Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ouch and ouch

Two enemy successes were in the news today. Bill Roggio reports that Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the founder of the Anbar Awakening movement, was murdered in a car bomb attack outside of his home in Ramadi.

Sattar's murder is a serious blow to the Anbar Awakening and the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq beyond the borders of Anbar province. Sheikh Sattar has been instrumental in organizing tribal sheikhs and former Sunni insurgent groups such as the 1920s Revolution Brigades and the Mujahideen Army to band together and fight al Qaeda in Iraq.

Sattar and the Anbar Awakening spread its influence through tribal and insurgent connections into Salahadin, Baghdad, Diyala, and Babil provinces. Here in the Haswa region, US military officers and Iraqi sheikhs credit the Anbar Awakening with providing both the inspiration and material support to organize against al Qaeda in Iraq. US military officers described the spread of the resistance against al Qaeda in Iraq in southern Baghdad and northern Babil provinces as “arcing from Anbar in the west to the east.”

In Europe, Jose Maria Sison has been released from detention by a Dutch court because prosecutors couldn't provide evidence he directly ordered the murders of two men in the Philippines from the Netherlands. Philippine Commentary has been following events.

Sison's files do not contain information that he incited others to commit serious offenses according to the accusations.

The court also believed that the presumptions that Sison ordered the assassinations of his two former comrades as stated by the widows and alleged triggermen “were insufficiently concrete”.

“The statements of the widows and the marksmen, to which the [Dutch] Public Prosecution Service appeals, only refer to the fact that they assume that the murders have been committed by order of the CC of the CPP and therefore an order originating from the accused being the chairman,” said the court decision. ...

the Court recognized that there are many indications in the files which support the point of view that the accused is still playing a leading role in the Central Committee [CC] of the CPP as well as in the military branch of the CPP, the New People's Army (NPA)," it added.

In other words the Dutch court has evidence from the triggermen themselves that the hits were ordered by by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines and that there are "many indications" that Sison is in fact the Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, but there is no smoking gun. Although Sison will be released from detention he remains a suspect in the murders.

Sison is once again on the verge of getting away with his crimes. The Left has mounted a huge political campaign to free him, accusing the Dutch government of torturing Sison, threatening to suspend peace talks in the Philippines and to unleash war and has gone so far as to declare that dire consequences might befall Dutch citizens because of "outrage" at the charges against the Communist chieftain. In the meantime very little public political support for Sison's prosection has been heard anywhere, excepting a few sites on the blogosphere.

The enemy strikes back. We can never take our gains for granted. A moment's complacency and it can all be reversed. One lesson common to both the Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha assassination and Sison's murder charges is the central importance of controlling and influencing allies in a terrorist war. During the Algerian War, the FLN killed far more Algerian Muslims than French soldiers or civilians. Sison has probably killed more members of the Communist Party than the Army of the Government of the Philippines. Terrorist wars are not won by attacking military targets. They are won by controlling populations through ideology and fear. Bill Roggio's recent account of counterinsurgency efforts in Haswa describes how the Coalition and al-Qaeda are contending for the support tribal leaders and the local population. That contest will be won in large part based on which side is thought to provide the most protection. Counterinsurgency is only partly about "hearts and minds". It more about which side promises a greater chance of survival. Al-Qaeda's assassination of Sheikh Sattar sends the message it will stick at nothing to impose its will. Sison, by ordering the murder of any who oppose him, shows by his actions he understands terrorism well. The Dutch judge, but contrast, illustrates how poorly the West understands the game and goes some way to explaining why they are losing it.


Blogger desert rat said...

6,000 Troops home for Christmass

Down to 130,000 in July!!

Pulling out at the rate of 3,000 per month. Starting in November 2007, as often was said would be the date. A Brigade a month

The Iraqi are standing up!
They'll be ready in 18 months, so says General Jones.
Right on time!!

9/13/2007 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Sattar's murder is a serious blow to the Anbar Awakening and the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq

I don't think so. Actually I think that Sattar's murder should rally the troops and rile the rabble. Sattar's is now a martyr for a new Iraq.

9/13/2007 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

...Sattar's murder should rally the troops and rile the rabble. Sattar's is now a martyr for a new Iraq.


There's an unfortunate tendency for Iraqi leaders who side with Uncle Sam to get themselves killed. If our founding fathers had been systematically murdered at the rate our allies are getting murdered in Iraq, I doubt we would have gotten ourselves a republic.

