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

New York

Two Saudi al Qaeda operatives killed in Mosul

MNF-I reports the following today.

The terrorists killed during an operation Wednesday [27 February] in Mosul have been positively identified as Jar Allah, also known as Abu Yasir al-Saudi, and Hamdan.

Abu Yasir al-Saudi was the Southeast Mosul Emir for al-Qaeda in Iraq and led a foreign terrorist facilitation network in the city....

Hamdan was involved in coordinating the movement of foreign terrorists into Mosul, and led a regional anti-aircraft ring.

While The Jamestown Foundation reports the following.

On January 28, a jihadist internet forum member nicknamed “al-Battar al-Salafi” posted a set of instructions entitled: "Urgent: How to migrate to Iraq and reach al-Qaim and Mosul provinces; Migration road."

One wonders whether there is a connection here or not. First, Hamdan, who coordinated movement of foreign terrorists was killed on Wednesday and then on Thursday Jihadist post an "Urgent: How to migrate to Iraq..." message. This linkage makes one wonder if Abu Yasir al-Saudi was just the Southeast Mosul Emir for al-Qaeda in Iraq or somebody more important. Likewise was Hamdan one of several foreign terrorists movement facilitators or the main guy for moving foreign terrorists?

Labels: ,

Al Qaeda's Resurgence - The leadership regroups.

From Daveed Gartenstein-Ross writing for the Weekly Standard.

FOUR YEARS AGO, HIS WORDS WOULD have represented an almost unquestioned consensus view. In late January, the State Department's counterterrorism coordinator, Dell Dailey, described al Qaeda's top leadership as isolated, saying that they have "much, much less central authority and much, much less capability to reach out."

He is not alone in this assessment. In July 2007, Stratfor's Peter Zeihan argued that while a few thousand people may claim to be al Qaeda members, "the real al Qaeda does not exercise any control over them. . . . The United States is now waging a war against jihadism as a phenomenon, rather than against any specific transnational jihadist movement." The most prominent proponent of this view has been Jason Burke, a reporter for London's Observer and the author of Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam. By the time that book hit newsstands in 2003, Burke was already arguing that the "nearest thing to 'Al-Qaeda,' as popularly understood," only existed for a five-year period, and the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 showcased "the final scenes of its destruction." Now, Burke contends, we are "in a 'post-bin Laden' phase of Islamic militancy."

Unfortunately, all these men are wrong--and we will fight the war on terror less effectively if we continue to harbor mistaken assumptions about the al Qaeda network.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

ANALYSIS / Gaza raids met by loud silence from the Arab world

An analysis from Haaretz by Zvi Bar'el.

As the death toll in Israel Defense Forces raids against miltiants firing rockets from Gaza climbed to more than 60 on Saturday, Palestinian Information Minister Riad al-Malki responded by saying: "Hamas gave Israel an excuse to start a war in Gaza."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also responded along these lines by saying that the "operation in Gaza is not just a reaction to the rocket barrage." Both comments can be interpreted as Palestinian backing of the Israel Defense Forces ground incursion in the Strip.

Reactions from Egypt and Al Jazeera are also mild or nonexistent according to Mr. Bar'el. Mr. Rar'el comments on Hamas' objectives.

Meshal's ultimate goal is to pull elements within Fatah and other Palestinian organizations to the armed struggle, even at the cost of starting a third intifada.

So far, Meshal was unsuccessful in his attempts to garner pan-Palestinian support for Hamas' repeated use of Qassam rockets against Israel. Senior Palestinian and Arab officials voiced serious doubts concerning the rockets' efficacy, including several officials who condemned the use of Qassams as detrimental to the Palestinian cause.

The question become, as always, why? Why the absence of Arab reaction?

From Egypt's perspective, it is obvious. The breach of the Egyptian border with Gaza in January disrupted Egypt's territorial integrity, allowed thousand's of Gazan to enter Egyptian terrority, allowed many Al Qaeda elements into Gaza, and caused Egypt to mass troops in the area, especially at the Rafah crossing. Egypt, for its part, acted like Israel usually does in these circumstances. It re-established the border to contain the Palestinians, or more to the point to contain Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which Egypt is trying to quell in its own territory.

Israel, for its part, played with the idea of carving out part of the Negev Desert to give to the Palestinians and let Egypt supply Gaza from that point forward, completely ending any semblance of an occupied Gaza. The Egyptian government balked at this idea. Israel in effect, called Egypt's bluf.

Jordon, Syria, and Lebanon are silent as they do not want trouble in their own countries among the Palestinians living their in refugee camps.

Most importantly, all are silent because having been given their own territory, Hamas is still making trouble and not leading its people. Instead of establishing its own economy to help its own people, it just keeps up the struggle, it keeps firing rockets into civilian areas of Israel.

Just as Al Qaeda in Iraq is causing "intellectual turbulence" among muslims, Hamas is causing intellectual turbulence among Arab nations. Hamas has been given their own territory, and yet they continue to struggle. Fatah has been given a lot of control over the West Bank and is doing well. It is gaining more control everyday as it shows it can keep order. The economy of the West Bank is flourishing as a result.

Now that Palestinians are split, Arab countries have two examples of leadership. Fatah is doing rather well while Hamas continues to blame all its troubles on Israel. At this point, Arab nations are wondering why Hamas is still struggling when it has its own territory. In effect, Hamas is showing it cannot lead politically and can only struggle militarily.

This point gets back to the "intellectual turbulence" that is moving jihad from an external struggle back to an internal struggle. Fatah is undergoing an internal struggle as it tries to govern a people. Hamas is stuck in an external struggle even though it now commands its own territory.

