Peter Bergen on Pakistan and Afghanistan After the Death of Osama bin-Laden

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

New York City–May 5th–Although your columnist regards the subject of his article herein to be worn out, (he had contemplated placing it next to his Op-Ed of last week on the death of Osama when the event was au courant,) but instead your essayist has decided to concluded his material on this important incident by this report he has garnered during his recent wanderings.

The Asia Society chapter in (N.Y.C.‘s borough of) Manhattan, the very City of 9-11 presented Peter Bergen, the author of the popular Holy War, Inc. and the equally acclaimed The Osama bin Laden I Know with the authoritative the  Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda which has only recently been released.  That journalist relayed his subject honestly with great insight that night.

His discourse there concerned itself on how the death of the commander of Al-Qaeda, the infamous Osama bin-Laden, might change the strategy of global terrorism and the counter-insurgency that it generates — especially within Afghanistan and the chief worldwide counterterrorist, the United States’ relationship with its second most dependable ally since the Second World War (after Great Britain, of course), Pakistan. There is a sense here in the West that their Pakistani ally’s bilateral commitment to the United States has become problematic with bin-Laden’s discovery by U.S. intelligence living comfortably and openly within the Islamic Republic.  American commandos (the U.S.’ Navy’s Seals), then, moved in for the “kill.”  (The American public has always shown a prejudice against Islamabad due to Indian propaganda while the regime(s) in Washington has (have) strongly relied upon this Islamic country to defend their mutual interests.  Osama’s domicile in the Punjab Province was due to rogue elements [possibly with connections to that Government whose seat is only down the road from Osama‘s home], but it was not the South Asian nation’s Administration’s policy [or knowledge] to have him there as a “guest!”)

Bergen’s background includes the Directorship of the National Security Studies Program at the New American Foundation.  He is, also, CNN’s (the Cable News Network‘s) national security analyst and a fellow at New York University’s Center on Law & Security, too.

Peter Bergen has reported extensively on al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and counterterrorism in the past.  In fact, he was of the few news commentators to have actually have interviewed bin-Laden himself.

As your author here has written on these pages in the past, and now Bergen has confirmed to this impressive and imposing assemblage that “Al-Qaeda’s ideology had already [started] to be slashed by the blossoming Arab ‘Spring.”

The Arab “Spring” has become a problem for Al-Qaeda in that it has invalidated their violent techniques to most of their “fellow-travelers,” and their “True Believers” that the “Base’s” methodology is redundant; and, therefore, its support has dwindled as Arab democracy has asserted itself!

Egypt had always been troublesome and hostile to the (violent) Jihads.  Now, with the reforms, hopefully, democratic change, if it is a finely-tuned, will discourage, the necessity for violently overthrowing the State.  So far, the Arab “Spring” — in the areas of its success — has largely chased gratuitous aggression from those  regions of the Middle East.  

Al-Qaeda was formed at a meeting during September of 1988.  A sub-national (not even that, but an organization that advocated bloodshed to those who did not believe as they — in essence, Takfrs.  Their odium  was strongly against the majority of Muslims whom they considered heretics while the majority of Islam considers their movement as heterodox.)  “bin-Laden was the commander of the violent Jihadi cluster”.  Bergen concludes that there is no one to replace him.  Something that your reporter is not so sure, but Peter Bergen, who had conversed with Osama before his death, conjectures that currently “After the commander‘s demise…[Al-Qaeda will] never [be able] to unite as a popular resistance!” 

Further, “bin-Laden orders and strategy [for post-his-extinction] are well-known.”  Al-Qaeda is immigrating towards the African country of Somalia.  Bergen felt, alas, his death would be “…a positive [change in the chance] for Israel’s survival…The longest War just got shorter!”

United States intelligence from Quetta and Karachi expose a robust anti-Americanism a over the expanse of the Pakistani State, but “The Obama Administration has handled the state of affairs well.”  His indictment of the Bush Regime was as an appalling aberration.  “They refused to look at dispute as it actually was.”  W.’s” Bush assertion of WMDs within Iraq was based on his willful imagination.  “The District of Columbia became a self-correction agency [i.e., state]!  Obama, now, is trying to make changes in foreign policy.  Peter Bergen deems that he has Afghanistan and Libya correct since, as he believes that “Khadafy is the worse mass  murderer in the Middle East!”

In the Hindu Kush where the Taliban thinks more in national terms whereas Qaeda looks into an international vista, it is a rural, therefore a more effective, insurgency where the fighting season is demarked between the end of the poppy and the beginning of the marijuana harvest.

The Afghan (National) Army is a reconfiguration of the old Northern Alliance.  Military service has become more economically attractive, and, thus, a more credible fighting service.

