Thursday, September 28, 2006

Messages from the edge

First the good news. The Associated Press reports the new head of al-Qaeda in Iraq,  Abu Hamza al-Muhajir AKA Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has admitted the loss of 4,000 foreign fighters in combat against the US in Iraq.

He also said more than 4,000 foreign militants have been killed in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 --  the first known statement from the insurgents about their death toll. It was unclear why al-Masri would advertise the loss of the group's foreign fighters, but martyrdom is revered among Islamic fundamentalists, and could be used as a recruiting tool. Analysts said the announcement was likely a boast aimed at drumming up support. "It's showing the level of dedication to their cause, the level of sacrifice jihadists are making," said Ben N. Venzke, director of the Washington-based IntelCenter, which monitors terrorism communications. "In a strange kind of way, it's almost showing a sense of strength and purpose in their cause to other people around world who might be thinking about joining the fight," Venzke said in a telephone interview.

In the topsy-turvey world of perception, analysts regard the admission of a heavy losses as a demonstration of al-Qaeda strength. Now for the bad news. Since conventional war does not seem to be working too well for al-Qaeda in Iraq, it is now seeking to acquire nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.

Al-Qaida in Iraq's leader, in a chilling audiotape released Thursday, called for nuclear scientists to join his group's holy war and urged insurgents to kidnap Westerners so they could be traded for a blind Egyptian sheik who is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison. The fugitive terror chief said experts in the fields of "chemistry, physics, electronics, media and all other sciences -- especially nuclear scientists and explosives experts" should join his group's jihad, or holy war, against the West. ... "The field of jihad can satisfy your scientific ambitions, and the large American bases (in Iraq) are good places to test your unconventional weapons, whether biological or dirty, as they call them."

The most interesting part of al-Muhajir's message lies in the object of their demands: the release of an Egyptian sheik who wanted to kill the Egyptian President and blow up New York City building in 1995.

Thursday's message focused attention on Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, a 68- year-old Egyptian cleric who was convicted in 1995 of seditious conspiracy for his advisory role in a plot to assassinate Egypt's president and blow up five New York City landmarks including the United Nations. Abdel-Rahman is considered the leader of Egyptian Islamic militants, and the 1993 World Trade Center conspirators were known to have attended his lectures.


The essentials of al-Qaeda's message are that first: the radical Jihad has been at war with America for a long time, as shown by their cause celebre, the conviction of blind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman in 1995, simply one of many American "crimes" going back for decades. Second, conventional warfare against America isn't working. They can boast of their willingness to lose 4,000 foreign fighters against the US, not counting their indigenous recruits, but they cannot pretend that losses equal victory. Third, since conventional war isn't working, it is time to ramp up the attack on America to include weapons of mass destruction.  Chicago Boyz links to a RAND study on the effects of a nuke on the port of Long Beach, for anyone who interested in quantifying what this may mean.

As an aside, I am constantly amazed at how many of al-Qaeda's most strident demands are related to political issues related to friendly countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Maybe there is something to the argument that terrorism arises from a lack of functionality and freedom in the Arab/Muslim world. If that is the root cause, then America can retreat all the way back Long Beach without removing the fundamental driver of terrorism in the world.

Tigerhawk notes that it's all Andy McCarthy's fault.

As most of you know, Andy McCarthy prosecuted the "blind sheikh" before he became a pundit and blogger (at The Corner). How many of us can say that we've actually pissed off al Qaeda? Cool.

Can't win, can you?


Blogger HackleHead said...

Thats 288,000 virgins if you are keeping score.

9/28/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

NASA has a study which plans on storing information in lava tubes in lunar caverns, just in case the earth goes down. Anousheh Ansari, who fled Iran, is interested in space tourism. Maybe she figures she didn't run far enough. Maybe she's right.

9/28/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger herb said...

Wretcherd said
"As an aside, I am constantly amazed at how many of al-Qaeda's most strident demands are related to political issues related to friendly countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia."

See the Lee Harris discussion that Wretcherd previously noted. If there is no organizational civilization, (such as a culture) these animals are continually fighting among themselves for internal supremacy while trying to kill as many of us as possible. We need to figure out how to enhance this behavior pattern.

9/28/2006 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

"As an aside, I am constantly amazed at how many of al-Qaeda's most strident demands are related to political issues related to friendly countries like Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Maybe there is something to the argument that terrorism arises from a lack of functionality and freedom in the Arab/Muslim world. If that is the root cause, then America can retreat all the way back Long Beach without removing the fundamental driver of terrorism in the world."

Why is this a surprise? Islam is at war with itself. JP Morgan once said he could hire half of the working class to kill the other half of the working class. We could help half of the Islamic world to kill the other half. In that endeavor they have my vote and whole hearted support.

9/28/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I think its counterintuitive but if Islamic civilization can regain its vitality on a democratic basis we might have the basis for a stable peace. Back in its salad days, Islam was relatively less militant and more tolerant. But when it descended into backwardness and primitivism then it went feral. A lot of "modern" Islamism isn't 8th century at all. Some of it is plain old warmed over Nazism no older than the 1940s. That's not to say Islam didn't have enough enough hostility native to itself, but a lot of the stuff we see today is an enhancement care of certain sects jumped up by petrodollars.