All governments in the region do not want this crisis to begin a general war in the Middle East. Iraq appears to growing quieter. Lebanon is in crisis, but calm. The last thing Arab governments want is Hamas to cause increased crises in Lebanon and Iraq. For these reasons, they are all quiet.

Labels: , , , ,

Pakistan, US raise militant tempo

From Asia Times Online.

With the United States missile attack on an important Taliban compound in Azam Warsak village in the South Waziristan tribal area in the early hours of Thursday, a new phase in the regional "war on terror" - joint Pakistan-North Atlantic Treaty Organization strikes - has begun.

The attack is also a stark reminder to the newly elected Pakistani politicians who recently put their weight firmly in favor of dialogue rather than military operations against militants. This underscores their limited role in the coming months in concentrating on domestic issues while the bigger battles are dealt with by NATO and the Pakistani military command.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Old jihad, new jihad

From Amr Elshoubaki writing for the Al-Ahram Weekly.

The recent ideological retractions of Sayed Imam El-Sherif, founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, mark the beginning of a major departure from the theological underpinnings that governed the militant Islamist organisation's actions in the 1980s and 1990s. The ideological shift -- probably more than practical realities -- will make it extremely difficult for the organisation and those inspired by it to revert to violence and terrorism.

In Correct Guidance of the Jihad in Egypt and the World, Sheikh Imam writes,

On fighting unjust rule, Sheikh Imam holds, contrary to his earlier stance, that insurrection can result in many evils. During recent decades, he writes, Muslim countries have experienced numerous incidents of insurrection in the name of holy war and with the purpose of establishing the rule of Islamic law in these countries. These incidents gave rise to grave ills at the level of Islamic groups and at the level of the countries in which they occurred. Wrong is not redressed by a like wrong, and certainly not by a worse wrong. (emphasis added)

Understand, this is the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad stating "the ends do not justify the means." The "ends justifying the means" is exactly why suicide bombers feel it is within the parameters of jihad to kill oneself and civilians. However, Mr. Elshoubaki does not feel this refutation of earlier writings will affect current jihadists which he labels the "new jihad".

Sheikh Imam's revisions are undoubtedly sincere and historic. But they will not influence the new terrorist generation, because they were written with the old style of jihad in mind. They, therefore, do not take into account the new youth, which is essentially an unknown quantity and which operates independently and who seldom read books exceeding 50 pages let alone voluminous philosophical or theological treatises.

Mr. Elshoubaki may very well be right. However, it is indeed significant when the founder of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad comes out and refutes violence. Imam El-Sherif's Correct Guidance of the Jihad in Egypt and the World will undoubtedly add to the intellectual turbulence which is occurring among muslims. This intellectual turbulence was first noted in November 2007 when Abu Baseer Al-Tartousi, wrote, "On the Jihad in Iraq". In this article, Al-Tartousi chastised "Awakening" tribes in Al Anbar. However, closer examination of the work also seems to chastise Al Qaeda in Iraq. In his article, Al-Tartousi states three concerns with Al Qaeda.

1. Exaggeration of the Sins of Rival Groups

2. Use of force to settle disagreement among Jihad Groups.

3. Blindly following extremists.

If we couple Al-Tartousi's article with Imam El-Sherif's current work, we see a reformation of sorts happening in among jihadist circles. They both are pointing to the same theme, namely, "the ends do not justify the means". More specifically, it is not right to blow up innocent muslims in the name of jihad. El-Sherif even spells it out specifically stating,

"it is regrettable that some pursue forbidden means to obtain money, justifying their actions on the grounds that this money is needed for jihad. Thus, they kidnap innocent people in order to demand ransom, or they rob blameless persons in the course of which they might commit wrongful murder. It is a grave sin to attack the persons and property of blameless persons."

These type of writings are becoming more prevalent in jihadists circles and signifies a fundamental shift in muslim religious leaders. The leaders are seeing that dishonorable acts are breeding to a dishonorable muslims resulting in a loss of followers. A loss of followers is leading to decreased economic support. The great infidel, the USA, is gaining support in the region due to its fairness in dealy with jihadists and muslims in general. The extremists, whether Sunni or Shiite, are rapidly losing support among followers.

The complete loss of support among Sunnis caused Al Qaeda's insurgency in Iraq to completely unravel. The loss of support resulted in the MMA losing handedly in Pakistan during their recent elections. The loss of support for extremists has resulted in Hezbollah losing ground in Lebanon. The loss of support for extremists may very well have the same effect in Iran during their upcoming elections on 14 March.

Both of these holy leaders are showing precisely why extremists are losing support. Extremist stifle individual freedom and happiness. When they cannot stifle, they murder. In the place of extremists, we have a US-sponsored democratic Iraq which is quickly becoming the economic powerhouse in the Middle East providing for freedom and happiness among fellow muslims. Neighboring countrymen are beginning to see what a democracy brings to its people. Even while still engaged in a war, a democratic Iraq provides for more freedom for its countrymen than do neighboring countries not at war.

Democratic freedom and happiness is spreading like a wild fire in the Middle East. As Jordanian, Saudi, and Turkish drivers continue to bring in goods into Iraq, they are undoubtedly wondering how these people at war are enjoying more freedom and economic opportunities than they enjoy at peace. This economic freedom is powerful and has caused the intellectual turbulence described above. Religious leaders are also seeing what the opposite effect, namely radical, extremist jihad, brings. The contrast is stark.

I predict we will see a new jihad, or rather an old jihad, soon come to the forefront in the Middle East. That jihad will be the internal struggle which marked the jihad of old. The internal struggle has already began. It is creating the intellectual turbulence described above. This internal struggle has already had significant effects in Pakistan, Lebanon, and Iraq. It will shortly have significant impacts in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria.

