Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How to Make Friends and Influence People

The UK Times and Bill Roggio describe why al-Qaeda in Iraq may have worn out its welcome in the Sunni North. The Times, with typical British understatement, ascribes it to the "bloodthirsty tactics" of al-Qaeda. Bill Roggio is more graphic, describing chlorine gas attacks by al-Qaeda on whoever crossed them and notes that the Anbar sheiks were not amused. They are looking for permission to hunt down al-Qaeda wherever else in Iraq they may be found.

The Anbar Salvation Council has recently asked for permission from the government "to pursue militants across provincial lines," according to IraqSlogger. "Recent reports suggest that such clearance may have been granted." If the reports of al-Masri's death is true, the Albu Issa would have been operating about 10 miles into Salahadin province. This likely would not have occurred without local support. Look for signs of the hand of the yet-to-be-named Salahadin Salvation Front to have played a role in al-Masri's demise.


Blogger Jewish Odysseus said...

Funny how that invincible Sunnah solidarity falls to pieces when the wrong chlorine truckbomb goes off in the wrong tribal sheikh's neighborhood...

From a world-dominating position, the Caliphate didn't shrink, then fall to pieces, by accident. The Ottomans weren't called "the sick man of Europe" by accident.

Our enemies aren't ten feet tall. They merely look large next to the pygmies that our complacent post WW III history has allowed as leaders. Real ones will be produced--they are even now.

It won't be long before US politics will be dominated by GWOT vets, just as it was dominated by WW II vets from ~1950-1990. And that will be a good and healthy thing.

5/01/2007 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

Various Apache bands had defied the power of agricultural tribes, the Spanish, the Mexicans, and the United States for three centuries, raiding and pillaging at will…General Crook mounted campaigns in the early 1870s and early 1880s using small mobile units consisting mostly of Indians (specifically Apaches) and suppled by mule rather than wagon trains. His units’ excellent scouting, relentless pursuit, and surprise attacks on encampments broke the resistance of [the bands]…Thus, in all its successful western campaigns, the U.S. Army employed primitive methods (and tribal warriors) backed by civilized resources to defeat natives who could match them only in the former.

War Before Civilization…
___Lawrence H. Keeley

re: Jewish Odysseus

Well said!
How soon we forget Grant and Sherman.

5/01/2007 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...


Sunni fighting Sunni
Shia fighting Shia
Sunni fighting Shia

Help me understand?

5/01/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Sunni fighting Sunni
Shia fighting Shia
Sunni fighting Shia

Let's take it from the top. Once upon a time there was the Ottoman Empire. It was a multiethnic empire like the Hapsburg, and the Russian and the British. And within its borders lived communities which had little to do with governance of anything beyond their little enclaves. That was for the Imperial proconsuls to decide.

Then along came the 20th century and the nationalisms associated with it. The Greeks broke away; trouble roiled the Balkans. The Armenians and the Kurds created trouble. Then the British and French turned their covetous eyes to the Ottoman Empire. After the Great War the French and British divided the Eastern Ottoman provinces into countries called Iraq, Syria, the transjordan, the Jewish homeland and Lebanon. A man called TE Lawrence midwifed the establishment of Saudi Arabia.

Iraq consisted of nationalities which suddenly were part of a "nation". They no longer could look inward, but had to interact with each other. The result is that with the departure of the British from Iraq, the dominant ethnic community emerged from its Ottoman-era enclaves to lord it over the new Western style nation. The last man to do this was Saddam Hussein.

Enter America. Realizing that one of the root causes of terrorism in the Middle East was the muddle that Europeans left it in, which was a patchwork of ethnic despotisms, it gambles on creating a representative, democratic successor state in Iraq. The Europeans sniffingly say they will never succeed. Only the old ways work. They are realists. But they are realists without weapons who shelter behind American arms. Would America please take the brunt of 9/11s and just managing the open wound they created?

And now we discover that the Sunnis hate the Shia and the Shia hate the Shia and al-Qaeda hates everybody. But wait: we can go back to the late 20th century, the century of realism. Or better yet, we can go back to the 19th century and create an empire like that of Ottomans or the Czars. Or we try and go into the 21st century. I think all ways are fraught with peril. But it is more perilous still to think that going "back" to where the Sandmonkey lives is the safest course of all.

