Tag Archives: Terrorism

Army: 2nd-ranking AQI man killed in Mosul

The Associated Press reports that the Army has offed a major al Qaeda operative in Mosul:

The U.S. military says the No. 2 leader of al-Qaida in Iraq has been killed during an operation in the northern city of Mosul.

The military has identified the insurgent leader as a Moroccan known as Abu Qaswarah or Abu Sara.

Wednesday’s statement says he became the senior al-Qaida in Iraq emir of northern Iraq in June 2007 and had ties to senior al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It also says “he was al-Qaida in Iraq’s second-in-command” behind Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who also is known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir.

Nice to hear.

UPDATE: Captain Ed has the story, and links to a more detailed account. He points out that Abu Sara had a habit of summarily executing anyone he smuggled into Iraq for suicide bombings who had the temerity to try to go back where they came from.  Two likelihoods:  one, that whoever tipped us off about Abu Sara’s location was probably one of those would-be deserters; and two, this will probably trigger a spate of al Qaeda runaways before the number one AQI, al-Masri, has a chance to replace him.

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Shaking the “battered Taliban syndrome”

Now this can only be a step in the right direction.

CNN is reporting (via Captain Ed) that the Taliban is pursuing negotiations with the new Karzai government in Afghanistan, with a mind toward forging a peace deal.  According to CNN, the Sunni Islamist movement has had quite enough of al Qaeda’s all-encompassing war against non-Muslims (which seems lately to resemble more and more a war against everyone except al Qaeda fighters) and wishes to become a legitimate political movement within Afghanistan, without al Qaeda’s “help” bringing them nothing but grief.

One sign that they may be serious is the fact that Saudi Arabia is hosting the talks between government officials and Taliban leaders.  Captain Ed points out that the Saudis have their own reasons to see the Taliban sever their ties with al Qaeda and join forces with Karzai; al Qaeda has been gunning for the Saudi royal family as well for years, and lately the Taliban have been accepting arms support from Iran, which has got to make anyone worried about Iran’s sphere of influence fidgety.  It is unlikely that the Saudis would be wasting their time if they thought there was a chance that the Taliban were setting them up with sham negotiations meant only to buy time for al Qaeda to regroup.

As for our own interests, NATO troops would have a whole lot less of a rough time fighting the remaining shreds of al Qaeda than they would the wider Taliban movement.  The Taliban would also feel safe in Afghanistan for a change, meaning fewer hostile fighters scurrying across the border into Pakistan, where NATO rockets and aerial drones have improved their accuracy in eliminating them but still annoy the not-yet-stable Pakistani government with their intrusiveness.  Fewer incursions into Pakistan’s territory and airspace can only help make things more stable in that country.

Obstacles remain.  The Taliban have declared their separation from al Qaeda, but a formal renunciation of violence in general is necessary, as is adherence to the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s new constitution, before Hamid Karzai fully welcomes them into the new Afghanistan’s political process.  However, Karzai is negotiating from a position of strength (the Taliban came to him, after all), and he may even be in a position to compel them to give up their leaders in exchange for safe haven.  Wouldn’t it be a measure of poetic justice if the Taliban ultimately brought about the downfall of the leaders of the terrorist group that brought the wrath of the U.S. and NATO on the heads of the Taliban-led Afghan government in 2001 in the first place?

Oh, Sarah, Sarah, Sarah… UPDATE: Good news! False alarm!

Ace of Spades is liveblogging Sarah Palin’s rally in Carson, CA today.  Says he will have pictures of the Carson crowd later.  Jon Voigt was one of her openers, and he seems to have warmed up the crowd quite effectively.  Browsing through what Ace catches of Palin’s speech once she does get up there (the over-capacity crowd loves her, of course), most of what she says sounds like a series of rote crowd-pleasers, which is standard for a rally of this type.  Not all of it, though.  A couple of exceptions:

1)  The one that’s making it all over the news is her accusation that Barack Obama is “palling around with terrorists,”  in reference to William Ayers (quote in video at about 1:35).  That’s one way to get Ayers’s name back in the media; I’m guessing it was spurred at least in part by the NYTimes’s whitewash of Obama’s relationship to Ayers in today’s edition.  (Instapundit has more; take note of his reader John’s email.)  It’s a good thing that this line is turning into the newsmaker of the day, because it looks like it’s crowding out the other exception, which is the reason behind this post’s title.

