December 30, 2009

Israeli withdrawal from al-Ghajar - no impact

Click in image for larger view

Israel has announced that it will soon withdraw its forces from the Lebanese half of a village that is located astride the Lebanese-Syrian border. Israeli troops have occupied and administered the city since the area was seized during the Six Day War in June 1967. The northern half of the city is in Lebanon, and the southern half is in Syria adjacent to the Golan Heights.

Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon in 2000 after an 18-year occupation. As part of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, Lebanese militias were to disarm once all foreign (read Israeli but not Syrian) forces had pulled out of the country. All of Lebanese various armed factions abided by the agreement with the notable exception of Hizballah. Hizballah maintained that Israel's continued occupation of the northern half of al-Ghajar, clearly in Lebanon, and an area nearby called the Shaba' Farms, constituted a violation of UNSCR 1559 and thus provided legal justification for the Iranian and Syrian-backed Shi'a group to maintain its militia.

The Shaba' Farms claim is ludicrous, but allows Hizballah the myth that Israeli forces are still occupying portions of Lebanon. On virtually any credible map, the Shaba' Farms are clearly part of Syria - occupied since 1967 by Israeli troops, but still part of Syria. Even the United Nations agrees that the Farms are part of Syria.

Syria claims to have ceded the Farms area to Lebanon years ago, yet no reliable documentation exists. In fact, Syrian military maps clearly show the area to be in Syria. The assertion that the area is Lebanese is a charade that allows Hizballah to claim that Israeli troops are still in Lebanon. It's Hizballah's fig leaf - see my earlier article, The Shaba' Farms - Hizballah's Fig Leaf.

The situation with the Shaba' Farms does not change with the Israeli withdrawal from al-Ghajar, but it removes one more excuse that Hizballah uses to maintain its militia. The Lebanese government recently officially authorized Hizballah to use its militia - they use the term "resistance" - against the continued "Israeli occupation" of Lebanese land. Israel should have withdrawn from the Lebanese side of al-Ghajar years ago, as I urged - Hey Israel, give Ghajar back to Lebanon.

Israel's withdrawal also brings them into compliance with UNSCR 1701 (see my earlier article UNSCR 1701 - Deferment of the Problem) which ended the fighting between Hizballah and Israeli forces in 2006. Under that agreement, Lebanese forces were to take up positions in southern Lebanon, and Hizballah was to be disarmed. Neither has happened.

Despite American and UN beliefs that Israel's withdrawal from al-Ghajar will ease tensions between Israel and Lebanon, it will have no real impact. As long as Lebanon and Syria perpetuate the myth that the Israeli-occupied Shaba' Farms are part of Lebanon and not part of Syria, Hizballah will maintain its militia.

Anyone who believes that Hizballah is going to voluntarily disarm does not understand Lebanon. Israel is making a meaningless gesture.

It's time to wake up and profile

I was asked by Basil & Spice director (and friend) Kelly Ja'don for my thoughts on profiling, in the aftermath of the Christmas terrorist incident.

Click on image to read the article
Click here to read the article at Basil & Spice.

December 28, 2009

Al-Qa'idah members - criminals or combatants?

AQAP press release

The recent case of the 23-year old Nigerian who attempted to blow up an American airliner on a flight from Europe to the United States on Christmas highlights a continuing problem that goes back at least as far as the presidency of Bill Clinton. Clinton believed that persons who conduct acts of terrorism are basically criminals and should be handled by the judicial system.

President Obama initially referred to 'Umar al-Faruq 'Abd al-Mutalib as a lone extremist and an "alleged bomber." In fact - as later acknowledged by the President and his confused Secretary of Homeland Security - 'Abd al-Mutalib was trained in Yemen by al-Qa'idah. The poster above is part of a press kit released by al-Malahim, the media branch of the al-Qa'idah in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Note that al-malahim is Arabic for "fierce battles, slaughters."