Not only are Iraqis returning to Iraq for freedom and happiness, but come next decade we will see immigration into Iraq as neighboring countrymen seek the economic benefits that a free and democratic Iraq brings. This freedom will spread, continue to create the intellectual turbulence among muslims, resulting in an internal jihad, and eventually resulting in an external jihad, of sorts, against tyrants in their own muslim nations.

George W. Bush and the American military have caused this intellectual turbulence in the Middle East. George Bush caused it by his surge of forces in 2007. The American military caused it by being fair and impartial in Iraq. Al Qaeda helped with its indiscriminant murders. All these foreces have given to Iraqis and to muslims in general the jihad of old, the internal struggle. This internal struggle will soon manifest itself between tyranny and democracy. The leaders of the Middle East are trying to prevent this struggle, but this struggle began on 20 March 2003, when US forces crossed the berm from Kuwait to Iraq. It is quite frankly, too late to stop.

Labels: , ,

Egyptian al Qaeda leader reported killed in South Waziristan airstrike

From Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal.

Pakistani and US intelligence are attempting to sort out the names of the al Qaeda and Taliban operatives killed in yesterday's airstrike in Azam Warzak, South Waziristan. Initial reports indicated Arabs and fighters from Central Asia were killed in the operation. One report indicates an "al Qaeda fugitive from Egypt" was among those killed, sparking rumors that Ayman al Zawahiri was the target of the strike.

South Waziristan Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, who is often characterized as a "pro-government" Taliban leader, appears to be the center of the storm. "Sources said that the militants belonged to the Abu Hamza group whose leader was said to be a follower of local militant commander Maulvi Nazir," Dawn reported. The attack occurred at the home of Shero Wazir, a follower of Nazir "who had rented it out to an Arab."

It will be interesting to see the fallout from this strike as the Pakistani government has just entered into a peace accord with the Wazir tribe in this region. If the Waziri tribe was hiding militants, they violated the peace accord. If however, the Waziri tribal leaders set up these militants and provided intelligence to Pakistan and the US, it may signal a significant break with Al Qaeda.

Either situation puts the Waziri tribe on the defensive, either from the government or Al Qaeda.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Reviving the North Waziristan Peace Accord May Stabilize Tribal Pakistan

From The Jamestown Foundation.

A day before Pakistan’s crucial February 17 parliamentary elections, the military government renewed the September 2006 North Waziristan peace accord. The move is widely seen as part of a revived effort to restore peace and order to the region under the aegis of the new military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, who took over the military leadership after President Musharraf retired from that post. Indeed, the agreement came two days after General Kayani visited the regional military headquarters in Miranshah and handed gallantry awards to soldiers there (Dawn [Karachi], February 18).

However, Afzal Khan notes the difference between this accord and previous accords.

There are two principal differences between the 2006 and the 2008 accords. While the 2006 accord was negotiated with so-called militant Taliban leaders, the 2008 accord involves 286 tribal elders representing all the sub-clans of the Utmanzai Wazirs and Daurs that dominate the region. In a region with nearly 400,000 inhabitants, the Utmanzai Wazirs outnumber the Daurs almost two to one. North Waziristan is spread over 1,817 square miles, with the Daurs living in the fertile Tochi River valley and around the principal towns of Miranshah and Mirali.

The 2008 accord also extends its writ over all North Waziristan, in contrast to the 2006 accord that was mostly limited to Miranshah because that was where the principal militant group leader, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, held sway. Representatives of the militant leader were also present at the jirga (tribal assembly) this time around and endorsed the decision (Dawn, February 18). The inclusion of Mirali—the tribal agency’s second largest town—in the present accord is important because of the activity of foreign militants around there, as seen in the CIA drone attack that killed al-Libbi.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Islamic State of Iraq Gives Advice on Infiltration Routes into Iraq

From the Jamestown Foundation.

In the last issue of Terrorism Focus (February 20), we examined the attempt by Iraq’s Islamist insurgents to recruit trained professionals for jihad in Iraq. In this follow-up, we examine the use of jihadist internet forums to present would-be jihadis with safe routes to infiltrate into Iraq (al-ekhlaas.net, January 28). Maps, orthophotos and other materials are included on the website. The orthophotos are aerial photographs that have had normal photographic distortions removed while being geometrically corrected for use as highly accurate maps.

A few items are interesting about these route postings:

1. All three routes end in Mosul. This jihadist forum supports the contention that Al Qaeda has been flushed out of all other areas and Mosul is their the last safe haven.

2. The forum discusses expenses incurred by jihadists coming to Iraq. I find this situation interesting in that Al Qaeda is not paying for jihadist to come to Iraq. Does this show that Al Qaeda in Iraq is short of funding?

3. Finally, the fact that Al Qaeda in Iraq is posting transit routes on an open internet forum may show how needy they are for recruits in Iraq.

All these facts taken together show just how desperate the situation in Iraq has become for Al Qaeda.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

U.S. Soldiers, Iraqi Army Discover Huge Weapons Cache

From MNF-I.

In total, the three caches yielded one complete improvised explosive device, 190 pounds of unknown bulk explosive, 40 pounds of dynamite, (74) 82 mm mortar rounds, (18) 122 mm artillery rounds, (38) 60 mm mortar rounds, 400 additional projectiles between 23 mm and 155 mm, hundreds of assorted munitions pieces, several radios and documents.

More significant than the munitions is the documents found which will inevitably lead to more caches discovered and more insurgents detained.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Petraeus to Seek to Limit Pause in Pullout to 6 Weeks

From The New York Times.

The top American military commander in Iraq will recommend that President Bush order a brief pause in troop reductions from Iraq this summer, but the White House expects that the withdrawals will resume before Mr. Bush leaves office, a senior administration official said Friday.

General Petraeus want to temporarily pause troop reductions to let the "dust to settle" and to allow time to evaluate what effect troop reduction are having in Iraq.

