Oct 28 2007
Those who read this site know I have been of the opinion that as Iraq fell to American and the Democrat Iraqi government al-Qaeda would be pushed out of the country. That is because Iraqis want al-Qaeda dead as much as anyone given the brutal, ugly atrocities al-Qaeda has inflicted on them. In fact, you can see this sea change in the minds of the Arab-Muslim world as many cry foul about Bin Laden’s last recording:
Al-Qaida sympathizers on the Web have unleashed a torrent of anger against Al-Jazeera television, accusing it of misrepresenting Osama bin Laden’s latest audiotape by airing excerpts in which he admits to mistakes by the insurgents in Iraq.
“God fight al-Jazeera,” railed a contributor on a leading Islamic militant Web forum, where users all week have posted thousands of insults against the pan-Arab station, calling it a “collaborator with the Crusaders” for suggesting the tape showed weakness in al-Qaida.
But the unprecedented furor against al-Jazeera may be a case of blaming the messenger, highlighting the surprise among supporters over bin Laden’s words and the deep divisions among Iraqi militant groups.
“They’ve never seen bin Laden admit a mistake and if he’s admitting that, it may show al-Qaida is weakening in Iraq,” said Eric Rosenbach, a terror expert and executive director of research at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
There will be no al-Qaeda success in Iraq. So where would al-Qaeda regroup if purged from Iraq and Afghanistan? Northern Pakistan seems to be the only remaining ‘safe haven’ to me. A primarily Sunni-Arab sect there are only a few places it could go. Syria is an option and I am sure many are hiding there. But the other main area of supposed safety is in the lawless areas of Northern Pakistan – where the Mujahadin and Taliban of Afghanistan seemed to have been birthed from, as well as the long notorious Pashtun.
But what looked like a safe have to many looked like a nice death trap to me. Modern warfare can turn any terrain into a dead end corner that can be systematically purged. And I think that is what is happening now in Pakistan:
Army gunship helicopters have continued to raid villages in northwest Pakistan where fighters loyal to a Muslim cleric continue to battle paramilitary troops, officials have said.
The opposition fighters are hiding in Swat valley, where Maulana Fazlullah, who has campaigned to introduce laws supportive of the resurgent Taliban, is based.
This could be as it is portrayed in the news, or it could be the final noose tightening around the last outpost of al-Qaeda leadership. Only time will tell. But the world (and America) will have a much different view of President Bush if he ends his term with success in Iraq and Bin Laden in custody, rooted out from Pakistan. Wishful thinking? Of course! But also completely possible.