Imagine if George Washington had been killed in a gunpowder plot by a suicidal madman. Imagine if Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton had also been murdered. Franklin was critical in getting French support, Washington was critical in stopping any army insurrection against Congress, and Hamilton was critical in putting America's financial house in order. And all of them were important for creating our Constitution. Our revolution may very well have been defeated were it not for the leadership of our founding fathers.

In Vietnam during the early 1960's, the Communists were highly proficient at killing pro-government leaders at the local level. They targeted the really good leaders to attack government morale and they targeted the really bad leaders to make themselves look good to the peasantry.

I keep on hearing Americans ask where the Iraqi George Washington is, or where the Iraqi Thomas Jefferson is, or where the Iraqi Benjamin Franklin is. I doubt Iraqis are incapable of great leadership. The problem is that great leaders often wind up dead.

What happened to Hojjat-al-Islam Abd-al-Majid al-Khoei? Dead. What happened to Grand Ayatollah al-Hakim? Dead. What happened to Shiekh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha? Dead. And men like these matter.

I want victory. Victory will not be achieved by sugarcoating the nature of the fight. During World War II, one of the reasons why the Voice of America had more credibility in Europe than the BBC was because the VOA was known to call a spade a spade. When a military defeat happens, it is best to be honest about it and push on to victory.

9/13/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The enemy doesn't have it all their way. This site provides a very partial count of the losses suffered by the other side. The leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been wiped out three or four times over. It's reported that the Qods have withdrawn their people from Iraq temporarily.

But nobody believes we've seen the last of AQI or the Qods. They have a tremendous ability to generate and regenerate forces. The name of this game is not "finding nuggets" but manufacturing leaders. The enemy has a huge system of recruitment which is based on mosques, madrassas, universities and street gangs.

On the other hand Coalition forces rely on raising Iraqi units and on political work with tribal leaders. On balance I would say that the West is still behind the Jihadis when it comes to recruitment. That's why the US Armed Forces can't be expected to win this global war by themselves. It needs all the elements of national power. But with much of the intelligensia and media actually raising fighters for the other side it will be some time before workarounds are found to motivate and raise people to oppose them. Thankfully, terrorism itself often creates its own enemies and our role is often just to pick up their victims, arm them and turn them around. Still I wish we had more help from Hollywood or the papers. But I guess it won't happen any time soon.

9/14/2007 04:09:00 AM  
Blogger Panama Ed said...

The leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been wiped out three or four times over.

Whack a mussulman at $9 Billion and 60 to 90 US KIA per month.

While we wait the 18 to 24 months for the balance of the Iraqi Security to stand up to standard, as the US continues to withdraw.
Pressing the Iraqi to perform.

There will be no spike of violence to impeded US, as there has been no strike against the US Homeland.

Team 43 cedes the inititve to the foe, then wonders why they do not play to the US script.

9/14/2007 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Why doe most suppose the martyr complex works one way? That is, kill a bad guy leader and he becomes a martyr, but when the bad guys kill a good guy leader there is no martyr effect?

I believe it works both ways and more often trotted out to try to discourage good guys from pursuing and killing the bad guys.

If and when Iraq settles down, Abdul Sattar will be remembered as a martyr and Zarqawi will be remembered as dead. If AQI prevails then it will be the other way around.

It's very unfortunate Sheik Abdul Sattar was murdered, but the movement he started, if genuine will carry on. If his movement collapses then he was at best a despot.

9/14/2007 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

On balance I would say that the West is still behind the Jihadis when it comes to recruitment.

I would disagree - at least where tribalism still plays a big role in civil society. Tribal leaders are force multipliers. Convince the sheiks that joining your side is the way to go and you automatically get a semi-organized unit of ready made fighters.

AQ seems to recruit one by one which probably gets you more motivated individuals but can never be as efficient in raising numbers. A recent Times Online (UK) article by a former jihadi told how much of his time in local cell leadership was spent identifying and cultivating individual recruits.

9/14/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Looks like pessimism by some is premature.

"The killing of Sheikh Abu Risha will give us more energy ... to continue confronting al Qaeda members and to dispose of them," said Sheikh Rashid Majid, a leader of the al-Bufahad tribe in Ramadi.
Many ordinary Iraqis agreed. "All of Anbar owes this man, he offered security and stability," said 45-year-old Mohammed Hussain Ali from Ramadi.


"Revenge should be made quickly," mourners chanted as the coffins of Abu Risha and two bodyguards, draped in Iraqi flags, were carried to the cemetery. "We will chase the killers..."