My translation of the Arabic on the poster:

----The Al-Qa'idah Jihad Organization in the Arabian Peninsula
----The operation of Brother Holy Warrior
----'Umar al-Faruq al-Nijiri

The use of the honorific name 'Umar al-Faruq al-Nijiri, translated as 'Umar al-Faruq the Nigerian, is a common style among al-Qa'idah militants. Often they will use a kunya - Abu ____ is the most common - followed by a geographic designator. That is why you read about many militants with final names al-Masri (the Egyptian), al-Libi (the Libyan), al-Maghrabi (the Moroccan), etc. A good example is Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi (Father of Mus'ab, of Zarqa' - a city in Jordan).

It appears that President Obama is reverting to the same Clinton policies that failed to prevent al-Qa'idah from mounting attacks on the two American embassies in Africa in 1998, the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 and the World Trade Center in 2001. Following the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, President Bush attempted to have captured al-Qa'idah militants labeled as "unlawful combatants" with no legal rights under the Constitution, nor eligible for protection under the Geneva Conventions. This has been successfully and unfortunately challenged in U.S. courts.

The court did however agree that al-Qa'idah detainees can be tried by U.S. military tribunals, which seemed like a workable compromise. However, in its attempts to put the previous administration (and some of our intelligence officers) on trial, Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to try at least four of the senior al-Qa'idah leadership in federal courts in New York City. With that decision comes the attachment of all legal rights of American citizen - right to remain silent, right to counsel, rules of evidence, etc.

The Obama Administration is treating committed enemy combatants as common criminals. The poster above belies that mistaken theory. These people are not common criminals - they are warriors. Misguided by a perverted interpretation of Islam, yes, but warriors nonetheless. They have an organization, a hierarchy, resources, plans and a fervent commitment that far exceeds criminal enterprise. Criminals have a profit motive - these mujahidin (holy warriors) have a political and religious ideology.

These photos show 'Abd al-Mutalib's underwear and the explosives hidden inside. This is not the work of a criminal - this is the work of a committed mujahid, a holy warrior, a terrorist.

'Abd al-Mutalib's underwear

PETN explosive
This amount of the explosive PETN (a major ingredient of the terrorists' preferred explosive Semtex) is more than enough to destroy an airliner in flight - it is more than used by the "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid. Fortunately, PETN requires the use of a strong detonator - the acid used by this terrorist was not sufficient to cause a detonation and only started the PETN on fire. I have lit Semtex with a match (don't ask) - it burns hotly but does not explode.

What is critical in the Clinton/Obama approach is how we can treat people like 'Abd al-Mutalib. Both Clinton and Obama are lawyers and view the world from that particular optic. Evidence, arguments, rules, procedures - and civility. None of those apply to this war in which we find ourselves.

Once we attach citizen's rights to these terrorists, we lose the ability to effectively interrogate them for useful intelligence. Does the President not believe that 'Abd al-Mutalib may be able to provide information on al-Qa'idah personalities, plans, training, capabilities, contacts, procedures, etc.? We need to extract and exploit all we information can from these captured combatants, not allow them to "lawyer up" and deny us the intelligence we need to better defend ourselves.

These militants are not criminals, they are combatants - start treating them like it. 'Abd al-Mutalib should be in an interrogation cell in Guantanamo, not a jail in Michigan.

Yemen - the new front in the war against al-Qa'idah

Yemen is emerging as the new front in the war against al-Qa'idah at the same time the Obama Administration is sending tens of thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan.

As President Obama himself has stated on more than one occasion, the mission of American forces in Afghanistan is to defeat al-Qa'idah. The President does not appear to be reading his intelligence reports - there are virtually no al-Qa'idah militants remaining in Afghanistan. They have moved - initially to Pakistan to escape American forces in late 2001, then to Iraq in 2003 to fight American forces there, then to Saudi Arabia as Iraq became a losing proposition, and now in Yemen after Saudi security forces ruthlessly pursued them in the kingdom.

If the real aim of the U.S. war on terror is to defeat al-Qa'idah, we are sending troops to the wrong place. The bad guys are in Yemen.

The image below is illustrative of the danger posed by al-Qa'idah in Yemen. This group is organized and apparently well-funded. This is their stationery - click on the image for larger view. Here is my translation of this particular bulletin, which gives some insight into who we are fighting.

