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.
- Top al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab Zarqawi is reportedly in Fallujah and there is a robust manhunt underway to capture him. Recent events have seen some intense and very one-sided firefights.
- French counter-terrorism authorities are saying that the threat from al-Qaeda in terms of chemical weapons is much worse than was previously believed.
- Jordan's King Abdullah is claiming that his nation has thwarted a terrorist attack that could have killed thousands of people. Judging from the tone and likely suspect, I think it's safe to say that the good king may well have dodged a major attack.
- Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to hold a two-day summit to promote the compatability of democracy with Islam in Turkey. Representatives from over a dozen other nations are expected to attend.
Other Topics Today Include: Iraq Briefing; Iran Reports; al-Qaeda link to 3/11; UK imam tied to 3/11; truce with Spain is over; 3/11 financed through drug trade; Yadokhel and Janikhel tribals give differing views to Pakistani government; Hekmatyar wants to be an Afghan Sadr; Taliban kill Afghan intel chief; Indonesian sends extra cops to Sulawesi; 2 rubber workers killed in southern Thailand; 3 LeT commanders killed; southern Filippino province sealed off; Australia and Singapore say Mindanao's a terror haven; new Afghan al-Qaeda near Khost; Syria shipping WMD components to Sudan; Arafat approved convoy attack; 4 Saudi cops killed; FBI questioning Hamburg cell member; Debye on the Khawaja case; Art of Peace on Saudi bloggers and Iran; and a dead politician wins votes.
- There's a little bit more information on the suicide bombmaking factory that US forces have discovered in Fallujah.
- Following Prime Minister Berlusconi's visit to Nasiriyah, Italian forces stationed in the Shi'ite city have demolished Sadr's offices and increased patrols in the surrounding area.
- Contrary to prior media reports, it appears that the SCIRI Badr Brigades and the Ansar al-Sistani are in control of Karbala along with coalition Polish and Bulgarian troops, having forced the Mahdi Army either underground or out of the city altogether.
- It appears that Sadr has joined forces with the Fallujah insurgents. Too bad ideological or sectarian disagreements aren't keeping them from working together way they did al-Qaeda and the Baathists ...
- Sadr has pulled the Mahdi Army out of police and government buildings in An Najaf in an effort to placate US demands. Perhaps he's preparing to flee the quagmire ...
- On the other hand, 2,500 US troops have been deployed outside of An Najaf in case Sadr's decides not to go down so quietly.
- NoLeftTurns makes an observation about the Sadr indictment that most of the mainstream media seems to be missing.
- Members of the Jaish Mohammed (Army of Mohammed) are vowing to fight on. The Jaish Mohammed is a Fallujah-based insurgent group tied to Saddam Hussein and is led by a Saudi al-Qaeda leader and two former senior members of the Iraqi Mukhabarat. It receives most of its financing (and I know this'll just shock you all!) from Saudi Arabia.
- Perhaps there's also a Saudi connection to all of weaponry that is being smuggled into Fallujah under the pretext of humanitarian aid? Keep in mind that our problems there first started when all those Saudi charities set up shop in town ...
- In case, the Iraqi insurgents appear to be performing in atypical fashion, attacking aid convoys and killing hostages.
- Soundfury has a round-up of the Iraqi blogger reaction to the ongoing violence in Fallujah.
- Iranian Expediency Council head Rafsanjani is reportedly telling Iranian radio that Iran needs to settle accounts with the US in addition to voicing support for the Sadr Revolt.
- Iranian defector Haj Saidi is telling the Arab press that Iran is pumping as much as $1,000,000,000 into efforts to thwart US efforts to set up a democracy in the country (thus raising the question of where all this cash is going if Sadr's only getting $80,000,000) and has sent over 300 VEVAK operatives into the southern Shi'ite areas to stir up trouble.
- Speaking of which, it turns out that the Iranian "pilgrims" killed in Karbala were in fact members of the Baseej, the Iranian government's favorite brownshirts.