9/14/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

We're paying the sheikhs hundreds of thousands of dollars to switch to our side and shoot at Al-Q. It worked on USSA and toppled that country, and I see no reason why it won't work on a bunch of goatherders in the desert and also work to drive Iran over the brink (if we don't test out the latest in our nuclear technology on them first).

I suppose it would have been nice if the Arabs had the intestinal fortitude and intelligence to embrace democracy on their own, but failing that, bribes are good. Especially if you're the biggest briber with the biggest pot to dip into on the planet.

We also just bought out North Korea. I wonder how much China would cost.

9/14/2007 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

More then they'd lend US, nahncee

9/14/2007 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Ahmad Abu Reesha has taken over the Anbar Awakening Conference following his brother’s assassination.

This after his father and uncles and brothers, nearly ten, have bought the farm for their version of Iraq. Not lacking for bravado this younger frother, stepping up, filling those shoes.

Our current ally, Ahmad Abu Reesha, the unproven prudent moderate muslim. A new generation of leaders, not tainted by Baathist bloodletting, under Saddam's tenure.
Forward we go!!

Handing off, to the moderate & modern Iraqi muslims, that we've been training since 2002 & 2003.
Nearly five years of military training, from that authorized by Congress prior to the Invasion through today. Five years, that'd give you the NCOs and midRange officers in that Iraqi Army we've stood up.
In 18 to 24 months, that'll be... Seven Years of US Training.
If the Iraqi are not ready after that, then the US Military will have been proven to not be a capable Army builder.

Just as the Nation building mission was fumbled by State, or the civilian in charge, with so much distance between Mr Maliki and US. The US unhappy with the results of the Iraqi political process.
That US designed & approved process, considering all those empty civilian billets that Bing West reported on in '04&05, little wonder that we're not pleased with their work product.

9/14/2007 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

More then they'd lend US, nahncee

Hell, they're givin' it to us for free through schmucks like Hsu, DR. Why should we borrow anything, or even pay them anything, when they're so eager to get in our game they're doing everything they can to buy their way in the backdoor.

9/14/2007 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Chinese Foreign reserves minus gold

Mar 2007

Joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001 contributed to rapid growth in imports, but exports also expanded at a fast pace, while FDI inflows exceeded US$60 billion a year by 2004-2005.

In October 2006, China's foreign exchange reserves exceeded USD1 trillion for the first time. By mid-2007, the reserves had reached USD1,000 per head for the entire population of China.

Japan $612.3
China, Mainland $405.1
United Kingdom 2/ $190.1
Oil Exporters 3/ $122.3
Hong Kong $60.5

9/14/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

In his first appearance before the Senate as the head of the U.S. central bank, Bernanke was pressed by Banking Committee members on the question of the U.S. economy's vulnerability to changes in China's U.S.-dollar denominated assets.

But Bernanke said he is not "deeply" concerned about the issue.

"I don't think that the Chinese ownership of U.S. assets is so large as to put our country at risk economically," he said February 16.

At the end of 2005, China, with $820 billion in such assets, was the second-largest holder of U.S. debt after Japan, which held about $10 billion more.
He said that, although he is not aware of any plans by China significantly to change its holdings of U.S. assets, if it was to sell some U.S. debt securities, the U.S. economy would not suffer.

"I think that realistic changes in China's portfolio are not going to have major impacts on U.S. asset prices or interest rates," he said.

He said the growing U.S. current account deficit is the real concern, not a change in China's investment portfolio.

Bernanke cautioned that foreign investors might at some point decide to stop increasing their U.S. holdings or demand higher earnings on U.S. debt, a development that would lead probably to an "uncomfortable adjustment" in the current account balance and hurt the U.S. economy.

He said, however, that the U.S. current account deficit "can and should come down gradually over a period of time" as a result of higher U.S. national savings in combination with increased domestic demand by major U.S. trading partners (including Japan and Germany), and greater exchange-rate flexibility by Asian countries, particularly China.

The current account, which consists mostly of the trade balance, is part of the balance of payment, the broadest measure of one country's economic transactions with the rest of the world. Another part is the capital and financial account, which records U.S. net sales or purchases of assets, such as stocks, bonds, foreign direct investment and reserves. A large U.S. trade deficit -- $726 billion in 2005 -- is financed by foreign investors buying U.S. assets such as bonds and stock.

9/14/2007 07:42:00 PM  

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