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June 30, 2006

Hamas Interior Minister Saeed Seyam an IDF Target

Israel has launched a missile attack on the Gaza offices of the Hamas-led Ministry of the Interior. The top floor of the building is ablaze.

gazainteriorstrike.jpgThere is a very significant reason the Interior Ministry was attacked. It is home to the offices of Saeed Seyam, who was appointed by Hamas to lead Interior. Upon his inauguration into office, the Hamas terrorist vowwed to protect other terrorists as one of his principal duties as Interior Minister. He had said, “The day will never come when any Palestinian would be arrested because of his political affiliation or because of resisting the occupation.”

He went on further to state his mission, speaking in the third-person. “Saeed Seyam did not come to the government to revive any security cooperation or to protect the occupation and their settlers. I came to protect our people and their fighters, to protect their trees, their properties and their capabilities.”

His specific targetting by Israel is only logical. The only curious aspect is that the strike happened days after the incursion began and not sooner.

June 29, 2006

Islamic Terror and the Caribbean Connection

With the recent arrest of the terror plotters in Miami, yet another set of would-be Jihadis displays links to the Caribbean, be it Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad-Tobago or elsewhere in the West Indies. With the perspective of someone who once lived and worked in Jamaica, David Paulin at The Big Carnival takes a closer look and wonders if The Caribbean is a playground for Jihad.

Could these anti-Western and anti-American pathologies explain the Caribbean’s ties to recent terrorism cases? It’s a possibility. Radical Islam, after all, attracts those who already seethe with grievances against America and the West. Ideology, not poverty, motivates young jihadis.

Before discussing the region’s pathologies in more detail, consider the four other Caribbean links to terror plots – all involving Jamaica to varying degrees:

He continues on to not only take a look at the interdicted groups and individuals who originated from the region, but also takes a look at the charged anti-American political environment and social fabric that may hold some sway and influence in the captured men's psyches that contributes to a ready conversion to radical Islam.

Few have noted the Caribbean trend of the West's Islamic terror cells. David Paulin's article openly speculating at possibilities that may help explain this is worth consideration.

On Calls for Israeli Restraint

In an unsigned Los Angeles Times editorial titled "Use restraint, Israel," the newspaper blames Israel for escalating violence and calls for them to stop antagonizing the situation.

Once again, escalating violence threatens to derail any hope of a breakthrough between Israelis and Palestinians. It is a depressingly familiar theme in a depressingly familiar struggle, prompting a depressingly familiar response: These latest horrors should not be allowed to affect the prospects for peace.

Precisely who is escalating the violence? Surely the LA Times editors are on top of the situation on the ground in Gaza, and can note that, at the time this opinion was being written, al-Jazeera was reporting that more than 48 hours into the Israeli incursion (and apparently what the LA Times considers 'escalation'), not a drop of Palestinian blood had been shed.

Despite the size of the Israeli operation, with large troop movements, artillery barrages and many air strikes over two days, no one was hurt. [Emphasis added.]

The same can not be said of Hamas and their various actors, as the 18 year old Israeli citizen Eliahu Asheri was kidnapped, executed and his body burned in the West Bank.

The escalation that the LA Times misappropriates responsibility for comes directly from Damascus and Tehran. As noted in today's PrincipalAnalysis, Persian Whispers of Escalation in Meshaal’s Ears, the escalation occurred before the Israeli incursion and, in fact, caused it.

Though not as visible and as easy to report as a flight of IAF jets, the escalation has already existed - through both Hizballah and Meshaal - in the form of Syrian and Iranian direction. Through Syrian and Iranian command, cooperation, coordination, funding, training, and arming, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups are currently fighting their sponsors’ war.

More executed Israeli civilians dumped on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza and this bloodless limited incursion will take on a whole new face.

It is indeed far too easy to count tanks, planes and troops and readily assign agressor status to the visible. It is also inaccurate.

June 28, 2006

Vacation in Somalia

EagleSpeak updates on the situation in Somalia and simply concludes, "I understand that vacation packages to Somalia are being heavily discounted..."

Excellent Operation Summer Rain Coverage

If you are one of the few who have not yet been there, Vital Perspective is doing an excellent job Live Blogging the IDF incursion into southern Gaza. We sent readers over by linking them early in our first of three InBrief entries on Operation Summer Rain thus far. But their observant coverage deserves a RapidRecon entry of its own.

Go pay them a visit and check for updates.

June 27, 2006

Iran Was to 'Meddle' in al-Qaeda Kidnapping?

Still in the process of catching up, missed was this RIA Novosti report on Iran's statement that they were "prepared to assist in releasing four Russian diplomats abducted in the Iraqi capital." Thankfully, Gary Metz did not at Regime Change Iran.

First and foremost, it is touching that Iran decided to declare that they were 'prepared to assist' in gaining the Russians' release on the same day (June 25) that a video was later released showing their decapitation.

The (partial) text of the RIA Novosti report, purely for dissection purposes:

Russian diplomat Vitaly Titov was killed during the attack on an embassy car in the capital of Iraq on June 3. The kidnappers seized Fyodor Zaitsev, third secretary of the embassy, and also diplomats Rinat Agliulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedoseyev.

Asefi said Iran was denouncing the kidnapping of the Russian diplomats in Iraq.

NOTE: Interesting. They were kidnapped on June 3rd. On June 25, Iran announces that they are 'denouncing' the kidnapping. Current tense. Three weeks after the event.

According to Asefi, if the Russian side applies to Iran with a respective request, the Islamic Republic is prepared to meddle into the situation and take steps, as far as its possibilities can allow it, to release the Russian diplomats.

NOTE: Again, interesting. ..."as far as [Iran's] possibilities can allow it" to negotiate/talk/influence al-Qaeda. Why not start with the al-Qaeda members currently being harbored in northern Iran? That seems to be a fairly productive 'possibility.'

Asefi said there was a large number of extremist and terrorist groups operating in Iraq, and the U.S. presence in that country had not helped stabilize the situation.

NOTE: Even more interesting. What has also not 'helped stabilize the situation' is the Iranian support for those terrorist groups in Iraq, including shaped charges supplied for more deadly roadside bombs and human resources 'donated' to the southern areas of Iraq, principally Basra.

Of course, Gary sums it up properly by noting that "Iran is admitting that it has influence over Al Qaeda's insurgents in Iraq."

To Recognize or Not To Recognize

...That is the Question.

First, from the UK's Telegraph:

Hamas U-turn on Israel's right to exist
bq. With Israel threatening to re-invade Gaza, Hamas, the militant Palestinian movement, made a historic policy reversal yesterday when it signed up to an agreement implicitly recognising the right of the Jewish state to exist.

Hamas hailed the policy U-turn as ending weeks of tense negotiations with the other main Palestinian political force, Fatah, which had spilt over into violent clashes on the streets.

'It is the beginning of a new era in common and united work on all political questions, the resistance and the internal situation,' Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, said.