5/01/2007 06:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

They are actually looking for permission?

Permission GRANTED, dudes!

5/01/2007 07:22:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

If they're actually looking for permission, doesn't that actually say something kind of positive about the Iraqi state and its security services?

5/01/2007 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

i have a question -

If conflict with Iran is on the horizon, is sectarian strife in the ME a positive or negative for the United States?

5/01/2007 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

In my opinion we strategically want to get away from Sunni versus Shi'a, from people fighting each other over ancient and intractable tribal hatreds. Tactically we may need those hatreds to provide the energy needed to destabilize the enemy system. Yet utiizing those hatreds requires caution, not merely because it can result in the shedding of innocent blood, but because historically the hatreds themselves have wound up keeping the field. The players rearrange, but the hatreds remain and we are no nearer rational civilization at the end.

Strategic victory over radical Islam has to resemble what happened to Japan or Germany at the end of the Second War. In that case, race-worship and blind ethnocentrism were rechanneled into peaceful courses. Germany and Japan became the most powerful countries in Europe and Asia respectively. Ironically what they set out to do, but sans the bloodshed.

Gerecht's argument is that the Iranians fear nothing so much as a Shi'ite democracy. Which is well and good if you can get it. The same can be said about al-Qaeda. But the trick is to pull this bunny from the hat. So far, America has been reaching into the hat since 2003 and pulling up one smelly sock after the other, though there are signs the sock is starting to get cleaner ...

5/01/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Doctor Harry Reid, Epidemiologist:

'“It’s a known fact that every time a [infection] is killed, another rises to take [it]s place,” said [Dr]. Reid. “Therefore, the only way to stop the spawning of new [infection]s is to halt the slaying of the current ones.”'

5/01/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

"Strategic victory over - radical Islam - has to resemble what happened to Japan or Germany at the end of the Second War."

i will need u to define radical islam to continue the discussion

5/01/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Newsbusters suggests Iraq has had the effect of keeping terrorism in the Middle East, noting that worldwide terrorist incidents, excluding the Middle East, are down. "According to the State report, terrorism in South Asia is down by 10 percent from a year ago. In Europe, it's down 18 percent. In Central and South America, terrorism-related deaths are down 54 percent."

I doubt the Administration consciously aimed for this result. However, if terrorist resources are finite and they are devoting the bulk of their effort to ousting America from Iraq, then it necessarily follows they have to thin out their deployments elsewhere.

But if this were true, what will necessarily happen is that after the US withdraws from Iraq those resources will suddenly be available for attacks elsewhere. Alternatively you could suppose that, with nothing further to enrage them, the Jihadis will lay down their arms and take up quiet lives as farmers, computer technicians, salesmen and accountants. I mean it's possible isn't it?

5/01/2007 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

In the first place, I doubt that radical Islam had much to do with terrorism in South America to start with, though the reductions in Europe and South Asia are plausible.

Ultimately radical Islam is an ideology in its broadest sense. It's a theology, world view and political program rolled into one simply because Islam is precisely that. Islam isn't like any other religion familiar to the West. It is a system of belief, of government, of law. It has its own jurisprudence, its own fighting traditions. Radical Islam is what happens when one historical trend within it takes over the leadership of the whole flock, sort of like when the Democrats win a national election (or the Republicans if you prefer). Right now they define what Islam is, or ought to be to all of the people who believe in them.

But they can be "unelected" by the ummah, and have been historically when their policy prescriptions have brought disaster upon Islam as a whole, sort of in the way Jimmy Carter lost office when he messed up. But so far radical Islam, like Hitler in his flood, have brought the good times. Muslims don't have much money and radical Islam doesn't pretend or promise them any. What they promise is respect, recognition and some perverse sort of "dignity". When a terrified bunch of Christian churchgoers part before a phalanx of bearded men they feel "dignity"; when an obscure, scientifically illiterate imam is given prominence because he makes pronouncements about women being cat-meat they experience "pride"; but nothing like they pride they will soon feel after Harry Reid shows them how the mightiest country in the world can be made to surrender undefeated on the battlefield. That goes beyond pride. That is in the category of miracle.

