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October 19, 2009

When "Smart" People do REALLY Dumb Things

What possesses someone who knows they are in possession of sensitive national security information to be willing to compromise our nation's security is beyond comprehension. But on September 3rd, 2009, that is just what happened. Stewart David Nozette was contacted by someone purporting to be an agent of the Mossad. In that first phone conversation Nozette apparently said he was willing to work for Israeli intelligence. The following day, he met with the undercover FBI employee and admitted that he no longer had direct access to the classified material but could remember the information. He asked for payments of less than $10,000 so he would not have to report the money.

According to the FBI release, on subsequent days, Nozette received "questions" as well as money.

On or about October 1, 2009, Nozette was filmed on videotape leaving a manila envelope in the post office box. Later that day, FBI agents retrieved the manila envelope left by Nozette and found a second set of answers from him. The answers contained information classified as both Top Secret and Secret that concerned U.S. satellites, early warning systems, means of defense or retaliation against large-scale attack, communications intelligence information, and major elements of defense strategy.

The motivations of people with access to classified information is astounding. He needed money so badly that he was willing to sell secrets to another country? During the period of 2000 to 2006, Nozette held positions at DARPA, Naval Research Laboratory and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

It is a sacred trust when you receive clearance. Allegedly he was quoted as saying to undercover FBI agents, "Well I should tell you my first need is that they should figure out how to pay me ... they don't expect me to do this for free."

Why do "smart" people do dumb things? Among his list of credentials, Novette holds a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1983. It must be the money. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison. OK.

October 17, 2009

Co-Hosting Radio Tonight on Fargo's 1100AM

I will be co-hosting tonight from 8-10PM EDT on the 50,000 Watt WZFG AM 1100 The Flag out of Fargo with Rob Port. Thanks to Rob for the gracious invitation.

Tonight, we will be tackling the NFL and the controversy over Rush Limbaugh's ejection from the bidding process for the purchase of the St. Louis Rams. Also on tap will be Federal Spendulus, Obama's battle royale of terror experts Biden v. McChrystal on Afghanistan, the strange nature of events unfolding in Pakistan and our resident Maoist atop the White House Communications office.

The program is streamed Live below, and the call-in number will scroll across the screen for you to chime in and join the conversation.

Video clips at Ustream

October 15, 2009

More On Language And Rhetoric

When it comes to language and rhetoric regarding the Iran crisis, it is instructive to look carefully at both sides. While earlier today in The Language of Limbo I shared a glimpse of our own language and rhetoric, adopted by acquiescence to Russia, let's peer into that of Iran.

Turn back the clock a few years and recall the proclamation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Iran would soon "wipe Israel off the map." When called on this, Ahmadinejad and his defenders - many of them right here in America - dismissed this as purely rhetorical. They said that what was meant was merely figuratively speaking, through the collapse of the Israeli government and not actually physically "wiping Israel from the map."

Curious then that Iran, in its 2004 Sacred Defense Week military parade in Tehran, the regime draped its ballistic missiles on public display with banners in Persian which read "Israel must be wiped off the map" and "We will crush America under our feet."

One side in this conflict means business. That would be the side training, funding and arming radical elements to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan today. And the side which demonstrates its intent, beyond rhetoric, almost daily.

On the other side, our government remains convinced it can negotiate away a nuclear program which Iran has stated over and over and over again is non-negotiable. Our government hedges, sputters, and works overtime to modify language to perfection.

The unfortunate thing in all of this is that the Iranians are rather blunt and direct. A haunting yet refreshing bit of clarity and truth.

Our carefully and ably crafted wordsmithing is lost on the Iranians, who chuckle at us as too cute by half.

The intelligent counter to this is to argue that our language is crafted for broader consumption and employ beyond Iran. Most notably Russia and China. Unfortunately, both Russia and China are sided with Iran. And our government laps up their Mandarin and Cyrillic wordsmithing as it would desire they to ours.

Too cute by half. This serves as an assault on clarity. And the absence of clarity is the harbinger of conflict and never resolution unless through preemptive surrender.

Such is our path.

Language absent clarity serves no good nor supports any fruitful endeavor.

October 14, 2009

The U.S.S. New York

From the wreckage of the World Trade Center was forged over 7 tons of steel to become the "stem bar" of the U.S.S. New York on its way to New York City for its commissioning on November 7th. The New York is an Amphibious Landing Platform Dock with a primary mission of delivering a 700 member Marine Battalion anywhere in the World to the scene of counterterrorism operations.

The U.S.S. New York, forged from the steel of the World Trade Center.

USS New York LPD-21 under construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' shipyard in Avondale, LA, will be the fifth amphibious transport dock of the San Antonio class. The ship was named New York after the state and incorporates in its construction steel salvaged from the World Trade Centers. Her ship motto is "Never Forget." "We're very proud that the twisted steel from the WTC towers will soon be used to forge an even stronger national defense," New York Gov. George Pataki spoke in 2002.

Interesting that there is that linkage, the U.S.S. New York, a San Antonio class ship. It would be great to be able to see it sail past the Statue of Liberty and then up the Hudson. What a sight it will surely be.

October 13, 2009

Punting Immigration

A basic principle of any security mechanism is to know what you are protecting. In an immigration/border security context you would think that would be fairly straight forward, but apparently not:

Eight years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and despite repeated mandates from Congress, the United States still has no reliable system for verifying that foreign visitors have left the country.

New concern was focused on that security loophole last week, when Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year-old Jordanian who had overstayed his tourist visa, was accused in court of plotting to blow up a Dallas skyscraper. . . .

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, immigration authorities, with more than $1 billion from Congress, have greatly improved and expanded their systems to monitor foreigners when they arrive. But despite several Congressional authorizations, there are no biometric inspections or a systematic follow-up to confirm that foreign visitors have departed.

What does $1 billion dollars get you? Well, it doesn't get a wall (actual or virtual) across the southern border, but it does get you a very sophisticated exit verification process:

The current system relies on departing foreigners to turn in a paper stub when they leave.

As is all too typical Washington, there is no one to blame:

"You can't ask the immigration system to do everything," said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a research center in Washington, and a former commissioner of the immigration service.

Apparently for some, having the immigration organ of our state security apparatus to actually keep track of immigrants is really just too much to ask.

October 12, 2009

Mitchell: US Wants 'Contiguous' Palestinian State

Umm, yeah. About that "treating our allis as allies" and regaining their trust bit from the 2008 presidential campaign... It doesn't apply to Israel, our closest ally in the Middle East, in case you haven't yet noticed.

President Obama's MidEast envoy George Mitchell said from the West Bank that the US doesn't just support a Palestinian state, but that Washington wants a "contiguous" Palestinian state.

U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell told reporters after meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that Washington supports the creation of a Palestinian state with "contiguous territory."

The "contiguous" Palestinian state suggests that Palestinians would be able to travel between any two places of their future state without entering Israel.

Analysts believe that Mitchell was reassuring Palestinians over its position of upholding the creation of a Palestinian state.

Jonathan Rynhold, a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies near Tel Aviv, said Mitchell used the word "contiguity" to make the Palestinians understand that the U.S. is not prepared to allow Israel to continue settlement expansion, despite Benjamin Netanyahu's reticence over a complete freeze on Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Mitchell "used the word "contiguity" to make the Palestinians understand that the U.S. is not prepared to allow Israel to continue settlement expansion"?

Or does it, Mr. Rynhold? A "contiguous" Palestinian state may also mean taking land from Israel and giving it to the Palestinians to connect the West Bank with Gaza. The West bank is not a Palestinian state. The West Bank and Gaza would form a Palestinian state.

With the way language can be twisted around presumptions, I'd prefer to hear clarification from George Mitchell (or the White House) rather than a third party opining on perceived intent.

Mr. Mitchell?

October 11, 2009

Separating al Qaeda & the Taliban (Myth & Reality)

The sparring over future US policy in Afghanistan and the number of troops that the President may finally accede to sending at the request of General McChrystal is clouded by the question of whether this decision is being driven by incorrect conclusions on the presence or lack of presence of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. This "body count" approach could well lead to strategic miscalculations.

Once before it was declared that the Taliban was dead and gone from the Afghan landscape. This individual made a strong argument (in late 2005) that "Afghanistan is the most successful operation...ever seen when you see what is going on in Kabul in particular. NATO, in particular, has really stepped up. This is not the opinion of the news media...The Afghan people have been given a good shot to have a decent future..." Oddly, now it is al Qaeda that is being declared out of Afghanistan.

Of course, history already has shown us that the Taliban was never gone, and their resurgence in the last 3 years has once again seen violence and terror plague the people of Afghanistan. In fact, a recent intelligence estimate indicates a quadrupling of Taliban strength in the last four years.

Simultaneously, it seems that the Administration has concluded that as approximately 100 al Qaeda fighters remain in Afghanistan that they are not the problem in Afghanistan. Michael Scheuer debunking the "al Qaeda is gone from Afghanistan" approach to U.S. policy:

Michael Scheuer, a former CIA analyst who tracked bin Laden for three years, believes the administration may have underestimated al-Qaida's role here because the organization prefers to work in the background providing logistics, propaganda and training to local allies. "When you see less and less of al-Qaida in an Islamist insurgency, it almost certainly means that it is more effective than when you saw more of it," Scheuer said. "I am sure that al-Qaida is still fielding some field-grade cadre to toughen the Taliban's ranks."

The concept of believing that al Qaeda and the Taliban are separate is equally bankrupt. In fact, Bruce Riedel, the President's former advisor on Afghan issues has commented that if would be a "fairy tale" for the US to think it could split the Taliban away from al-Qaeda.

Mr Riedel, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, a Washington thinktank, is dismissive of the talk of splitting Afghan factions of the Taliban away from the foreign jihadists of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror faction. "This is a fairy tale," he said. "al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been closely aligned ever since Osama bin Laden came back to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s," he said. "What is most remarkable about that partnership is that it has survived and endured.

Aside from all of the above, it is interesting that recent news reports have differentiated between the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistani Taliban. It is clear that the Taliban (and their al Qaeda influencers) operate interchangeably across the mountains on Afghanistan and Pakistan. And while the linkage of the Taliban with the Pakistani ISI is vehemently denied by Pakistan, the "safe haven" for al Qaeda/Taliban is hard to argue. If you believe that al Qaeda is really gone from Afghanistan, or that the Taliban has died and come back, then you might also believe that the Taliban is really split between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Of course the final "bedtime story" for those who wish to believe is the Taliban's claim that it doesn't pose a threat to the West.

Indeed, it helps to believe in fairy tales.

October 9, 2009

Video: Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism

The Colorado Information Analysis Center has a very well produced video intended to educate the citizen how to recognize the eight signs of terrorism. We encourage readers to take a few minutes and consider the information shared in the video. As an added bonus, John Elway actually does a fine job of narrating, which can be a rarity among professional athletes.

The Colorado Information Analysis Center lists the "8 Signs of Terrorism" as follows:
  1. Surveillance - Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps, or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.
  2. Elicitation - People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities, or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, email, telephone, or in person. This could also include eavesdropping or friendly conversation.
  3. Tests of Security - Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches, attempts to penetrate physical security barriers, or monitor procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Funding - Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits, or withdrawals are common signs of terrorist funding. Collections for donations, the solicitation for money and criminal activity are also warning signs.
  5. Supply - Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, etc. This also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) and any other controlled items.
  6. Impersonation - People who don't seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else. This includes suspicious border crossings, the impersonation of law enforcement, military personnel, or company employees is also a sign.
  7. Rehearsal - Putting people in position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.
  8. Deployment - People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is the person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

Thanks to @Terrorismwatch for sharing via Twitter.

Readers can also follow me on Twitter here: @SteveSchippert.

October 4, 2009

About that "Alternate Universe"

Last week, Steve Schippert wrote about the revelation that the President and General McChrystal had had just one briefing on the Afghan situation while the White House and the Military debated strategy and the merits of ramping up the number of troops committed to that theater of operations.

Evidence of what seems to be a continuing "difference of opinion" about our role in Afghanistan is shown now by
National Security Adviser James Jones stating that he did not believe that the country was backsliding into Taliban control.

"I don't foresee the return of the Taliban," Jones told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, "And I want to be very clear that Afghanistan is not in danger - imminent danger -- of falling." "The key in Afghanistan," Jones also told King, "is to have a triad of things happen simultaneously." In addition to security, the country needs economic development and "good governance and the rule of law," Jones said.

Thus, Afghanistan and the role of the U.S. in the region remains the subject of debate. Also clearly, the question of the relative importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan in the future stability of the area is in the balance. The bombings in Afghanistan continue to show that a war indeed rages there. But the Taliban likely does not recognize the artificial border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The National Security Advisor also commented that Gen. McChrystal's recommendation (to add 40,000 troops) was "his opinion" of "what he thinks his role within that strategy is." It was a few years ago that some people considered the Taliban to be kaput and that the people in Afghanistan had "never had it so good." National Security Adviser Jones also "suggested" that military advice should go through the chain of command.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal...warned bluntly last week in a London speech that a strategy for defeating the Taliban narrower than the one he is advocating would be ineffective and "short-sighted." The comments effectively rejected a policy option that senior White House officials, including Vice President Biden, are seriously considering nearly eight years after the U.S. invasion.

It should be interesting to see what the passage of time tells us about the longevity of the Taliban, its trans-Afghan/Pakistan resurgence. "Chaois-istan?" It might be time to start believing in the tooth fairy.

Mexico, Drugs, Violence: Its all about "us."

With all of the internal strife ripping our southern neighbor, reading much of the news stories could lead someone to believe that its all our fault. With no specificity, it is alleged that High-powered guns purchased at Houston-area stores by a Gulf Cartel cell are being smuggled back into Mexico and then used in at least 55 murders. Believe it? I wonder if those "high-powered" guns are those that a person cannot simply walk into a gun shop and purchase without a federal firearms license?

Beyond this is the assertion that alot of the drug related violence in Juarez and other border cities is a result of the fact that narcotics remain outlawed in the United States

"Drug prohibition is causing all of this," said Terry Nelson, a retired U.S. anti-drug agent who spoke at a conference last week at the University of Texas-El Paso that called for narcotics decriminalization as a means to end the violence. "The global war on drugs is probably the greatest public policy failure of all time."

However, it is also now reported that the Mexican cartels are growing marijuana in North Texas!

Mexico's nimble drug cartels are leapfrogging tightened border security and establishing sophisticated marijuana-growing operations in North Texas and Oklahoma, law enforcement officials say.

"There is no doubt" that three big marijuana fields uncovered this month in Ellis and Navarro counties "have a tie to the border and a Mexican drug cartel," said a drug investigator for the Department of Public Safety. "They brought the tenders up here from Mexico to do the work.

"This is not Joe Bob growing some marijuana to smoke. These are professional drug operations," said the investigator, who asked not to be identified for security reasons.

The traffickers' farming operations, known as "grows," have been an increasing problem on public lands in California and other Western states for some time. But it's only been in the last two years that the cartels have started to cultivate densely planted plots in North Texas and eastern Oklahoma, law enforcement officials say.

OK. This whole thing with thousands of people being murdered along the border, with express kidnappings and other violence in the Unites States perpetrated by the various Mexican drug cartels is our fault. Sure!

Of course, then there is the epiphany that because of the United States' involvement in assisting Mexico in its war against the cartels, American business interests in Mexico could be threatened.

In a report by Miami-based Kroll Associates issued by one of its executives at the Americas Conference in Coral Gables, the company cautions that ``the more the U.S. government gets involved . . . it is not unlikely that U.S. companies may be faced with extortion, that local managers are kidnapped for ransom and that truck hijacking increases.''

What is the reality? As it has been apparent for many months, while some weapons may be finding their way to Mexico from the US, not looking to the other likely suspects of Venezuala (through Russian and Iran), Nicaragua, Guatemala and China is at best naive. Does the U.S. have a drug problem? Sure! Is it the reason for the drug cartels and the violence? Maybe it is a contributing factor, but fully at fault? Please!

Mexican cartels growing fields of marijuana in Texas is a problem that can be eradicated through prompt and proactive steps if "we" decide to do it. Hopefully federal and Texas state officials will not waste too much time in stomping out this problem.

The final point of U.S. business interests being at a greater risk because the U.S. is helping Mexico fight the war against the cartels, should give the reader pause.

October 3, 2009

Obama Administration's Extended Iran Learning Curve

The story headline from the New York Times today is a jaw-dropper. If, that is, you have had a heartbeat and functioning lungs for the past 5 years. It inspired the shortest Commentary I have ever written, shared below. The incredulous headline reads: U.S. Wonders if Iran Is Playing for Time.

Schippert Commentary: Ya think?

That is all.

Nothing more.

The end.

October 2, 2009

Implementing Hybrid Warfare

The Army's new Capstone Concept draft represents an fundamental acceptance of many issues raised by critics of post-9/11 doctrine and strategy.

The document's conceptualization of the future operating environment is compelling and persuasive. There is a recognition, largely missing from documents even five years ago, that C4ISR platforms are not going to be decisive in terms of information superiority. Adversaries are going to use a range of means, conventional or otherwise, to try to target US vulnerabilities. Advanced airlift and sealift capabilities for strategic maneuver will remain crucial to US power projection abroad. If we take "hybrid warfare" not as an academic description of present and future conflict but as an organizing term for a variety of different threats, the ACC draft is an admirable attempt to grapple with some of the strategic and operational implications.

There is also a heavy emphasis on terms such as "complexity" and "persistent conflict." In section 2-2, the ACC suggests that a variety of factors contributes to a "complex, uncertain operating environment." The answer broadly lies within the institutionalization of adaptability and diverse competencies. There are several problems with this focus. For one, "conditions of uncertainty and complexity" is ill-defined and seems to suggest that the uncertainty and complexity of present-day conflict is unique. The other issue is that adaptability, like the corporate term "synergy" is extremely vague--a kind of thing that all stakeholders can favor in principle. Perhaps the most important addition to the final version of the ACC would be more of an explanation of what adaptability means in the context of Army policy.

The document, as a whole, reflects a larger lack of strategic guidance at the executive policymaking level. However, this is not necessarily unique to our time. It is a longstanding condition of American strategy. "Adaptability" within this context is not necessarily adaptation to a broadening range of threats but institutional adaptation to uncertain strategic guidance. Unfortunately, such larger uncertainty can have direct strategic and operational costs. Because the Army must implement policies, however ill-defined, focusing in a concrete manner on improvisation should rightly be a pre-eminent concern.

October 1, 2009

Believing in the Tooth Fairy

"Oh, how the media doth spin the yarns," or as Mark Twain once wrote, "the report of my death was an exaggeration." The same may hold for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Some sentiment exists that espouses the belief that the al Qaeda ideology of global jihad is in decline.

With its central leadership thrown off balance as operatives are increasingly picked off by missiles and manhunts and, more important, with its tactics discredited in public opinion across the Muslim world. "Al Qaeda is losing its moral argument about the killing of innocent civilians," said Emile A. Nakhleh, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency's strategic analysis program on political Islam until 2006. "They're finding it harder to recruit. They're finding it harder to raise money."

Yet another view is that al Qaeda is fractionating and being replaced by a "generation of dispersed, aspiring terrorists linked largely by the Internet -- who still pose a danger, but of a lesser degree."

