Thursday, January 19, 2006

Let's Call a Truce

Al-Jazerra is airing excerpts from what it says is a new bin Laden audiotape. At one point in the tape, the Al-Qaida leader offers a possible truce to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan, while claiming that preparations are underway for more attacks in the United States.

We haven't heard the entire tape (yet), and the voice has yet to be authenticated as bin Laden's. The speaker says heightened security is not the reason there have been no additional terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9-11. "You will see them here at home the minute they are through with preparations, with God's permission," he said.

As far as we know, God hasn't commented on the purported bin Laden statements. But claims that Al-Qaida has delayed attacks in the U.S. due to long-term preparations is downright ludicrous. True, bin Laden's organization plans some of its operations over a period of years. But since 9-11, we have foiled a number of terrorist attacks; in a speech last October, President Bush stated that intelligence and security services have prevented at least 10 major Al-Qaida attacks since 9-11, three of them in the U.S. Hat tip: Troutmaster. In late 2002, FBI Director Stephen Muller reported that more than 100 terror plots were foiled in the year following 9-11. And remember: these are many more successes that haven't been reported, to protect intelligence sources and on-going counter-terrorism operations. In a more permissive security environment, Al-Qaida would followed the 9-11 strikes with even more attacks on American soil.

But the real story here is bin Laden's offer of a "truce." If the Global Jihad is going so well, why does the Al-Qaida leader want to take a pause for the rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan? You don't have to be a military analyst to see that the Al-Qaida "offer" is a tacit admission that it's terror campaign is failing in both countries. Attacks in Iraq dropped almost 33% between October and December; the number of successful IED strikes is at an 18-month low, and Al-Qaida failed to prevent the election of a democratic government in that country. In Afghanistan, the Taliban and Al Qaida remnants are all-but-beaten, despite a recent upswing in suicide attacks, and the U.S. has enjoyed recent success in targeting the group's leadership along the border with Pakistan. In short, Al-Qaida is playing a losing hand in both countries, and it is increasingly stretched thin (in terms of leadership and resources). Hence, the need to call a truce in the Middle East, and focus remaining resources on attacks within the U.S.

While the truce offer indicates that we are, indeed, winning the War on Terror, some caution is in order. Perhaps more than ever, Al-Qaida is in need for a major success on U.S. soil, something beyond the scale of last summer's attacks in London. There is no doubt that Al-Qaida continues to plot strikes within the CONUS, despite a continued degradation in their operational capabilities.


jp said...

I am toubled by the combination of the OBL tape, Amadinejad in Damascus, the upcoming IAEA / UN talks, Sharon's incapacitation and Chirac's vow to nuke any state that attacks France with WMDs. THrow this together with the large cell phone purchases in the past couple months in the US and it seems to me that Iran/Syria and Qaeda are whipping up some terror coordination in the near future to prevent action against the Iran nuke regime. Your thoughts?

Wanderlust said...

France is nothing more than an idiot who has been caught with his pants down, saying he'll carry a gun, but won't ever use it.

Someone has said that they will kill him, and he finally realized that they aren't kidding. So he will use the gun after all, even though he won't use the gun. Or something like that.

Paging John F'n Kerry...go negotiate that one, Johnny Nuance. Where's your fast-draw negoshatin' pen?

Chirac's tortured syntax in his statement is his way of saying, "yeah, Mahmoud, target us, and we'll wipe you out" without admitting "yeah, GWB, YOU WERE RIGHT, I WAS AN A**HOLE TO YOU AND I WAS WRONG".

So now OBL, or someone posing as him, is trying to admit that the US has cut the testicles off AQ, and its sword arm is broken. Therefore AQ, in high Muslim tradition, will be so kind to offer us a "truce" (hudna) to go find a new sword, and a new pair.

And most of the West will be falling down over themselves to be the first to give AQ the operational pause they so desperately need, dressed up as a pretty "truce".


Unknown said...

Chirac represents the absolute impotence of "Old Europe." After spending the past few years deriding U.S. policy in Iraq, Mr. Chirac awakes to see his country in flames, thanks to the waves of Muslim immigrants that were never assimilated into French society and culture (oxymorons, to be sure).

And, if that weren't bad enough, he looks to the east as sees Iran going nuclear, with the ability to cut off the oil that France's moribund economy needs. Making matters worse, Chricas intelligence services tell him Iran is working on a missile that will be able to hit France--with a nuclear warhead--within the next decade. Chirac's response? Why, we'll hit them with a nuke.

That begs an important question: pray tell, how does France plan to find the bad guys, let alone nuke them? The Force de Frappe (Paris's nuclear stick) now consists of 4 ballistic missile subs, some short range missiles, and tactical nukes that can be launched from aircraft. Like the rest of Europe, France has been cutting its military spending for years, and now they're paying the price. If the nuclear option is the only option, then France has failed, because (as you point out), the terrorists know that France isn't serious, there's that nagging "targeting and delivery problem," and the nuclear option should never be the response of first choice.

Here's an issue to watch. Let's assume (for argument's sake) that there is no short-term strike against Iran, and Tehran's nuclear and missile programs continue, uninterrupted. As the Shahab-4/5 move forward, you will see some European leaders literally begging the U.S. to install missile defenses to protect their continent--the same "Start Wars" program they once ridiculed.

On the issue of Ahmadinejad in Syria, he's trying to shore up ties with one of the few allies he has. Syria is important to Iran because it serves as a conduit for arms/money flowing to terrorist groups like Hizballah, which Tehran uses as proxies in an attempt to influence Israel. Syria is a willing accomplice in this effort, because anyone attacking Israel is striking a blow for Damascus as well.

However, there will be limits to what Syria can/will do for Iran. If Tehran is hoping that Damascus would join any conflict with Israel, the Iranians may be sadly mistaken. The Syrians are next door to Israel and have everything to lose if Bashir Assad is stupid enough to join Iran in a war against the Jewish state. The Israelis no longer have to worry about a two-front war, and they could devote their full attention to Syria. Simply stated, Israel has the capability to fend off Iranian missile attacks, while (simultaneously) crushing Syria. And, if that's not bad enough, the Turks have some long-standing issues with Damascus as well, and they might want a peace of thea action, too, particularly if they could gain total control of some of the watersheds that flow out of Turkey into Syria and Iraq.

One final note: I'm not as concerned about the cell phone purchases as some analysts. It's worth remembering that our intel agencies track terrorists not only by phone number, but by voice recognition as well. The Al-Qaida operative may change phones, but if he's in the database, the "filters" at NSA may still recognize them. Finally, if the terrorists are changing at phones at prescribed intervals, there has to be some sort of "comm plan" that would tell us when the changes occur, and (possibly) new numbers that the terrorists plan to use. To be effective, the comm plan must be disseminated/communicated, giving us other opportunities to track their conversations.

jp said...

Appreciate the note. Might you speculate on the likelihood / timing of potential strikes on Iran & the "fallout"?

Wanderlust said...

spook86, if/when the Euroweenies beg us for an antimissile deployment on the Continent, can you imagine how loud the Russians will scream about it?

Wanderlust said...


According to sharia, there are no "innocents" in countries that "reject" Islam and sharia law.

OBL's "hudna" is nothing more than a tactical pause, required to improve his tactical position. If this positional improvement includes attacks by them while we observe a "truce", then those attacks are allowable under the hudna.

Meanwhile the MSM have proven for years that they not only fail to understand this precept, but their "rooting for the underdog" bias means that they will ignore attacks by Islamofascists during a "truce", but will deplore any active response to those attacks by the other party (e.g., Israel).

Check Spencer's Jihad Watch website for more info.