Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Balance of Terror

The National Intelligence Estimate sees a continued threat from al-Qaeda, both based in Pakistan and Iraq, and a growing threat from an increasingly radicalized internal Islamic minority hooked together by the Internet. A secondary threat from "single-issue" non-Muslim terrorist groups which CNS identifies as a euphemism for environmental radicals.

The key findings of the NIE are below. The emphasis is mine.

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years. The main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially al- Qa’ida, driven by their undiminished intent to attack the Homeland and a continued effort by these terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities. We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11. These measures have helped disrupt known plots against the United States since 9/11.

We are concerned, however, that this level of international cooperation may wane as 9/11 becomes a more distant memory and perceptions of the threat diverge. Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities. We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability, including: a safehaven in the Pakistan Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), operational lieutenants, and its top leadership. Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al-Qa’ida senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al-Qa’ida will intensify its efforts to put operatives here.

As a result, we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment. We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks. We assess that al-Qa’ida’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the US population. The group is proficient with conventional small arms and improvised explosive devices, and is innovative in creating new capabilities and overcoming security obstacles.

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability.

We assess Lebanese Hizballah, which has conducted anti-US attacks outside the United States in the past, may be more likely to consider attacking the Homeland over the next three years if it perceives the United States as posing a direct threat to the group or Iran.

We assess that the spread of radical—especially Salafi—Internet sites, increasingly aggressive anti-US rhetoric and actions, and the growing number of radical, self-generating cells in Western countries indicate that the radical and violent segment of the West’s Muslim population is expanding, including in the United States. The arrest and prosecution by US law enforcement of a small number of violent Islamic extremists inside the United States— who are becoming more connected ideologically, virtually, and/or in a physical sense to the global extremist movement—points to the possibility that others may become sufficiently radicalized that they will view the use of violence here as legitimate. We assess that this internal Muslim terrorist threat is not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe, however.

We assess that other, non-Muslim terrorist groups—often referred to as “single-issue” groups by the FBI—probably will conduct attacks over the next three years given their violent histories, but we assess this violence is likely to be on a small scale. We assess that globalization trends and recent technological advances will continue to enable even small numbers of alienated people to find and connect with one another, justify and intensify their anger, and mobilize resources to attack—all without requiring a centralized terrorist organization, training camp, or leader.

The ability to detect broader and more diverse terrorist plotting in this environment will challenge current US defensive efforts and the tools we use to detect and disrupt plots. It will also require greater understanding of how suspect activities at the local level relate to strategic threat information and how best to identify indicators of terrorist activity in the midst of legitimate interactions.

The general picture is one of global stalemate. The AQ has been weakened, but not defeated. It remains in being as a headquarters and meme-generation cell in Pakistan. There should be no doubt about what air Osama Bin Laden, if he were alive, is breathing. Efforts to defeat the regional terror groups, whether in Iraq, Lebanon or based in Iran, are inconclusive. Whatever the qualms of the "international community" toward dealing with these regional terror groups, the terrorists themselves have no inhibitions about attacking the homeland. With radiological or chemical weapons if need be.

International cooperation will be diminished. And the reason, though buried in the text, is that the internal Muslim populations of the West are increasingly radicalized. And as voters, they can be expected to put the damper on any war on terror. Like a boa constrictor which simply waits for his victim to exhale before tightening the coils once again, the "internal threat" now provides a concrete mechanism for slowly asphyxiating the West through demographics and the vote. Then, having cursorily touched on this possibility, the report moves on.

On a lighter note, the Left is now definitely the junior partner to and court jester of Jihad. It's official. We can expect some terror attacks from the hierophants of Gaia, but the damage is not expected to be great. It's for entertainment value only. The hard Bolshevik disciples of the world revolution are now in sad decline.


Blogger Whiskey said...

Yes of course, but the solution for the internal Muslim problem is to get rid of them.

Here in the US we have seen the Democrats defeat the "John Doe" protections against people being sued for reporting suspicious terrorist-related activity. So Dems have been on the record for terrorists rights.

A mass casualty series (not one) of attacks is inevitable. We are likely looking at around 100K and up in dead.

After that, any constraint on locking up, then summarily deporting, all Muslims will be gone. It will have to be done for their safety because the war clearly by that point will have devolved to one of people against people. Submit to Allah or die.

In Europe, well there's a host of young men without women (Der Spiegel and the Economist report that East Germany has few women remaining). In some areas of East Germany there are only 40 women for every 100 men 18-34. Not surprisingly these men form the foot soldiers of the NPD. So likely we will see that group of men pitted against the corresponding Muslim ones in a battle for who rules Europe, nation by nation. Perhaps only France this time will escape it.

7/19/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Comparisons would help. Eg, how do they stack up to the influence of fascist sympathizers, coupled with isolationists, I suppose, until WW2?

7/19/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I don't see some kind of social upheaval with blood on the streets and nooses from lampposts as a preferred solution to the problems created by political stupidity. It's too unpredictable. There are still people alive today who remember where that one went.

