Al Qaeda’s Resurgence

By Marc Schulman | Related entries in The War On Terrorism

The New York Times on Al Qaeda’s resurgence:

Al Qaeda’s comeback didn’t have to happen. And it must not be allowed to continue. The new Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan do not operate with the blessing of the Pakistani government. But Pakistan’s military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has not tried very hard to drive them out. In recent months he has virtually conceded the tribal areas to local leaders sympathetic to Al Qaeda. President Bush needs to warn him that continued American backing depends on his doing more to rid his country of people being trained to kill Americans.

Washington also has to enlist more support on the Afghan side of the border. NATO allies need to drop restrictions that hobble their troops’ ability to fight a resurgent Taliban. Afghan leaders need to wage a more aggressive campaign against corruption and drug trafficking. And Washington needs to pour significantly more money into rural development, to give Afghan farmers alternatives to drug cultivation. One reason General Musharraf has been hedging his bets with the Taliban and Al Qaeda is his growing doubt that Washington is determined to succeed in Afghanistan.

What if, as is highly probable, reversing al Qaeda’s comeback requires the U.S. to bomb its training camps in Pakistan? Even if Musharaff were to approve in private, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell that he would in public.

Does the exclusion of this possibility from the editorial mean the Times would disapprove? Or could the Times simply not risk the opprobrium that would result from its approval of “aggression” against an ungoverned part of a sovereign state?

“It must not be allowed to continue” is an unconditional statement. Ruling out U.S. military action in Pakistan would place a condition on the unconditional.


This entry was posted on Saturday, February 24th, 2007 and is filed under The War On Terrorism. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

12 Responses to “Al Qaeda’s Resurgence”

  1. bob in fl Says:

    Musharraf already has his hands full keeping power for his dictatorship over the people of Pakistan, especially with so many being Islamic “freedom fighters”as well as those who want democracy restored to the country.. He also has troops defending the frontier with India, whether rightly or wrongly. Blaming him is like blaming a lame horse for stumbling.

    Let’s place the blame where it belongs. Bottom line: Bush pulled put before the job was finished in his rush to invade Iraq. Until Musharraf sees resolve from Washington to do it right & help seal the border, he would be a fool to try to wipe out the Taleban on his own.

  2. d'Brit Says:

    You are right about Musharraf, bob.

    The Times asking for more help from the Afghan government is a joke. NATO allies dropping ‘restrictions’ is NOT going to happen. Washington pouring more $$$ into the problem is a typical liberal/democratic party ‘solution’ that ignores the corruption endemic to the region. The Times will never call for bombing Al~Qaida training camps in Pakistan because they’re not serious about winning, just appeasement for the sake of a respite.

    “Let’s place the blame where it belongs. Bottom line: Bush pulled put before the job was finished in his rush to invade Iraq.”

    Ah, hindsight is 20-20 and using it to rewrite history is so tempting when advancing one’s agenda. Though it does require a bit of intellectual dishonesty but what harm is a little of that?

    Bush invaded Iraq 18 months AFTER the ‘war’ in Afghanistan was over. Effective Taliban resistance had ceased and Al~Qaida had fled to Pakistan and other sympathetic countries. Every MAJOR democratic politician is on record as stating unequivocally their estimation that Saddam either had WMD or was ready to start up full-time pursuit of them as soon as the gradually eroding UN ‘sanctions’ fell.

    The UN ‘inspections’ were a complete joke, even Scott flip-flop Ritter was disgusted.

    Please explain, (anyone) exactly how you would convince rogue nations that the ‘game of terrorism’ they’ve been playing is no longer tolerable, now that we had lost thousands of innocent American civilians in just one attack? That is WITHOUT taking concrete action like forcibly deposing one of their fellow governments?

    Come on now, everyone is so quick to criticize Bush, yet when push comes to shove, ALL I hear is let’s TALK them out of it! How pathetic…

  3. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    Remember that the Taliban is a Pakistani creation, most Taliban have always been Pakistani. Al Queda is an operation that is ubiquitous throughout the Sunni Islamic world. Consider that the largest terrorist group in Algeria recently declared themselves a wing of Al-Queda.

    The Taliban were chased out of Afghanistan very early on in 2002, they fled swiftly to their homeland. Unless Florida Bob is arguing that the 2003 buildup to the Iraq war diverted attention from an impending invasion of western pakistan, then “its all Bush’s fault” is a flawed thesis.

    We all agree that Musharaff is doing to little, but I wonder if he (perhaps under consultation of the Bush administration) is afraid of doing too much. If an all out civil war breaks loose in Pakistan, there is a possibility that Musharaff might lose, and nuclear weapons could eventually fall into the hands of terrorists. Its a touchy situation indeed.

