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.
- Was the Sadr Revolt plotted in London? The Sunday Herald says claims that last month representative of the Mahdi Army, the Islamic Path Party, and Hezbollah met in London with Syrian and Saudi Islamists to add a Shi'ite component to the insurgency.
- Speaking of Sadr, BBC Monitoring has a translation of an al-Sharq al-Awsat article claiming that he is considering political assylum in Iran. Perhaps he's fleeing the quagmire ...
- Why did Pakistan put a premature end to military operations in Waziristan? Asia Times suggests that it has to do with the number of troops lost during the operation, which the newspaper places at 800 in contrast to the official figures cited by the Pakistani government. If true, this would mean that Pakistani casualties in a single military engagement now exceed the total number of US forces KIA in both Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.
- The Daily Times, meanwhile, is reporting that bin Laden left Pakistan altogether during the summer of 2003.
Other Topics Today Include: Iraq Briefing; Iran Reports; order restored in Faryab; Abu Sayyaf leader dead; Abu Sayyaf jailbreak; Spanish al-Qaeda cell targeted major shopping mall; top European al-Qaeda leader tied to 3/11; Hungarian al-Qaeda letter offers cash in return for withdrawl from Iraq; al-Qaeda funding Chechen jihad; recent violence in Tashkent due to foreign instigators; Nek Mohammed sez he ain't gonna surrender; Muslim extremist leader arrested in Zanzibar; and the ultimate neocon T-Shirt.
- US forces are using AC-130 gunships against the Fallujah insurgents, whose ranks include foreign fighters and suicide bombers. The new Iraqi special forces are fighting alongside US troops in an effort to defeat the insurgents in the area.
- The US is planning Operation Resolute Sword in response to the Sadr Revolt. Sadr, whose followers murdered Abdel Majid al-Khoei, has taken to recruiting Palestinian suicide bombers and taking hostages.
- As I have noted before, the Sadr Revolt is hardly a popular Shi'ite rebellion. Wael al-Rukadi, the Vice Secretary-General of the Council of Iraqi Tribes, seems to concur in this regard.
- Grand Ayatollah Sistani is calling for an end to fighting between the Mahdi Army and coalition forces.
- Polish troops in Karbala have killed Murtada al-Mussawi, the head of the Mahdi Army in Karbala.
- The US contractors whose bodies were mutilated in Fallujah were lured into an ambush by people they thought were members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps.
- The US is seeking a bilateral cease-fire in Fallujah following mediation efforts by Iraqi officials.
- Speaking of Fallujah, it looks like there's a suicide bomb factory in the city.
- Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is visiting Italian troops in Iraq, most of which are stationed in the Shi'ite city of Nassiriyah.
- Sadr's Mahdi Army is bracing itself in Kufa and An Najaf for the US assault that they believe will come at the end of Arbain.
- Knight-Ridder has a fairly good round-up of today's events in Iraq, though as I noted on my blog some of it doesn't jive with what I've heard from people here on base, particularly with regard to Karbala.
- Iran has reportedly dumped $80,000,000 into funding the Sadr Revolt, which would at the very least explain where Sadr is getting all of his money.
- Rafsanjani is praising Sadr's actions, while noted dissident Grand Ayatollah Montazeri isn't too thrilled with the Mahdi Army.
- Khatami, by contrast, is distancing himself from Sadr. Given the nature of Iranian politics, it is not entirely surprising to have Rafsanjani supporting Sadr and Khatami opposing him. It is also useful to recognize the split within the Iranian leadership with regard to how to deal with the US in Iraq.
THE WIDER WAR
- Karzai is sending troops into Maimana to quell the violence there following an apparent coup d'etat in Faryab province by warlord Rashid Dostum. There is still a lot unclear as to what exactly happened, but order was restored as of April 10.
- Top Abu Sayyaf leader Hamsiraj Sali has been killed with 5 followers in a clash with the Filippino military.
- Unfortunately, it appears that many of Sali's fellow travelers have escaped from Filippino prison in a major jailbreak. Of those 8 are dead and 19 recaptured.
- The Spanish al-Qaeda cell members who blew up their own building (an al-Qaeda video was found in the rubble) rather than be taken prisoner were planning an attack on the Parquesur mall just outside of Madrid. There also seems to be a Bosnian link to the 3/11 bombings, with a top European al-Qaeda leader tied to the beginnings of the plot.
- A message purportedly from the Hungarian branch of al-Qaeda is offering cash in return for the withdrawl of Hungarian troops from Iraq.
- Russian North Caucasus anti-terrorism czar Colonel Ilya Shabalkin says that al-Qaeda is financing the Chechen jihad based on information gained from captured rebels.
- Uzbek authorities say that the architects of the recent violence in Tashkent were trained by Arab instructors and took their orders from a "Great Amir" from abroad. The Uzbeks are also citing Pakistan as one of the places where the terrorists were trained, which fits with other published reports of
- Wanted Pakistani tribal leader Nek Mohammed is refusing to surrender to the authorities despite the new April 20 deadline from the Pakistani government.
- Police in Zanzibar have arrested the leader of UAMSHO, a radical Islamic group tied to a series of firebombings against churches, moderate Islamic leaders, and government buildings.