Thursday, July 28, 2005

Definitely forget the terror war

Definitely it’s time to say goodbye to the GWOT- the Global War on Terror. It is apparently over because the idea is not playing well in the polls. That war's mission has now been revised with a new enemy that its likely to prove more popular better in the media. (and in the mind of Thomas Friedman.) Call it "violent extremism" a concept that is at once vaguer and more pervasive and something that violent extremists on all sides can understand..Bush Aide Karen Hughes now has to sell the new war and help us forget the old. Down with VE's - repeat after me.

Get Them Violent Extremists. It’s probably easier. And who are they? Fox's Bill O'Reilly named some in a recent outburst of bloated Bill-sized baloney as passed on by FAIR:

"You must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq War and the war on terror and undermining it. And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9/11, is a traitor. Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less."

There has always been, for me, a very bad smell about 9/11. I don't know if it’s the PNAC declaration that it will take a "Pearl Harbour like incident to mobilize the American public for war in Iraq" back in 1998, or the testimony of former FBI agents such as Sybil Edmonds and Kathleen Crowley, who testified before the 9/11 commission. It seemed that the outlines of the 9/11 plot were discovered by 4/11. However, after 9/11, those within the FBI who actively tried to prevent it were either demoted or fired, while those who actively or passively prevented the FBI from acting on the information were promoted.

“I have always believed that decisions of promotion and demotion are closely linked to the goals of the organization. What exactly were the goals of the FBI before and after 9/11?
Something is not kosher, and everybody knows it.
Write: LuisB

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Objective: The War on Tourism

Call it the terrorists' War on Tourism - a war waged by jihadists that long predates 9-11, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Last week's terror attacks on Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh resorts left nearly 90 dead. The attacks also sent an economic and political shockwave throughout the rest of Egypt.

Jihadist terrorists wage a war to create and maintain poverty. In Egypt, damaging the tourist industry does just that. Tourists climbing the Pyramids, sailing on the Nile and sipping coffee in Cairo are a source of very good jobs.

In 1992, the jihadists launched an "insurrection" against the Egyptian government, and the tourist industry was an immediate target. Since 1992, there have been at least 15 major attacks on tourists - an advertising campaign of high explosive and bullets designed to undermine the Egyptian economy.

For example, in 1993, jihadists targeted Cairo's Tahrir Square, killing a Swede, a Turk and an Egyptian. Eighteen were injured. In 1997, six terrorists massacred 58 foreign tourists (many of them Germans) and four Egyptians in an attack at Luxor's Temple of Hatshepsut. Islamist extremists argue that "pagan" temples desecrate Muslim lands, so if the jihadists ever take power in Egypt, Luxor might be razed. Don't laugh - the Taliban blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan.

Here's a sketch of the terrorists' counter-tourism strategy: Attacks on foreign visitors guarantee instant international headlines, especially in the visitors' home nations. All terrorist attacks are designed to sow doubt in the local government's ability to protect lives, property and businesses, but the tourist industry is a very international industry and attacking it is an easy way to discourage international investment.

These attacks also isolate and impoverish individuals who work in tourist industries -people who tend to be multilingual and aware that "foreigners aren't devils."

Jihadist assaults on tourists aren't confined to the Middle East. The October 2002 Bali nightclub terror blasts killed 202 people. Suddenly, Bali's hotels were empty and thousands of Indonesians were without paychecks. Jemaah Islamiya - Al Qaeda's Southeast Asian "subsidiary" - took credit for that attack.

A year later, Jemaah Islamiya detonated a car bomb outside Jakarta's Marriott Hotel and killed 12 people. Abu Sayyaf - another Al Qaeda affiliate - has kidnapped tourists visiting the Philippines and Malaysia. Terror attacks launched against visitors in predominantly Muslim countries, however, aren't solely aimed at bikini-clad Swedes skin-diving in the Red Sea or Germans examining Egyptian ruins. Jihadists also slaughter Muslim pilgrims, when it suits their political and media interests.

A pilgrim is a religious visitor, and in the Middle East pilgrims are big business - just ask your travel agent.

In November 1979, Islamist terrorists belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood attacked Mecca's Grand Mosque. The terrorists planned to launch a religious-based revolt against the Saudi government. Even if it failed to ignite a popular revolution, the 1979 attack had an information objective: It would demonstrate Saudi weakness by sending the message that the Saud regime wasn't capable of protecting Mecca and other Muslim holy sites.

There is some evidence that a relative of Osama bin Laden helped organize the 1979 Mecca attack. The attack didn't start a revolt, but it did produce a bitter siege. Several Middle Eastern political analysts say the Saudis' ultimate counter-attack was a reasonably successful military operation, but a political disaster.

The Saudis know pilgrims matter. When Al Qaeda set off bombs in Riyadh in November 2003, the Saudis reinforced Mecca with 5,000 soldiers and police to protect the 2.5 million Muslims visiting during Ramadan.

Subsequently, the Saudis discovered an Al Qaeda cell in Mecca. Two of the terrorists blew themselves up to evade capture. Saudi police feared the terrorists were planning to attack a festival celebrating the end of Ramadan.

The jihadists are at war with Muslims and with Muslim countries. Their war, with Muslim pilgrims as pawns, began before the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan and long before the United States invaded Iraq. This past Sunday, 1,000 Egyptians in Sharm el-Sheikh demonstrated against terrorism. The Christian Science Monitor reported the demonstrators chanted:
"There is no God but God; terrorism is the enemy of God."


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

All my Live...

All my Live I just live for pronouncements like this:

"Washington (CNN) -- President Bush told reporters Monday that if anyone committed a crime in connection with the leak of a CIA agent's identity, 'they will no longer work in my administration.'"

No one asked the President about laws he may have violated in invading Iraq nor did he include himself in that commitment to fire law violators in his midst.

Nuclear proliferation anyone?
President Bush has agreed to share nuclear technology with India, reports the Washington Post:
"President Bush agrees to share civilian nuclear technology with India, reversing decades of U.S. policies designed to discourage countries from developing nuclear weapons."

Congress must approve this "exception." India has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The ups and downs of the terror war
The Arabic news media corporation Al-Jazeera reports:

"Pakistani intelligence agents have arrested eight senior Taliban leaders, including a deputy to fugitive Taliban chief Mullah Mohammed Omar, a security official says... the arrests were made on Monday after security agents made raids on several homes in northwestern Pakistan."

At the same time
The same network advises:

"Four Arab al-Qaeda members who escaped a few days ago from a heavily fortified U.S. prison in Afghanistan, have reached a Taliban haven safely, according to a spokesman for the group.

"'The Taliban found and recovered four al-Qaeda mujahidin this morning,' the group's spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, said on Thursday from an undisclosed location."

"A U.S. Chinook helicopter has crashed west of the city of Asadabad during an anti-Taliban operation in eastern Afghanistan."

London think-tank fears more terror attacks
The New York Times reports today – 19.07.05 - that an intelligence memo, "less than a month before the London bombings, said no group had the intent or the ability to strike."

Yesterday, the British think-tank Chatham House issued another kind of report:
"Riding pillion to the U.S. in order to tackle terrorism is a high-risk policy, according to a new report by Chatham House and the Economic & Social Research Foundation."