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

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Bad news for al Qaeda. . .and for liberal talking points

From Powerline.

For years now, the American left has been arguing that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the "real" war against al Qaeda and is counter-productive because it's "creating" new terrorists. Apparently, it never occurred to these deep-thinkers that inflicting a defeat on al-Qaeda in Iraq -- a defeat made possible because a previously sympathetic population turned with our help against al Qaeda -- might constitute a devastating blow to al Qaeda's standing in the Arab world.

Powerline goes on to show how Al Qaeda has lost support over the last few years to include a book by Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, who was once Zawahiri's spritual mentor, denouncing Al Qaeda's tactics and a fatwa by Sheikh Abd Al-‘Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia, condemning Bin Laden. In addition, opinion polls in 7 of 8 Arab countries (where trend data is available) has shown a dramatic decline in support for Al Qaeda. Finally, Powerline points to Sunnis in Iraq siding with America against Al Qaeda to show how much support Al Qaeda has lost in the region.

All of these factors taken together show that Al Qaeda's influence in the Middle East is in decline, as is Al Qaeda in Iraq's influence is severely weakened. This fact can be a reason for Bin Laden's latest audiotape in which he is echos the discourse of "political jihadist" instead of leading the discourse as noted by Walid Phares in his recent article for the American Thinker.

In addition, he cannot miss the fact of the four recent strikes in the Pakistan tribal agencies has shown his unassailable base in Pakistan is threatened. Finally, the recent suicide bombing against the jirga of several tribal elders in Pakistan has backfired, pitting tribal elders against Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.

So what does all this mean?

For starters, Bin Laden is echoing the discourse of "political jihadists" to drum up support for his movement. One thing is clear about Al Qaeda. Wherever they decide to call home, they soon alienate their supporters, who eventually turn against them, often violently. This situation occurred in Iraq in the Al Anbar province and is now occurring in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The jirga in Pakistan was called precisely for the very reason of vowing to fight against Islamic militants, namely Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had no other option but to kill the leaders of the jirga; however, the bombing had the effect of strengthening the tribal leaders resolve against Al Qaeda in the long run.

Secondly, Bin Laden is reacting to his loss of support. There are two key words in the last sentence. First Bin Laden is reacting. Al Qaeda is no longer on the offensive, internationally or in Iraq, his main effort in his terror war. He is on the defensive and seeing his terrority decrease daily. Secondly, as noted above, his is trying to rally his base by echoing their themes and discourse. If his base strikes, most likely in Europe, he is hoping apologist in Europe will counter act the conservative governments which now control Germany, France, and England. However, an attack in Europe will only strengthen the resolve of these conservative government for their NATO mission in Afghanistan. England specifically will pressure its old colony, Pakistan, to step up efforts against Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda and Bin Laden are on the ropes and only now have the better of bad choices to execute to save their movement. Arab countries and governments are turning their back on Al Qaeda. Europe is doing the same. Al Qaeda is losing support from Muslims in general as "intellectual turbulence" continues to increase.

What a change a year makes. Last year at this time liberals were saying how the war in Iraq (and hence the War on Terror) was lost. One year later, Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have been routed in Iraq, are suffering significant loses in Afghanistan, and are being attacked in their last remaining unassailable base, Pakistan.

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Sons of Iraq

From Alsumaria.

Heads of Awakening Councils have warned the US military of halting cooperation in fighting Al Qaeda unless financial dues are paid for awakening members. Success achieved so far in fighting armed factions disseminating fear and terror by gory explosions around Iraq mainly Anbar Province, is shaking. 80,000 members of Awakening Councils have threatened to strike if they don’t receive their payments of 10$ a day. They accused the United States of using them for dangerous jobs and then leaving them in the lurch.

In another story, Maliki agreeed to merge Awakenings in Iraq Forces.

While marking the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammed, in Al Aazamiya District, Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki pledged to merge Awakening councils in Al Aazamiya into security institutions. In a speech delivered in Imam Abu Hanifa Al Naaman mosque, Al Maliki said the government will work on easing hindrances and opening all closed institutions before Iraqis who have faced challenges fiercely. Al Maliki’s statements came in line with demands of head of Sunni endowment Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Ghafour Al Samirrai who called to merge eligible members of Awakening Councils with army and police ranks to be part of security and military institutions.

The Maliki government will have to merge Sons of Iraq into security institutions if they hope to maintain recent security gains.