General Petraeus has indicated that he would favor a pause, though he has not been specific about the timetable, and Mr. Bush has said he is likely to go along with the general’s recommendation. Earlier this week, the commander of American forces in the Middle East, Adm. William J. Fallon, said in an interview that any halt in the troop drawdown should be temporary and brief — just long enough to allow “all the dust to settle.”

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

The Other Surge

From Talisman Gate.

Nevermind that Iraqis are doing most of the dying and sustaining most of the damage to their economy; the "blame-the-Iraqis" crowd--y'know, the ones who keep saying "the Iraqis should be doing more of this and more of that"--need to keep these numbers in mind (Arabic):

Total number of military personnel: 250,000 (in 14 Divisions)

Total number of police: 450,000

Increase in weekly operations by Iraqi security forces since the Maliki government took over: 1000 percent

Increase in number of patrols: 270 percent

Increase in security spending in the 2008 budget: 26 percent

Nibras Kazimi notes the MSM is stating it will all fall apart as American troops redeploy to pre-surge levels noting the Sunnis are rearming and the Sadrists are fuming. However, he confidently states it will not fall apart. When asked if making Iraq a democracy was worth it, he states.

They certainly won't tell about the strategic and moral implications of a successful Iraq; a new Iraq saved from Saddam and on its way to becoming the closest approximation of Sweden in its neighborhood; a strong Iraq that may have to do all the dirty work of cleaning up a very messy Middle East so that you can heat your homes and go to cinemas without fearing that some zealot has left a ticking surprise for you; yeah, you can bet your ass it's worth it.

It is worth noting Mr. Kazimi predicted the Al Anbar tribes turning against Al Qaeda in early 2006, several months before they actually turned sides. It is also worth noting he predicted this turning would sweep across the country. Let's hope his latest prediction is also correct.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

‘Zardari, Fahim and Rashid on terrorist hit list’

From the Daily Times in Pakistan.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Vice Chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim, and former federal minister Sheikh Rashid are among the politicians placed on the terrorists’ hit list, according to a letter issued by the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC).

A few interesting items come out of this article.

1. While Bhutto was expressly anti-Taliban, Zardari and Fahim have not been so expressive as Bhutto in this regard. In fact, they are forming a coalition with the PML-N which seeks to establish peace with the Taliban vice war in the tribal regions.

2. The PPP was not seeking an alliance with Musharraf's PML-Q which is currently battling the Pakistani Taliban and has assocations with the US. In addition, there is an effort possibly in the future impeach Musharraf once the coalition gains strength.

Given the above, why would the Taliban/Al Qaeda put these members on a hit list? It must be something being worked under the table with the PML-Q and the PPP.

It will be interesting to see how the PPP reacts to being on the Taliban's hit list. Their reaction may very well determine how Pakistan deals with the Taliban in the future. This situation is worth watching.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , , ,

US experts expect Pak Army push in tribal area

From The News International.

Pakistan's military appears to be preparing for a new tribal-area offensive against the Taliban leader blamed for the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, US officials and experts say....

They expect military action to curb Mehsud's rising influence in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas possibly in the coming weeks as Pakistan's newly elected civilian leaders try to form a coalition government."

Baitullah has gone and got himself so visible. He wants to kind of consolidate all of the Fata underneath his control, and because he's sticking out so far, the Pakistanis are going to hammer him down," said one US defence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

It will be interesting to see if this offensive happens. Given the fact the Pakistani government just reached a peace accord with the Wazir and Daur tribes in North Waziristan on 19 February 2008 which many feel will fail like past peace accords.

However, as noted before, this peace accord is unique as it was reached with tribes vice militants in the area. In addition, this peace accord was made with tribes who do not align themselves with the Pakistani Taliban of Baitullah Mehsud. Most notably, it was made with the Wasiri tribe which suffered the lose of nine tribal elders at the hands of Baitullah Mehsud in January 2008 and attempted to bring a lashkar against him.

Making peace with Baitullah's enemies, establishment of Regional and District Coordinating Offices in the tribal areas, and economic incentives to the region are all part of Musharraf's and General Kayani's multi-pronged strategy to fracture the Pakistani Taliban and eventually bring peace to the region.

While we in the US may not like this or past peace accords, it is in effect the same accords we are making with the Sunni tribes in Iraq. Musharraf and General Kayani know they cannot defeat the Pakistani Tribes and Taliban; however, they do believe they can defeat the more extremists elements within these groups. To do this, they must use fractures within the tribes. They have done this with the recent peace accord with the Wasiri and Daur tribes. It appears they will use this peace with these tribes to allow more freedom of action of military forces in Waziristan against Baitullah's Pakistani Taliban.

If we see an offensive happen against Baitullah with participation of the Wazir and Daur tribes, Musharraf and General Kayani may succeed their battle against the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda as a whole in the region.

Labels: , , , ,

USS Cole and Hizballah

From the Counterterrorism Blog.

On February 28, the USS Cole was deployed off the coast of Lebanon. Ostensibly, the presence of the warship is intended to demonstrate Washington's ongoing commitment to the democratically elected pro-West government vis-à-vis the Hizballah-led opposition and ally, Damascus. Hizballah and Syria are currently preventing presidential elections in Lebanon; the office has been vacant since November 2007....

Senior Hizballah officials have described the USS Cole as "a threat." In October 2007, Hizballah officials threatened that if US troops ventured onto Lebanese soil, they would be treated as “occupation forces” and attacked. UNIFIL has been attacked three times since its deployment in 2006.

Even more significant than it being any warship is the fact it is the USS Cole which was attacked by terrorists in a boat in a Yemeni port in October 2000. If that does not help in showing America's resolve to a democratically elected Lebanon, nothing will.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , , ,

Jihadists and Progressives: An Affair to Remember

From American Thinker.