9/28/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

If they plan to use nukes on us they they are really committed to suicide.

People use the Kamikazes of WWII as comparisons. But when Saburo Saki, Japan's leading ace of the time, was told that he would fly escort for a group of Kamikazes he was deeply shocked. It wasn't that dying in combat was so alien, it was that the need to do so deliberately indicated just how hopelessly desperate the situation was.

And on that first Kamikaze mission he turned around and brought them all back home.

9/28/2006 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...


Maybe I should've been more explicit about Islam's "salad days" to be around the time when its art and science flourished and all that. Curiously enough, Islamic nostalgia is a mix and match. For the Islam is good part they remember when it was tolerant to the Jews, etc. Then for the Islam is powerful part they go back when Islam was conquering in all directions. Of course the two were somewhat different periods, best I can tell. But just as Jekyll and Hyde were the same person, the question might be on whose personality does one to stabilize. Jekyll or Hyde's?

I realize the answer for some will be "none of the above". But the whole gamble is that we can get Hyde and leave Jekyll permanently in the subconcious.

9/28/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

This freerepublic post sounds too good to be true. But it is funny.

No Arabs on 'Star Trek?'
ChronWatch ^ | 29 September 2006

Posted on 09/28/2006 7:00:08 PM PDT by Aussie Dasher

The Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations had just finished giving a speech, and walked out into the lobby where he met President Bush.

They shook hands, and as they walked the Iranian said, ''You know, I have just one question about what I have seen in America.''

President Bush said, "Well, anything I can do to help you, I will."

The Iranian whispered: ''My son watches this show 'Star Trek' and in it there is Chekhov who is Russian, Scotty who is Scottish, Uhura who is Black, and Sulu who is Chinese, but no Arabs. My son is very upset and doesn't understand why there aren't any Iranians, Syrians, or Iraqis on "Star Trek."

President Bush laughed, leaned toward the Iranian ambassador, and whispered: ''It's because it takes place in the future.''

9/28/2006 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

An exception to the science fiction/future angle would be Frank Herbert's Dune. There's a discussion of this at FreeRepublic

One poster comments:

I have thought of this from Dune: "He who controls the spice (or in our world, he who controls the oil) controls the universe! And I have thought of this from LOTR about the War on terror: "Hold your ground, hold your ground. Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you *stand, Men of the West!"
My own comment would be that just as the epic battle in LOTR was a diversion while the ring bearers were on their mission so too the battles in the mideast are a diverssion while the west gets its soul back and invents its way out of the oil addiction.

As for Dune--it couldn't have happened if that world were green. And in this the deserts of earth too will change to green in the coming decades.

9/28/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Jesse said:

Man has that right, he is a volitional creature, but there are consequences for choosing evil.

I believe Man is at Liberty to choose evil; but no right.

9/28/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

I think the call to technologists to join the jihad might be more effective than most westerners appreciate. The Arab engineers I've worked with as colleages were all very, very frustrated people--they come to the U.S. for school and learn a tremendous amount about technology and its application. Upon their return home, there is everything to be done and literally nothing to do. There are very few places of employment which will utilize their talents, and there's little point in starting up a new business. As soon as they try, they've instantly got a new "business partner", be he a tribal sheik, a colonel, an imam, or a run-of-the-mill thug. Funny thing is, this "partner" doesn't bring much to running the business--his interest, in fact, is in making sure that the new business does not succeed so much as to rock the local boat.

Offering Arab technologists the chance to "satisfy [their] scientific ambition" may be a very powerful call to some very frustrated folks....

9/28/2006 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

"...more than 4,000 foreign militants...."

Doesn't say how much more than 4,000, do he?

9/28/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

During WWII the war department released footage of marines rolling in the surf at Tarawa to steel up the nation. It’s a powerful film watching it today makes my blood boil.

I don’t think they are releasing the numbers to claim victory so much as to shame and enrage. E.g. look at what these men are doing while you cowards sit and watch.

9/28/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Free West said...

The Raghead-Islamic "culture" is not only a parasitical breeder of mayhem but is a profoundly lazy and abysmally retrograde force in modern times.
Their creativity is totally limited to improvising terror weapons, using parts they are incapable of producing themselves because of their lack of industrial know-how.
Will the Raghead-Islamic "culture" succeed some day in developing an industrial weapons production capability? Will they use it to attack the United States with a Muslim horde-army ? Unlikely for them to part with their inherent sloth. If they suddenly become workaholic militarists like the Germans and Japanese, well - ask the Germans and Japanese who won the war the last time.
More likely they will make heavy use of the Muslim Fifth column implanted in the West and other civilized nations.

9/28/2006 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Sorry. It's Dr. Jekyll who is the good guy. My previous should read: get Dr. Jekyll and leave Hyde in the subconcious. I should have remembered what Curley said to Larry and Moe. "It's Dr. Jekyll. Let us Hyde."

9/28/2006 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger j willie said...

Jesse said:

The western mind born and nurtured in freedom cannot comprehend the above statement. The thinking process used to justify that and other positions in the Arab Parallel Universe simply do not compute to the western thinker.

