Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling. of Regnum Crucis.
- In an earlier special analysis, I noted that one of the strongest reasons for suspecting that al-Qaeda attacked Madrid in order to influence the Spanish elections was a al-Qaeda document found online stating as much as a preferable option. The complete document, entitled "Jihad of Iraq" (Jihad al-Iraq), can be accessed in Arabic here and appears to allude to further terrorist attacks in Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom.
- As I noted on Tuesday, one of the chief problems with former counterterrorism official Richard Clarke's claim that the war in Iraq detracted from the campaign against al-Qaeda is that Clarke himself had been instrumental in convincing President Clinton to attack the al-Shifa plant in Sudan on the grounds that it was producing a precursor to the deadly nerve agent VX and that numerous Clinton administration officials, notably Sandy Berger, continue to stand by these claims. Now Ranck and File has an excerpt from former US defense secretary William Cohen saying pretty much the same thing. If these claims are accurate, it would tend to throw the whole notion that Saddam Hussein would never work with al-Qaeda out the window, yes?
- Speaking of al-Shifa, former Indian intelligence official B. Raman is now claiming that noted Pakistani
madscientist and nuclear black marketeer Abdul Qadeer Khan may also have had ties to the plant in question. Now ain't that interesting ...
- Speaking of Mr. Khan, ex-ISI chief Hamid Gul and the Pakistani Jamaat-e-Ulema-e-Islam party have decided he'd make a swell replacement to General Musharraf, especially in light of the current military operations in Waziristan.
Other Topics Today Include: Iraq Briefing; U.S.S. Cole mastermind arrested; Waziristan round-up; recent bin Laden hideout discovered; al-Qaeda vows dire revenge; al-Qaeda's use of the internet; latest fighting in Afghanistan; GSPC's Sahara base; Imad Yarkas admits knowing Zougam; Tangiers cell link to Madrid bombings; Brigitte tied to 9/11, 3/11; Belgium arrests 3/11 co-conspirator; Russian thwarts apartment bombing; Syria's Kurds demand greater rights; targeted assassinations; Egypt arrests the children of al-Qaeda leaders; mass arson in southern Thailand; US and allies stepping up action against the GSPC; winning the war on the battlefield and losing it in the courtroom; and Germany can't pay for Lederhosen anymore.
- In the wake of Saddam Hussein's capture, Iraqi Baathists are a dying breed and the insurgency is rapidly being taken over by al-Qaeda and affiliated operatives under the leadership of Abu Musab Zarqawi.
- Al-Qaeda leader Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj is claiming responsibility for the recent hotel attacks in Baghdad.
- Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski is reaffirming his commitment to keeping Poland's 2,400 troops in Iraq.
- South Korea is cancelling plans to send troops to Iraq for "offensive operations" but nevertheless desires to assist in the reconstruction efforts.
- So what all has been accomplished in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein? Centcom has a nice round-up.
- Daniel Drezner takes a look at the imminent deal to disarm the two largest remaining Iraqi militias, the Kurdish peshmerga and the Shi'ite Badr Brigades.
- A 1993 document supplied by the rather dubiously reliable Iraqi National Congress lists bin Laden as an Iraqi collaborator. Extremely interesting, if true.
- British journalist Andrew Gilligan has had an interesting change of heart with regard to his view of the war in Iraq.
- The troops are still there. So is the Winds of Change.NET consolidated directory of ways you can support the troops. American, British and Australian. Anyone out there with more information, incl. the Poles and Czechs? [updated April 1, 2003]
THE WIDER WAR
- Yemen has recaptured Jamal al-Badawi, the mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole bombing.
- The fighting in Waziristan goes on ... sort of, but if nothing else it has enabled Pakistan to take 100 al-Qaeda off the streets for a long, long time. For a good summary of what's going on, check out our Dr. Evil Cornered coverage as well as an updated "just the facts" section at the bottom of one of my more recent blogs.
- French defense minister Michele Alliot-Marie is saying that one of bin Laden's recent hide-outs has been found - suggesting that his capture or death may be near.
- Al-Qaeda is vowing revenge against Saudi authorities for the death of its operations chief in the Arabian peninsula and saying pretty much the same thing with regard to the death of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
- In the wake of the US invasion of Afghanistan, the internet is now serving as al-Qaeda's primary meeting place, something that Internet Haganah has been looking at for quite awhile now.
- 2 Americans and 5 Taliban have been killed in the latest fighting in Uruzgan.
- The Spanish media is reporting that al-Qaeda has a Sahara base from which attacks can be coordinated against Europe.
- Jailed Spanish al-Qaeda leader Imad Yarkas admits to knowing Jamal Zougam but is insisting that he had nothing to do with the events of 3/11. Yeah, right.
- Other Spanish investigations are focusing on the Tangiers cell of the Salafi Jihad, a connection I noted last week.
- Arrested German Egyptian national Seyam Reda may have financed the Bali bombings according to German authorities.
- French investigators looking into the history of Willy Brigitte have discovered ties to the organizers of 3/11 and 9/11.
- Belgian police have arrested a co-conspirator in the 3/11 bombings.
- Russian authorities have thwarted an apartment bombing in Moscow.
- Glenn Reynolds takes note of some recent calls for reform among Syria's Kurds suggesting that the US invasion of Iraq is finally having its long-deserved domino effect.
- Do targeted assassinations work? The Transplanted Texan seems to think so and explains why.
- Egypt has arrested the children of al-Qaeda leaders Sayyed Imam al-Sharif and Midhat Mursi. The latter of the two is an Egyptian
madscientist who serves as the head of the network's WMD program.
- The Islamic insurgency in southern Thailand appears to be heating up with the latest round of arson attacks against government targets.
- The US is taking notice of al-Qaeda's interest in using Saharan Africa as a base by providing military training to Mali and warning Mauritania of the threat posed by the GSPC. Niger and Chad seem to have gotten the clue. GSPC leader Amari Saifi, unfortunately, appears to have slipped the dragnet.
- Despite many impressive victories on the battlefield, the war on terrorism appears to be suffering some serious losses in the courtroom.
- We try to end on a lighter note if possible. It seems that Germany can no longer afford to buy for Lederhosen for its Bavarian yodellers.