Various Hamas spokesmen stressed that there was no outright recognition of Israel, although they could not deny the historic importance of the agreement.

Next, from the UK's BBC:

Hamas resist Israel recognition
bq. Rival Palestinian political factions Fatah and Hamas have reached agreement on a common political strategy to try to end a damaging power struggle.

However, Hamas negotiators have denied earlier reports that the deal meant the militants would implicitly recognise Israel - a major policy shift.

So which is it? Likely both, as the 'agreement' will serve to further accentuate and accelerate the splintering of Hamas.

However, the text of the agreement has yet to be released to examine the exact language. For now, the operative word should be 'implicitly', which obviously falls short of explicit recognition.

Also, the agreement most certainly will not reveal any language renouncing violence or terrorist tactics, the other part of international (and Israeli) demands on Hamas.

June 26, 2006

A Little Black Book

Just in case you missed it, from Jim Dunnigan at Strategy Page:

Al Qaeda in Iraq has been virtually wiped out by the loss of an address book. The death of al Qaeda leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi was not as important as the capture of his address book and other planning documents in the wake of the June 7th bombing. U.S. troops are trained to quickly search for names and addresses when they stage a raid, pass that data on to a special intelligence cell, which then quickly sorts out which of the addresses should be raided immediately, before the enemy there can be warned that their identity has been compromised. More information is obtained in those raids, and that generates more raids. So far, the June 7th strike has led to over 500 more raids. There have been so many raids, that there are not enough U.S. troops to handle it, and over 30 percent of the raids have been carried by Iraqi troops or police, with no U.S. involvement. Nearly a thousand terrorist suspects have been killed or captured. The amount of information captured has overwhelmed intelligence organizations in Iraq, and more translators and analysts are assisting, via satellite link, from the United States and other locations.

Dealing with Taiwan

With the arrival of Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi approaching, the Weekly Standard offers a look at how Japan and the US could benefit by some clarification of policy when dealing with Taipei. The column, written by Joshua Eisenman and Josh Rogin, makes the case for a broader international role for Taipei as a minimum objective.

Given the KMT's relationship with Beijing, a much broader objective wouldn't be a bad idea at all.

Catching Up

Last week was a very light week at ThreatsWatch. It was not, clearly, a light week for security events. With developments unfolding in Iran, in the Arab-Israeli conflict and even here at home in Miami, I found myself purposefully disconnected and am in the process of catching up after a week with my family on vacation. The relatively undistracted time spent with them was a drop in the bucket compared to what I still owe them.

Apologies for the interruption in coverage. We'll be back up to speed in short order, likely through a relatively high volume of InBrief and RapidRecon entries beginning later today.

For now, in an intersting read, Bruce Kesler says that he doesn't want to be a Military Blogger and explains why in a column today at The Examiner.

Many of those MilBloggers he speaks of can be found contributing at MilBlogs, and many of them are likely just as reluctant as he but also press on out of necessity.

June 25, 2006

Iran Still Ignored After Khobar Towers

Much attention is paid to the Iranian Nuclear Crisis, and this is at the cost of obscuring the very reason that nuclear technology and Iran in its current form are incompatible. Iran is today and has been for decades the world's premier state sponsor of terrorism. Former FBI Director Louis Freeh makes this painfully clear while wondering publicly if the United States will ever deal directly with this unspoken political inconvenience.

Ten years ago today, acting under direct orders from senior Iranian government leaders, the Saudi Hezbollah detonated a 25,000-pound TNT bomb that killed 19 U.S. airmen in their dormitory at Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The blast wave destroyed Building 131 and grievously wounded hundreds of additional Air Force personnel. It also killed an unknown number of Saudi civilians in a nearby park.

The 19 Americans murdered were members of the 4,404th Wing, who were risking their lives to enforce the no-fly zone over southern Iraq. This was a U.N.-mandated mission after the 1991 Gulf War to stop Saddam Hussein from killing his Shiite people. The Khobar victims, along with the courageous families and friends who mourn them this weekend in Washington, deserve our respect and honor. More importantly, they must be remembered, because American justice has still been denied.

Although a federal grand jury handed up indictments in June 2001--days before I left as FBI director and a week before some of the charges against 14 of the terrorists would have lapsed because of the statute of limitations--two of the primary leaders of the attack, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil and Abdel Hussein Mohamed al-Nasser, are living comfortably in Iran with about as much to fear from America as Osama bin Laden had prior to Sept. 11 (to wit, U.S. marshals showing up to serve warrants for their arrests).

Read it in full.

June 16, 2006

Civilians or Human Shields?

Charles Krauthammer asks Who Is to Blame for Grief on a Beach?

The answer can be found by comparing two statements, one widely touted and the other conveniently unsaid and unacknowledged.

If 'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter,' it should be recognized that 'One man's civilian is another man's human shield.' Krauthammer illustrates this perfectly.

He gets there by asking the same question asked in this space.

But the obvious question not being asked is this: Who is to blame if Palestinians are setting up rocket launchers to attack Israel -- and placing them 400 yards from a beach crowded with Palestinian families on the Muslim Sabbath?

Answer: This is another example of the Palestinians' classic and cowardly human-shield tactic -- attacking innocent Israeli civilians while hiding behind innocent Palestinian civilians. For Palestinian terrorists -- and the Palestinian governments (both Fatah and Hamas) that allow them to operate unmolested -- it's a win-win: If their rockets aimed into Israeli towns kill innocent Jews, no one abroad notices and it's another success in the terrorist war against Israel. And if Israel's preventive and deterrent attacks on those rocket bases inadvertently kill Palestinian civilians, the iconic "Israeli massacre" picture makes the front page of the New York Times, and the Palestinians win the propaganda war.

We alluded to precisely that. First ,indirectly.

Thirdly, IDF intelligence claims that, since an Israeli special forces beach landing that took out a Kassam team during their launch preparations, Hamas began mining the beaches to prevent another IDF landing.

Then, directly.

So you are a group of freedom fighters in the Palestinian Territories and you want to strike back at the always menacing and murderous hearts of those who occupy your homeland. What do you do? You take your Kassam rockets and fire them off at Israeli occupied terrority. Where do you do this from?

Why 250 to 500 meters away from where your friends and neighbors picnic and enjoy the leisure of days at the beach.

Of course, when the dreaded IDF responds and shells your base of operations - you blame them for the death of innocents. And you know that the Western media will never ask any questions about your selection of launching points.

Krauthammer delivers another 'must read' column.

A Look Back at History

From the History News Network, a question embedded within a larger post:

NYT reported on June 7: "Initial Arab reaction today deplored the assassination, but several newspaper editorials here asserted that the crime could not be isolated from United States policy in the Middle East."

Sounds familiar? It should.

Pop Quiz: Who, what, when, where...and why should it sound familiar?

Do you know the answers? Go find out.

How close were you?

June 15, 2006

Full Text of the al-Zarqawi Letter

Earlier today, we discussed a single point within the letter from the Ba'athist insurgency leadership to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al-Qaeda in Iraq network. There are many to be considered. (Thanks to Dan Darling for alerting us to this last night.)

In an e-mail, Thomas Joscelyn asks the following, noting al-Qaeda in Iraq's ties specifically to the Fedayeen Saddam.

And what did Saddam's ultra-loyal Fedayeen have to say about the demise of Zarqawi?

"Although there were many matters we differed with him on and him with us, ... what united us was something greater," said the statement by the Fedayeen Saddam. It said the group had "the honor" of fighting alongside Zarqawi and that "our determination is only increased for waging jihad."

Below is the full text of the Zarqawi letter, revealing in many ways.

________________________________________________

The situation and conditions of the resistance in Iraq have reached a point that requires a review of the events and of the work being done inside Iraq. Such a study is needed in order to show the best means to accomplish the required goals, especially that the forces of the National Guard have succeeded in forming an enormous shield protecting the American forces and have reduced substantially the losses that were solely suffered by the American forces. This is in addition to the role, played by the Shi'a (the leadership and masses) by supporting the occupation, working to defeat the resistance and by informing on its elements.

As an overall picture, time has been an element in affecting negatively the forces of the occupying countries, due to the losses they sustain economically in human lives, which are increasing with time. However, here in Iraq, time is now beginning to be of service to the American forces and harmful to the resistance for the following reasons:

1. By allowing the American forces to form the forces of the National Guard, to reinforce them and enable them to undertake military operations against the resistance.

2. By undertaking massive arrest operations, invading regions that have an impact on the resistance, and hence causing the resistance to lose many of its elements.

3. By undertaking a media campaign against the resistance resulting in weakening its influence inside the country and presenting its work as harmful to the population rather than being beneficial to the population.

4. By tightening the resistance's financial outlets, restricting its moral options and by confiscating its ammunition and weapons.

5. By creating a big division among the ranks of the resistance and jeopardizing its attack operations, it has weakened its influence and internal support of its elements, thus resulting in a decline of the resistance's assaults.

6. By allowing an increase in the number of countries and elements supporting the occupation or at least allowing to become neutral in their stand toward us in contrast to their previous stand or refusal of the occupation.

7. By taking advantage of the resistance's mistakes and magnifying them in order to misinform.

Based on the above points, it became necessary that these matters should be treated one by one:

1. To improve the image of the resistance in society, increase the number of supporters who are refusing occupation and show the clash of interest between society and the occupation and its collaborators. To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance.

2. To assist some of the people of the resistance to infiltrate the ranks of the National Guard in order to spy on them for the purpose of weakening the ranks of the National Guard when necessary, and to be able to use their modern weapons.

3. To reorganize for recruiting new elements for the resistance.

4. To establish centers and factories to produce and manufacture and improve on weapons and to produce new ones.

5. To unify the ranks of the resistance, to prevent controversies and prejudice and to adhere to piety and follow the leadership.

6. To create division and strife between American and other countries and among the elements disagreeing with it.

7. To avoid mistakes that will blemish the image of the resistance and show it as the enemy of the nation.

In general and despite the current bleak situation, we think that the best suggestions in order to get out of this crisis is to entangle the American forces into another war against another country or with another of our enemy force, that is to try and inflame the situation between American and Iraq or between America and the Shi'a in general.

Specifically the Sistani Shi'a, since most of the support that the Americans are getting is from the Sistani Shi'a, then, there is a possibility to instill differences between them and to weaken the support line between them; in addition to the losses we can inflict on both parties. Consequently, to embroil America in another war against another enemy is the answer that we find to be the most appropriate, and to have a war through a delegate has the following benefits:

1. To occupy the Americans by another front will allow the resistance freedom of movement and alleviate the pressure imposed on it.

2. To dissolve the cohesion between the Americans and the Shi'a will weaken and close this front.

3. To have a loss of trust between the Americans and the Shi'a will cause the Americans to lose many of their spies.

4. To involve both parties, the Americans and the Shi'a, in a war that will result in both parties being losers.

5. Thus, the Americans will be forced to ask the Sunni for help.

6. To take advantage of some of the Shia elements that will allow the resistance to move among them.

7. To weaken the media's side which is presenting a tarnished image of the resistance, mainly conveyed by the Shi'a.

8. To enlarge the geographical area of the resistance movement.

9. To provide popular support and cooperation by the people.

The resistance fighters have learned from the result and the great benefits they reaped, when a struggle ensued between the Americans and the Army of Al-Mahdi. However, we have to notice that this trouble or this delegated war that must be ignited can be accomplished through:

1. A war between the Shi'a and the Americans.

2. A war between the Shi'a and the secular population (such as Ayad 'Alawi and al-Jalabi.)

3. A war between the Shi'a and the Kurds.

4. A war between Ahmad al-Halabi and his people and Ayad 'Alawi and his people.

5. A war between the group of al-Hakim and the group of al-Sadr.

6. A war between the Shi'a of Iraq and the Sunni of the Arab countries in the gulf.

7. A war between the Americans and Iraq. We have noticed that the best of these wars to be ignited is the one between the Americans and Iran, because it will have many benefits in favor of the Sunni and the resistance, such as:

1. Freeing the Sunni people in Iraq, who are (30 percent) of the population and under the Shi'a Rule.

2. Drowning the Americans in another war that will engage many of their forces.

3. The possibility of acquiring new weapons from the Iranian side, either after the fall of Iran or during the battles.

4. To entice Iran towards helping the resistance because of its need for its help.

5. Weakening the Shi'a supply line.

The question remains, how to draw the Americans into fighting a war against Iran? It is not known whether American is serious in its animosity towards Iraq, because of the big support Iran is offering to America in its war in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Hence, it is necessary first to exaggerate the Iranian danger and to convince America and the west in general, of the real danger coming from Iran, and this would be done by the following:

1. By disseminating threatening messages against American interests and the American people and attribute them to a Shi'a Iranian side.

2. By executing operations of kidnapping hostages and implicating the Shi'a Iranian side.

3. By advertising that Iran has chemical and nuclear weapons and is threatening the west with these weapons.

4. By executing exploding operations in the west and accusing Iran by planting Iranian Shi'a fingerprints and evidence.

5. By declaring the existence of a relationship between Iran and terrorist groups (as termed by the Americans).

6. By disseminating bogus messages about confessions showing that Iran is in possession of weapons of mass destruction or that there are attempts by the Iranian intelligence to undertake terrorist operations in America and the west and against western interests.

Let us hope for success and for God's help.

________________________________________________

End Text

June 14, 2006

The Gaza Rocket Threat

The BBC has an outstanding quick look at the various rockets launched from Gaza and their ranges in Gaza's rocket threat to Israel. The graphic is simple and effective.

The newer Qassams could technically thus reach the large Israeli industrial city of Ashkelon.

However, the threat has never materialised there as an everyday reality, unlike in Sderot.

Of much greater concern are the Katyusha rockets now turning up in Gaza. Three launches have been reported since 28 March, none of them causing casualties.

They can hit targets at a range of 22km, according to the Israeli army.

However even this is small compared to the kind of Katyushas used by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon which have a reported range of 100km...

BBC Rocket Graphic

Thanks to Judith Klinghoffer for pointing out the BBC Special Report.

Unloading Palestinian Katyushas Captured on Video

In the event there was any doubt about the intended target of Israel's missile strike on a Palestinian Islamic Jihad van yesterday that killed 10, Vital Perspective has posted a video published on the internet that shows both arial views and camera footage on the ground of the rockets being unlaoded from the van and wisked away from the scene.

They will soon find their way to their intended target unless Israel maintains the current pressure, and perhaps in spite of it.

JI's Abu Bakar Ba’asyir Set Free

The spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaeda's principal Southeast Asia affiliate terrorist network, is being set free today after serving barely two years. He was convicted on terrorism charges stemming from the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 182.

His release will have an important impact in counter-terror operations in Southeast Asia. More than just being a media boon for JI and it’s affiliated organizations, it will revitalize organizations that are trying to regroup after the arrests of more than 300 members. Ba'asyir has called for the destruction of the United States, England, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. While he will be under very intensive police and intelligence scrutiny, and is unlikely to be engaged in plotting attacks against Western interests, he will be an important cause that Islamists and jihadists can rally around. Importantly, it will also give JI the first spiritual leader it has had since 2003.

We should hope that 'very intensive' scrutiny is intensive enough.

The Talibanization of Somalia

The 'fun time' is definitely over in Mogadishu, and the Talibanization of Somalia has begun in eranest, as ably noted by Alykhan Velshi.

Comparisons are already being made between the Islamists in Mogadishu and the Taliban in Afghanistan. At some point, the United States government will have to make an unsavoury decision about how to handle the jihadists in Mogadishu. It will almost certainly be necessary to have allies on the ground willing to offer the United States assistance, local information, access to territory, and so on.

The natural suggestion is to look north to Somaliland, the 'breakaway statelet' hungry for official recognition. Somalia is essentially a state without the inconvenient trappings of a functional government, while Somaliland has an emerging democratic system without the benefits of a state.

Consider Velshi's reference, J. Peter Pham, in a May 2006 column for World Defense Review.

Imagine a country within the greater Middle East ambit that has successfully made the transition to electoral democracy with multiparty municipal, presidential, and, most recently, parliamentary polls. Moreover, imagine that despite virtually all of its citizens being Sunni Muslims, the country's national elections commission designates a progressive, foreign-based Christian non-governmental organization to coordinate the international monitoring of its parliamentary elections. And imagine that the incumbent president's party takes a drubbing at the polls, winning barely a third of the seats. Most audiences, if I were to tell them that I was not conjuring up Utopia, but describing a real life country, would probably question whether I was hallucinating, perhaps under the influence of the ubiquitous qat leaf popular in southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa.

The point is, however, that I am not hallucinating...

He is describing Somaliland, desperate for statehood an quite possibly the most logical (and likely) ally for the coming US footprint on the Horn of Africa.

June 13, 2006

NYT: Central Leak West

The Strata-Sphere highlights an Op/Ed by John B. Roberts titled Setback in Somalia.

Until now, I refrained from writing about the Somali front in the war on al Qaeda because of its extreme sensitivity and its vital importance.

Roberts is rightly upset about State Department malcontents chosing to further their agenda by exposing secret operations in Somalia, which the New York Times finds no restraint in printing. They never have. One wonders if the staff at The Times celebrates after their self-serving jabs, to say nothing of the self-serving 'public servents' who feed them.

Bruce Kesler is not alone when he asks "Is our media a strategic enemy?"

That there is seemingly not one Ernie Pyle amongst the dominant major media outlets, much less the New York Times, is telling and frustrating.

Palestinian Invitations to Kill

So you are a group of freedom fighters in the Palestinian Territories and you want to strike back at the always menacing and murderous hearts of those who occupy your homeland. What do you do? You take your Kassam rockets and fire them off at Israeli occupied terrority. Where do you do this from?

Why 250 to 500 meters away from where your friends and neighbors picnic and enjoy the leisure of days at the beach.

Of course, when the dreaded IDF responds and shells your base of operations - you blame them for the death of innocents. And you know that the Western media will never ask any questions about your selection of launching points.

June 12, 2006

Haditha: Signal to Noise Ratio

Signal:

A detectable physical quantity or impulse by which messages or information can be transmitted.

Noise:

Loud, confused, or senseless shouting or outcry; an unwanted signal; to spread by rumor or report.

In both electronics and basic human communication, the key to extracting value is in recognizing and addressing the signal to noise ratio.

Recognizing this, Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette compiles and offers Haditha: Signal to Noise and Signal to Noise II.

The Men We Send

Capt. B is a Marine's Marine. Tall, strong and intelligent with a relaxed gait borne of confidence. He is one of 'the men we send' though he would surely argue that he is, rather, one of the men who go and do. His blog is worth repeated visits, and it is there at One Marine's View where can be found a letter from an Air Force Colonel, serving as a surgeon in Iraq and speaking of the men we send, his brothers in arms.

I asked a Marine Lance Corporal if there was anything I could get him as I was making rounds one morning. He was an above the knee amputation after an IED blast, and he surprised me when he asked for a trigonometry book. "You enjoy math do you?"

He replied, "Not particularly, Sir. I was never good at it, but I need to get good at it, now."

"Are you planning on going back to school?" I asked. "No sir, I am planning on shooting artillery. I will slow an infantry platoon down with just one good leg, but I am going to get good at math and learn how to shoot artillery". I hope he does.

And many think that our nation's future is in the hands of a so-called MTV Generation. The squeaky wheels may get the oil of publicity and coverage, the well oiled are doing the nation's bidding with little fanfare.

Leaders are being chiseled in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a few short years' time, they will be guiding all manner of endeavors in American society with the leadership skills developed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, thanks to the core principles that guided them there to begin with.

In twenty-plus years, the American President will have ascended from a sergeant's or a captain's dusty boots of those theaters.

Ramadi Offensive Imminent?

Animals will instinctively leave an area when danger is sensed yet unseen by people, such as how a flock of birds or a herd of wild mustangs will suddenly change course in unison and with allacrity. Observing the flow of people during a conflict can sometimes foretell impending violence as accurately. Security Watchtower has the details of this observation in Ramadi, Iraq.

According to some reports out of Ramadi, citizens have been leaving the Anbar city in anticipation of a pending U.S.-led offensive on insurgents and terrorists that have taken up refuge in the city. Conditions in the Sunni dominated city have reportedly deteriorated, with no electricty or running water and food and medical supplies running into shortages.

June 11, 2006

Cartoon Jihad II?

Because of a movie due to be released in the Netherlands, James Lewis says Stay tuned.

June 9, 2006

Technology, Intelligence and Boots

With yesterday's successful liquidation of Zarqawi and his immediate circle of friends, David Axe reminds that all of the technology in the world cannot replace HumInt.

Drones such as Predator and the larger, unarmed Global Hawk are critical nodes in an expanding adaptive network of sensors and shooters combining aircraft and ground forces from all the U.S. services. The military's aim is to blanket a combat zone in this network, spotting and killing Time-Sensitive Targets (TSTs) in minutes' time. The Zarqawi raid represents the network's first headline-worthy success.

Calling it the "first headline-worthy success" may be a bit of an overstatement, but he illustrates the dependence of technology upon good intelligence quite well, nonetheless.

American Confidence in the Military

From today's Inside the Ring by Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough at The Washington Times:

Gallup was out this week with its yearly poll on which 15 U.S. institutions garner the most confidence of the American people.

Gallup conducted the poll at the height of coverage of Haditha [TW Note: And before Zarqawi's death], the Iraqi town where residents accuse Marines of killing 24 civilians.

Yet, the U.S. military again was the American public's top choice, with 73 percent saying they had a "great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it."

bq. The only other institutions to record a majority of public confidence were the police and organized religion, getting 58 percent and 52 percent, respectively. The lowest-ranking institutions were HMOs, big business and Congress.

On Crimes and Crusades

Hamas said that the IDF killing of the founder of the Popular Resistance Committees, Jamal Abu Sahamdana, "was a crime". In the same day, Hamas also said that Abu Asab al-Zarqawi was "martyred at the hands of the savage crusade campaign".

Both of those statements deserved to be in the same place somewhere. So...there they are.

Swiss Foil El Al RPG Plot

Noticed earlier but failed to note here today was the fact that Switzerland interdicted a plotted attack on an Israeli El Al airliner. Apparently seven "people of North African origin" are in custody, arrested in connection with a plot to shoot down an El Al airliner over Geneva with an RPG. (A rather daunting assignment, considering the speed of an airliner and the slow, unguided nature of an RPG. But brilliance is not always the charge against zealots bent on jihad.)

Ed Morrissey's got more and another source over at Captain's Quarters.

Thursday, June 8, 2006 has been a rather remarkable day for Counterterrorism Operations. Zarqawi, Samhadana and even the Swiss seeing action.

June 8, 2006

Jordanian Reactions to Zarqawi's Death

Terrorism Unveiled has Jordanian reactions that are obviously not from Zarqa. (Note: Athena knows a thing or two about Jordan.)

Somalia Symposium

Surely to be lost even farther due to today's developments in Iraq are the developments on the Horn of Africa, with the Islamic Courts (Taliban) defeating the warlords and taking Mogadishu. National Review has an excellent brief Symposium on Somalia & al Qaeda posted at NRO. Below are some quotes from the participants.

Peter Brookes: The way it looks now, it’s al Qaeda (e.g., Al Ittihad al Islami), the Taliban (e.g., Islamic Courts Union) and a bunch of ruthless warlords—all in one poor, lawless state that might, just might, become the next Afghanistan.

Thomas Jocelyn: There are reports that several of the perpetrators of the 1998 embassy bombings are currently protected in Mogadishu. The cell that harbors those terrorists is even thought to have executed an attack against an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya in 2002, while simultaneously failing to shoot down an Israeli airliner. Al Qaeda and its allies claimed “victory” in Somalia in 1994. There was no robust American response. Al Qaeda’s allies are once again claiming victory in Mogadishu today. What is America going to do about it?

Paul Marshall: Further to the south, in Tanzania, Islamists have bombed bars and beaten women they thought inadequately covered. Time magazine quoted one activist, Mohammed Madi, “We get our funds from Yemen and Saudi Arabia ... Officially the money is used to buy medicine, but in reality the money is given to us to support our work and buy guns.”

Cliff May: A militant Islamist government in Somalia, giving refuge to terrorists, should be seen as unacceptable. Already, there are reports that three al Qaeda leaders indicted in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania are being sheltered by Mogadishu’s new rulers.

Andy McCarthy: To have what is potentially a new terror state arise notwithstanding all that strongly suggests to our enemies that if they hang in long enough, we don’t have the resolve to defeat them, which is what bin Laden has been telling them all along—thus boosting his credibility (and remember: anything that boosts his credibility increases al Qaeda’s ability to recruit and train new operatives).

David Pryce-Jones: Now on top thanks to their guns, the so-called Islamic Courts Union is comparable to the Taliban as they once took power in Afghanistan. Their first steps include a demand for the imposition of sharia, and the mounting of anti-American demonstrations. This is certainly a setback, with the potential of turning ugly.

Michael Rubin: While some news reports try to put a positive spin on the situation—saying, for example, that the Islamist militia might restore order, this is shortsighted and eerily parallels the spin which journalists put on the 1996 Taliban takeover of Kabul.

ThreatsWatch will have in-depth coverage of Somalia and the Horn of Africa theater in short order.

The Intelligence and Deals Behind 'The Strike'

There is more behind the Zarqawi strike than meets the eye, and Judith Klinghoffer summarizes some of the details well at the History News Network.

The successful targeted assassination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was clearly part of a larger package deal between PM Maliki and the Sunni leadership. It included an agreement to release 2000 "detainees" and the long awaited completion of the cabinet, most especially the installation of a Sunni as defense minister. Thus, Maliki appointed Shiite Jawad Polani as interior minister, Sunni Abdel Qader Al Obeidi as defense minister and Shiite Shirwan Al Waili to head national security. It was that agreement which secured the cooperation of Jordanian intelligence and the Hilmi locals and provided the US special forces with the intelligence needed to function effectively.

So what? So plenty...

...It is important to note that killed along with Zarqawi was his spiritual leader Abdul-Rahman and that "17 more raids were conducted on other suspected hideouts for Zarqawi associates in Baghdad and its outskirts a few hours after he was killed. They produced a 'treasure trove' of information."

Go read.

More on Zarqawi and The Canada Connection

The gentlemen from The Counterterrorism Blog have oustanding coverage of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi that ThreatsWatch readers should visit if not read already.

Perhaps the most comprehensive coverage available anywhere comes courtesy of Andrew Cochran. Also see more here and a word from Wahlid Phares on al-Jazeera's coverage here.

Also, Dan Darling sends a note pointing to the connection between the Canadian terror suspects and al-Zarqawi's AQIZ network via European al-Qaeda leaders.

The arrest of 17 suspects, many of them teenagers, picked up in Mississauga and across the GTA during a counter-terrorism sweep on the weekend, is said to be the latest stage in dismantling a terrorist network that's linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

For nine months, Operation Mazhar's police and intelligence agents in eight countries have monitored emails and intercepted phone calls, leading so far to the arrest of 30 men.

Most of these suspects have never met. They were recruited and schooled making bombs via the Internet, authorities say. Zarqawi's outfit passes on bomb-making manuals, advice on how to sustain terror cells and even ways to use credit card fraud to hack into vital Internet sites. ...

...The first arrests came in a Sarajevo apartment in October when Bosnian police picked up 18-year-old Mirsad Bektasevic.

Along with him was a 20-year-old Danish-born man and, police say, explosives and a suicide belt. The suspected target was the British embassy in the Bosnian capital.

Two more men were picked up and all are now going to trial.

June 7, 2006

al-Qaeda's New Somali Safe Haven

Walid Phares assures any who may wonder that, in Somalia, the "Mahakem al Islamiya" are connected to al-Qaeda.

The UIT, or "Ittihad al mahakem al Islamiya" is not just another Muslim militia in Somalia, as al jazeera is attempting to project, so that Western media would follow. The "Mahakem" (tribunals), although initially supported by some tribes are now a structured Islamist-Jihadist militia, fully controlled by the Salafi-Imams of the area. Former members of the "Mahakem" are revealing that behind this force, the hands of al Qaida (East Africa) are omnipresent. The former members said the prime objective of this organized force is to assert its power in the capital first.

Without doubt, as Dr. Phares says in conclusion, "a new 'front' is now open in the Horn of Africa."

The PLA's Asian Peace Offensive

There is an interesting article in Jamestown's latest China Brief by Martin Andrew. The opening paragraph to The PLA's New Calculus for Force Posture should sufficiently pique enough interest to cause the reader to digest the entire article.

“All warfare is based on deception,” Sun Tzu declared. Historically, China has faithfully adopted this maxim by launching a diplomatic offensive prior to military action either to deceive other countries of its true intentions or to justify its actions. Chinese Defense Minister and Vice Chairman of the Central Military Command (CMC) General Cao Gangchun’s visit to five Asian states this past April is a case in point. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is going on a peace offensive in order to disguise its subtle change from a defensive force to one that is overtly offensive.

It's unlikely that it is now necessary to say "Read the whole thing."

Afghanistan Kidnapping -or- Canadian Media DeathWatch

From the Counterterrorism Blog, a field report.

Tonight I had the displeasure of witnessing the DeathWatch in action. An Al Jazeera report, based on an unsubstantiated claim from an unnamed Taliban source, indicated a Canadian soldier was kidnapped in Afghanistan. Reuters repeated the unsubstantiated claim, which later morphed into an unspecified number of Coalition troops. Canada's Globe and Mail, in a rush to press, misidentified the lead Canadian Public Affairs Officer, Major Scott Lundy, as the "spokesman for NATO Special Forces" (the webmaster later corrected this and removed the reference to Major Lundy altogether.)

The Canadian media rushes into action, trying to get to the bottom of the story which very likely is a Taliban information operation. Cell phones are buzzing, reporters are pressing the public affairs officers for quotes. The DeathWatch was in full news-gathering mode. Media outlets in Canadian are requesting live interviews and quick columns from their reporters at the airfield. The Canadian forces are in turn conducting a headcount but discount the reports, as this have happened in the past. If this is a false report, as it likely is, the propaganda machine of al-Qaeda and the Taliban has succeeded yet again in manipulating the Western media into doing their bidding. The DeathWatch continues as I submit this post, and Al Jazeera is downplaying the reports of the kidnapping.

Somali Cleric Declares War on Infidels

African News Dimension reports of a radio broadcast in Somalia by the Islamic courts' Sheikh Nur Barud.

Mogadishu's most senior Muslim cleric, Sheikh Nur Barud, called on Somalis to crush secular resistance to the imposition of Sharia law, and to reject warlord efforts to gain support by appealing to clan and tribal loyalties.

“All Somalis must defend the Islamic courts because this is not about inter-clan fighting, but about war with the infidels," he said in an address aired by local radio stations.

"We are against those who want to make this war appear like inter-clan fighting," Barud said.

"This fighting is between those who support Islam, and godless invaders and those who support them."

Barud referred to the ARPCT and the United States, which has provided financial and intelligence support to the warlords to track down Islamic extremists, including suspected Al Qaeda members.

As an aside, it should be noted more regularly that, while there is such a cry against the West's supposed 'War against Islam', there seems no such reservation by those same individuals as they openly declare war against 'infidels'.

Indictments Coming on al-Qaeda's US Plotters

That's what The Counterterrorism Blog's Steven Emerson told MSNBC.

WITT: What do your sources tell you, Steve? Any kind of a similar scenario, similar plots like this being hatched in the United States or have they been?

EMERSON: I think that the public will be surprised by some of the other indictments that may be issued later this year or early next year. There are various Al Qaeda cases being worked on by the U.S. government- the F.B.I., Department of Justice, Treasury- and these cases have still not been made public, and some of them involve plots against American targets. [Emphasis added.]

Jordan to Israel: Stay Put

As has ben discussed before, Jordan clearly fears an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank, knowing that the security vacuum created would dwarf the effects seen in Gaza and create a terrorist haven on their doorstep. Consider this morning's Reuters headline: Jordan says Israel's W. Bank moves could harm ties.

JERUSALEM, June 7 (Reuters) - Jordan's ties with Israel could be harmed if the Jewish state reshapes the occupied West Bank without Palestinian agreement, King Abdullah said in an interview published on Wednesday. ...

"Our ability to improve relations between us and Israel could be harmed by any unilateral action," Abdullah told the mass-circulation Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

Translation: "Find a way to keep talking somehow, but whatever you do, do not pack up and pull back."

Jordan has far less interest in precisely where Israel chooses to draw their border 'unilaterally', for they know it will be miles west of the Jordan River, which is Abdullah's border. If Israel were to technically draw their border on some map (anywhere they choose) and leave their troops in place, these remarks would not be heard from King Abdullah.

This is not to be critical of Abdullah at all. From a Jordanian security perspective, he's absolutely correct and should always be regarded by the West as one of the most crucial allies in the War on Terror. Period.

June 6, 2006

Fearing Iran, Ceding the War on Terror

Iran has made it quite clear that the cessation of nuclear enrichment is non-negotiable. Clearly, repeatedly and forcefully - every time the subject has been broached. Hillel Fradkin reiterates this undeniable reality with Iran Won't Budge in today's New York Post. (Thanks, Power Line.)

For all these purposes - the Iranian and the pan-Islamic - the pursuit of nuclear weaponry is indeed a "golden treasure." Actual possession of nuclear weapons would aid in the survival of the clerical regime - as the North Korean case made clear - and protect Iran's efforts to involve itself in radical endeavors elsewhere in the Muslim world; indeed, the enormous prestige of being a nuclear power would enhance the latter project.

In short, Ahmadinejad has no good reason to agree to our condition to suspend enrichment. Thus it is most unlikely that there will be negotiations on our terms.

If there are negotiations, they are likely to be among ourselves - among the United States, the Europeans, Russia and China. There may be several subjects of these negotiations, but the most crucial will be whether to drop our demand for a cessation of enrichment.

The Bush administration has insisted that this it will not do. Indeed, there is no point to any negotiations unless they achieve at a minimum an interruption of Iranian nuclear development. But at least some of our partners will be tempted to think and say otherwise and to try to persuade us to negotiate directly anyway.

Far be it for Iran to moderate. Clearly this is the unreasonable West's responsibility.

If there are negotiations, based on today's revelations of ceding military options and even existing sanctions (let alone the impossibility of future UN sanctions with Russia and China adamantly opposed), what's left to negotiate with?

In the proposal to Iran:

1. EU Construction of Nuclear Plants (failed North Korean approach)

2. Military Option Dropped

3. Current Sanctions Removed/Relaxed

4. Direct Talks with US

5. Immensely Favorable Trade Packages

Toss in the unlikelihood of any future sanctions due to Russian and Chinese staunch opposition to them, and what precisely is left to negotiate with?

How can a Global War on Terror be prosecuted while the West remains afraid to look the chief State Sponsor of Terrorism squarely in the eye?

June 5, 2006

Sending a Toothless Lion Into the Cage

Last week, we defended the US offer to Iran of nuclear talks, suggesting that they were 'widely misunderstood'. However, if the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, is correct - that the agreement reached, including the US offer of talks, explicitly removes the se of force from the table - this adds a dimension of negotiating from a position of weakness that is dumbfounding and self-defeating.

If the US proposal included was attached to a prohibition of the use of force as reported, the defense will be promptly withdrawn.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said possible military intervention against Iran was forbidden according to the agreement signed in Vienna last week.

Making a statement to Nezavisimaya newspaper, Lavrov said they reached a consensus during the meeting, to which foreign ministers of important countries in the world participated, on going to Iran with serious suggestions in Vienna.

This is not to say that we advocate the use of force, but to remove it completely as an option emboldens and empowers the Iranian regime in its quest for nuclear weapons. It is voluntarily negotiating from a position of weakness.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are negotiating with the world's foremost State Sponsor of Terrorism in the midst of a Global War on Terror.

And we guarantee the Hornet's Nest safe haven?

A degree of nuance is understandable and necessary. It appears now, however, that State (and the Administration) may be once again lost in nuance and forsaken all clarity.

This is not troubling. It is disturbing.

Did Suspects Escape Somalia War?

Canada's National Post posits, After escaping war in Somalia, terror suspects grew up in Toronto. But did they escape war or simply bring it with them?

"Yasin (is) very religious. Every day he prays," his mother, Asha Muhayadin, said, pointing to the holy book she said her son read every morning.

Mohamed would admonish his siblings for not praying more often, she recalled. "He told his brothers, `You wake up, you never say thanks to God. Are you animals?"'

"My brother's a broad-minded guy that had goals for his future," Abdul said. He was never violent, he added. "He's never stabbed, shot anybody. From that to plotting on killing people, that's insane. It must be because of his last name."

Perhaps it was his involvement with 3 metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate along with target lists and plans to destroy them and all within its blast circumference?

Will the West Question Itself After Canadian Success?

Dan Darling points to perhaps the best commentary on the recent Canadian counterterrorism operation, and it comes from a Pakistan Daily Times editorial.

It has been revealed that the explosive material was planted on the would-be terrorists as part of an elaborate sting operation by Canadian police. No matter. It is saddening that the Pakistanis were planning on using it for purposes of terrorism. A Bangladeshi angle has existed ever since the Afghan jihad and the training of Bangladeshi mujahideen in camps located in Afghanistan and on the Pak-Afghan border. On May 29, a Bangladeshi court sentenced two such trainees to death. The convicting tribunal ruled that “Bangla Bhai” and Abdur Rahman were responsible for killing two judges in a bombing in the south of the country in November last year. The two were also believed to have been the masterminds of a series of other attacks, including a coordinated terrorist attack in August last year in which 500 tiny bombs exploded almost simultaneously in 63 out of 64 districts of Bangladesh. The two were veterans of jihad with credentials from a Karachi seminary and were now “Talibanising” Bangladesh.

The term 'planted' is too strong a term based at least on information available. But that the editorial from a newspaper published in a clearly Muslim majority nation ruled under a military dictatorship calls it that and still concludes "No matter" is significantly important.

Dave Schuler, a blogger I personally respect, wonders if this is a case of entrapment by the Canadian authorities and asks, "Am I seeing distinctions and problems where none exist?" While Dave makes astute observations worthy of note, 'entrapment' - just as 'planted' - is too strong a term and misses the mark.

We are not talking about a 'John' being approached by an undercover officer posing as a prostitute. We are talking about Jihadists with something far different from 'Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.'

Reference again the Pakistani editorial that properly captures the distinction.

No matter. It is saddening that the Pakistanis were planning on using it for purposes of terrorism.

These were not men looking for a relatively harmless $20 'date'. Their hatred was noted on internet conversations and the extent of their will tested by intelligence agencies.

Quite simply, they failed the exam. There is little room for altruism in the War on Terror, for such altruistic approaches assumes that the Jihadists value the same. If they did, they would not plot to kill and maim Westerners in a global assault on our governments and belief systems.

Iran's Costly Nuclear Program

While the Iranian regime continues to beat the drums of rhetoric in attempts to stoke nationalist support, the cost of that rhetoric to ordinary Iranians has been steep.

An estimated $200 billion has left the country since last year's election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president, accompanied by panic buying of gold. The Iranian stock exchange lost an estimated 20 percent of its value even as other bourses in the region rose.

"The most tangible effect of the threat of sanctions in the private sector is downsizing," said Farhad Sanadizadeh, a Tehran-based oil and gas consultant who has let 40 employees go in the past six months. "A lot of companies are not hiring new people and reducing their work force."

Last week, it was disclosed that most European banks are no longer facilitating money transfers from Iranian banks. Iran has already removed most of its capital from European banks, according to press reports, fearing a possible assets freeze.

The article also points to a number who shrug the economic hardships off, present and potential. They were endured during the Iraq war, after all. But one wonders just how prevalent that perspective is among Iran's people. Consider Hamid Abedi.

"Stage by stage [the sanctions process] is starting, and it's all the fault of Ahmadinejad for insisting on us having a nuclear program," said Hamid Abedi, a 45-year-old furniture repairman who supplements his income by driving around in search of fares in the evenings.

"What's the point of us having nuclear energy if we're deprived of everything else?"

June 4, 2006

Excusing Terrorists

"We believe that the refusal by the British government to open a dialogue with the kidnappers cost our sister her life. Margaret, who was vocally opposed to the war in Iraq, was sacrificed for the political ends of Tony Blair and George Bush."

Thus reads an excerpt from a statement released Sunday by the family of slain British humanitarian worker Margaret Hassan. No mention of the terrorists that violated her human rights and then ultimately killed her....

C.S. Scott has the rest at Security Watchtower, and we emphatically concur.