The US has biometric data on all Sons of Iraq members. The Maliki government should integrate these members into their ranks after a vetting process. The integration of Iraqi Security Forces with Sunni Sons of Iraq is needed to complete reconciliation at the national level.

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An Iraqi Insurgent Tell-All: Al-Qaida Is To Blame For "Killing Sunnis" And "Demolishing Their Homes, Mosques, and Their Hospitals"

From Evan Kohlmann writing for the Counterterrorism Blog. The article cites an interview with an unnamed Hamas commander in Iraq.

During the interview, the unnamed Hamas commander sharply condemned the "criminal actions launched by the Al-Qaida network targeting innocent civilians and... other jihad movements...

Some highlights follow:

Among the highlights of the interview:

- "...We apologize for those who have stepped beyond the boundaries of good Muslim behavior… after a series of criminal actions launched by the Al-Qaida network targeting innocent civilians and, separately, other jihad movements. We have sought to find solutions to stop the harm and unify the ranks of the mujahideen—yet, neither our efforts nor those of others have yielded anything but betrayal and a lack of reciprocation by the Al-Qaida network. Ansar al-Islam knows quite well that, from the very beginning, we asked for their commander to be the mediator between us and [Al-Qaida], but they refused to do so.”

- "The occupying forces were unable to enter many districts and villages of Diyala until Al-Qaida paved the way for them when they began killing the Sunnis and demolishing their homes, mosques, and their hospitals. They did what the sectarian militias loyal to Iran could not do, and they finished off the job for them."

- "Anyone who has followed the impact of Al-Qaida in the Diyala province will generally find that wherever they go, they cripple daily life. We can summarize their actions in the Diyala province as follows: demolishing mosques (as what befell the Kanaan Mosque) and interrupting prayers; stealing the salaries of deserving retirees; preventing rations from reaching the people of Diyala for allegedly supporting the Iraqi Ministry of Trade; stealing livestock, especially from the families of martyrs from the mujahideen; killing women and children, and mutilating their bodies, as what befell our brothers from Asaeb al-Iraq al-Jihadiya and some of our mujahideen in Kanaan and Bahraz; shuttering hospitals and stealing many valuable pieces of medical equipment, destroying them or else exporting them to unknown locations."

For a full read, click here.

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Obama's Anger

From Ed Kaitz writing for the American Thinker.

While I had been fishing my new black friend had been working as a prison psychologist in Missouri, and he was pursuing a higher degree in psychology. He was interested in my story, and after about an hour getting to know each other I asked him point blank why these Vietnamese refugees, with no money, friends, or knowledge of the language could be, within a generation, so successful. I also asked him why it was so difficult to convince young black men to abandon the streets and take advantage of the same kinds of opportunities that the Vietnamese had recently embraced.

His answer, only a few words, not only floored me but became sort of a razor that has allowed me ever since to slice through all of the rhetoric regarding race relations that Democrats shovel our way during election season:

"We're owed and they aren't."

In short, he concluded, "they're hungry and we think we're owed. It's crushing us, and as long as we think we're owed we're going nowhere."

Mr Kaitz tells an interesting story in this article about different races in America. In his article, Mr Kaitz tells how blacks in America tend to feel they are owed something by the government and therefore are not prospering as well as Vietmanese immigrants. The story provides an interesting perspective.

For a full read, click here.

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Bin Laden's Threat and the New Jihadist Message for Europe

From Walid Phares at the American Thinker. Mr. Phares analyzes the recent tape released from Bin Laden.

In short, I see in it the imprint of Jihadi "politicians" and strategists in international relations deeply immersed in the diplomatic games across the Mediterranean. Even though it is indeed the voice of al Qaeda's master, one can see the increasing impact of political operatives on the movement's public statements....

Either al Qaeda is using the argumentation of political Islamists to provoke a mass clash against Europe, or is it that the "political Jihadists" are now able to influence the war discourse of al Qaeda. In both cases, it deserves a closer analysis.

Mr. Phares believes political Jihadists are influencing the rhetoric coming out of Bin Laden vice Bin Laden directing the future actions of Al Qaeda. Mr. Phares answers why Bin Laden is repeating the discourse of political Jihadists.

In many spots in Europe, citizens are rejecting the Jihadi intimidations and becoming vocal about it. France is going to Chad, Germany has ships in the Eastern Mediterranean and Spain is arresting more Salafists. But the traditional apologists toward the Islamist agenda in Europe, remains strong. Al Qaeda wants to use the apologists against the "resistance." What better means than threatening to strike at Europe's peace if its liberal values are not altered?