A stitch in time saves nine. Now there's the Three Conjectures restated in layman's terms. People need to work the political system overtime. To work within the laws today; to exert themselves to reach relatively amicable agreements now. No more of this feckless rush to the cliff. No more denial. No more just shrugging the shoulders, as Ed Koch did, and saying, well there'll be fighting in the streets one day and then we'll act. That's years too late. If we let it get that far we will have deserved it as a society.

7/19/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

On the Glenn Beck radio program today it was pointed out that some experts think that the Beslan massacre was simply a training exercise for multiple similar attacks in the U.S. The objective would be that of classic terrorism – to prompt an overreaction that would radicalize Islamic populations in the West. They know that such atrocities will cause us to go absolutely nuts and hope that will result in the bombing of mosques in the U.S. and the rounding up of the Islamic populations into camps, who will fight back by supporting more terrorism.

Yes, we might well go nuts – and I wonder if the Feds, state and local authorities would even try to prevent armed rednecks from taking to the streets. But we might well take other actions as well, ones that could result in the creation of a number of self-lighting glass paved parking lots.

7/19/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

I agree Wretchard that lynching should be avoided. But it's impossible.

Look at the Dems: they just voted in the Senate 57-39 (3 short of the super-majority needed) against the John Doe Amendment. So passengers and others who see something: "keep your mouth shut" ... for political incorrectness see the DNC.

Voting against:

Biden, Boxer, Kennedy, Feingold, Harkin, and Webb among others. No Republican voted against it. Hillary sought cover by voting for it. Fat lot of good it will do her though.

We will rush to the cliff. We will deny everything until a giant flash. We will shrug our shoulders like Ed Koch. We will get that far.

Because Liberals fundamentally don't think there is a problem. If people die "that's the cost of doing business in the global economy" according to Malloch Brown.

Do we deserve a choice between only submission to Allah and the lynch mob? Yes but we won't get one. Liberals have a lock on so many levers of power they can stymie even sensible measures. We can't do something amicably. We can't even call it what it is: Islamic Terror.

Liberals are like that Harry Potter book where they can't name the villain, for fear of actually having to do something about it, and look for enemies that are "safe."

And I understand why. Liberals are useless in a fight against the enemy, and would prefer to submit to him rather than fight (the pattern of the Byzantines and why they fell). At least under the Sultan they kept power, for a while. Even better to deny reality in front of you. No Voldemort. It's Harry who's the threat.

Liberals will ALWAYS stymie any reasonable, head-off disaster approach because it threatens their power, people who die are "little people" or even "little Eichmans." At any rate they are quite expendable. They have fantasies that it's evil GWB, or the Jews, with controlled implosions and Rudy and missiles hitting the Pentagon. Fire never melts steel. They won't change until they are swept away.

RWE -- I don't think the armed Korean shopkeepers during the Rodney King riots were rednecks. But their backs were to the wall, all they had was in their stores. If it came down to it they'd shoot to kill to keep from being poor. Imagine what would happen to keep from being dead.

Particularly since the Government has essentially and irrevocably turned it's back on the people. Who will react according to their own preferences: America for whoever can tap populism for a while, Europe with the Great Captain. [Though Old Hickory was bloody enough, ask the Cherokee or Seminole or British or the South Carolina folks who threatened secession.]

I wish it weren't so. But it's my sense that events have already run out on us: likely an attack is already in the works that will kill many, and Pakistan teeters on the edge. Imagine Zawahari with nukes.

7/19/2007 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Whiskey 199: I knew one of the Koreans who manned those barricades of bags of rice. And as you more or less describe in your own words, in certain circles any people who grab up their guns and go defend what they believe in are called "rednecks."

As for the people of South Carolina, speak no more. Our high school Senior Class Day was held in the very room where the Secession Convention first convened.

7/20/2007 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger Whiskey said...

rwe -- well concomitant with a mass casualty attack would be the sweeping away of the elites. The way they were with Jackson. In some ways a terrible man because the people of the Western Frontiers had been denied so long.

While Wretchard's advice is sound, something may always turn up, I think it would also be wise, that if expecting that events have outrun us, to be ready to step in personally and guide events locally to more sane outcomes.

To be in other words a voice for sanity, for limits, along with action. To decide now what we will do, and what we won't do. Before the moment comes.

7/20/2007 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Whiskey 199: One of the Koreans told me that they barracaded themselves in front of the stores with 100 lb bags of rice and when a car came by with "the enemy" in it and fired a round in their direction they gave one back right away. That was a sane, measured response, I guess.

If I had been there and a carload of toughs had fired a round anywhere remotely near me, I would not have shot back with a .22 but very probably would have emptied the magazine of my Mini-14 into their car, all 40 rounds of .556. And then reloaded, fast.

Probably was very good that I wasn't there.....

7/20/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger JakeGint said...


You seem convinced OBL, if alive, is in Pakistan. I've no opinion, but Michael Ledeen seems convinced he's in Iran. What's his credibility quotient w/ you? He seems Iran-o-mesmerized. Not that he doesn't have ample cause...


"hierophants of Gaia,"

Can I just say, these are the turns of phrase that keep me coming back? I've asked this before, but maybe you missed it... are you a Gene Wolfe aficienado?

7/21/2007 12:26:00 PM  

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