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Friday, August 11, 2006

A Better Articulation Than Mine

I have been irritated by the refusal of the left to fully educate themselves about terrorism and to fully evaluate situations before commenting on them. To make statements about how this proves the war in Iraq was a waste of money and lives is irresponsible and intellectually dishonest. To honestly evaluate terrorism actually takes more than three seconds. It is a complicated issue.

The below points are short and concise, and of course don't represent a full scale analysis. However, they are points that I have largely made, but does a better hob of articulating them more concisely. Stratfor is a private company that does intel analysis for business and other customers. If you want full, professional analysis of issues and you have a few bucks to pay, their information is good. (Of course, my analysis is better, AND free...But that is your decision.)

There are four takeaway lessons from this incident:

First, while there obviously remains a threat from those not only sympathetic to al Qaeda, but actually participating in planning with those in the al Qaeda apex leadership, their ability to launch successful attacks outside of the Middle East is severely degraded.

Second, if the cell truly does have 50 people and 21 have already been detained, then al Qaeda might have lost its ability to operate below the radar of Western -- or at least U.K. -- intelligence agencies. Al Qaeda's defining characteristic has always been its ability to maintain operational security. If that has been compromised, then al Qaeda's importance as a force has diminished greatly.

Third, though further attacks could occur, it appears al Qaeda has lost the ability to alter the political decision-making of its targets. The Sept. 11 attack changed the world. The Madrid train attacks changed a government. This failed airliner attack only succeeded in closing an airport temporarily.

Fourth, the vanguard of militant Islamism appears to have passed from Sunni/Wahhabi al Qaeda to Shiite Iran and Hezbollah. It is Iran that is shaping Western policies on the Middle East, and Hezbollah who is directly engaged with Israel. Al Qaeda, in contrast, appears unable to do significantly more than issue snazzy videos.

This shift will obviously refocus Western -- and particularly U.S. -- foreign policy from the old threat to the new threat.

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TM said...

As a compliment to your post, and it's final conclusion about the passing of the vanguard of militant islam from the Sunni to the Shiite, you may want to read this.

You won't like the grim conclusions any more than I do. But do you see any flaw in their reasoning?

P.S. Did you get a chance to check out Hot Air?

Robert said...

The author of that piece is George Friedman, the founder of, the organization that I cited in this post.

Friedman does a good job, and provides excellent analysis. I don't think the situation is as dire as he predicts. The younger generation in Iran has always been restless for political change. Friedman posits that we can't go to war with Iran, but I disagree.
Iran's military is 3rd rate, and that is the main reason for the push for nuclear weapoons. With the Baathists out of power in Iraq, Iran sees the potential to bethe dominating, intimidating force in the region. Saudi is benign when it comes to aggression, and prefers to do it by proxy, and of course with our military. An occupation would not need to be as intense and in depth as the one in Iraq.

I think there have been several imprtants landmark points in the region, but I don't think we have truly reached the breaking point. I think the final straw for us would be when Syria or Iran becomes directly involved against Israel, or if Iran decides to be more aggresive with us in Iraq.

My main uncertainty is the political siuation in Iraq. I don't see much being reported on political progress. i am sure it is there, after all, how interesting are news reports about Iraqi Agriculture?

And I linked HotAir.

Obob said...

I am conflicted on an Iranian invasion. We could easlily dismember them, but haven't they begun to decentralize their military for guerilla warfare? If so, would we forced to use a Fallujah strategy to seek and destroy?
On Iraq, the problem with poltical progress is time. It takes time to create a working democracy especially when the country that freed has a hard time with discourse. but that is what makes a democracy, strong conversation

Ellie said...

okay just to get this out there, all left wing people aren't stupid and uninformed. actually we love our country just as much as you and your conservative buddies do (more actually...j/k).

seriously though. I don't have enough time right now to answer this b/c i'm at work right now (if you notice i'm actualy blogging at a decent hour) anyhow I'm very scared about the whole Iran thing. most conservatives tend to think that Iran is a threat funding all of the terrorist organizations in the middle east and that they all tie back to iran. This scares me. it's validity I'll argue with you about another day. I'm afraid that Israel is going to attack Iran and the US will follow. and if Israel doesn't attack Iran then I'm afraid that the US will. this I believe will be the start of WWIII and I don't think america will come out the same.

terrorism - okay I have thought about this for a lot more than three seconds. and I find it a very scary thing. however I also think that the war was a waste of money, life, time and one of the great disasters in american history. why do you not think this? do you still think there are wmd over there?! okay saddam was bad, but so is castro, chavez, and a bunch of other dictators. hell a lot of people think bush is bad. what would happen if another country invaded the US and overthrew him and then set up another government, while the democrats and repubs started a civil war. you'd be pretty pissed wouldn't you? I know i sure as hell would. (sorry about the language, it tends to get worse as I get angry...and my irish accent comes out...cept i'm not talking but you get my drift).

so, what do I think we should do? I think we should avoid killing innocent people as much as possible. we should use special operation teams in the CIA to take out the terrorists. yes bush needs to do something political so people don't call him more of an idiot than they already do (please tell me you don't think he's a genius!) but invading Iraq was the wrong thing. it set off a powder keg that cannot be put back and will take decades if not centuries to right. terrorists should be eliminated by the CIA not full-scale wars that seem to kill everyone but the terrorists.

anyhow, I gotta get going. but I shall come back and add more later. :)

Ellie said...

wow that was long. I think that add more later thing was a threat rather than a promise. hehe.

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