  4. gerryf Says:

    I must respectfully disagree with you both. When you assert that the War in Afghanistan or insurgency was over by the time Iraq began, it runs counter to the very premise of the conflict–as pushed by the administration.

    This is a war on a terror, it is a different kind of war, requiring a different kinds of methods.

    We did not declare war on Afghanistan, we declared war on Al Queda, we attacked Afghanistan because the Taliban was harboring Al Queda and giving to support to them. It was made very clear that the US was not at war with the people of Afghanistan.

    I would probably not split the two as to the actual target (Taliban, Al Queda), but all that was accomplished was the destruction of the Taliban governance infrastructure of Afghanistan.

    To say that the war was over or the resistance was over is ignorance–the Taliban insurgency really did not become evident until January of 2003 with Operation Mongoose (after months of organizing), and just as it was becoming obvious that something was changing, then the Bush administration went after Iraq. The first isolated attacks by relatively large Taliban bands on Afghan targets also appeared around that time.

    In other words, things were just starting to get bad, when the Bush administration began demonstrating its lack of touch with reality.

    Saying Bush pulled out of Iraq before the job was done, is only wrong in that we never pulled out. The administration cut resources, lost focus, and redirected its attention to Iraq (and we don’t even have to go on about the mistakes, deceit and incompetence there) before the job was done.

    The job was get Al Queda which HAD attacked the US and WAS a threat, and now IS a threat. To try to rewrite history that the war was with Afghanistan ignores the very run up (different kind of war, yadda, yadda, yadda).

    He clearly dropped the ball because he had long intended to go after Iraq. To say anything less is being an apologist.

    Though I am progressive leaning, I can appreciate the conservative side of aisle–what I cannot stomach is the notion of supporting someone because they identify themselves as conservative. By any account, this administrations handling of foreign policy (its supposed strong suit) has been an unmitigated disaster (we will leave the domestic debate for another time).

    It simply boggles my mind that it has an approval rating above even the pathetic 30 percent.

  5. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    The war against the Taliban was not over by 2003, yet the Taliban certainly was in retreat, most of the operational leadership was captured, killed, or had fled to Pakistan by then. Adhi Ghar mountain, which was the location of operation mongoose, is on the border with Pakistan. Al-queda and Taliban forces holed up there had been driven eastward out of Kandanhar months earlier, and were being re-supplied through headquarters in Pakistan when we attacked them. Again, the key here is not that the Taliban were destroyed by the U.S. before 2003, but that they regrouped and re-armed mainly from their homelands in Pakistan.

    To dissociate the Taliban from al-queda would be comparable to making a distinction between the state depatrtment and DOD. Al-queda and the Taliban are both Salafist organizations bent on imposing the same type of Islamic rule upon their respective jurisdictions. They are operationally as well as ideologically aligned, like with Somali Courts Union, which we were rather quietly fighting along with ethiopian forces earlier this year.

  6. d'Brit Says:

    “When you assert that the War in Afghanistan or insurgency was over by the time Iraq began, it runs counter to the very premise of the conflict–as pushed by the administration. This is a war on a terror, it is a different kind of war, requiring a different kinds of methods.�gerryf

    I disagree with your premise that moving on from Afghanistan runs counter to the administrations rationale for the WOT. I entirely agree this is a different kind of war. I suspect we will disagree about how that war is to be fought.

    “We did not declare war on Afghanistan, we declared war on Al Queda, we attacked Afghanistan because the Taliban was harboring Al Queda and giving to support to them. It was made very clear that the US was not at war with the people of Afghanistan.�

    We declared war on terrorism, which consists of more than simply Al~Qaeda’s terrorist network. Rogue nations for instance which are critical to the continued existence of Islamic terrorism. Iraq under Saddam was most certainly one of the rogue nations.

    Since it’s pertinent, I’ll ask you again; exactly how you propose to convince rogue nations that the ‘game of terrorism’ they’ve been playing is no longer tolerable, now that we have lost thousands of innocent American civilians in just one attack? That is, WITHOUT taking concrete action like forcibly deposing one of their fellow governments?

    Your characterization of the administrations efforts as filled with “mistakes, deceit and incompetence� is clearly biased.

    “The job was get Al Queda which HAD attacked the US and WAS a threat, and now IS a threat.�

    You continue to define the threat of Islamic terrorism as strictly one of the network. Excluding the rogue nations, religious madras’s and the ‘enabling’ nations who comprise the other components of modern terrorism is an indication of either ignorance or allegiance to an agenda and is guaranteed to be a failure as a policy of containment.

    “He clearly dropped the ball because he had long intended to go after Iraq. To say anything less is being an apologist.�

    Simply having a different opinion is not an option? Your characterizing any difference of opinion as prima facie evidence of dishonorable intent is a logical fallacy.

    “what I cannot stomach is the notion of supporting someone because they identify themselves as conservative.�

    I suspect you do not hold the same view of liberals who support democratic candidates simply because they identify themselves as liberal…

    “By any account, this administrations handling of foreign policy (its supposed strong suit) has been an unmitigated disaster�

    Yes, refusing to work more closely with a corrupt UN and the ‘enabling’ nations who effectively block any real action against the rogue nations is unconscionable…

    “It simply boggles my mind that it has an approval rating above even the pathetic 30 percent.�

    Would that your mind was boggled by the willful blindness you exhibit in touting the conventional liberal line on the war, the Bush administration and any difference of opinion from yours.

  7. gerryf Says:

    And….that means what? Because the Taliban government was defeated, Al Queda was defeated?

    Uhm no.

    Because the Taliban and Al Queda were chased out of Afghanistan, the war was concluded?

    Uhm no.

    The premise was an unconventional war on terror fought in an unconventional way.

    In no way can a reconstituted Al Queda qualify as the war being over. By taking its eye of the ball and marching off to Iraq, the administration did exactly what d’Brit said: “Bush pulled put before the job was finished in his rush to invade Iraq.â€Â?

    To try to paint it any other way is sophistry..

  8. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    who’s saying the war is over?

  9. d'Brit Says:

    “the administration did exactly what d’Brit said: “Bush pulled put before the job was finished in his rush to invade Iraq.â€Â?

    To try to paint it any other way is sophistry..”

    Firstly, those are YOUR words. I did NOT say “Bush pulled put before the job was finished in his rush to invade Iraq.â€Â?

    Secondly, the only one engaging in sophistry is you.

    We are not claiming the war was over in Afghanistan, just that a logical case could be made for diverting resources elsewhere.

    You can disagree with the premise that after attacking Al~Qaeda’s main base of operations, it made tactical sense to ‘make an example’ of a rogue nation. One run by a monster, that EVERYONE believed was pursuing WMD, but if that IS one’s premise, the resulting actions are not unreasonable.

    You are engaging in sophistry because you are using hindsight to criticize actions taken prior to knowing what we know now.

    You are ‘monday morning quarterbacking’ and then offering nothing as an alternative. No specifics as to what should have been done nor anything specific as to what we might do now.

  10. d'Brit Says:

    Correction:
    Bob in fl said “Bush pulled put before the job was finished in his rush to invade Iraq.�

  11. gerryf Says:

    First,

    I apologize d’Brit, I looked too quickly and cited the wrong person. I did not mean to put words in your mouth, especially words contradicting your intent.

    Again, I apologize.

    Now, as to Monday morning quarterbacking….it is impossible for you to acuse me of this, since you have no idea what I was saying during the run up to the Iraq war.

    If you had been, you would know that at the time that Bush was rabble rousing about attacking Iraq, was firmly opposed to the idea. I was extremely skeptical of claims of WMD and only began to have doubts about my own doubts when Colin Powel gave is now infamous UN speech which has proven to be factually incorrect and in some cases completely fabricated.

    Even then, I was opposed to the resolution authorizing force–call me a peacenick if you like, but then that would contradict what I would have done in Afghanistan.

    Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan had provided aid and sanctuary for a real enemy. By allying with Al Queda, the US invasion was justified. I have never had a problem with the War in Afghanistan.

    As to what I would have done, rather than divert reources to Iraq, it might be surprising to some that I would not have relied on the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (Northern Alliance), but placed more resources in the justified war.

    I also would have persued Al Queda and the remnents of the Taliban into Pakistan if neceesary. I would first have made every diplomtic effort to gain approval from the Pakistan government, but failing that approval, I would still persued those responsible for the attack on the US.

    As for Iraq, there does not need to be an alternative offered. We should not have been there. We should not be there.

  12. d'Brit Says:

    gerrf,

    Apology accepted. We all make mistakes myself included.
    You’re right, I didn’t know your prior positions. So I’ll retract the charge of MMQuarterbacking.

    Invading Pakistan would have been necessary to further pursuit. In my opinion that would have activated the law of unintended consequences.
    The virtually certain overthrow of Musharif and the imposition of a Taliban style government in Pakistan. Only NOW you would have created a Taliban style government with NUKES…

    You continue to define the threat of Islamic terrorism as strictly one of the network. Excluding the rogue nations, religious madras’s and the ‘enabling’ nations who comprise the other components of modern terrorism is guaranteed to be a failure as a policy of containment.

    Please explain, exactly how you would convince rogue nations that the ‘game of terrorism’ they’ve been playing is no longer tolerable, now that we had lost thousands of innocent American civilians in just one attack? That is WITHOUT taking concrete action like forcibly deposing one of their fellow governments?

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