Assume the Position
Saturday, September 21, 2002
Remembering Taliban/al Qaeda Treachery. The previous post reminded me of another piece of September 2001 treachery that had slipped my mind: September 9, 2001.
On the morning of September 9, 2001, guerrilla leader Ahmad Shah Massoud sat down with two reporters at his base in Khvajeh Baha od Din, in northern Afghanistan, to give one more interview about the unending civil war in his country.The website "Postcards from Hell" by Italian photojournalist A. Raffaele Ciriello, who was killed by Israeli fire while filming a gun battle in Ramallah, is still maintained and has Ciriello's photos and 2000 interview with Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the "Lion of Panshir," Defense Minister of the Islamic State of Afghanistan, aka Northern Alliance, aka United Front.
There is little doubt that those "journalists" were al Qaeda, dispatched by Osama bin Laden at the request of his partner in crime, Mullah Omar.
The plot to kill Masoud was carried out by a Brussels-based Tunisian terrorist cell. Masoud was assassinated by two killers in their 30s posing as journalists and carrying fake Moroccan passports. The "reporter" called himself Karim Touzani - affable and relaxed. The surly, burly "cameraman" - who carried explosives in his battery pack - called himself Kacem Bakkali. Their letters of introduction presented them as television journalists from a certain Islamic Observation Center, based in London and concerned with "human rights issues for Muslims all over the world".
Friday, September 20, 2002
More of this, please. Pro-US Anti-Hussein Iraqis march in Detroit (link via InstaPundit via The Greatest Jeneration) and Zacarias Moussaoui's brother, Abd Samad Moussaoui, denounces "Wahhabi gurus" as "merchants of hate," (link via LGF).
The Feminist's Ali Bakhtiyari. The Aussies have thier asylum claim-jumpers, and looks like US feminists have theirs in "Adelaide Abankwah," aka Regina Norman Danson—who is now being prosecuted by the feds for fraud. Of course, the feds probably can't charge her supporters and fan club of Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, Charles Schumer, Carolyn Maloney and Hillary Clinton as accessories to the fraud because being a gullible idiot isn't a crime. (link via Ed Driscoll)
Chandra-Hubble Crab Nebula Flick. As seen on CNN.com. For those who don't subscribe to CNN Premium, you can download the Chandra, Hubble, and combined movies in 3 formats (QT, MPEG & AVI) at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory website.
A potential smoking-gun to tie Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda is sitting in a Dutch prison. Mullah Krekar, aka Najm Faraj Ahmad, leader of Ansar al-Islam (which I discussed here), was detained at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport last Thursday, September 12th. Poor, Krekar, Norway has revoked his refugee status because he keeps going back to Iraq, Jordan wants him for heroin smuggling, the US wants to question him, and all he wants to do is destroy any vestige of the West because Osama bin Laden is the "jewel in the crown of the Muslim nation" and democracy is "heresy from beginning to end."
Full Text of Bush's "The National Security Strategy of the United States" via the NYT. Highlights:
…the United States will:And, most importantly, preemption:
It has taken almost a decade for us to comprehend the true nature of this new threat. Given the goals of rogue states and terrorists, the United States can no longer solely rely on a reactive posture as we have in the past. The inability to deter a potential attacker, the immediacy of today's threats, and the magnitude of potential harm that could be caused by our adversaries' choice of weapons, do not permit that option. We cannot let our enemies strike first.Welcome to the 21st Century.
UPDATE: PDF version available here.
Bigwig at Silflay Hraka tackles the elusive quest to devine meaning and develop deeper understanding of Muslim non-verbal communication. Although he fails to come to a firm conclusion, his conjectures are intriguing.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Daniel Pearl's killers caught? Reports from Gulf News say that one or more of Pearl's killers was captured in the recent Pakistan raids.
…one of the Al Qaida suspects arrested along with Ramzi bin Al Shaibah was identified as the killer of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
Monday, September 16, 2002
Stephen Green provides a point-by-point fisking of libertarian Congressman Ron Paul's 35 "Questions that won't be asked about Iraq." And just so Al Barger won't feel alone, Congressman Paul's Question Number 8:
8. Is it not true that northern Iraq, where the administration claimed al-Qaeda were hiding out, is in the control of our "allies," the Kurds?Glance one post down, Congressman Paul.
Kurds is Kurds. The simplicity of common knowledge or "conventional wisdom," even when it's mostly correct, can lead to some wrongheaded conclusions. Take the common knowledge about Northern Iraq and the Kurds:
The bad guys in this case are the Kurds. These are prime among people inside the country the US government apparently intends to go to for help in overthrowing Saddam and setting up a new government. The Al Qaeda connection should be something that would obviously cast at least a bit of doubt on our big allies. Are we going to war in order to put Al Qaeda sympathizers in power?The conventional wisdom fails because it doesn't address which Kurds have how much control of Iraqi Kurdistan, as they call it. The two major groups are the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) and the PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan). Generally speaking, the KDP has control in the western area and the PUK controls the eastern side (the division isn't even and I think the KDP controls somewhat more than half Iraqi Kurdistan). The KDP was/is backed by Baghdad, the PUK had some backing from Tehran, and the US patrols in the Northern No-Fly Zone didn't completely keep Iraqi ground forces from attacking the Kurds, but it kept Hussein from using aircraft to gas and bomb them. The US brokered a couple of cease-fires between the KDP and PUK and the last one, around 1998, has held up fairly well—they seem to talk to each other more than they shoot at each other.
