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Dan's Winds of War: 2004-15-04

| 14 Comments | 1 TrackBack

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 TOPICS

  • 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.

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.

IRAQ BRIEFING

  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Soundfury has a round-up of the Iraqi blogger reaction to the ongoing violence in Fallujah.

IRAN REPORTS

  • 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

  • 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.
  • Contrast their attitude with that of the Janikhel tribe, who are quite willing to chat with the Pakistani military.
  • Unemployed potenate Ex-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.
  • 3 senior members of the al-Qaeda affiliate Lashkar-e-Taiba have been killed by Indian security forces.
  • 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 genocide fighting 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

1 TrackBack

Tracked: April 15, 2004 9:59 AM
War, Crime, and Dissent from Kamelian X-Rays
Excerpt: This week's Dan Darling's Winds of War is the defininitive place to start for coverage on the war on terror. I can only add that Mark has an excellent point (unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal is subscription-based) about various terrorist

14 Comments

> the dead may well vote in some US elections, but to the best of my knowledge they have yet to field a candidate.

http://www.cnn.com/2000/ALLPOLITICS/stories/11/07/senate.missouri/

Hush, you :P

Curses, Yelon beat me to it.

Dan, you are a wonder. Thanks for the rundown.

Actually, one of the funniest things Al Sharpton has said is that when he dies he wants to be buried in Chicago so that he can still participate in politics.

Well, even the French are seeing the link between Iraq and AQ now. There were only three places doing research on botulinin: Russia, Iraq, and Ft Detrick MD. We can discount the Chechens getting the technology from the US, so that leaves the highly related Iraqi and Russian programs to look at.

Interesting how Rantburg is the only place that keeps all the threads spliced together.

Cheap shot on the Sadr / Sunni link comparing it to Saddam and Alqueda. As far as it goes, at least they have a tradition of national unity to overcome their other differences. Me and my cousin against the neighbor and all.

We seem to be in a period of escalating attacks. Remember Alqueda's pattern is to engage in a hydraqesque development of multiple fronts of attack. Most of these get foiled. However, they just have to get lucky. So when one get's through, they send out some sort of gloating acknowledgement that makes it seem that they knew it would succeed all along.

Finally, we have nothing on intel on where Zarqawi is or if he's even alive. This is all just unconfirmed rumors at this point. The same kind of rumors that got Cheney so riled up he thought there were nukes or close to it in Iraq.

If Alqueda proves too to form, we should see a period of escalation and an attempt at one or more "spectacular" attacks in culmination.

Remember just before Madrid Fareed Zakaria and others were boasting about how weakened Alqueda had become. It's par for the course for them to have most missions snuffed. And I should add that the danger of a major Alqueda attack is equal to or greater than at any time before our Iraq invasion.

And that is a fact, and it kind of puts the kibosh on the silly idea that somehow by sending even more soldiers to Iraq we are somehow increasing our security. In fact, the reverse holds true. Every soldier in Iraq is one less that could be chasing down bin Ladin in Pakistan or Afghanistan. And that's a fact too.

Tom Roberts:

My understanding was that botulinism was fairly easy to obtain and even has legitimate medical applications as Botox.

Oldman:

"Cheap shot on the Sadr / Sunni link comparing it to Saddam and Alqueda. As far as it goes, at least they have a tradition of national unity to overcome their other differences. Me and my cousin against the neighbor and all."

It a tongue-and-cheek remark with regard to the absurdity of holding to the position that ideological barriers necessarily preclude cooperation. Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were both Arabs, if we want to apply your argument on a broader level to them. More to the point, over 200 Shi'ites were massacred in Karbala and Baghdad during their sacred holiday of Ashura less than a month ago, so it's safe to say that there'd be some bad blood there to overcome at the absolute least, which certainly qualifies as an "ideological barrier" in my mind. Read the Iraqi blogs and listen to how adamant Sadr's jackboots are about purging Wahhabis from the southern areas.