We in the west can hardly get our boys to put on a belt to hold uptheir pants let alone strap on a suicide belt.

The first statement rings very true; the second caused me to spew beer on my screen in laughter. How many times have any of us with teenage sons told them to pull up their pants! Yet, the absolute incongruity in the behavioral expression of cultural values highlighted by your humorous observation captures the essence of this "clash of civilizations".

9/28/2006 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Quig said...
Generally agree with your comments. I'd add that the islamic revolutions in both Saudi Arabia and Iran occurred in the 1970's. I think its no coincidence that these periods coincide with the first oil shocks. ie the religion is claiming credit for their new power. So you have fat old sheiks giving money for artificial green gardens in the desert, the local mosque and for suicide bombers just to cover all their bases.

Speaking of deserts here's a video of the Rover Spirit on the edge of a crator on Mars.

9/29/2006 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

"Satirical Saudi show makes mockery of militants, draws fundamentalist ire."

This piece is very funny especially the "Terror Academy Awards"

9/29/2006 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Cedarford said...
"Driving the Saudis to their knees by telling them we don't want their stinking oil" is an ill-informed pipe dream.
Bush sees energy independence as a focus of his remaining tenure
Wall Street Journal ^ | 09-29-2006 | Wall Street Journal

Posted on 09/28/2006 10:42:18 PM PDT by soccer_maniac

President Bush said he would speed up his alternative-energy push during the remainder of his term with new spending focused on easing bottlenecks that are slowing the spread of ethanol in the market.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on a swing through Alabama, Mr. Bush said he is seeking ways to overcome difficulties in transporting the fuel, and to increase the number of stations selling it.

9/29/2006 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger Hayek said...

C-4 Who do you believe to be a greater threat to our way of life? 1-entrepenaurial capitalism
2-militant islam

9/29/2006 07:44:00 AM  
Blogger Deuce ☂ said...

You asked for that one C-4. You'll never learn. We are in a fight for survival and you take shots at an important ally in the fight. Damn man, get over it.

9/29/2006 07:49:00 AM  
Blogger Pyrthroes said...

Repeat again: Exporting jihad by the obverse Darwinian tactic of killing yourself off is what Muslims have been doing for 1400 years. "Radical Islam" uses contemporary terms, purports to address current issues, but in fact-- the warriors of Allah remain glued to their camel saddles on the road to Mecca and Medina. They rage at themselves.

When lakes of petro-dollars dry up in thirty years, or perhaps before, the Sheikhs of Araby and their delusive true-believers --"hollow men, stuffed men, headpieces filled with straw"-- will sink back into the dunes. As the 21st Century progresses, their one-quarter of the human race will cease to exist for cultural, economic/political, social or scientific purposes. Then as now, they will contribute nothing.

Too bad, because 1.2 billion souls do have potential. But not while any one of them subscribes to Salafist crypto-fascism allied with the Wahabi death-cult propagated by pot-bellied Saudi "princes" since the end of WW II.

9/29/2006 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gudovac1941 said...

re: Alternative Fuels

Couple of points:

It is indeed correct that Alternatives to Oil have a limited ablity to wean ourselves off Foreign Oil - today.

However, since oil power is 'priced' at the margin. Even a small percentage reduction (meaning 5-10%) in Oil imports from the US would seriously reduce the Oil Exporter's Power.

Recall how bankrupt all the OPEC countries were just a few years ago.

This all changed with a relatively small increase in global MARGINAL consumption.


A small reduction in US consumption would have a huge impact in the MidEast's ability to 'mess' with us.

9/29/2006 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

c4 cant help it. He speaks not of his life experiences but of his upbringing when it comes to his jew drivel. optimistically speaking he is the half empty glass with an output, rarely responding. pesimistically speaking he pursues an agenda along the lines of our enemy & people like Gerald Bull & John Mearsheimer. By trying to convince us the Biofuels will never work and must continue with the Oil habit. "Bite the bullet. Buy no Middle East oil. Convert to bio-fuels. Short term pain, long term gain", in his view would help the jews by harming thier sworn enemy, so naturally he finds fault with it. I hope he does learn, 2164th.

9/29/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Teresita said...

A small reduction in US consumption would have a huge impact in the MidEast's ability to 'mess' with us.

A President who leveled uppity towns in the Sunni Triangle instead of trying to get them to play midnight basketball would have a huge impact on the MidEast's desire to 'mess' with us.

9/29/2006 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

This woman bravely speaks the truth. sorry cedarford, your wrong

Jealosy and Fear can form strong hatred and I believe it is this, more than anything that fuels the extremism. An Inferiority complex thats gone haywire.

Mark Twain's visit to Lebanon, Syria, and the Holy Land in 1867 was published in "The Innocents Abroad", where he described Palestine as follows:

"..... A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds... a silent mournful expanse.... a desolation.... we never saw a human being on the whole route.... hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country."

Although Mark Twain's visit was brief by all accounts, which encompassed the areas that were only cited in the Bible it still is a great insight brought to you by a great American, non-jewish or Zionist, writer.

9/30/2006 07:17:00 AM  

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