General Douglas Macarthur once quipped that it was "...fatal to enter any war without the will to win it". Few epithets more accurately reflect the prevailing default setting of the majority of this country's Democrat contingent, arguably more than two thirds of the mainstream media, and anyone who even remotely identifies with the progressive agenda.

In fact, as depressing as it may sound, the left is not merely devoid of the will to win the war in Iraq; they are irrevocably committed to the pursuit of a global exposé of their own country's moral, political, and military failure, with a passion that is rivaled only by our jihadist adversaries with whom we are presently engaged.

Miguel A. Guanipa continues to point out the realities on the ground are getting hard to escape as noted from a recently captured Al Qaeda in Iraq document.

This discrepancy between what actually happens on the ground, and the image to which the media continues to subscribe -- with the full assent from the progressive block -- was most notably exposed in recently released documents that included a 16-page Diary written last October by a local al-Qaeda leader north of Baghdad.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

'Chemical Ali' execution OK'd in Iraq

From Yahoo via AP.

Iraq's presidential council has endorsed the execution within a month of Saddam Hussein's cousin, known as "Chemical Ali," for his role in the 1980s scorched-earth campaign against Kurds, officials said Friday. But it spared the life of two other officials amid Sunni protests that they were only following orders.

Good Riddens.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming

From Daily Tech.

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

A compiled list of all the sources can be seen here. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C -- a value large enough to wipe out nearly all the warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year's time. For all four sources, it's the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down. (emphasis added)

It will be interesting to see how the MSM plays this significant cooling trend.

As a scientist, if one thing disproves a theory, the theory is disproved. As CO2 continues to increase, one year of cooling has completely wiped out 100 years of warming.

It must have something to do with that big ball in the sky called the sun which is a significant factor in the Earth's temperature. Global warming caused by the sun compared to CO2 is significant as discussed before in this blog. It must be noted that most climate models do not replicate changes in the sun's intensity/sun-spot activity.

We are in a time of extremely low sun-spot activity and low and behold, 12 month decreases in Earth's temperature wipes out 100 years of warming even while CO2 is increasing. Like I stated earlier. If one thing disproves a theory, it is disproved.

If sun-spot activity continues its historic lows, we will also see the ocean outgasing of CO2 decrease causing a decrease in CO2 levels even while human output of CO2 level increases. This event in conjunction with low sun-spot activity will completely disprove global warming models and CO2's effect on the environment.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: ,

France eyes sending troops to Afghan combat zone

From Yahoo via Reuters.

France may send hundreds of ground troops to east Afghanistan where NATO-led forces are fighting al Qaeda-backed insurgents, Le Monde newspaper reported on Tuesday....

France has about 1,900 soldiers under NATO's Afghan command, most of them based in relatively calm Kabul, and Le Monde said the fresh troops would be deployed outside the capital.

"Their destination would be zones of potentially fierce fighting, preferably the eastern region of Afghanistan close to the tribal areas of Pakistan," it said.

You got to like Sarkozy.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

William F. Buckley, Jr., R.I.P.

From NRO.

Our revered founder, William F. Buckley Jr., died in his study this morning.

If ever an institution were the lengthened shadow of one man, this publication is his. So we hope it will not be thought immodest for us to say that Buckley has had more of an impact on the political life of this country — and a better one — than some of our presidents. He created modern conservatism as an intellectual and then a political movement. He kept it from drifting into the fever swamps. And he gave it a wit, style, and intelligence that earned the respect and friendship even of his adversaries. (To know Buckley was to be reminded that certain people have a talent for friendship.)

Our prayers are with with you.

For a full read, click here.


Russia warns Iran over nuclear program

From Yahoo via Reuters.

Russia toughened its stance towards Iran on Wednesday, threatening to back further United Nations sanctions over Tehran's nuclear program unless it halted uranium enrichment in the next few days.

Russia's U.N. envoy Vitaly Churkin said Moscow could back a sanctions resolution the Western powers have drafted and which they want to discuss in the U.N. Security Council this week.

"If Iran in the next few days does not stop the enrichment activities of its heavy water project then yes, Russia ... has taken upon itself certain commitments... to support the resolution that has been drafted in the past month," Churkin told reporters via a video link from New York.

One has to wonder why the sudden change in Russia's stance towards increased sanctions against Iran given the recent agreement between Gazprom and Iran to develop oil and gas facilities.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Qaeda's Zawahri vows revenge over Libi killing: Web

From Yahoo via Reuters.

Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri vowed revenge for the killing of a top group commander in a suspected U.S. attack in Pakistan, speaking in a video posted on the Internet on Wednesday.

"No chief of ours had died of a natural death, nor has our blood been spilled without a response," Zawahri said in the video posted on an Islamist Web site, referring to the killing of Abu Laith al-Libi.

If one wonders whether or not Libi was a high level Al Qaeda operative, this statement should answer the question.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

The Taliban have Kabul in their sights

From Asia Times Online.

As Pakistani politicians scramble to form a coalition government following last week's parliamentary elections, there has been a surge in violence in the Swat Valley and in other parts of North-West Frontier Province, and on Monday a senior army officer was assassinated.

Syed Saleem Shahzad discusses the Taliban's future plans.

Asia Times Online investigations show that the Taliban's three-pronged plan for their spring offensive comprises cutting off NATO's supply lines running from Pakistan to Afghanistan, recruiting fresh volunteers and, most importantly, the creation of a strategic corridor running from Pakistan all the way to the capital Kabul.

And he provides some insight to NATO's and Pakistan's counterstrategy.