2)  This is just painful.  Ace (via Gateway Pundit) reports Palin telling the crowd, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support women.” Oh, groooooan…!  Thanks a heap, Governor.  In one sentence, you’ve combined the most teeth-grinding rhetoric of both the left (emotional blackmail through identity politics) and the right (ranting that your opponents are hellbound).  According to Ace: “Says she wasn’t sure how that would go over, wants to know how the media will twist it.”

That just makes my head hurt.  Unbelievable…she even knows what a risk she was taking with that line.  If the press actually does ignore that horror show of a sound bite in favor of her earlier “palling around with terrorists” line, she will have dodged a potentially lethal bullet, in my opinion.

Unforced errors like that for a candidate in her position are just way too stupid.  It’s one thing to run a campaign against the media; it’s quite another to bait the media unnecessarily.  Just ask Gary Hart.

UPDATE: Bless you, dear commenter ArmyWife (here, have a link!), who has informed me that Gov. Palin was deliberately cribbing a line from a fluffy TIME Magazine interview with Madeleine Albright from earlier this year.  Whew!  That is a huge load off my mind.  Sorry, folks, Ace didn’t include that context; clearly liveblogging amid a huge crowd required brevity on his part.  Sounds much better when used ironically, doesn’t it?  (Also explains why the media folk aren’t pouncing on it.)

Looking back at Gateway Pundit’s post, I see I was remiss (distraught over the “special place” line, I guess!) in not giving Sarah due credit for one of the best lines of the campaign so far at Obama’s expense:

Just once it would be nice if he said he wanted our country to win!

She isn’t cracking up.  She can still pop off a great one-liner.  OK, fine, feels like I’m back from the Spock-has-a-beard universe now.

UPDATE II: Still no Ace photos, but here’s one from an Instapundit emailer:

Palin rally; Carson, CA, 10/4/08

Palin rally; Carson, CA, 10/4/08

Forced down? By whom? Hillary’s sniper?

Sen. Joe Biden’s helicopter was “forced down” in Afghanistan mountains crawling with al-Qaeda?  That’s what he told a National Guard audience in Maryland today.  From Jake Tapper (emphasis mine):

If you want to know where Al Qaeda lives, you want to know where Bin Laden is, come back to Afghanistan with me,” Biden said. “Come back to the area where my helicopter was forced down, with a three-star general and three senators at 10,500 feet in the middle of those mountains. I can tell you where they are.”

… [E]arlier this month at a fundraiser, he made a similar remark, when discussing how he doesn’t care about the Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s controversies like whether she sold a state plane on eBay, or when she went from supporting to opposing the Bridge to Nowhere.

“What I care about is: What in God’s name is she going to do — along with John McCain — about the thousands of people who don’t have health care?” Biden said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Biden said he would ask Palin about “The superhighway of terror between Pakistan and Afghanistan where my helicopter was forced down…John McCain wants to know where Bin Laden and the gates of Hell are? I can tell him where. That’s where Al Qaeda is. That’s where Bin Laden is. It’s not in the country of Iraq.”

OK…when Joe Biden tells — actually, no, let’s say, when a normal person tells a National Guard audience that his helicopter was forced down in the middle of what he says is a hotbed of al Qaeda activity, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Yes, of course, you wonder how he managed to survive the rest of the attack.  In other words, you get the impression that his helicopter was forced down by enemy activity.

What Biden doesn’t mention is that his helicopter was grounded by weather, and he and his travel-mates were driven back to base without incident before they traveled elsewhere.  Tapper again:

In February 2008, Biden — along with Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. — was on a chopper that made an emergency landing in the mountains of Afghanistan.

A snowstorm had forced them down.

No one was injured, and the Associated Press reported at the time that “the senators and their delegation returned to Bagram Air Base in a motor convoy, and left for Turkey.

Sen. Kerry was not quite so traumatized by the ordeal as Sen. Biden evidently was:

[Kerry told the AP at the time] We sat up there and traded stories.” Kerry joked, “We were going to send Biden out to fight the Taliban with snowballs, but we didn’t have to do it…Other than getting a little cold, it was fine.”

Given Biden’s well-documented history of creative self-aggrandizement, I doubt he was unaware how his harrowing tale of being forced out of the air in the epicenter of al Qaeda activity might sound, especially in front of a military audience.  You would think that he might have learned something from Hillary Clinton’s “tall tale” about dodging nonexistent sniper fire in Bosnia. I know the prospect of Sinbad making me look stupid would definitely make me think twice about spinning yarns that transform me into a combat veteran.