Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Vision Thing

There's an interesting read in today's Washington Post by former CIA Officer John Brennan, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Mr. Brennan notes that Osama bin Laden's days are probably numbered, but his "vision" will likely live on after his demise. He argues that the U.S. should re-double its efforts to "get" the Al Qaeda leader, to destroy the myth of his invincibility. Brennan also observes that the U.S. and its allies have no real plan for countering bin Laden's vision, which has attracted followers across the Muslim world.

I will agree with Brennan's theory--up to a point. He observes that bin Laden is "securely hibernating" somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistan border, deriving warmth from such developments as Hamas's recent victory in the Palestinian elections, Islamist violence in Europe, and the recent cartoon riots around the globe. According to Brennan, this proves that bin Laden is advancing his dream of global domination by an Islamic caliphate.

There's only one problem with that scenario. Bin Laden moved into seclusion because he had to; his once-secure compounds in Afghanistan are now under control of the U.S. military or Afghan security forces. The increasing isolation of the Al Qaeda leader has forced the organization to adopt a de-centralized approach to jihad, with local cells assuming a far greater role in planning and conducting attacks. While this approach has produced some tactical victories (notably the transit bombings in London and Madrid), it is not likely to replicate the success of 9-11. As we've argued in the past, bin Laden must, at some point, prove capable of staging another "spectacular" to ensure continued financial support for his cause. Over the past year, there has been some grumbling within Al Qaeda ranks that the movement is losing steam, and that hte organization must mount another large-scale operation to keep the base energized and expanding. Shuttling between caves and mud huts makes that process infinitely more difficult.

Additionally, the security of bin Laden's hiberation site is increasingly in jeopardy. Recent drone attacks that killed senior Al Qaida operatives are evidence that the intelligence net is slowly tightening around bin Laden, and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. A respected British security firm recently predicted that bin Laden, Zawahiri (or both) will be killed or captured this year. I'm not quite as optimistic in my forecast, but bin Laden's "hibernation" is clearly a sign of success in the War on Terror.

Regarding bin Laden's "vision," I share Mr. Brennan's concern about our inability to counter Al Qaeda's propaganda) in the mainstream media and on the internet. We've written at length about the "information war" for hearts and minds in the Middle East, a conflict where we appear to be fighting a losing battle. But I disagree with Brennan's central thesis, that we have failed to advance an alternative " vision for the Islamic World. By liberating Iraq and Afghanistan, we have provided a different model for 50 million people that once lived under repression. And, the model seems to be working to some degree. Democracy in Afghanistan has been a success, despite a slight resurgence by the Taliban. Bin Laden's former hosts have been largely reduced to mounting IED attacks against Afghan government and NATO troops, because their other military and political strategies have failed miserably.

In Iraq, the insurgency remains a serious problem, and last week's wave of sectarian violence revealed problems with Iraqi police and Interior Ministry security teams. But the new Iraqi Army performed well, and the overwhelming majority of the populace resisted calls for civil war, obeyed the curfews, and rode out the crisis. Iraq's political and religious leaders also demonstrated a willingness to work together, although some of those relationships are contentious at best.

As demonstrated in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a viable alterntative to bin Laden's 8th century social and political model. But communicating that vision is often as imporatant as all the humanitarian aid and infrastructure projects we funding across the Middle East. Our inability to communicate our messages of democracy and opportunity gives hope to bin Laden, who has little trouble in articulating his brand of Islamofacism.


Colin said...

I'm not as worried about the information war "over there" as I am about the information war "over here". When Al Jazeera's coverage of the Samarra mosque bombing is less negative and alarmist than our own media's coverage of it, the info war has reached a crisis point.

While Iraq is not in any way Vietnam, it is successfully being MADE INTO Vietnam by factions in this country. This is a crisis that needs to be addressed

augurwell said...

Dear *^,

On a lighter note.

Forthright; one of the qualities lacking in the enimies of freedom.

Again, I ask those who are opposed to the war why they are opposed to it and I do not get a credible answer.
The following goes for Ottawa too.

"Here in Washington, if any believe America should suddenly withdraw from Iraq and stop fighting al Qaeda in the very place they have gathered, let them say so clearly. If any believe that America should break our word and abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison, let them make it known. If any believe that America would be safer with men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of Iraq, let them try to make that case." I'm not going to tell you who said this because far to many people see a name and then dismiss what is being said. Ignorant blind bastards.

There is a serious problem in the middle east and it is clearly the fault of the religious hate mongers, the pespots of Saudi and the Irainia and the rife corrupt. (Remember; don't forget how to use the comie against the nazia.)

The false mullaha and muttawa with their fatawas of vendetta and murder and their boots on the necks of the people, well I say "Mule Piss" - In the Well. How many people know what Salmon Rushdie represents?

These swine (the Ebilis) have been doing this to civilisation for thousands of years, robbing the caravans etc. and saying it's God's will. The leading sponsor of terrorism in the world, Irainia, is trying to get the nuke. It's sad that if they do we will have to wipe out the whole lot of them. The Persians deserve better than that. So, before these lunatics get the nuke we must take care of them. And the Persians and Arabians under the yoke must do their part as well.

Fortunately for me I die before it gets to Canada and I have no kids, but I truly feel sad for the children of today and the future if this situation is not dealt with. And the greedy, selfish, un-responsible peacenix of today get all the respect they deserve from me which is none at all. (They can have fun sitting in, singing Coombia as babies burn in the Durfor etc. We'll be wallowing in the concentration camps if we listen to these jerks.) Hypocrits; the worst of sin.

Since many people have an attention span of less then 12 minutes (with commercial breaks) I don't suppose they've read this far. (SEE NEXT POST)

If you want to "get it" the Religious Policeman has
the take on this sick condition of the middle east. He has lowered the MOL (Muslim Offence Level) to Elevated.


For those who have an attention span you know what I'm talking about. Learn more at the then make sure your knife is sharp, your rifle is clean and your side arms are fully loaded. Good to go, see you on the field. I'll take the responsibility for ordering the sniper teams to cut these
false imam out and those who preach hate in their mosques out. (It need not be done at the mosque.) I'd pull the trigger and I'd sleep better for it too.

Ever notice how bile green liberal euro trash democrats and media like to bandy about the words 'morale' and 'principle' while being totally bankrupt of the same said? - 'Barking Moonpires!

A good example of this are the attacks on Donald Rumsfeld. Something about nutrasweet or some such stuff and how he had legislation passed while being associated of the company that sold the stuff, while others said it caused cancer.

I didn't know this and thought about it. Well, 20 years later or so there must be thousands of cancer victims from this nutrasweet stuff, because of the evil Dr. Rumsfeld, right? Well guess what, there aren't. And another thing, Rumsfeld was a key writer of freedom rights legislation and he worked on them with Dr, Martin Luther King in the 60s. So, just what is the agenda of those who attack these kind of people?

The issue is above partisan politics, the defence of freedom and our very lives are at stake. Again I ask, who stands to lose from the Patriot Act? - Dishonest people.

As a teenager Paul Martin used to whip rocks at the soviet's embassy. I've got no use for politicians, Statesmen on the other hand have my support.

What political party am I with you may wonder? I am a Maximust.

Lets go. Why not?

No mercy asked, some considered.


PS/To another post, there are cases for discretion being the better part of valour i.e. the enemy does not need to know about our secret weapons and it is prudent to take measures for privacy Salmon Rushdie etc.

PSII The mullaha probably never saw a floating diamond. (There are some in power, I suppose, who have not identified it yet.)