And after that, radical Islam can write its own ticket. No moderate Muslim would dare raise a voice against it again. They will have achieved the impossible and be hungry for even more. We should see this but we don't. As I said, if the West falls it will have deserved its fall.

5/01/2007 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

...and, I suppose, given sufficient wind velocity a pig may fly...or, at least, achieve some sort of glide path....

5/01/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

I must be missing something; therefore, I apologize beforehand for any unintentional slights.

Neither the Empire of Japan nor the Third Reich was domesticated by the assiduous, selfless work of missionaries. Instead, the underpinnings of these savagely aggressive cultures were deracinated following the humiliation of unconditional surrender, occasioned by the wholesale slaughter of populations and the obliteration of infrastructure.

Because the West has not the time, say two millennia, to gently entice Islam to accommodate itself to the sundry philosophical, religious and political systems with which it must share the planet, purposeful, pitiless exploitation of Islamic sectarianism to the West’s advantage will have to do.

If the West is unwilling to make the hard choices required for survival, then, it does indeed deserve to suffer the unpleasant consequences occasioned by such moral cowardice.

5/01/2007 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

1) "But if this were true, what will necessarily happen is that after the US withdraws from Iraq those resources will suddenly be available for attacks elsewhere."

Really, i will need more convincing

2)"In the first place, I doubt that radical Islam had much to do with terrorism in South America to start with"

oh wretchard...

1) the tri border region of South America is the Hilton of Islamic extemism. It's been on the radar screen since the early 90s but no one's ever done anything about it.
- Magnus Ranstorp, director of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, University of St. Andrew, Fife, Scotland, 2003

2) In the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, Meddle East terror organizations such as HAMAS and Hezbollah train terrorists and conduct fundraising activities in an area which has a growing population of Middle Eastern and Soth asian Immigrants
- Transcript of House western Hemisphere Subcommittee Report, Oct. 10, 2001

5/01/2007 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

"A man called TE Lawrence midwifed the establishment of Saudi Arabia."

Lawrence backed the shariff of Mecca, Abdullah, (Great grandfather of the Jordanian king). Ibn Sa'ud, who was basically a desert bandito from a family with historic claims around Riyadh allied himself with the Wah'habbis (a clan of fundamentalist preacher from his home turf) and organized the ikwan, the "brotherhood" of tribal fighters who conquered Mecca and the surrounding province in the 1920s. this drove Abdullah and his family out of Arabia, so the Brits made them the kings of Jordan and Iraq.

5/01/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger Darren Duvall said...


'La Violencia' in Colombia, Pablo Escobar's regin of car bombings and the predations of Shining Path in Peru don't have a lot to do with Islamism. 'La Violencia' was occurring before Sayd Qtub had even been scandalized in the fleshpot of Greely, and Shining Path is avowedly Maoist.

Islamist terrorism in South America may be a big problem in the future, but it's a relatively small problem in the present and is not a problem from the past. They have their own reasons for terrorism to this point.

5/02/2007 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Elijah said...

i should clarify my perspective darren duvall, i am not stating citizens of the area are suffering from Islamic terrorism but that the area is a nexus for planning and coordination of Islamic extremism if you will...a hub of activity.

Foz do Iguacu
Ciudad Del Este
Puerto Iguacu

Visitors to the area -

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
Ramzi binal-Shibh
Khalil bin Laden

In 2003, Vega, the leading Brazilian weekly newspaper published photos of Osama bin Laden that they reported was during his visit to Foz do Iguacu.

There are no Terrorists here - Peter Hudson - Newsweek, 2001

Terrorist and Organized Crime groups in the Tri border Area of South America - Federal Research Division, Library of Congress

Terrorist Threat in the Tri-border Area - Military Review - Sept-oct 2004

Middle Esat Terror Activity in Latin America - Mark Steinitz -2003

Paraguay's Ciudad del Este and the New Centers of Gravity - Military News - March-April 2002

Terrorist Suspicions Persist at Border Town in Brazil - LA Times - Dec 26, 2004

There are many more examples if you are interested

5/02/2007 08:48:00 PM  

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