"Finally, we have nothing on intel on where Zarqawi is or if he's even alive. This is all just unconfirmed rumors at this point."

Zarqawi was alive earlier this month when he released an audiotape claiming credit for recent attacks in Iraq and coalition forces seem to believe that he's in or around Fallujah at this point. If you have information that contradicts those beliefs, I suggest you forward it to them immediately.

"Remember just before Madrid Fareed Zakaria and others were boasting about how weakened Alqueda had become. It's par for the course for them to have most missions snuffed. And I should add that the danger of a major Alqueda attack is equal to or greater than at any time before our Iraq invasion."

The same pundits who said al-Qaeda was broken before 3/11 are the same ones who said the same thing just before the fall 2002 offensive or after Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured. They keep ending up with egg on their face, leading me to wonder why they keep making these claims. A lot of it has to do with ideological blinders preventing people from recognizing the links between al-Qaeda, its satellite groups, and its state sponsors.

As far as the likelihood of a greater al-Qaeda attack being equal to or greater than any time before our Iraq invasion, one could just as easily cite the fact that the network was able to send Richard Reid with his exploding shoes back in December 2001 as "proof" that the invasion of Afghanistan had done nothing to make America safer because al-Qaeda was still able to mount a major attack against the US homeland if we're using that as our standard by which to determine progress in the war on terrorism.

"And that is a fact, and it kind of puts the kibosh on the silly idea that somehow by sending even more soldiers to Iraq we are somehow increasing our security. In fact, the reverse holds true. Every soldier in Iraq is one less that could be chasing down bin Ladin in Pakistan or Afghanistan. And that's a fact too."

Whether or not you acknowledge a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq pre-invasion (and I do), it is a self-apparent fact that they are there now and hence should be opposed with the full might of the US military. As for chasing down bin Laden in Pakistan, in case you've forgotten, the Pakistani government has not given the US permission to operate on its soil, so unless you want to fight a nuclear power like Pakistan I sincerely doubt that we would be able to send in additional troops there. And if we flooded Afghanistan with troops, we'd be making the same mistake that the Soviets and the British did before us. And those are facts too.

It is likely Saddam had connections with all of the main terror groups, not just the Palestinian terrorists. The last few years of his regime, he'd gone to great lengths to demonstrate his increasing "muslimization." Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas were but two of the international terrorists given the royal treatment in Saddam's Iraq.
Building mosques, spouting pious garbage, etc. Foreign terrorists used Iraq for training camps and safe houses, presumably with Saddam's permission.

Dan- I was referring to the weaponsization of the bacteria, not its clinical or laboratory purposes.

Don't forget that keeping an optimally toxic strain viable isn't the easiest thing without a large testing program, which brings up interesting secrecy issues.

Tom,

Weaponzied Anthrax can have a shelf life of decades even exposed. There are many places where anthrax has been tested or used that have to be quarantied for a very long time in that if the Anthrax pores get into the soil they can stay there for a very long time indeed.

http://www.britainusa.com/iraq/other_show.asp?Sarticletype=2&other_ID=493

robi sen- Despite switching genuses (botulinin vs. anthrax), my point was not about shelf life. My point was about weaponization. Once weaponized, you then can consider shelf life issues. But before assembly into the final weapons you have the issue of production AFTER the issue of strain selection AFTER the issue of alternate strain testing AFTER the issue of creating proper laboratory conditions to allow for reproducible results and cultural purity and stability during testing and production.

In short, don't trivialize biological weapon production issues to some monochromatic subissue.

Michael Ledeen says that Zarqawi, "despite his celebrated contempt for Shiites, has openly proclaimed common cause with Sadr". Does anyone know what he's talking about? In fact, has anyone seen a full transcript of Zarqawi's recent audiotape?

Iraqi blogger Sam also says Zarqawi has joined up with Sadr (see April 10), but offers no source.

Iraqi blogger Sam also says Zarqawi has joined up with Sadr (see April 10), but offers no source.

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