Plain and simple, Bin Laden and the political Jihadists are fearful of increased committment of NATO forces in Afghanistan. To that end, they are trying to get apologists to resist increased European committments in Afghanistan (on the military side), and quite possibly Pakistan (on the diplomatic side).

In addition, Mr. Phares explains if a spectacular attack happens now in Europe, Bin Laden can take credit for the attack even though it may have not been carried out by Al Qaeda trained members. He ends with,

What I saw in the al Qaeda message and the al Jazeera debate was clear: The Salafist movement worldwide was "talking" to the Europeans and the Euro-Jihadis. It was threatening Governments to retreat from the confrontation on the one hand and unleashing the pools of indoctrinated Jihadis across the continent to "engage" in violence. The near future will tell us if the trigger will be successful or not.

An interesting analysis indeed.

For a full read, click here.

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Missile strike kills 20 in South Waziristan

From Matt Dupres at The Long War Journal.

A devastating explosion destroyed the fortress-like home of a tribal elder in South Waziristan on Sunday, killing up to 20 people and leaving five others injured today, state-run Pakistan Television announced. Foreign fighters and Taliban insurgents are believed to be among the dead. One of three missiles fired from an “unidentified location,” with several local tribesmen believing they were fired from Afghanistan, is responsible for the massive explosion, according to witnesses who spoke to The Associated Press of Pakistan. Other residents reported seeing a drone circling the village shortly before the blasts occurred and added foreigners with links to al Qaeda have lived in the area for some time.

What is really cool is nobody knows how it is happening, just it is happening. This is the fourth strike in less than three months. If you are Pakistani Taliban or Al Qaeda in the FATA or NWFP region, these four attacks have got to make you nervous.

For a full read, click here.

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Operational Update: Rear Adm. Greg Smith, March 16

From MNF-I.

Iraq is in a tough fight… a fight between a lethal minority who want to destabilize the country by indiscriminately killing innocent men, women and children …executing a campaign of intimidation and terror in order to instill a corrupt and foreign ideology of hate and division … and the overwhelming majority of Iraqis who find such ideology bankrupt and have rejected violence in order to help build the new Iraq.

Much of this violence has been carried out by foreign fighters … al-Qaeda foreign fighters … which is the sole topic of my brief to you today.

Not only have Iraqis turned against Al Qaeda, foreign terrorists entering the country are also turning against Al Qaeda.

The indoctrination always used two common themes: Americans were abusing the people of Iraq; and the recruits had a duty to avenge these abuses by joining al-Qaeda’s jihad in Iraq....

During their interrogations, these 48 men told us they were lured here with the promise they would be killing Americans … but they were disappointed that most of the violence they saw was directed at the Iraqi people … fellow Muslims. Again and again, we heard this reality bothered the recruits … this disconnect between the stories they were told as they were recruited and being indoctrinated and the reality of a war against innocent civilians was deeply disturbing … they had not come here to kill Iraqi civilians. They also complained of a different shading of the truth … many of the recruits told us they were promised they would see a victorious al-Qaeda … and instead they found an organization constantly being hunted by security forces and on the run and rejected by the Iraqi people. They felt misled.

These foreign terrorists told us that, eventually, they felt discouraged and just wanted to go home. But their al-Qaeda facilitators had their passports and their money … they felt trapped and hopeless.

Admiral Smith also says Al Qaeda is "deeply suspicious of the fighters from other lands". They are suspicious because they know they have lied to recruits to get them to Iraq. Once in Iraq, these foreign fighter see they are only killing Muslims. They don't see the abuse against Muslims at the hands of the Americans. This is why the following occurs.

They told us they were actually relieved to be captured … some of them even cried tears of relief during their initial interrogations … ironically they were relieved having been captured by the very Americans their recruiters said they would kill in Iraq.

You cannot keep lying for very long. Lies told by Al Qaeda are causing the organization to lose membership. Innocent killing of Muslims further degrades support for Al Qaeda. This is why the Sunni Tribes ran them out of Al Anbar. This is why Al Qaeda had to strike a jirga in North Waziristan. Those tribal leaders were voting on the same thing the Al Anbar tribes voted on, namely, to withdraw support from Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda is an evil organization that will eventually implode upon itself if pressured. Right now, America and NATO are keeping up the pressure. Currently America is creating more pressure on Al Qaeda in their unassailable base, Paksitan.

For a full read, click here.

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