Resurgent Jihad

Today’s Congressional hearings on the 9/11 Benghazi attack shed new light on the circumstances surrounding the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in a raid now attributed to Al Quaeda. For one month, the Administration portrayed this raid as a response to an offensive videotape by local residents when the truth was that a heavily armed band of Islamic radicals intent upon one specific mission; the assassination of Ambassador Stevens.

The military and State Department security officials testifying to the Congressional committee were unanimous in recognizing the highly fluid and dangerous state on the ground in Libya and repeatedly requested additional assistance and to extend the mission of a security team already on the ground. These requests were denied by Foggy Bottom.

There were specific and credible warnings of an impending attack. These were ignored. The president of Libya just a few days after the attack spoke the truth which the Administration is only now admitting regarding the source of the attack.

In Afghanistan, the suicide mission at Camp Bastion was the most successful act of jihad in the war to date. Green on Blue violence is now an integral part of Taliban tactical planning and has taken over 55 ISAF lives this year. This does not include an accelerated rate of civilian massacres.

The Taliban is sending a clear message that they are back and that they are ruthless.

In a controversial speech in Chicago last week, CBS senior foreign correspondent Lara Logan ripped the narrative that we are winning the war against terrorism apart.

Having covered the Afghanistan War since 2001, her perspective is unique as she has seen the war the war has changed over the past 11 years. Her most recent project was to investigate the resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

She interviewed many of the key players including several of the commanding generals, Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Taliban emissaries, and Afghan government officials. The Taliban and their Al Qaeda and Pakistani allies do not see themselves as insurgents. They were the legal government of Afghanistan and are completely committed to retaking power once the international forces leave next year. Both the Taliban and Al Quaeda have set up training camps in the remote provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. That has not made the morning news.

Our own leadership has been minimizing this threat in the interest of internal American politics. Ms. Logan pointed out that unlike the Vietcong and North Vietnamese in that war, the Salafists see the struggle as a clash of cultures and faith. The caliphate is a real and attainable goal. But like the Vietcong and North Vietnamese, they have remained unchanged in their ideology. There is no kinder, gentler Taliban. It is a fiction being sold to us.

Salafism has now spread to Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Mauritania, Somalia, Mali, and Nigeria and has become much more virulent.While many of the governments and even the people wish for peace, the Salafists are infiltrating much as they have done in Pakistan. It is never the mass of the populace but rather small cliques who have asymetrically been able to commit terror whether the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, or the Salafists.

Most of these countries without strong, pro-Western dictators would be considered failed states. The primary missions of AFRICOM now are to combat Islamic terrorism and help prevent the failure of existing national governments. We may not agree with the political systems in some of these countries, but we must help prevent chaos as best we can with limited resources and involvement.

The Obama administrations support for the Arab Spring would be sorely tested in the political arena regardless of the Salafists. Nascent governments are almost impossible to predict. But the the role of the Salafists and the resurgence of Al Quaeda should be a strobe light for the next administration.

The Afghan people were never completely with us. Night letters, assassinations, and attacks have always created a barrier to international aid and the modernization of the country.There is a fatalistic expectation that they will once again be deserted and must make their accommodations with the Taliban.

On the other side of the border, Pakistan has multiple personality disorder coupled with extreme paranoia. It has a toxic political environment pitting sect and ethnicity against each other while the ISI and Army use the  both Taliban and Haqqani Network to both fund the insurgency through the narcotics trade and and counter Western and Indian influence in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government has gone from a shaky ally to a frenemy to an undeclared enemy. That Pakistani agents have been behind some of the worst terrorists incidents in Afghanistan is another data point in both the destabilization of Afghanistan and the growing sophistication of asymmetrical warfare.

Despite the narrative, the world is a much more dangerous place than it was in 1998, or 2001, or 2006, or even last year. We are perceived as weak and weak-willed. The retreat from Afghanistan will be the cause for rejoicing throughout the Islamic world. Not by all, but by the powerful minority willing to proclaim jihad.

There will be many unintended consequences caused by our fickle policies. A nuclear Iran is only one of our worries. As Ms. Logan concluded in her remarks,

” When I look at what is happening in Libya, it’s a big song and dance about whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest. And you just want to scream “For God’s sake, are you kidding me?”. The last time we were attacked like this was the U.S.S. Cole, which was a prelude to the 1998 embassy bombings, which were the prelude to 9/11. And you are sending in FBI agents. I hope to God that you are sending in your best clandestine warriors who are going to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered. And the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it.”

General John Allen was suddenly promoted out of his job as commander of ISAF last week because he spoke the truth. This is the third commander who has been relieved in theater in the Afghan War.

Instead of the truth that needs to be told and heard there is a narrative at large that must be countered, or we shall pay a much higher price sooner rather than later.

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Haqqani/Pakistani Attack on Camp Bastion

The BBC seem to be the only ones who followed up on the attack on Camp Bastion on September 14. It seems that the base is not as remote as it has been said to be. Several key points were made in the article.

.    The attackers did extensive reconnaissance before the attack – The attackers accesses the weakest point on the base on the night of a new moon.  The access point was the shortest distance between the wire the target. The night vision goggles of patrolling sentries would not pick up a signature.

. The attackers knew exactly what their target was – The attackers immediately upon getting through the wire headed directly to the hangars and tarmac where Marine Squadron VMA -211 was based. They broke into two teams

. The attackers knew exactly how to cause maximum destruction – immediately upon arriving, the attackers fired RPG rounds at 8 of the harrier jump jets. RPG’s are one of the best tools available to destroy an aircraft and all 8 were taken out in a matter of moments. They brought the right tools with them.

. The attackers held out for four hours – Only four members of the Quick Reaction Force were left unwounded after the attack. Two of their vehicles were destroyed. many of the attackers were downed in the first 30 minutes, but the survivors had to be dug out using Apache helicopters. The attackers knew where to hide.

A Taliban cameraman waited in place just outside the wire for hours to catch the chaos caused by the attack.The video shows pillars of smoke and helicopters from a short distance. This would indicate the cameraman knew where to hide and how to evade capture. The video was a priceless trophy for the insurgents and had to be preserved at all costs.

ISAF Intelligence sources briefed the BBC and stated that the attack carried all of the hallmarks of the Haqqani Network. The Haqqanis are linked directly to Pakistan’s ISI. In the past, Pakistani military officers carrying military identification have been found dead at the sites of some of the most violent attacks in Afghanistan, including school and hospital bombings. It is widely believed that the ISI does much of the operational planning for the highest profile missions.

In the past year, President Obama has authorized over 200 drone strikes in the Northwest Territories, many of these specifically directed at the Haqqani bases in the Miram Shah area. The video released by the Taliban after the attack stated that it was in revenge for the video which caused protests by Muslims around the world, but with such planning it is obvious that this is not the case. One might speculate that the Haqqanis waited for the darkest night of the month instead of September 11 when there was still moonlight. This is another red flag indicating a very professional plan.

It seems the BBC has done a very competent job in reporting on this attack and yet nothing like it has appeared in the American press. After the fiasco surrounding the purposeful misattribution of the Libyan consulate attack by the White House and Department of State and the suggestions that the Administration is purposely trying to cover up Islamic terrorism, the BBC narrative is at odds with our own government and media’s narrative.

 

.

The real meaning of the Camp Bastion attack

On 9/11, the Taliban, in an operation most likely planned and supported by the Pakistani military, executed their own version of a SEAL Team assault of Camp Bastion in the middle of the Afghan desert.

Camp Bastion was placed in a Godforsaken place so that no one could easily assault it. It is a huge, sprawling base with British, American and other ISAF compounds. From a few flights per day 18 months ago, the base now handles 600 missions per day ranging from helicopter assaults to resupplying COP’s to close air support to C-17’s flying in troops and logistics directly in from the UK or States. As Joe Biden would say, it’s a big f’ing deal.

So somehow a Taliban assault team of approximately 17 troops managed to blow a hole in the 30′ high double fencing, drive across the base to the U.S. Marine Harrier squadron’s area of operations, and then blow up most of that same squadron while killing its commanding officer and several others.

It was a one way mission regardless with 17 virgins at the end of the line, but it was textbook planning and execution that set it apart. Our military would have known this 30 minutes after the last shot was fired and people at Eighth & I and Quantico would be encountering severe gastroenterological problems passing large clay objects through their systems.

And yet our president and our media skipped over it like it never happened. No one from the White House met the coffins as they  arrived at Dover. They would just as soon forget it ever happened.

But the fact is that our enemy launched one of their most successful assaults on our forces on the anniversary of 9/11 and it’s like it never happened. Funny how that works with this administration. Orwellian, even.

There is no cry for retribution or even investigation. There has hardly been an acknowledgment from either the White House or the Pentagon. We knew where, generally, the mission was planned within 48 hours and perhaps even who planned it. This kind of operation has fingerprints all over it and the after action reports on our side would have been thorough.

This, combined with the assassination of our ambassador in Libya, was a coordinated effort by the Salafists to regain the initiative and instead we are entertained by commercials on Pakistani networks paid for by our embassy with the President and Secretary of State calling for reason with the crazies.

The enemy has the measure of our leadership and finds it perfectly suited to their agenda.We can expect more, and more daring assaults as the date for withdrawal draws near.  Sun Tzu and Machiavelli are bywords for strategy and tactics, and instead we have the My Little Pony School of Leadership at the highest levels.

The criticism of our nation’s policy in the Middle East is now coming from experts on all sides and yet the President and his sycophants have rather successfully covered up probably the worst week of the Global War on Terror in 10 years.Instead, it seems from his actions in the aftermath that he is pursuing his own global war on our own objectives.

The indecisiveness when General McChrystal begged for more troops for the Surge; the refusal to confront Pakistani complicity and support for the Taliban and their allies; even the almost complete refusal to pursue the narcotics traffic responsible for 95% of the heroin that scourges the West; how much more pathetic can it get?

The Camp Bastion attack is a symptom of what has been wrong with our strategy in Afghanistan for a very long time. From the withdrawal from engagement with the Afghan people to the sprawl and waste to the Pollyanna power point presentations and restrictions on engagement to the refusal to pursue the enemy to their safe havens, this is no way to run a war.

Wars are on or they’re off. There is little or no middle ground. This war has been on autopilot for a very long time and as troops die or come home missing limbs, our leadership has failed both their trust with them and with ourselves completely.

What is really going on in Egypt?

The demonstrations have died down for the moment, but Friday, demonstration day, is only a few days away. If you follow the Middle East, the demonstrations usually follow Friday’s prayers at the mosques, when the more outspoken mullahs perform like Elmer Gantry in stirring religious and political fervor at times.

Unlike in the West, religion and politics are deeply intertwined, whether it is the opposition in Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon or the nascent Salafist movement in Egypt. The crowds stream from the mosque and into the streets and things start burning and people get hurt.

The anger began in earnest when Khaled Abdullah, known for his incendiary television sermons against Christians and secularists, demanded justice and retribution. Al Nas, the satellite television station from which Abdullah broadcasts, was originally founded  by businessman Mansour bin Kadesh broadcasting music and entertainment, but became first a Sunni outlet, and then later a Salafist station broadcasting across the Middle East. The pot began stirring on September 8 with Abdullah’s first rants. On September 11, he was joined by Mohammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of Ayman, leader of al Q’aeda. Ayman had issued a call for revenge for the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, AQ’s operational commander,  at the wrong end of an American Hellfire missile.

Last weeks riots began on 9/11, if you didn’t notice and were in my opinion nothing to do with an obscure Youtube video. The timing is self-explanatory much as Jay Carney and Susan Rice would like you to believe otherwise.

Our Embassy in Cairo has been under daily assault by protesters. Now it turns out that many of them; the professional thugs and even the young and unemployed have been being paid £50/day ($8.50) in a country where that is a lot of money. Hundreds if not thousands of the protesters are being paid, and no one knows where the money is coming from. Saudi interests? The Gulf? Pro Mubarak factions?

The majority in Egypt are angry with the government and Muslim Brotherhood. Not for what you might think, but for not having done enough to stop the violence. But as elsewhere in the Middle East, it is dangerous to speak out, especially against the thugs.

The worst riots have occurred in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen. The focal point for American interest in Benghazi seems to have been a planned mission using a small protest as cover according to the latest reports. The timing has become obvious, but the links are still unclear.

What has become clear, though, is that this was not an accident. The majority of people in Egypt are just as concerned as we are. Invisible hands are moving the chess pieces and building upon the violence.

As the Pope visits Lebanon to pray for peace, itself a bold move, denial is not just a river in Egypt; it is our government’s policy.