What should be conventional wisdom by now, but apparently isn't, is that any nation with a large Muslim population will likely have a subset of radical, militant, extremist, fundamentalist jihadis in organized groups and as individuals. Iraqi Kurdistan is no different in that respect than the Philippines. The Philippines have the Abu Sayaff Group (and others) with their sundry connections to al Qaeda and Iraqi Kurdistan has Ansar Al-Islam (Partisans of Islam, website down) with its sundry connections to al Qaeda. Additionally, like America's John Walker Lindh, some Iraqi Kurds went to Afghanistan to be trained by al Qaeda and lend their support to the Taliban and, since the defeat of the Taliban, have now returned to Iraq.
Ansar Al-Islam's stronghold, sometimes called "Iraq's Tora Bora," seems to at the southern edge or actually below the Northern No-Fly Zone, between Halabja (where Hussein gassed the Kurds in 1988 near the end of the Iraq-Iran war) and the Iranian border. The PUK has been fighting Ansar Al-Islam and insists Hussein isn't helping the PUK but has been (at least sometime in the past) supportive of Ansar Al-Islam and al Qaeda.
In a telephone call with the AFP news agency, the PUK London representative, Dr Latif Rashid, denied that his party (PUK) had received weapons from the Iraqi government.So, to head back to Al Barger's sloppy conclusions dressed as questions to attack Congressman Dreier's veracity (as opposed to attacking Dreier's potential cluelessness), I'll paraphrase a cliche to more properly reflect realpolitik: The enemy of my enemy is somebody I'll use if I can.
Saddam's big enemy is the US, his regime is not overly threatened by Islamic radicalism or any other internal groups since he's basically crushed them all. He takes only minimal risk by covertly supporting the other US enemy, al Qaeda. This is especially true when the US is confronted with arguments at the level of Clinton's:
"We know [al Qaeda members] still have a terrorist network around the world," he said. "And we're already kind of changing the subject here, looking at Saddam Hussein, who's not going anywhere."If that type of argument [we must roll up al Qaeda and finish the War on Terrorism before thinking about regime change in Iraq] prevails, then one of Hussein's best bets is to try and make sure al Qaeda hangs around as long as possible while keeping up the confusion as to whether he is supporting them or not. [If he can pump money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, he can pump funds and intelligence to al Qaeda through the same channels.] And, since he is only too willing to kill Kurds, helping them kill each other by assisting Ansar Al-Islam (or even both them and the PUK) shouldn't be a surprise.
As for the Kurds being our "big allies" and the US going to war to "put Al Qaeda sympathizers in power," the KDP and PUK are already in power in Iraqi Kurdistan and mostly want to maintain their semi-autonomous situation in the northern provinces [an independent Kurdistan is not on the agenda at the moment, and both KDP and PUK have prevented the Turkish PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) forces from operating in Iraq], and they know there's not a chance of their comming to power over the rest of Arab Iraq, nor do they want to. There's never been a threat of Kurds taking over Iraq, they just want a regime in Baghdad that isn't out to kill them. They've just been a thorn in Saddam's side and the US keeps Saddam from exterminating them during one of his maniacal whims. Their assistance is useful mostly in that the US won't have to fight them if we attack Iraq. So the US and Iraqi Kurds use each other to some extent. (Similar considerations may apply to the Shiite "Marsh Arabs" in Southern Iraq.)
Sunday, September 15, 2002
Charles Austin finds a one-liner by Billy McKinney that reveals "the problem in a nutshell with the DNC these days."
Paul Wright lays out in whithering detail the aging 60's radicals' fossilized world view and how they are trying to use it to induce political paralysis.
Last week Howell Raines, the editor of the New York Times no less, used Vietnam to twice trump discomfiting questioning on The News Hour, when asked why the NYT was running a campaign against the war, instead of just reporting it. Can you imagine the scorn a young Raines would have heaped on some 60 year old in 1964, who was trying to use a 40 year old war to explain Vietnam? But that is what Raines wants to do. His credentials as an anti-Vietnam protester have somehow proofed him against irrelevancy and fogiedom.So, how do the fogies plan to stop the US and its Anglosphere allies?
Simple: shift the rules, and keep shifting them. The People’s Revolution has moved out of the basement and into the newspapers and the Senate Committee Room. Power to the People is now served by delay, equivalence, exploiting the balance of votes on the floor.