the American strategy in Iraq and elsewhere across the fields of jihad in the Muslim world. (emphasis added)

It seems more realistic to substitute the acronym "ISI" for "American" in this quote. The ISI commander who put this communique believes a loss in Mosul will be a loss for not only Al Qaeda in Iraq, but the entire ISI movement in Iraq and jihadist activities across the world.

Al Qaeda called Iraq its central front in its stuggle to build a caliphate which would eventually encompass the world. While small pockets of Al Qaeda still exist in Iraq, Mosul is the last area where Al Qaeda in Iraq forces have concentrated. Destruction of their forces in Mosul will signal the death of the ISI both as a fighting force and a movement in Iraq. Loss of Mosul will be the final, organized battle for the ISI if it loses (and it surely will lose this battle).

While terrorist attacks will undoubtedly continue for months and possibly years to come, it appears Mosul will be the complete collapse of all organized resistance in Iraq from the ISI perspective. The commander of this communique also believes it will be the complete collapse of jihadist worldwide. Let's hope his predictions are correct in this aspect.

Labels: , , , ,

Prelude to War

From Amir Taheri.

When he first provoked a confrontation with the United Nations over Iran's nuclear programme, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was visibly counting on a sharp but short clash that would strengthen the Islamic Republic in the long run.

In defiant mood, the firebrand leader based his policy on the Nietzschean dictum: What cannot kill me makes me stronger!

Mr. Taheri goes on to explain the dramatic effects sanctions are having on Iran. The only reason their economy is currently afloat is $100 per barrel oil prices. He also notes, the only thing which will stop the current crisis in Iran is,

the Islamic Republic must stop uranium enrichment and place its centrifuges under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

It is clear that Ahmadinejad cannot agree to such a move.

For him to do so would be tantamount to committing political suicide.

Mr. Taheri hits the nail on the head. Almadinejad expected a swift clash with the west. President Bush and the EU have stayed in for the long term sucking the life out of the Iranian economy. Now Iranian leaders have a choice to make since Almadinejad cannot make it for himself.

But removing Ahmadinejad from power is not easy. Nor is it certain that the star-chambre of Khimeinism in Tehran could prevent the firebrand president from winning a second term.

Whether anyone likes it or not, and I certainly don't, Ahmadinejad remains popular with that shrinking constituency that still believes in the Khomeinist revolution. In the absence of normal freedoms, it is hard to establish the actual strength of that constituency.

Finally, Mr. Taheri points out the similarity between the current Iranian situation and several other countries and past leaders.

Regimes that lack domestic mechanisms for policy change are bound to have change imposed on them by external force.

Mr. Taheri seems to show that regime change in Iran can only come by external forces. Unfortunately, I believe the same.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

US, Iraqi troops kill 11, capture 64 suspects in raids across central, northern Iraq

From the International Herald Tribune.

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 11 suspected militants and captured 64 others in two days of raids across central and northern Iraq, officials said Sunday.

Iraqi troops killed eight suspects and arrested 28 overnight in Salman Pak, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraqi police said. They also seized weapons, explosives and some vehicles in the raid, including a Humvee that was apparently stolen from the Iraqi army, police said.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces killed three suspects and detained 36 others in operations targeting al-Qaida in Iraq, the military said Sunday in a statement.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Chad's Future Taliban enters capital while the West is asleep

From Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog.

As Americans are debating who among their candidates for the primaries can best confront the Jihadists or at least preempt their offensives worldwide, future Jihadi forces have in one day invaded an African country (under European protection), a key location for the Darfur forthcoming Peace missions. In less than 12 hours the so-called armed opposition of Chad, crossed the entire country from its Eastern frontiers with Islamist-ruled Sudan to the capital N'Djamena across from Northern Nigeria. The latest reports mention fierce battles around the Presidential Palace and back and forth inside the city. But at this stage the geo-political consequences are crucial for the next stages locally, regionally and internationally. The bottom line is that in one day, what could become the future Taliban of Chad have scored a strategic victory not only against the Government of the country (which was supposed to back up the UN plans to save Darfur in Sudan) but also against the efforts by the African Union and European Union to contain the Sudanese regime and stop the Genocide. Today's offensive, regardless of the next developments, has already changed the geopolitics of Africa. Outmaneuvering the West and Africans, those regimes and forces standing behind the "opposition" have shown that they are restless in their campaign against human rights and self determination on the continent. But even more importantly the events of today shows how unprepared are Europeans and Americans in front of Jihadi regimes which seem weak on the surface but highly able to surprise and crumble Western efforts of containment.

Mr. Phares' commentary is very instructive. He also links the players behind this action. While the "coup" was ongoing, Jibrin Issa, who will probably be the new official minister of Chad, was seated in al Jazeera's studios in Qatar.

Issa played the script very well until a point where reality surfaced abruptly. At first, as I was listening to his impeccable Arabic, I was wondering why did he have this Arabian Peninsula accent and utter those mechanical sentences. It was strange to hear an African "minister" of a future regime in Chad speaking excellent Arabic, but I gave it a pass. Until, at the end of his interview he made a troubling mistake. Out of the blue he started to thank the "brave commander of the Islamic Republic of Sudan" General Omar al Bashir (the head of the regime responsible for the Genocide in Darfur) for his help to the "movement" and started to praise his "highness the servant of the two shrines," (that is the Saudi Monarch) for his support (obviously to the movement). Suddenly, and despite the frustration of the al jazeera anchor that the game may have been exposed,

I concur with Mr. Phares. Both the United States and France were asleep at the wheel and did not foresee this dramatic development. The UN for its part is continuously asleep at the wheel, so I do not fault them.

Al Qaeda has expertly opened up a new front in the Long War. And without the Chadian buffer to keep them contained, Sudan can now threaten Ethiopia's back door, resulting in Ethiopia possibly pulling forces out of Somalia to protect itself now that it is completely surrounded by violent regimes or regimes, like Kenya, who are involved in internal turmoil.

Like the Chinese entering the Korean war, it is a whole new ballgame as the geo-political situation in Northern Africa has now dramatically changed. Mr. Pharis' last statement is telling.

Let's admit it, the Jihadi strategists are having a blast. One more country has fallen on the way to Constantinople.

Let's hope Chadian forces can overcome this threat.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , , ,