Prague Twin

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Question #3

Has al-Qaeda in Iraq been "routed" as Sec. of Defense Robert Gates claimed last month, or are they "here to stay."

As a follow on, has "the surge" been successful or does the Iraqi's "failure to make sufficient progress" mean that "the surge" will be remembered only as a lull in violence, much like the early part of 2005?

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  • I think there are several problems with the rather simplistic approach taken on both counts.
    We are not going to route al-Quaeda out of anywhere. This is a fluid group with no central headquarters and no central country that they operate from. They are not nationalists fighting for their country, they are a fanatical fringe fighting some vaporous religious war. We've been in Afghanistan how long? And with all our might and technology we can't find one man? These people have the ability to move in and out of any Middle Eastern country, melt into the crowds and be virtually undetectable. They maintain a vast network over a vast area. If others aren't helping them, they are certainly being kept quiet and cooperative out of fear. Under present circumstances our military efforts will remain ineffective.
    Gen.Petraeus himself has now stated the obvious shortfall of the surge; we expect to change thousands of years of traditions and societal infrastructure in a very short time and it can't be done. The new Iraqi government is struggling because operating as a democratic society is so totally foreign to them and the citizens of Iraq. As long as we keep such a strong military presence in Iraq, I believe we will do more harm than good. Various factions will use our presence to continue to create mayhem.
    If we just pull out, we create a vaccuum that could end up being equally destructive.
    My humble opinion; we need to work with the Iraqi government and focus on training and building their military and police. We need to let it be known that we will leave and we need a date.

    By Blogger rockync, at 4:04 AM  

  • rockync

    like your wishful thinking on what is actually contained in the U.S. Constitution and the Geneva Conventions you are confused as to the status of al-Quaeda. P.T. gave me a book to read (with which I am almost finished) that suggests in its title that the war in Iraq is endless. I have never seen such total disregard for truth as I have seen with the anit war left.

    Why do the lefties love to hate America?

    By Blogger Lysander Cadwalader, at 4:50 PM  

  • It never ceases to amaze me that a brazen few have such "clarity" while those of us who don't walk in lock step behind their rabid war mongering ideals are "confused."
    Gee, think I'll wander around outdoors and see if I can find my home before dark...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:36 PM  

  • Thanks for the great comments. Very ambitious those. However, the question is a simple one without an obvious answer.

    I will venture that Lysander said on his blog (unless I'm confusing it with Roger's) that al Qaeda in Iraq had been defeated. Now we are hearing that they are here to stay from people who should know.

    I'd like to know what your opinions are on this question. Are they done? Are they here to stay? Or are they here for now and we will see with perhaps a leaning one way or the other to how things will pan out in the long term?

    Really, what do you think?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:28 PM  

  • praguetwin, I'm not sure if you addressing Lysander, me or both. What the hell, in my ignorance and confusion, I'll take a stab at it anyway.
    Like America ridding itself of the blight known as the KKK, it will be the Middle Eastern people NOT the US military who ultimately oust al-Qaeda. In areas where the locals are joining the fight, al-Qaeda is definitely losing its grip.
    But the head honcho on the ground in Iraq,General David Petraeus, who should know best is saying that a political solution is necessary: a military victory is not possible.
    Perhaps he is also confused.
    Short term: we can help the Iraqis get started, but we can't solve the problem.
    Long term: The removal of al-Qaeda from Iraq will depend on the will and resolve of the Iraqi people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:35 PM  

  • Pt

    As I have said in the past; In much the same way that we still have Nazi's & the KKK, we will always have al Queda. The question is; What sort of power will they wield? I am very much of the opinion that like the Nazi's and the KKK; al queda has or will be relegated to the scrap heap.

    You will recall that I told you the begining of the end for al-Queda in Iraq would be when al Zarqawi was killed. With his death we do infact begin to see the unravling of the orginization as it pertains to Iraq.

    That being said, I think that racical Islam will be with us for quite a while.

    By Blogger Lysander Cadwalader, at 2:16 AM  

  • I think they are here to stay and al-Qaeda leaders have read The Art Of War by Sun Tzu, deception is one of their best/most effective weapons.

    God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

    By Blogger David Schantz, at 8:49 PM  

  • Terrorism has moved onward and downward. You aren't dealing so much with highly organised cells now as much as problem kids with hard ons.
    I know it doesn't suit the US dynamic to lose a viable enemy, but the reality is that we are facing greater problems from problem 'rebels without a cause'.
    Just look at the realities of the past few years, the terror threats to the west have been leaderless wannabees.
    If we don't recognise the new realities we just continue to subjugate the majority who are being used by the greedy leaders.
    I should admit that Israel/Palestine are a separate issue, but not one which threatens our own homelands. Our leaders do that very well without there help.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 10:57 AM  

  • Cart

    To what would you attribute the downward onward movement of terrorism?

    By Blogger Lysander Cadwalader, at 2:59 PM  

  • Now there is an essay in the making… The skinny IMHO: Everything in this life is cyclic and terrorism, under its various names, has been widely practiced for millennia. Nearly every nation has practiced some form of terrorism, internally or externally.
    But like all human endeavour the life of specific organisations is limited by the inability of power elites to devolve power. Instead of educating leaders prefer to train, but leaders generally come out of educated elites not out of the rabble who follow them; with the consequence that an organisation rarely outlasts its central leadership.
    al-Queda have been essentially destroyed at the top. While know one is certain how the leadership group is now composed, there is increasing evidence that it is no longer effective.
    There are still strong and effective, region specific, terrorist organisations. But largely those with a more international focus have effectively been stripped of leadership over the past few years. If the US, France and other ‘belligerent’ forces would get out of conflict areas even region specific terrorism would recede further.
    Where those International forces intent on reconstruction of conflict zones are given a free hand the ‘rabble’ is quickly losing interest in political struggle and turning back to the quality of life struggle.
    Which just leaves the normally disaffected, the rebels without any real cause, to continue the mayhem. Fortunately they are far easier to deal with then a highly organised group with leadership and focus.
    I’m not sure if that answers it, but it is where my thinking has been lately.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 10:33 PM  

  • Cart

    On balance I concure with your conclusions and in spite of the fact that our positions on the Iraq war are diferent (me being in support of it)I believe the time is near wherein the indiginous peoples of the regeion must be handed the reponsibility of their own future.

    But when you say "al-Queda have been essentially destroyed at the top", to whom or what do you attribute said destruction?

    By Blogger Lysander Cadwalader, at 8:08 PM  

  • Lysander, I note that we could have a robust debate on the first part of your response, however I will stick to the actual question posed here. It sounds, on the basis of the question, something of a trap. As I do strive for evidence based opinion, I must equally admit assumptions in this grey, murky area.
    The great assumption is that "al-Queda have been essentially destroyed at the top". Whether Bin Laden is dead or alive is a moot point, though the evidence leans toward his demise. But he is just one player, even if a major player.
    The assumed curtailing of al-Queda activity is of course evidenced by the lack of ‘branded’ activity. Indeed, the same can be said for the major offshoots, such as JI in SE Asia. Which I guess is the heart of your question.
    Okay, I ascribe this to a range of factors:
    1) The US intelligence community and administration actually acting on available information in the spotlight glare following 9/11
    2) A global focus on the activities of these groups within sovereign countries and regions. The introduction of often draconian laws, impacting on basic social freedoms as well as *so called terrorist activity.
    3) Organisation dynamics which generally limit the numbers of the core leadership group and fail to ensure easy replacement of key players as they are targeted and destroyed. al-Queda and JI specifically chose an organisational style which left the bulk of the organisations on a need to know basis and unprepared to fill gaps as they arose.
    * Your earlier question got me thinking about the nature of terrorism; what are we fighting? I have just posted, on Grub Street, an attempt to define terrorism. What I found is that there is no agreed or accepted definition terrorism. We are working in a void on that one. In fact we are living under anti-terrorism legal regimes when there is no legal definition for terrorism. More fool us…

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 10:29 PM  

  • How in the Blue Hell do you get rid of a group that looks, dresses and acts just like the general population?

    Its all so damn fuckwitted.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:05 PM  

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