Click on image for larger view
The Al-Qa'idah Jihad Organization of the Arabian Peninsula
Soldiers of Yemen Brigade*
Expelling the Infidels** from the Arabian Peninsula
Bulletin Number 11
Martyred Heroes Abu Dijanah al-Hadurmi and
Ahmad bin Sa'id bin 'Umar al-Mushajari
May Allah receive them in martyrdom
* literally: battalions, but used by these groups to mean brigade
** literally: polytheists

The December 25 failed attack on an airliner by a Nigerian militant appears to have a Yemen connection - it is believed that 'Umar Faruq 'Abd al-Mutalib was trained in Yemen. This follows two incidents earlier this year with connections to Yemen. In November, U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 people at Fort Hood. Hasan was being counseled by Imam Anwar al-Awlaki, an American of Yemeni descent now resident in Yemen. Al-Awlaki may have also been involved in the recruitment and training of 'Abd al-Mutalib as well. In July, a convert to Islam murdered an American soldier in Little Rock - that individual had received training in Yemen.

Yemen has a spotty record of dealing with terrorists. It appears that only when al-Qa'idah poses a threat to the government of 'Ali 'Abdallah Salih is any action taken against the group. Numerous detainees that have been repatriated to Yemen from the detention facility at Guantanamo have either escaped and remain at large or have rejoined the fight. Hopefully this latest incident will cause the Obama Administration to rethink its misguided policy about sending many of the Guantanamo detainees to Yemen in its haste to close the facility.

If the United States and the Obama Administration are serious about defeating al-Qa'idah, they need to focus more efforts on Yemen. The recent U.S. cruise missile strike is a good start, as are increased CIA operations in the country. As I have said before, the only way to deal with al-Qa'idah is to hunt them down and kill them. That means going after them where they are - and it's not Afghanistan. It's Yemen.

My earlier articles on Yemen:

December 22, 2009

U.S. Air Strike in Yemen - kudos to President Obama

Anyone who reads Middle East Perspectives is aware of my critical view of President Obama's policies on the nuclear issue in Iran, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think he is making some serious errors in his prosecution of the wars and his constant willingness to ignore the fact that Iran is not interested in serious negotiations that will end its quest to develop a nuclear weapon.

That said, he has made some excellent decisions about attacking al-Qa'idah wherever we find them. I wrote an earlier piece in support of the President's decision not only to continue but escalate the Bush-era drone-launched missile attacks against al-Qa'idah targets in Pakistan (
A sound Obama policy - missile strikes in Pakistan). On December 18, the President ordered air-launched cruise missile strikes against two al-Qa'idah targets in Yemen.

The strike was conducted in cooperation with the Yemeni government. This in itself is interesting. Up until just recently, the Yemeni government has had little interest in confronting al-Qa'idah, almost to the point of complicity. (See my 2008 article,
Yemen - state sponsor of terrorism?). However, once it became clear that the new influx of al-Qa'idah militants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were a threat to one of the most corrupt governments on the planet, President 'Ali 'Abdallah Salih decided that action was necessary.

The change of heart is a repeat of what happened in Saudi Arabia. Prior to 2004, the Saudi government turned a blind eye to the al-Qa'idah presence in the Kingdom - remember that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. After a few lethal jihadist attacks on foreign workers and more importantly, the Kingdom's oil infrastructure, Saudi security forces more than decimated al-Qa'idah, forcing the surviving members to flee to Yemen. Now it's Yemen's turn to take on the jihadists. Whereas Saudi security forces are very capable, Yemeni security forces are not - thus the request for American assistance.

The two targets hit by American missiles were described as a suspected al-Qa'idah training camp north of Sana' and a "location where an imminent attack against a U.S. asset was being planned." Unfortunately, one of the intended victims, al-Qa'idah in Yemen commander Qasm al-Raymi (above), escaped. One has to wonder whether the targets were identified by Yemeni intelligence, or by U.S. intelligence. Yemeni intelligence has not been reliable, especially when it comes to al-Qa'idah. These targets are located in areas that are virtually under al-Qa'idah control and the Yemeni military is loath to operate.

