Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pakistan and Iraq

Two reports from Bill Roggio:

Suicide bomber kills seven outside military headquarters in Rawalpindi

As the Pakistani government has negotiated another cease-fire with the Taliban in the settled district of Swat in the Northwest Frontier Province, the terrorists conducted another suicide strike in the heart of President Pervez Musharraf's seat of power. A suicide bomber detonated his vest outside of the Pakistani army headquarters in the military garrison city of Rawalpindi. Seven were killed, including two police officers, and another 14 were reported wounded in the strike. ...

Iraqi police kill al Qaeda commander of western Iraq

Iraqi police in Anbar province scored a victory against al Qaeda in Iraq's leadership in Anbar province on Monday. Iraqi police killed Abu Tiba al Karbuli and two aides and captured another during an engagement north of Ramadi.

Are the relative roles of Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan starting to shift?

Maybe (and this pure speculation on my part) the psychological choice of destination for radical Islamists is no longer Iraq -- but Afghanistan/Pakistan. This story is told in the New York Times.

Afghan police officers working a highway checkpoint near here noticed something odd recently about a passenger in a red pickup truck. Though covered head to toe in a burqa, the traditional veil worn by Afghan women, she was unusually tall. When the police asked her questions, she refused to answer.

When the veil was eventually removed, the police found not a woman at all, but Andre Vladimirovich Bataloff, a 27-year-old man from Siberia with a flowing red beard, pasty skin and piercing blue eyes. Inside the truck was 1,000 pounds of explosives.

Afghan and American officials say the Siberian intended to be a suicide bomber, one of several hundred foreign militants who have gravitated to the region to fight alongside the Taliban this year, the largest influx since 2001.

Just as in Iraq, the "foreign fighters" are "are more violent, uncontrollable and extreme than even their locally bred allies", says the NYT. The British Empire was once characterized as "a vast system of outdoor relief for the [British] upper classes" (the words "outdoor relief" in this case meant welfare without the necessity of entering a workhouse). Similarly the Jihad may now fulfill the same function: an outlet where dissatisfied young men can seek meaning in their lives and find adventure into the bargain. With "foreign fighters" being hunted down by the locals in Iraq, they need someplace else to go. The NYT article continues:

Mr. Bataloff, the Russian arrested in a burqa, insists he is a religious student who traveled to Pakistan last year to learn more about his new faith. In an hourlong interview in an Afghan jail in Kabul, he said his interest in Islam blossomed three years ago when he was living in Siberia.

“First, I heard from TV, radio and newspapers about Islam,” he said in Russian. “I found Islam had a lot of good things, especially that Islam respects all prophets, including Jesus.”

From Siberia to Afghanistan and from Jesus to a truck with a thousand pounds of explosive is a long way to go.


Blogger Fat Man said...

There was the flypaper theory.

10/30/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

This is more good news. Aside from the flypaper aspects, the locals in Afghanistan really, really don't like the nutjob foreigners who have come for some recreational exploding. And the more of them there are the less they will like them. Even the Pashtun can get enough of that kind of stuff, eventually.

10/30/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

So the Islamists are transitioning their 'training' grounds.

They couldn't fix their unexplainable casualty ratio by changing from boots to tennis shoes or implementing a 'stress card' program. The live fire exercises were a specific concern, eh.

All in all, it is better for these chaps to go back home – where they can live for a while with the folks that spawned them.

Then when they get squeezed out of Waziristan they can flow downstream like turds towards their sponsors, Iran and Syria. Iran and Syria will certainly open their arms in welcome. Nothing like the murderers you sponsored ‘over there’ coming back home ‘over here’. So many stories to tell. But, they seem to be in a bad humor!!!

So, Libs, who is winning.

The folks that wanted Iraq as the center of a Militant Islamic Caliphate – or the folks that wanted to hold the center…

10/31/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

There are two migrations of interest in measuring the progress in Iraq. The first is the change in the destination of jihadis that this post observes. Even Osama has basically thrown in the towel on the struggle there, judging from his latest communique.

The second migration is of Iraqi refugees. Millions have chosen to flee. Counting those who return to their homes, both from other countries and from other parts of Iraq will provide an excellent measure of the pace of progress. To date, I believe the flow is nominal at best, but as we have seen in Afghanistan, where 4 million refugees have indeed gone home, people do vote with their feet, even when the destination is not 100% safe.

10/31/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gene Felder said...

I think George W Bush’s “bring ‘em on” strategy is working quite nicely”. Particularly after watching THE WAR on PBS and regularly seeing SNAFU and FUBAR in World War II.

I asked a friend why Al Qaeda not only has not successfully attacked the US in six years, but only two successful attacks in the west (Madrid in March 2003 and London in July 2005). See list of Al Qaeda terrorists attacks at http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0884893.html

Outside of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, zero attacks in 2006 and only Algeria in so far in 2007.

I said if I was Al Qaeda, and if the US fighting back just created many more terrorists, I would be blowing up a mall or power plant every month. My friend says he thinks it is not due to our efforts in fighting back, but rather that Al Qaeda is just bidding their time.

10/31/2007 03:19:00 PM  

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