A Canadian Challenges Canada

Rosie DiManno challenges her fellow Canadians to Take a good, hard look at what's going on here.

For everyone who thought Canada could cower in a corner of the planet, unnoticed and unthreatened by evil men — even when the most menacing of a very bad lot has twice referenced this country as a target for attack — take a good, hard look at what's been presented and what's being alleged.

In a column that should be read in it's entirety, DiManno spells it out succinctly in the end.

Historically, there has been hardly any identifiable group that hasn't believed itself ethnically or religiously or politically targeted for what it is.

But modern global jihad is a different animal. It is tearing the world apart. It is picking the fight. It is devouring its own adherents.

It's killing us.

If not in this alleged plot, in Toronto, then by another misbegotten cabal, on another ordinary day, and you know who'll be blamed.

June 3, 2006

Canadian Surveillance Not Decried by Canadian Media

Austin Bay notes that as Canada Spies On The Internet, the Canadian Press did not attempt to systematically destroy the operation.

It appears that the Canadian press didn’t expose the operation – alas, there is no Pulitzer Prize for non-disclosure of a critical anti-terror surveillance campaign, just gratitude.

Imagine that.

Excellent coverage can also be found at some outstanding blogs:

Michelle Malkin: Canadian Terror Bust
Ace of Spades: Canada's NSA/CIA Possible Target Of Attack
Security Watchtower: Anti-Terror Raids in Southern Ontario
HotAir: Terror raid in Canada rolls up 17 jihadis
CT Blog: Were Canadian Jihadists Targeting Pickering Nuclear Plant?
CT Blog: From London to Toronto: Dismantling Cells, dodging their ideology

After reading the specific posts listed, be sure to click over to their Main Pages for more.

FBI Connects Georgia Arrests to Canadian Plot

There may be a US connection to the terrorist arrests in Toronto, as two arrested in March 2006 in Georgia were tracked traveling to Canada, DC and Pakistan.

Over the last month, investigators have traced Ahmed's path from an Atlanta mosque to Toronto to Washington, D.C. to Pakistan.

According to a March 23 affidavit unsealed April 21, Ahmed met Sadequee at Al-Farooq Masjid mosque in Atlanta. Then, the two suspects traveled to Toronto in March 2005 to discuss potential terrorist targets with "like-minded Islamic extremists." Lastly, Ahmed attempted to receive terrorism training during a trip to Pakistan last year.

Ahmed's March 23 arrest was not made public until April 20 and he is being held at an undisclosed location by the U.S. Marshal Service while he awaits trial. He pleaded not guilty on April 19, and no trial date has been set. [Emphasis added.]

With implication in the Canadian investigation, this should quiet those who were complaining that the FBI had abducted the Bangladeshi.

Canada's National Post also took a look at the Georgia-Canada connection in Terrorism's 'new guard', published first on May 4, 2006.

Unlike the old guard of terrorists, who were immigrants and refugees who brought to Canada the conflicts of their homelands, the new generation consists largely of Canadian-born radical Muslims of various ethnicities, as well as converts who have adopted the extremist interpretation of Islam.

The documents also support recent claims by U.S. counterterrorism officials that extremists are operating inside Canada's borders. The presence of Islamic terrorists in Canada was noted two weeks ago, when the U.S. Department of Justice announced the arrests of two Georgia youths.

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 21, are accused of traveling [sic] to Canada last March for "terrorism-related planning and co-ordination" with local radicals.

The FBI says while in Toronto they discussed terrorist training and plots to bomb U.S. military facilities and oil refineries.

The next 48 hours will surely be full of related developments and revelations.

NSA Critics Quiet on Canadian Intelligence Surveillance Success

Critics of the NSA surveillance program should pause to take note of the number of lives saved by Canadian Intelligence's own communications monitoring program today. They should note that 3 tons of ammonium nitrate for explosives were found. That's three times the amount used in the 1995 Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City. Three times. How many Canadian lives might that have saved?

And it was all triggered by the Canadian surveillance program, a program that was and is unabashedly domestic in nature, not limited to calls to or from overseas contacts, as is the American NSA program currently under fire. That criticism is utter nonsense.

Ed Morrissey spells out the plainly logical at Captain's Quarters.

The issue of Internet monitoring has some in the US uncomfortable about breaches of privacy. However, the terrorists use that as a decentralized communication method, and a willful refusal to investigate these communications is sheer folly, as this raid attests. Should the Canadians have eschewed their investigation -- and waited until this group killed hundreds or thousands of people before knowing anything about them? The Internet is not a private network, as some could argue the phone systems provide. Communications are not point-to-point but broadcast, and the expectation of privacy in Internet communications should have disappeared long ago.

If we want to catch these people before they strike, then we had better know when, where, and how they communicate for coordination and recruitment, and be prepared to stop them as the CSIS has apparently done today.

As stated plainly before in what became referred to as the MilBlogger's Manifesto, it seems as if the argument is not of the manner in which to defend America. For far too many, it is clearly an argument of whether to defend her.

Those same American critics would be the first to cry that the federal government 'failed to protect them' because of intelligence failures should a terrorist attack be carried out. An attack like the one(s) just thwarted by Canadian Intelligence. Note the absence of apology from the Canadian government.

The alert should be the first to ignore their cries, should this ever occur, for these Americans are demanding the very conditions under which such 'failure' would occur.

But it would not be a failure of the Intelligence Community. It would be a failure of the intelligence of the community.

June 1, 2006

Armed Forces Journal 2006 Conference

For those so inclined, see The Armed Forces Journal 2006 Conference titled "The Power & Limits of Jointness". Some interesting topics and speakers.

Particularly, see Frank Hoffman on "Historical Lessons Apply to Modern Counterinsurgency Efforts."

How Firm is Firm on Enrichment Stance?

A good question has been posed by the editors of Opinion Journal within today's column, Condi's Iran Gambit.

Given the concessions he has already won by refusing to cooperate, Mr. Ahmadinejad won't be in any hurry to oblige now. Already yesterday, Iran was pocketing the direct talks and demanding that any negotiation be "without preconditions." This was entirely predictable, and you can bet this new Iranian demand will soon be echoed in Paris, Moscow and all too many precincts in Washington.

It was good to hear Presidential spokesman Tony Snow yesterday describe that enrichment precondition as the "foundation stone" of the new U.S. proposal. But will Ms. Rice and her main ally in this windmill tilt--Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns--soon be pressing Mr. Bush to make this concession too?

That said, the offer made by SecState Rice most likely holds less at face value than the (understandably) fearful editors at Opinion Journal seem to believe. The offer was made with the "foundation stone" of enrichment cessation knowing fully well that it would be dismissed by Iran.

Condi's real Iran Gambit was the risk run had Iran actually accepted the offer as made. If one believes that Iran would actually stop enrichment activities at unknown sites (and there are plenty who want to believe precisely that), anything is believable.

That, in this humble view, was the real gambit, not a potential softening on enrichment. Stranger things may have happened, but surely not many.

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