The choice of weapon is also interesting. Air launched cruise missiles - like the one pictured above - are much larger and lethal than the smaller Hellfire missiles carried on CIA and USAF unmanned aerial vehicles. The smaller Hellfires were used at least once in Yemen in a CIA operation to kill al-Qa'idah leaders in late 2002. The use of the cruise missiles, normally carried by Air Force bombers, represents a welcome escalation in the war against al-Qa'idah.

These strikes are exactly what we should be doing to attack and eliminate al-Qa'idah, wherever they are. They are not in Afghanistan, nor are they likely to return there. There are remnants in Pakistan, who are being dealt with cooperatively by Pakistani forces and targeted CIA missile attacks. The remnants that were in Saudi Arabia have either fled or are being hunted down by Saudi security forces. Survivors have fewer places to run - it used to be Yemen and Somalia. If we continue to work with the Yemenis, we can deny them safe haven there, almost forcing them to relocate to Somalia.

Somalia may well be the next front on the war against al-Qa'idah. In any case, it's not Afghanistan.

December 18, 2009

Ahmadinejad - another deft move at Copenhagen?

WARNING: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS MAN. He has thus far out-politicked two American administrations, the United Nations and the European Union.

While in Copenhagen for the climate change conference, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - besides bashing the United States for all the world's ills - continued his successful strategy for dealing with the issue of his country's nuclear weapons program. Yes, a nuclear weapons program - I am not aware of anyone who seriously believes the Iranian regime's claims that their nuclear program is for the development of electric power generation capability.

As I predicted when the Iranians "agreed" in October to export their low-enriched uranium to be processed in Russia and France into fuel rods - and not by the Iranians into weapons grade fissile material - the "done deal" fell apart. There never was a deal - there was only an Iranian statement. As soon as the talks ended, the Iranian government rejected the proposal, making the parties on the other side of the table look impotent. That group consisted of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (US, UK, France, Russia and China) plus Germany, called the P5+1.

Making the rejection appear to be an internal Iranian government debate was a clever ruse. There are only two people that count in Iranian politics - Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmound Ahmadinejad, and in that order. Iran would not have a nuclear program without the direct involvement of these two officials. It is a key priority for them to elevate Iran to the status of a nuclear armed nation. They have no intention of abandoning that goal.

To that end, Ahmadinejad will say whatever is necessary to advance the program. Advancing the program now means staving off effective sanctions on Iran. That involves seeming to agree to talks with the P5+1 or the EU, all the while delaying the imposition of sanctions. Ahmadinejad is also trying (successfully) to cultivate a special relationship with China. China is the key to effective sanctions, and thus far the Chinese have been reluctant to abandon diplomacy (basically that is talking) in favor of action.

Just when we approach another artificial American deadline of the end of the year, and an EU artificial deadline next month, Ahmadinejad once again raised the possibility of an agreement if only the United States and the West "respect the Islamic Republic and stop making threats." It is important to note that if these conditions are met, Iran is willing to, yes, talk about an agreement. That agreement will not include exporting Iran's low-enriched uranium.

This all sounds ludicrous, but Ahmadinejad has successfully evaded effective, coordinated sanctions for years. All the while, he talks about agreements, yet there is never anything more to these agreements than an agreement to future talks.

I wonder how long the Obama administration is going to be outsmarted by this guy. Obviously, Ahmadinejad has no intention of striking an agreement that curbs his nuclear ambition, so why are we continuing this kabuki dance?

If I were president...

I would publicly state to Ahmadinejad that the United States will not permit Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. If that sounds a bit imperialistic, so be it. We cannot live with Iran in possession of nuclear weapons. Not only are we unsure of what they will do with that capability, but it is not certain they would not supply a weapon to its client terrorist groups - Hizballah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad to name a few.

Do not think this is too far-fetched. Ahmadinejad has often spoken of hastening the return of the Mahdi, the 12th imam of Shi'a Islam - in other words, Armageddon. This is not rhetoric - Ahmadinejad is a true believer, and true believers can be dangerous.

We should not underestimate this man. We should be seeking his - and Khamenei's - demise.