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Somali Shabaab Rebels Say They Shot Down U.S. drone

October 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Abdi Sheikh

2009-10-19T142349Z_601044172_GM1E5AJ1Q6Z01_RTRMADP_3_SOMALIA-CONFLICT

Hardline Somali Islamist insurgents from Hisbul Islam patrol the streets of the capital Mogadishu, October 19, 2009. Hardline al Shabaab rebels have destroyed a mosque and the grave of a revered Sufi Muslim sheikh in central Somalia after shooting in the air to drive away local protesters, residents said on Monday.                  

REUTERS/Stringer

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Insurgents of the Somali al Shabaab group shot down a U.S. drone aircraft flying over the southern port of Kismayu on Monday and were searching for the wreckage, an insurgent spokesman said.

U.S. commandos killed a ‘most wanted’ al Qaeda suspect allied to al Shabaab last month in a helicopter raid in the rebel-held south of the failed state.

“We fired at an American plane spying for information over Kismayu. Our forces targeted the plane and shot it and we saw the plane burning. We think it fell into the sea,” said Sheikh Hassan Yacqub, spokesman for al Shabaab in Kismayu.

“We are still searching for it,” he told Reuters.

Lieutenant Nathan Christensen, spokesman of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, said all its unmanned aerial vehicles had been safely recovered but could not give further details.

Al Shabaab, which Washington says is al Qaeda’s proxy in Somalia, controls much of the south and center where it is waging an insurgency against the fragile U.N.-backed government.

Residents in one small central town, Galhareeri, said al Shabaab fighters destroyed a mosque, the grave of a revered Sufi Muslim cleric and a Sufi Muslim university there on Sunday.

The hardline group has targeted Sufi holy sites and religious leaders in the past, saying their practices conflict with the insurgents’ strict interpretation of Islamic law.

“They destroyed the Sheikh Ali Ibaar’s grave and our mosque. They also knocked down our Islamic university,” elder Hassan Ali said by telephone. “We do not know where to flee.”

Fighting in Somalia has killed 19,000 civilians since the start of 2007 and driven 1.5 million from their homes.

A spokesman for Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca, a moderate Sufi militia group that is battling al Shabaab in central regions, denounced the desecration of the holy sites in Galhareeri.

“We strongly condemn al Shabaab for its evil acts,” Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abu Yusuf told Reuters. “They are notorious for destroying great graves, even in places where they just spend a couple of nights.”

Al Shabaab has shocked many Somalis, moderate Muslims, with its stern version of Sharia law, involving amputations for theft, and lately the public whipping of women for wearing bras.

Al Shabaab fighters have banned movies, musical telephone ringtones, dancing at weddings and playing or watching soccer.

Some residents, however, give the rebels credit for restoring a degree of law and order to parts of the country.

In the capital Mogadishu, police displayed on Monday the body of a foreign gunman who appeared to be Arab and was killed on Sunday during an al Shabaab attack on government forces.

“You see this dead Arab. He was among the members of al Qaeda who came from other countries just to destroy Somalia,” police spokesman Abdullahi Barise told reporters, standing over the corpse of a light-skinned man with several bullet wounds.

Al Shabaab have urged foreign jihadists to join their battle against what they describe as Somalia’s apostate government.

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Shoot Israeli Jets?

September 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

By Zbig Brzezinski

Obama Administration Should Tell Israel U.S. Will Attack Israeli Jets if They Try to Attack Iran

The national security adviser for former President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, gave an interview to The Daily Beast in which he suggested President Obama should make it clear to Israel that if they attempt to attack Iran’s nuclear weapons sites the U.S. Air Force will stop them.

“We are not exactly impotent little babies,” Brzezinski said. “They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch? … We have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a ‘Liberty’ in reverse.”

The USS Liberty was a U.S. Navy technical research ship that the Israeli Air Force mistakenly attacked during the Six Day War in 1967.

Brzezinski endorsed then-Sen. Obama’s presidential campaign in August 2007, which at the time was portrayed in the media as a boost to Obama’s foreign policy cred. The Washington Post reported: “Barack Obama, combating the perception that he is too young and inexperienced to handle a dangerous world, got a boost yesterday from a paragon of foreign policy eminence, Zbigniew Brzezinski.”

Brzezinski was never an official campaign adviser, but Republicans jumped on the endorsement to push the meme that Obama wouldn’t be a friend to Israel, as Brzezinski’s views of Israel attracted criticism from some quarters in the American Jewish community.

“Brzezinski is not an adviser to the campaign,” former Ambassador Dennis Ross, then a senior adviser on Middle East affairs to the Obama campaign, said at the time. “There is a lot of disinformation that is being pushed, but he is not an adviser to the campaign. Brzezinski came out and supported Obama early because of the war in Iraq. A year or so ago they talked a couple of times. That’s the extent of it, and Sen. Obama has made it clear that on other Middle Eastern issues, Brzezinski is not who he looks to. They don’t have the same views.”

Brzezinski plays no role in the Obama administration; the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brzezinski’s comments come within the same week that the White House distanced itself from comments made by former President Carter, who said he thinks “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.”

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