- Iranian president Khatami has withdrawn 2 key reforms bills from the Iranian legislature. I'm finding myself more and more in agreement with Joe's characterization of the man - he does act just like a labor boss who's been bought off by the mob.
- Iran has ended talks with the US over how to best restore order in Iraq.
THE WIDER WAR
- See our Eyes on Korea briefing for complete coverage of affairs in and around Asia's nuclear madhouse.
- The Washington Post is reporting that a top European al-Qaeda leader, Amer Aziz, put the late mastermind of the 3/11 attacks, Sarhane bin Abdelmajid Fakhet in touch with Jamal Zougam, who constructed the bombs used in the attacks.
- Speaking of Fakhet, he and his cohorts phoned a British imam named Ben Salawi to get permission kill themselves before blowing up the building they were holed up in rather than be taken prisoner by the Spanish authorities.
- According to a video discovered in the rubble of the building, al-Qaeda was planning to hit Spain again because of the aggressive law enforcement response to 3/11 as well as Zapatero's pledge to redouble his troop commitment to Afghanistan. Guess that means the truce is off.
- Spanish authorities have arrested 2 more suspects in the 3/11 bombings, which appears to have been financed through drug sales.
- Members of the Yadokhel tribe are refusing to help Pakistan hunt down al-Qaeda members along the Afghan border.
- Contrast their attitude with that of the Janikhel tribe, who are quite willing to chat with the Pakistani military.
Unemployed potenateEx-Afghan despot and al-Qaeda ally Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is calling for a Sadr-style uprising in Afghanistan. If this pans out, we may soon see Hekmatyar pinned down in a single city trying to beg, threaten, or cajole his way out in one piece ...
- Taliban fighters claim to have killed an Afghan intelligence chief and seized control of 3 border districts. I'd take the district claims with a grain of salt, but the intelligence chief does indeed appear to be MIA, if not KIA.
- Indonesia is sending hundreds of police to Sulawesi after gunmen opened fire on a Christian Easter service. The Mujahideen KOMPAK, a JI affiliate, is active in the area.
- 2 Thai rubber workers have been killed in Yala province in what appears to be the latest attack by the JI affiliate Pattani Mujahideen.
- 3 senior members of the al-Qaeda affiliate Lashkar-e-Taiba have been killed by Indian security forces.
- Filippino president Gloria Arroyo has given permission to seal off an entire province in order to recapture 53 escaped prisoners, including at least 8 Abu Sayyaf.
- Abu Sayyaf has attacked a Malaysian tugboat near Sabah and taken 3 crew members hostage.
- Australia and Singapore are repeating earlier reports that Mindanao is a terror haven even as Filippino authorities confirm the existence of JI cells on the island.
- Afghan forces have started a new al-Qaeda hunt near Khost.
- Middle East Newsline is reporting that Syria is shipping WMD components to Sudan, though no word on whether they were being sent abroad for safekeeping or to help out with the ongoing
genocidefighting in Darfur. Given what all Sudan is up to in the region, the latter could easily be the case.
- MENL is also reporting that Arafat personally approved of an attack on a US convoy last year that killed 3 Americans.
- The Indian website Rediff has an interesting interview with Mullah Omar available for reading.
- 4 Saudi cops have been killed in a suburb of Unaizah.
- The FBI is questioning Khalid Madani, a suspected member of the Hamburg cell that carried out the 9/11 attacks.
- Hungarian authorities have thwarted a plot to bomb a Jewish museum in Budapest 2 days before the visit of the Israeli president.
- Debye takes a look at the case of Mohammed Momin Khawaja and the role of Muslim moderates in combating the extremists, among other things.
- The Art of Peace has some interesting notes from a Saudi blogger as well as more fascinating commentary from Safa Haeri on the Iranian role in Iraq.
- We try to end on a lighter note if possible. One of the more persistent cynical comments on the subject of American democracy is the joke that the other party will bring out the dead to vote in the next election. Well, the dead may well vote in some US elections, but to the best of my knowledge they have yet to field a candidate.