December 12, 2009

Date certain withdrawal - always a mistake

This death and devastation is what you get when you tell the enemy the date when you will withdraw your troops. It was a mistake in Iraq - 127 dead in one day - and it is a mistake in Afghanistan. Setting a date certain for leaving the fight is a bad idea - it almost guarantees an outcome less than victory.

This concept is not new, nor is it rocket science. It is, however, irresponsible and dangerous. Expect the scene above to continue in Iraq, and expect it to begin in about 18 months in Afghanistan.

I don't know who the President is listening to for military advice, but I suspect that it is some political hack that has never worn a uniform or heard a shot fired in anger. I keep wondering where is General Jim Jones, the alleged national security advisor - surely he knows better. The former commandant of the Marine Corps should be telling the President that his seemingly unwavering commitment to begin the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan in June of 2011 is a bad idea.

Withdrawal of troops should begin only when the mission has been accomplished. Of course, much of that depends on how you define mission accomplishment. For those of us who have worn a uniform and heard a shot fired in anger, it means victory. I used to believe that the President had trouble using the word victory, however, I am starting to believe that he has trouble with the actual concept of victory.

The President has taken the first step - he made the decision to augment American forces in Afghanistan. Personally, I question the wisdom of a counterinsurgency strategy versus counterterrorism, but in any case, he has made the decision. We can debate whether his stated goal of defeating al-Qa'idah is reasonable, given the fact that most of al-Qa'idah is no longer in Afghanistan, and the Taliban is not a threat to American interests.

Obama's acceptance speech at the Nobel ceremony was another good step. I am sure he ruffled the feathers of the pacifist Europeans - another good step. One might get the impression that the President was on the road to recovery and actually becoming the commander in chief in more than just name. Then, he fell off the wagon and reiterated his commitment to the 18-month timetable for withdrawal.

If the President continues with this policy, we are setting up Afghanistan for the type of continuing internecine violence we see now in Iraq. Al-Qa'idah in Iraq waited patiently until the more-capable American forces withdrew from the cities and turned over security duties over to Iraqi units, then began a series of attacks hoping to restart the civil war with the Shi'a majority. Thus far, they have failed, but have killed thousands of Iraqis and highlighted the fragility of the Iraqi government.

The Taliban understands the concept as well. They will wait out the Americans, just as the Afghans have waited out invaders before. At least this time, they know exactly how long they have to wait. In June 2011, this latest set of invaders will declare victory and start to return home.

Come on, General, explain to the President what a bad idea this is.

"A Night with Saddam" - a unique perspective

I don't normally endorse books - unless they favorably reference me....

I am making an exception here for two reasons. I was intimately involved in the reportage at NBC News (NBC News, CNBC and MSNBC) of Saddam's capture, subsequent trial and execution.

Who can forget The Today Show segment with Matt Lauer and I in the mock up of the spider-hole from which Saddam was pulled six years ago this weekend - December 13, 2003? (See also my recent piece,
Execution of Saddam - in hindsight a good thing.)

The other reason is that the author, Dr. Mark Green, will donate a portion of the proceeds to my favorite charity - the
Wounded Warrior Project, as well as to the Night Stalker Association and the Bay Medical Foundation. Dr. Green, before becoming a physician, commanded a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division. As an Army physician, he was the American medical officer who examined and spoke with Saddam Husayn that night.

The book is A Night with Saddam - A Special Ops Flight Surgeon's Interview With Saddam Hussein On The Night Of His Capture And The Missions Which Led To Their Meeting.
Read more at Dr. Green's website.

An excerpt from the book:

"There was very little interrogating going on at this late hour in the battlefield interrogation facility (BIF). Most of the intelligence people wanted Saddam to rest prior to their intense questioning. The dignitaries and senior commanders had visited him and were now gone.

About this time, around midnight, the physician assigned to the BIF left. One of the senior intelligence officers recognized me standing outside the cell speaking with the interpreters and told me that the admiral wanted a medical officer with Saddam constantly. He asked if I would go in and stay the first night with him. I said yes and gathered my thoughts. The shear excitement of the moment was balanced by the realization of the terror and evil this man had produced in his lifetime.