American special ground troops have escalated their activities in Kunar and Nooristan provinces and a US base in Kunar, just three kilometers from Bajaur Agency, is now fully operational. Once the operations are in full swing, Pakistan will provide assistance through its air base in Peshawar for attacks on militant bases in the agencies.

"The operation has to start in the month of March as the Taliban have to launch their operation in April," a Pakistani security official told Asia Times Online.

Musharraf has instilled a multi-pronged strategy to deal with Al Qaeda and the Taliban whether or not he maintains his position as President.

For its part, as Al Qaeda/Taliban continue to attack inside Pakistan, they continue to lose popular support, which will eventually be their downfall.

In addition, tribes which are benefitting from allowing supplies through the Khyber Pass will have to be dealt with by Al Qaeda/Taliban.

Either way, this spring should bring an interesting time in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Mugniyah behind establishment of Mahdi Army

From Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal.

Imad Mugniyah, the senior Hezbollah military commander who was killed in Syria earlier this month, helped form the Mahdi Army, the military wing of the radical Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr, according to an Iraqi intelligence official. He was described as a “co-founder” of the Mahdi Army, Naharnet reported, based on a translation from the Iraqi daily Al Zaman.

Mugniyah helped form the Mahdi Army after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in April 2003. He recruited from the Shia communities in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and then sent the recruits to Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley for training. “The 300 fighters were trained on the use of assault rifles, booby-trapping and kidnapping operations,” the unnamed intelligence official told Al Zaman.

Another excellent analysis by Mr. Roggio.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Suicide bomber kills senior Pakistani general in Rawalpindi

From Bill Roggio at the Long War Journal.

The Taliban have struck again in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi. The latest suicide attack in the sister city of Islamabad claimed the life of Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmed Baig, the Surgeon General of Army Medical Corps. Mushtaq is the senior-most officer killed since the al Qaeda attacks on the US on September 11, 2001.

Seven others were killed in the attack and 20 were wounded after a Taliban suicide bomber rammed into Mushtaq's staff car. The attack occurred close to the military hospital and a post office. Several vehicles and shops were damaged in the strike.

Today's suicide bombing comes one day after the re-arrest of senior Taliban leader Mullah Obaidullah Akhund in Lahore. Obaidullah was in Lahore raising money to fund Taliban operations in Afghanistan.

For a great roll up of recent bombings in Pakistan, click here.

As Al Qaeda and the Taliban ramp up attacks in Pakistan, it will be interesting to see the elected coalitions that form to counter these attacks. It will shape the way of Pakistan's future.

Labels: , ,

Iran: Slain Hezbollah military chief's widow points the finger at Syria

From Adnkronos International.

The wife of assassinated militant leader Imad Mughniyeh, claims that Syria was behind the killing of her husband, reported Alborz, a pro-Iranian government source.

Her husband, Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a bombing in Damascus on 13 February and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Syria and Iran have blamed Israel for assassinating him.

Mughniyeh was the intelligence chief of Hezbollah's secretive military wing, the Islamic Resistance. "

The Syrian traitors assisted in my husband's murder," said the wife.

Very Interesting.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,

Pakistan: The Light at The End of The Tunnel

From Amir Taheri.

A year ago it was out of the question. A month ago, it looked like a bad bargain for all concerned. A week ago, it loomed on the horizon like a prelude, rather than a substitute, for civil war.

And, yet, last Monday, Pakistanis turned up in millions to confound doomsayers by voting in what now looks like the country's first free and fair general election with results that few would contest.

Mr Taheri goes on to state how the election showed lack of support for Islamists.

The Unified Assembly for Action (MMA), a coalition of Islamists that won almost 11 per cent of the votes in the last general election five years ago saw its share drop to around three per cent. It lost control of the only one of Pakistan's four provinces that it governed. Almost all its principal leaders lost their seats. In the provincial assembly of Sindh, the MMA won no seats.

Worse still, the Islamists' defeat in the Northwest frontier Province came at the hands of the avowedly secularist Awami League Party (ANP) which preaches a form of socialism.

He also notes that the party of the military, PML-Q, Musharraf's party lost.

The message of this election is clear: the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis reject both military rule and its political twin of Islamism. The twins started dominating Pakistani politics in the 1970s when General Zia ul-Haq overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a military coup. Unable to build a popular political base, the general played the Islamist card, using religion as an ideological prop for a corrupt and brutal regime.

What does all this mean?

The formation of a people-based government has always been a basic condition for winning the war against terror in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

That condition can now be fulfilled. In political terms, this means a strategic turning of the tide against the terrorists

This election is a nail in the coffin for Al Qaeda.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , ,

PPP breather for Musharraf

From The Statesmen.

In a breather for beleaguered President Pervez Mush-arraf, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has indicated that the new government will not seek his immediate impeachment as western envoys confabulated with leaders here to shore up his position.

Asked whether the new government will move forward to impeach Musharraf, PPP leader and frontrunner for Prime Ministership Mr Makhdoom Am-in Fahim said the party did not wish “to rock the boat” at this stage.“

I think there's no need at the moment but the parliament is sovereign. Once we go to the Parliament, the Parliament will look at every issue. We should not rock the boat at this time. We must have civil transition of power from the military to the civilians,” the 68-year-old Bhutto loyalist told CNN.

More Text

More Quoted Text

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , ,

Uncertainty Facing Iraq’s Awakening Movement Puts U.S. Strategy at Risk

From The Jamestown Foudnation.

As Iraq’s security situation deteriorates in the midst of resurgent violence, an increase in internal and external pressures facing the Awakening (Sahwa) Movement may jeopardize the prospects and goals set forth in the U.S. counter-insurgency strategy created by U.S. General David Petraeus.