Is that truly any less dangerous than the somehow coordinated efforts of al Qaeda prime? Or further, is this "simply" an evolution of the thinking from the 2005 treatise by by Spanish-Syrian strategist Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, "The Call for a Global Islamic Resistance." Key to that document was the concept of "nizam, la tanzim," or 'System, not organisation.' Jihadist groups should develop a template that allows them to create structures wherever they are, and carry out recruitment, fund-raising and attacks. One thing that should be certain is that the recent spate of seemingly disconnected terrorist incidents in the United States should be disconcerting to everyone.

The threat is here, even if it comes from "there." When people can go to training camps in Pakistan or Afghanistan, learn about bombmaking, become indoctrinated in the beliefs of the ant-West jihad, the War on Terrorism is in your town, it's on your street.

The recognition of the threat of internal jihadist attacks in the United States is reinforced by Walid Phares writing in the Counterterrorism Blog. Simply, the essential element here is that over time, it was projected that "Jihadists, individuals and cells will be mushrooming and expanding inside the United States within few years from then and that they will precisely do what they are trying to do now." He wrote further:

The North Carolina cell, the New York subway plot, the Dallas attempt, the Illinois case, added to the previous cases of the shooting of a soldier in Arkansas, the precedent New York cells, Georgia's young Jihadists, all the way back to the infamous Virginia paintball network, if anything gives us the genome of what is morphing inside the country -- a vast body of dispersed cells with at least one binding force -- the Jihadi ideology. The question thus is to find out who is propagating the doctrines of Jihadism: who is funding it; who is protecting the indoctrination operation which leads naturally to the rise of homegrown or foreign linked, lone wolves or packs of Jihadists, Terrorists. That is the real question: where is the factory? If the Government doesn't counter this ideological growth, Jihadists will keep coming. And in fact they kept coming, spreading crossing the barriers of ethnicities, races, nationalities and geographical frontiers. The Jihadists committed to harm the US, and based inside our borders, are now by the hundreds.

Indeed, where is the factory? A common thread to all of these recent events is the access to terrorist or jihadist training camps. In the case of Zazi, it is clear that he went to a training camp in Pakistan where he was instructed in tactics and in bomb making. If that is the case, others have begun asking the question of where we should be fighting terrorism. Is there war in Afghanistan? Or is the "real" war in the mountainous regions of Pakistan where al Qaeda's proxy, the Taliban may have found a new haven?

It is a troubling question. The fact is that Najibullah Zazi, the apparent leader of what now may be a failed bombing plot against NY City subways, traveled to Pakistan for his training. So while General McChrystal argues that more troop strength is needed in Afghanistan to ensure "victory," and the President ponders the next policy, the terrorist training camps in Pakistan continue to turn out jihadi bombers and fighters, and Taliban violence against Pakistanis is unrelenting.

Pakistanis remain primarily concerned with their own prideful sovereignty. "Unilateral action by the Americans inside Pakistan would be a diplomatic and political disaster," the Pakistani paper the Dawn opined Wednesday. "The Americans must remain sensitive to Pakistan's internal political dynamics." Meantime, on Tuesday the Taliban blew up an empty girls school just outside Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan, the latest in a string of similar attacks. The attackers then retreated to their tribal-area safe haven.

Is stabilizing Afghanistan more important than rooting out the terrorist training camps in Pakistan? Others with more insight to the multinational issues might differ, but the history of the region suggests that the Taliban do not see a border between the two countries, especially when they cross the mountains.

As recently as August there was a belief that while the threat posed by al Qaeda will continue for two decades, it is more likely to pose a conventional, rather than WMD threat. That's a fairly bold prediction considering a 20 year predicted threat, and the uncertainty of what will happen tomorrow. Further, continued instability in the world, especially in the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban ruled and then protected and spawned al Qaeda, suggests that the extremism of September 11, 2001 remains unchecked.

It is also possible that al Qaeda in one form or another could continue to plague the World stage for 50 years. It may morph and change and adapt, but will it disappear? Perhaps if you believe in the tooth fairy, you can also believe that al Qaeda is dying (or dying off).

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