"Today they have been bolstered by the foreigners among them. Those include a smaller number of hard-core Arabs, like Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s second in command, as well as a larger number of Uzbeks, Tartars and Tajiks who have influence them to take on new agendas, Pakistani security officials familiar with the region said."
Or another way to put it, Al Qaeda is taking over the allied Taliban. Gosh, where did I hear that before? From an article I wrote 2 months ago:
As the Times notes, many of these new foreign fighters in Afghanistan are being placed in leadership positions within the Taliban, usually under newer, younger Taliban commanders. The article even notes that this is a somewhat "new" vs. "old" battle for Taliban leadership. The Times fails to realize the obvious, that these are al Qaeda fighters, and instead refers to them as new Taliban recruits. But the timing of this "new phenomenon" makes the reality self-evident.
These fighters were meant for Iraq but the core al Qaeda leadership has realized that the war there is lost. They are no longer sending the new recruits in large numbers. In the current environment, only small teams can go unmolested in the Iraqi lands al Qaeda used to control. Since al Qaeda can no longer send large numbers of fighters to Iraq and since their Taliban support base is slipping away at home they have one option left to them.
Al Qaeda is attempting a hostile takeover of the Taliban.
New York Times writer Eric Schmitt also writes:
“The only problem is these foreigners,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You remove these foreigners and the rest is no problem.”
Yet to remove the foreigners, namely a small number of Arab leaders, who are well protected and well hidden, from among the tribesmen is a task that Pakistan so far has failed to do and according to some may not be capable of. “That can only be done with an operation,” the official said.
The Pakistani official has validated my claim that the US/Pakistan strategy is to separate the al Qaeda elements from the home grown jihadis. The fact that the MMA has been mute about operations in Swat gives a strong indication that an important element has been split. However, the ones who remain allied to al Qaeda as mentioned in this article will have to be killed. The Pakistan army must go in backed by the US and wipe them out, point blank. Bomb their villages, starve them out, as far as they need to go.
These are the people who have been hiding core al Qaeda leadership, gave al Qaeda the religious authority to attack us on 9/11, and they are at war with the US, a religious war. The gloves need to come off now. This needs to be a total war. As shown a few days ago, even impoverished villagers from the tribal areas can affect US policy if they are willing to die for it.
While the article presents the story in ominous tones, and it could be ominous if the Pakistan army does not respond, there is something else going on.
Al Qaeda is in retreat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its European and American operations have been thwarted over the last two years and its operatives have been captured. It is really fighting a rear guard action to protect its last remaining base. It is doing so in typical al Qaeda fashion by attempting to create chaos from which one its supporting groups can emerge. Pakistan can defeat this strategy if it has the will. The US defeated the same strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan and the Ethiopians defeated it in Somalia.
LA Times blog is reporting that Senator Clinton is avoiding questions as she goes into the final play for the Iowa caucus voters.
This is the time for Obama to shine. He needs to get out there and make himself available to the public like never before. The people of Iowa will sense the difference. It could be a big moment for Obama.
Don't forget to check out my new book:
Both In One Trench: Saddam's Secret Terror Documents
With literally thousands of news articles produced about the death of Benazeer Bhutto, there is not much left to say about it. The media has begun to inflate her importance, but the real story will now become the aftermath.
Bhutto was a hope for democratic reforms in a country essential polarized into three factions: the military, democratic reformers, and Islamists. She is now a martyr on the side of liberty, but she was no white knight. Her past acts while in office included the creation of the Taliban (although being dragged to it by her intelligence service) and a flare for graft. She is due some credit, but the over hyping of her importance is predictable as it is whenever a public figure is savagely cut down in front of our eyes.
Let’s not forget, al Qaeda would not have flourished without the succor of the Taliban.
It is a bit poetic (maybe a Greek tragedy) that the monster she helped to unleash has come back to take her life.
But what happens now? Let me offer a prediction. There is absolutely no reason not to think this was an al Qaeda operation. I have argued for several months now, al Qaeda is making its’ last stand in Pakistan. Al Qaeda’s objective is to destabilize Musharraf and take over the country via Taliban proxies, which it now rules via a hostile takeover of sorts. Al Qaeda core leadership believes it has to take Pakistan because it has lost Iraq and Afghanistan.
Soon, within a few days or weeks, Usama bin laden or Zawahiri will pop up in another tape claiming credit for the assassination and urging Pakistani Islamic militants to overthrow Musharraf. Their calls will go unheeded. It will be a staggering miscalculation on their part.
Even now the Pakistan military is defeating al Qaeda and allied Taliban forces while the Islamic militant political entity known as the MMA stands mute. Their acquiescence implies cooperation.
Once the core al Qaeda leadership makes the profound mistake of claiming this kill, thinking it will rouse the Islamists, they will create an alliance that had begun to burgeon before Musharraf’s emergency declaration ripped it asunder.
Bhutto’s followers who immediately claimed the assassination was Musharraf’s doing will have to take a moment and reflect on the truth; Musharraf is not the near term enemy. Al Qaeda is that enemy.
Once they realize they have no choice, they will complete the democratic forces alliance with the Musharraf power base. At that point, the three major political factions (including the MMA) will be allied against al Qaeda and the Taliban tribes that still support them.
Al Qaeda will find this kill will be very costly. Even people in Pakistan who opposed her will feel some compassion for a pretty, intelligent, articulate “celebrity” cut down in this manner. This assassination will be the death of al Qaeda, perhaps the fitting finale of this Greek tragedy.