The formation of the Awakening Councils seemed a promising linchpin to the “surge” strategy, which has shown concrete signs of improving Iraq’s security sector. Though the rise of the Awakening movement contributed substantially in limiting al-Qaeda in Iraq in the short term, its forces face uncertain and problematic long-term challenges. If the dilemmas confronting the Awakening members continue to be marginalized by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government, Iraq’s improved security situation is likely to revert back to sectarianism and civil war-like conditions.

A very interesting article.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , , ,

Iraqi, Coalition security forces detain 27, discover 4 caches in recent operations in Mosul

From MNF-I.

Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces detained 27 suspects and discovered four weapons caches in the Ninewa Province in recent joint operations.

During these operations joint forces also rescued a hostage from an underground prison. These operations are part of Multi-National Division – North’s continuing pursuit of criminals in the area.

“Now is the time for everyone, ISF, Coalition Forces and the people of Mosul to stand together in a united front against these monsters in order to end their wave of violence against the innocent,” said Maj. Daniel J. Meyers, spokesman for Task Force Iron.

The Battle for Mosul is heating up.

Labels: , , ,

Satellite Shootdown Was a Necessary Operation

From The Heritage Foundation.

In the past week, the Chinese government has repeatedly questioned President Bush's decision. In light of the pending shootdown, representatives from both China and Russia have again cited the necessity of an outer space arms control treaty to prevent what they claim is the unnecessary "weaponization" of space.

Beijing's commitment to a space treaty is suspect considering the circumstances surrounding its own ASAT test, carried out in January 2007. China launched its operation in secret and followed it with two weeks of steadfast denial. The operation littered outer space with an inordinate amount of debris that may orbit Earth for centuries, endangering peaceful space operations. Make no mistake: China's ASAT operation was a clandestine test of the Second Artillery Corps's evolving asymmetric military capability against space assets of potential opponents....

By contrast, the U.S. strategy is defensive. The Bush Administration is putting into place a damage limitation strategy designed to protect the American people, U.S. friends and allies, and people around the world against attacks and other threats that pose risks to their lives and well-being. Given the aggressive and indiscriminate Chinese strategy and the defensive nature of the U.S. counterpart, there is no moral equivalency between the Chinese ASAT test of a year ago and the shootdown of the U.S. 193 satellite.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , ,

Pakistan - Operation in Swat relaunched

From the Daily Times.

The security forces have restarted the military operation in Matta tehsil of Swat, Channel-5 reported on Friday. According to the channel, the measure followed a remote-controlled bomb explosion in Matta. Security forces shelled suspected positions of militants from Kanju, the channel said, and the operation had not ended until midnight. daily times monitor

More to follow as this situation develops.

Labels: , ,

Two Winnable Wars

From Anthony H. Cordesman writing for the Washington Post.

No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States.

These conflicts involve far more than combat between the United States and its allies against insurgent movements such as al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban. Meaningful victory can come only if tactical military victories end in ideological and political victories and in successful governance and development. Dollars are as important as bullets, and so are political accommodation, effective government services and clear demonstrations that there is a future that does not need to be built on Islamist extremism.

He ends with,

Any American political leader who cannot face these realities, now or in the future, will ensure defeat in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Any Congress that insists on instant victory or success will do the same. We either need long-term commitments, effective long-term resources and strategic patience -- or we do not need enemies. We will defeat ourselves

The choice is our America. We can only defeat ourselves in both of these wars.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , , ,

Taleban are worn down, say British troops

From Times Online.

British troops in southern Afghanistan have “worn down” the Taleban and forced them to abandon many of their key strongholds in Helmand province, a senior commander said yesterday.

Brigadier Andrew Mackay, commander of 52 Brigade, said: “The Taleban are now suffering from a lack of manpower and that is why they are having to rely on foreign fighters. They are also now operating outside their normal areas because they lack support from the local populations.”

There is evidence that the Taleban are now having to adopt new methods of attacking British and other Nato troops. There have been more asymmetric attacks and suicide bombings in places such as Kandahar in the south. Brigadier Mackay said that the use of more foreign fighters had damaged the Taleban's relations with the Pashtu people living in the area.

Up to 80 per cent of the population is now under government protection, according to the latest military assessment. Three thousand extra US Marines are joining Nato forces in southern Afghanistan to concentrate on defeating the Taleban in Garmsir.

Several articles are stating how the Taliban are resurgent noting that 6500 people, mostly Taliban, have been killed in 2007 which is up a few thousand from 2006. What these articles fail to understand is the ANA is now powerful enough and with the help of NATO forces they are able to go into places like Musa Qala and defeat the Taliban.

Quite simply, the number of Taliban deaths are up in 2007 from 2006 because NATO forces brought the attack to the Taliban and stunted their spring offensive.

In turn, the Taliban replaced their forces with foreign terrorists who kill indiscriminantly using suicide bombers. Hence the rise in suicide bomber attacks in 2007 and early 2008. However, Al Qaeda's use of suicide bombers is now having the same effect in Afghanistan that it did in Iraq, namely loss of support from the population. The question becomes why has it taken more time in Afghanistan for the populous to turn against Al Qaeda than it has taken in Iraq? A little history of the conflict has to be reviewed.

After initially overrunning the Taliban in 2001, instilling a friendly government, and executing free and fair democratic elections, Afghanistan quickly turned to an economy of force operation in the Long War from the American perspective, especially given the onset of a persistent insurgency in Iraq and Al Qaeda labeling Iraq as their central front. As such, attacks in Afghanistan were sporadic and did not affect most of the population.

The Taliban were easily overrun in 2001 because they did not have active support from the population. They did; however, have tacit support from the population. The difference here is that a tacit population are fence sitters. If side X is more powerful, the population will tend to support side X. If side Y is more powerful, side Y tends to be supported. With the American military making Afghanistan an economy of force operation and neither side able to gain terroritory, much of the population in Afghanistan remained on the fence, not wanting to commit to either side in case the other side proved victorious. For its part, NATO has been unable to get European committment to soundly defeat the Afghanistani insurgency.