I grabbed a worn-out copy of the Stars and Stripes newspaper and walked into his makeshift cell to share in the first night of captivity with the captured King of Babylon."

December 11, 2009

European Union demands that Iran agree to talk???

You can't make this stuff up. Note Speaker of the Iranian parliament Ali Larijani's attempt to stifle a laugh.

According to a draft statement being circulated among the member countries, the European Union proposes to establish a deadline for Iran to agree to more talks about its nuclear program. Are they serious?

Of course Iran will agree to talk - that is all they have ever truly agreed to do. The farce of an agreement in October by which Iran would export its stockpile of low-enriched uranium was merely the latest in a series of Iranian delaying tactics. As I have said repeatedly, they agree to talk - all the while enriching several kilograms of uranium each day.

Here is the EU's stern, punishing threat to Iran: agree to come back to the negotiating table by the EU meeting at the end of January, or we will "consider" supporting a sanctions protocol wanted by the United States.

Yes, that's right - they might consider doing something if the Iranians don't agree to talk. Finally, the Europeans have delivered a devastating ultimatum to the Iranians. I imagine this has sent shock waves throughout the Iranian leadership. No doubt they are having special meetings in Tehran to deal with this crisis.

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that the Iranians will agree to have talks. Yes, they will agree to once again talk about having more talks about their nuclear program. They have always declared that their nuclear enrichment program itself was non-negotiable, but that they would agree to talk about having talks. It seems we are about to repeat this "self-licking ice cream cone" kabuki dance.

Satire aside, this is a welcome, albeit virtually meaningless gesture. The key players in the Iranian sanctions debate are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. Although in recent weeks Russia has softened (but not abandones) its opposition to tough sanctions on Iran, China remains steadfast that diplomacy needs to be given more time. I don't know how much more time the Chinese have in mind, but at some point it will be too late and Iran will present the world with a fait accompli and declare that it is a nuclear-armed state.

It is important to also note the somewhat surprising position of Turkey on sanctions. They have also stated that diplomacy needs more time. In the past, Turkey was concerned about Iran's quest for a nuclear weapon and its support of terrorist groups - Turkey has been a frequent victim of Islamist terrorist attacks. That appears to have changed. Perhaps the Turks have concluded that the new American administration is not going to be able to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and is attempting to incur favor with the mullahs in Tehran. If there is a sanctions regime put in place, Turkey, with its border with Iran, will be a key player in the enforcement protocol.

Again, Iran seems to have convinced the world that be agreeing to endless talks that there may be a successful diplomatic outcome to the nuclear issue. I doubt there will be - I also doubt there will be effective sanctions. This issue is not going away soon.

December 7, 2009

Hizballah - the key power broker in Lebanon

In a vote that didn't get much attention except from those of us who follow these things fairly closely, Lebanon's newly-formed government granted the Islamic fundamentalist group Hizballah the right to maintain its militia forces, and the authority to employ them against Israel. Actually, this was a confirmation of an existing policy which authorized the army and "the resistance" (the Lebanese idiomatic term for Hizballah) to liberate what Lebanon and Syria label as the Israeli-occupied Shaba' Farms. It is fiction - the Shaba' Farms are part of Syria, Israeli occupied yes, but not part of Lebanon. See my earlier article, The Shaba' Farms - Hizballah's Fig Leaf.

This decision is in direct contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and the militia group. The resolution requires that the Lebanese government prevent the re-arming of Hizballah, and further required that Beirut deploy the useless Lebanese army to the country's southern border with Israel to keep Hizballah fighters out of the area. The resolution also expands the mandate of the grossly ineffective United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon - "interim" since its creation in 1978. Now we have almost double the foreign forces doing nothing in southern Lebanon.

The Lebanese cabinet has in effect legitimized Hizballah as a second army inside Lebanon, not unlike the current situation in Iran, where the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are a parallel - and superior - armed force to the regular Iranian military. It is useful to note that is was an IRGC unit in Syria and Lebanon that created Hizballah in 1982.

