They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Syrian Jihadist regretted no WMD in 9/11 planes

Ayman al-Zawahiri's recently assassinated envoy - Abu Musab al-Suri - may well have considered ISIS actions in Northern and Eastern Syria to be counter productive and over the top.  The killings beatings and beheadings of those it considers its enemies - most everybody - did little to enhance the image of Salafist Jihadism, or win the hearts of ordinary Syrians. However it would be wrong to characterize al-Suri as a moderate in any way shape or form. His January 2005 statement below, which was released to several websites at the time, illustrates his uncompromising approach to the killing of  civilians - especially those who voted for George W Bush.
'I feel sorry because there were no weapons of mass destruction in the planes that attacked New York and Washington on 9/ 11. We might have been relieved of the biggest number possible of voters who elected Bush for a second term! The last option remains the destruction of America by strategic operations through nuclear, chemical, and germ weapons of mass destruction, if the mujahideen were able to get them, in cooperation with those who possess them, or through purchasing them, or through manufacturing and using primitive atomic bombs, called dirty bombs' [radiological weapons].

Bergen, Peter L. (2006-01-20). The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader .

Monday, February 24, 2014

Abu Musab al-Suri killed in Syria

News of the death of  Abu Musab al-Suri will come as a blow to AQ and to those seeking an end to infighting amongst salafist jihadists in Syria. In the excerpt below, from his pamphlet titled “Observations on the Jihadist Experience in Syria”, he outlines some prerequisites for successful jihad. From lessons learned previously in places such as Algeria - where the bloodthirsty GIA demonstrated how to lose a war by alienating all but your own hard core of followers - al-Suri understood that wanton violence without a shred of political justification or a credible end game is counter productive to the cause - and as in Iraq during the days of al-Zarqawi will lead to failure.  ISIS are apparently on the same path as al-Zarqawi.  They will alienate just about everyone, until they themselves are hunted down and executed with the same uncompromising brutality as they show for their enemies. Their enemies being everyone else. 

Without doubt Al-Suri was a terrorist.  However, he was also a brilliant strategist and a prolific and influential writer.

 "Knowledge is the most important weapon of this age. The ignorant cannot lead this important struggle no matter how sincere and dedicated they are." —Abu Mus‘ab al Suri, The Call to Global Islamic Resistance

In his pamphlet “Observations on the Jihadist Experience in Syria,” taken from his longer book on Syria, Al-Suri captured the need for a strategic approach to jihad.17 He details lessons learned from every aspect of the Syrian insurrection, but his overarching message is that jihad will fail if it is not treated as a form of guerrilla warfare based on classic communist strategic thinking about insurrection, minus communist ideology. Both the topography and demography of the target country must be studied. Revolutionaries need to operate within the target country and rely on themselves. They must have a detailed plan that benefits from both study of the target country and lessons learned from other Muslim and non-Muslim guerrilla wars. Jihadists must be close to the people and unite them under a well-conceived ideology and political concept.

Ryan, Michael W. S. (2013-07-30). Decoding Al-Qaeda's Strategy: The Deep Battle Against America (Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare) (Kindle Locations 3952-3958). Columbia University Press. Kindle Edition.

Monday, February 10, 2014

CIA Drones Target Phones

US willingness to risk  wiping out innocent lives in the pursuit of  alleged jihadists is, as always, quite breathtaking.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Tony Blair's values and his support for Al-Sisi

Tony Blair's contribution to regional peace over the years is difficult to locate within a résumé rich in unnecessary war, strategy blunders, crimes against humanity, and the ultimate sacrifice of thousands. His professed desire for an 'open-minded' society in Egypt whilst backing the Al-Sisi presidency-in-waiting as the force to bring it about is 'pure Blair'.
"We should support those people in the region who want the open-minded society and the modern economy. That means we support the government here in Egypt,"- 2014
You want the open society, the modern economy, the  eggs, the beans, a few French fries and a glass of extremely lite democracy with that perhaps?  And if you don't like it no need to tip. Just keep your mouth shut or the dessert will be arrest or a bullet in the head. This society is going to be open, with you or without you.  
 Tony Blair made clear the war on terror comes before democratic rights today as he urged the West to do more to boost "moderate" Arab states - 2006
Al Qaeda's foremost 21st century recruiting sergeant has, not for the first time, shown his true colors.
This is a man who embraces Gulf sponsors of salafist jihadism, whilst maintaining a hostile and uncompromising position towards Islamist political engagement - such as that of the Muslim Brotherhood. Blair's inconsistencies, contradictions and neuroses are documented across the internet. No amount of reputation management can change that.

Rabba Square victims of Al-Sisi's open-minded society

'Our values will win it! - more classic comedy Blair (2006)

"We will not win the battle against this global extremism unless we win it at the level of values as much as force, unless we show we are even-handed, fair and just in our application of those values to the world." He said this "unconventional" war must be won through these values."This war can't be won in a conventional way, it can only be won by showing that our values are stronger, better and more just, more fair than the alternatives," he said.

Syria: Salafi jihadists the winners in Geneva

The US, France, and Gulf States successfully pressured Ban Ki-Moon into rescinding Iran's invitation to Geneva II ostensibly because of Iran's unwillingness to sign up to the sacred principles agreed at Geneva I - outlined in the Geneva communiqué. 

Whilst it suited the US,  Saudi Arabia - and consequently France -  that Iran didn't attend, there is no reason to think that Iran's presence could possibly have made matters worse.  It would be easier to argue the reverse, recognising Iranian influence over both Hezbollah and the Assad government. The key difference between Iran and the SNC is that the former has weight, whilst the latter doesn't.

On the ground Bashar al-Assad is primarily at war with Salafi jihadists, many of whom would sooner slaughter minorities than share power with them.  They have no interest in pluralism, democracy, or human rights beyond those offered by an unforgiving interpretation of Sharia law. What is more, neither are they interested in 'an immediate cessation of violence in all its forms' - requirement number one in the Geneva communiqué. It's not in their playbook. 

The SNC's political demands are out of proportion with their military accomplishments. Their inability to speak for the majority of fighters opposed to Assad, or deliver a cessation in violence,  makes the road forward a difficult one. Without doubt further compromise from all sides at the table is called for. The SNC, logically, is the party that needs to compromise most of all. Whether Saudi Arabia likes it or not. And then when they reach some sort of tentative deal there's the real issue of  AQ, its affiliates and like-minded groups to deal with.