Friday, January 19, 2007

Back from Basilan

I apologize for disappearing for so long but I went over to Zamboanga and Basilan to interview some counterterrorism operators. As it happened,  Abu Solaiman, an Abu Sayyaf commander who participated in the raid in Dos Palmas, Palawan raid to kidnap 21 persons including 3 Americans, was killed on my second day there. Solaiman's death underlined some of the things the cops had been saying about the Islamic insurgency in general. However, the Internet service in Zamboanga worked only intermittently and the only way to send messages was to send SMS text messages to people in places where things worked, with instructions to pass it on. But the trip was extremely interesting and a long piece based on it is scheduled to run in Pajamas Media.

7 Comments:

Blogger Wu Wei said...

Welcome back. In case you haven't seen, there is a ton of exciting news about Iraq, ranging from a bunch of Congressional resolutions disagreeing with Bush, but not doing anything about it. Maliki has started to crack down on al-Sadr's group, al-Sadr himself has gone to a "safe location" (with Dick Cheney?), and his Mehdi Army is taking their uniforms off and basically going into hiding by acting civilian. There are stories that the Sunni Insurgency has agreed to a truce as well.

General Casey is still in charge and he said today that our surge troops would withdraw in Summer, which I hope is a mistake since they are supposed to be there for 18-24 months.

1/19/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger buck smith said...

Welcome back, Wretchard. Another intersting thing that has occurred in the last week is the retreat of Al Quaeda in Iraq in advance of the surge:

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/2007/01/what-already-running-away.html

The thing that is intersting to me is that they are retreating toward Iran, not into Anbar and toward Syria...

1/19/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

buck smith,

The post after this has links to an interesting article in parameters. The fuels of a networked insurgency are 1) narratives; 2) technical support; 3) money. More of that in Iran than in Anbar.

1/19/2007 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No apology necessary. It is a relief to know you are well.

1/19/2007 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

welcome back, glad to hear your fine..

I wonder how much of the networks rely on cult of personality?

If castro, sadr etc are removed/eliminated how much will this help in disrupting terror?

1/20/2007 06:09:00 AM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

Tiger Hawk as a great idea. The first right is a right to your own labor and its products. What you create and still own, you can choose to destroy, and let those envious of your success build their own rather than steal yours. Anything less is slavery.

1/20/2007 06:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

wi"o"
Decapitating the Network has not crippled Hezzbollah, nor Hamas. Both have grown while their leaders have been successfully whacked.

Without the Z miester, in Iraq, the aQ Insurgency continued apace across the Sunni triangle, with violence increasing in Baghdad.

How much influence does the "Legend of Osama" carry, with the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, as compared to his actual, tactical, leadership?

1/20/2007 10:35:00 AM  

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