Since the end of the 2006 war and the passage of UNSCR 1701, the Syrians and Iranians have not only completely re-equipped Hizballah in quantity, but have also increased the quality of the group's arsenal. Hizballah's inventory of rockets that was largely depleted in 2006 has been replaced with larger and longer-range rockets. When there are future Hizballah attacks on Israel - and there will be future attacks - rockets will reach farther into the Jewish state, this time not only threatening Haifa, but possibly Tel Aviv as well.

The new Lebanese government has been fully co-opted by Hizballah. The new Prime Minister, Sa'ad al-Hariri, has made his deal with the devil. The new Lebanese government includes Hizballah, is very pro-Syrian, and has now thumbed its nose at the United Nations. Ironically, it was Syrian-backed assassins that killed al-Hariri's father Rafiq in February 2005 in Beirut. Now he is in bed with the very people who killed his father.

Syria, whose 30-year military presence in Lebanon was ended by the "Cedar Revolution" - the public demonstrations that erupted after the al-Hariri assassination, has finally regained its influence over what is called in Syrian slang al-muhafizih (the province). Its primary agents in the country are the Prime Minister and Hizballah. Nothing happens in Lebanon without the blessings of Damascus and Hizballah.

Lebanese politics are like that.

December 1, 2009

Taliban analysis of the Obama speech

President Obama revealed his new strategy for the war in Afghanistan in a prime time address tonight. This is how the Taliban's intelligence officers may have assessed his strategies.

DATE: Thu al-Hijjah 13, 1430 (December 1, 2009)
FROM: Taliban Intelligence/Qandahar
TO: Excellency Mullah Omar (Allah protect him)
SUBJ: President Obama Provides Outline for Taliban Victory in Afghanistan


1. SUMMARY: Infidel Crusader President Barack Obama outlined his new strategy for the continued occupation of our country. As with previous invaders, he has decided to increase the number of troops in the country, specifically 30,000 to be deployed to the Helmand province. He will begin the withdrawal of American forces in 18 months. Victory is within sight. Allahu akbar.

2. MAIN POINTS: Obama described his three-fold strategy:

a. A military effort to destroy the movement. The first troops of the 30,000 will be U.S. Marines in the Qandahar area. Now that we know they are coming in a month, we will be ready for them. This information is fortuitous - since Obama has told us how many of his troops are to be deployed where, we do not have to recruit an intelligence asset in the extremely corrupt Afghan forces or defense ministry to find out his intentions.

b. An augmented civil affairs effort and increased cooperation with the traitor Hamid Karzai government. This is really of no concern, as these are soft targets. After a few high-casualty attacks, the American and United Nations do-gooders will rethink their decision. This strategy is of little concern to us.

c. Increased partnership with the corrupt regime in Islamabad. This causes our beards to shake with laughter. Obama wants to work both sides of the imposed border that divides the Pushtuns? He will discover that regardless of which side of the imaginary line we are, we are all Pushtuns and true believers. Increased attacks on targets in the Punjabi and Sindh areas will sap any fervor in Pakistan for cooperation with the Americans. Attacks against our al-Qa'idah cousins in the Waziristan area will not be effective, despite the increased use of cowardly unpiloted aircraft.


a. TROOP WITHDRAWAL: Crusader leader Obama has provided a date certain when his troops will be leaving our country, another in the long line of nations and empires that have tried to subjugate Afghanistan and the Pushtun people. To our good fortune, thanks be to Allah, the infidels will be gone in 18 months.

Excellency, we suggest that you encourage the mujahidin to weather the coming storm while the infidels expend their last effort to subdue the sons of Allah. After we wait out the Americans for a mere year and a half, they too will leave our mountains and we can rebuild the Islamic state we all crave. Now that we have a date when the Crusaders will leave, we can plan accordingly. Victory in Second Jumadah 1432, almost ten years to the day after the glorious al-Qa'idah attacks on New York and Washington!

b. AL-QA'IDAH: Obama tends to confuse the efforts of the heroes of New York and Washington with ours. The mission of the initial American invasion was to defeat al-Qa'idah. That meant first defeating us. They believe they have done so, but Shaykh Usamah bin Ladin is still alive, although no longer a guest of us Taliban. He is no longer a guest, he is no longer here.