From 2001 to 2006 however, NATO forces increased in size (mostly due to American increased) and scope of combat operations they could conduct. In addition, the ANA grew in size and capability. Over this time, Taliban Commanders have been killed as have several thousand of their foot soldiers. But no major change in front lines occurred. Hence most Afghanistanis still straddled the fence, providing tacit support to whoever controlled the terrority where they lived.

Finally, in late 2006/early 2007, Iraq exerienced the Al Anbar Awakening and the complete collapse of the insurgency in this country. With Iraq lost, 2007 saw a rise in foreign Taliban and Al Qaeda forces moving to Afghanistan instead of Iraq. In turn increased NATO numbers and ANA capabilities resulted in many battles which the Taliban were consistently defeated and overrun.

Less Afghanistani Taliban, more foreign Taliban, and the loss of key battles all resulted in the Taliban in Afghanistan to begin employing more suicide bombers which ultimately led to more indiscriminantly killings of innocent Afghanistanis. As such, tacit support of either side is beginning to shift to active NATO/ANA support. This change of attitude is especially noticable in the recent defection of Mullah Abdul Salaam who has been put in charge of the Mula Qasa district in Helmand province.

Rewarding Mullah Abdul Salaam with a governship is no different than putting Sunni tribes in charge of Al Anbar. It is the only way to win an insurgency. They enemy must be turned to our side. Once turned, the new friend must be rewarded. His defection to NATO is no different than Risha changing sides in Al Anbar. The difference is foreign Al Qaeda were not prevalent in sufficent numbers in Afghanistan until recently, which is putting the Afghanistani "Awakening Movement" behind the Iraqi one. However, the end result will be the same, especially given the recent "surge" of Marines to Afghanistan. Afghanistan in late 2007 is reminiscent of Al Anbar in late 2006/early 2007.

2008 will be the year to watch in Afghanistan. There should be an increase in attacks as Al Qaeda attempts to terrorize the population in submission. "Awakening Movements" will begin in the spring of 2008 as Al Qaeda's terror campaign gets into full swing. Slowly, over the course of a year to 18 months, Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan will be defeated and pushed out of several areas where they currently have tacit support. They will be pushed back to the FATA regions in Pakistan. A year from now, Iraq will be essentially peaceful, Afghanistan will still have a low-grade insurgency trying to survive (much like Iraq currently), and Pakistan will very well see an increased insurgency.

Pakistan has at most a year before Al Qaeda launches a full fledge insurgency in Pakistan as they see their fortunes failing in Afghanistan and Iraq completely lost. In fact, if Al Qaeda is smart, it would start a full insurgency now while the government of Pakistan is in transition. However, this action is also risky as it may leave Musharraf in office as the President and result in rapid loss of support among fellow Pakistanis.

Either outcome does not bode well for Al Qaeda. They will be completely defeated in Iraq by next winter. They will have been defeated in Afghanistan, and they will begin being pursued in their last remaining secure base, the FATA regions in Pakistan.

Yes, 2008 will be an interesting year. Even more interesting will be the 2008 Presidential elections which will see marked success in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a battle possibly raging in Pakistan. One candidate is fully supportive of the Long War we will be undeniably winning at the time of the elections. The other candidate(s) will be trying to change his/her story about how they now really support the long war.

Whoever is elected will be forced to keep a strong, but reduced presence in Iraq, increase forces in Afghanistan as NATO force committments expire, and coordinate with whoever is in charge of Pakistan to assist this military in defeating the last remanents of Al Qaeda in the region.

For its part, Europeans will once again feel disenchanted with their governments because they did not stick it out with the victors to see the destruction of Al Qaeda as a viable international force.

I thank God I live an a country that still has a backbone. Americans have always been tough. And when the going gets tough, Americans shine. Lets hope we change Europeans more to our way of thinking in the upcoming four years instead of America moving closer to a European spineless attitude. It is looking good from this perspective as more conservative leaders have all been elected in Germany, France, and England since the Long War kicked off. If we are successful in strengthening European's backbones, we have nothing to fear from a nuclear Iran. If we are not successful, then unfortunately Iran will become Al Qaeda with a bomb. And that will not be a pleasant time.

George Bush is not a very effective communicator; however, he did give Americans a backbone for the Long War. As we were waivering and unsure of what to do, George Bush surged forces into Iraq which resulted in Al Qaeda in Iraq's defeat. It will be interesting if we give up this backbone in November 2008. While the social policies of all remaining candidates are not much different now, the international policies are clearly distinguishable. It is in foreign policy where this presidential election will be decided.

In the last eight years, George Bush, for all his failings, will have done his part to defeat Al Qaeda. We know Europeans run when the going gets tough. The question is will we? If we do, we must prepare for battle with a nuclear Iran and the Long War will continue.

Alexander III, king of Macedon, became Alexander the Great and forever has a place in history due to the Battle of Gaugamela in which he defeated Darius, the Persian King. With all hope lost, he turned the battle into a rout of the Persian Empire. George Bush, with the surge, has done the same thing in modern times against Al Qaeda. Again, the question is will we do the same again present day Persia?

Labels: , , ,

Dozens killed as Turkish army pursues Kurdish rebels in Iraq

From Yahoo at AFP.

Turkish troops pursued Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq on the third day of a major ground operation Saturday as the military put the initial death toll from the clashes at around 50....

At least 24 members of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and five soldiers were killed in the clashes, the military said overnight.

It estimated that at least 20 other rebels were killed by artillery and helicopter fire, but said the exact toll would not be known until troops reach the targeted area.

For a full read, click here.

Labels: , , ,