Was the goal of the operation to remove the Taliban? No, it was supposedly about al-Qa'idah. If the mission of the American effort in our country is to defeat al-Qa'idah, we do not understand Obama's orders - al-Qa'idah is no longer here. If we are not a threat to the capitalist regime in Washington, why are they going to increase their troop presence here? We question the president's logic. If he wants to fight al-Qa'idah, perhaps he should focus his efforts in Yemen or Somalia.

c. PAKISTAN: Apostate Obama spoke many times about cooperation with Pakistan, yet there seems to be little willingness on the part of the regime in Islamabad to work with the Americans. Our contacts within the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate assure us that any cooperation with the Americans - including the unpiloted aircraft attacks - is from the Punjabis and Sindhs - the Pushtuns remain in our camp.

d. CRIMES/LEGAL STATUS: In what can only be assessed as good news for the mujahidin, the apostate leader described the heroic acts of the 19 martyrs of Second Jumadah 22, 1422 (what the Crusaders call September 11, 2001) as "murder." As we had hoped, the new administration views these attacks as crimes. We assess that designation means continued access to the lenient and cumbersome American legal system for any of our captured brethren.

We recommend that all of the mujahidin be trained to request a lawyer immediately should they be detained by infidel occupiers, and invoke the right to remain silent. These protections afforded to us by the Americans will only help us to be more effective in our operations since we no longer need to fear compromise of operational information.

Obama again committed to the closure of the prison at Guantanamo. Our brothers will soon be moved to the enemy's heartland. It remains to be seen how much access they will have to other detainees, but we hope the brothers will have the opportunity to spread the Taliban and our al-Qa'idah cousins' ideology to other detainees. The jihad continues.

e. COALITION RELATIONS: Obama claimed that he had the backing of 43 nations in his fight to destroy our movement. We are puzzled by this. While there are in fact troops from other infidel countries, the bulk of the fighting is done by the Americans, British, Dutch and Polish crusader forces. The Canadians have announced they are "completing their mission" - Excellency, that is diplomatic jargon for withdrawing. Another infidel country has had its taste of Afghanistan and is going home. The Germans are virtually prohibited from combat operations. The other countries? We cannot account for Obama's claims, but if we are taking on 43 countries, where are their warriors?

f. DELIVERY: We have analyzed the American president's speeches for the last few years. He is a polished orator, but tonight he lacked the inspiring tone that is his trademark. We assess that two things worked against him - the message and the venue. Obama came to office ready to exit Iraq - what he called the war of choice - and to concentrate on Afghanistan - what he called the war of necessity. That rhetoric has shifted somewhat. Tonight the President spoke more of a cost-benefit-analysis approach to the effort in our country. He talked about what was possible based on the cost, so we need to make his country's sojourn to ours more expensive - expensive in terms of blood and treasure. As with the Inglizi (British) and Russi (Russians), if we make it too expensive, they will leave and we will recreate the true Islamic state.

The venue of the apostate's remarks was interesting - the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The leader was addressing the young men - and yes, Excellency, women - who will be the future warriors of the infidels. It was noteworthy that there was an almost somnolent atmosphere at an institution that produces the fighters of America's wars. The reception afforded the commander in chief was muted at best.

g. MISCELLANEOUS: The American apostate made other gratuitous comments about nuclear disarmament (do we have nuclear weapons, Excellency?), and his outreach to the Muslim world. We note that his "outreach" includes Hellfire missiles and more troops in our Islamic state.

4. CONCLUSION: We assess that the American president, the apostate Barack Obama, is swinging at a goat carcass much larger than his club can handle. He is trying to appease the anti-war crowd that elected him while the reality of his responsibilities is setting in. If Allah wills, Excellency, the Americans will declare "mission accomplished" in 18 months and leave our country. All we have to do is hold on for that period of time and victory is ours.

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan - the truly Islamic state - will resurrect, thanks be to Allah. Another invader will leave and we will progress on the path of jihad.

In the service of Allah,
Mullah Istikhbar