Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It appears we've grabbed another top Taliban commander:
Taliban sources in the region and a counterterrorism officials in Washington have identified the detained insurgent leader as Mullah Abdul Salam, described as the Taliban movement's "shadow governor" of Afghanistan's Kunduz province.
As to Baradar, the LA Times reports that the CIA apparently got lucky. Whether that means somebody turned or whether Pakistan itself turned is unknown but perhaps Baradar will issue a statement soon through his lawyer. BTW, this Hufflink has a pretty good rundown of today's events.

A word on the politics. The right will be tempted to tear this down based on how Obama has so far handled domestic terrorism along with years of anti-war rhetoric from noted dim bulbs like Harry Reid, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore (and the rest of Hollywood), etc. And yes, soon we will see liberal super patriots popping up and heralding our actions in Afghanistan so they can take pot shots at Bush, Cheney, Palin, etc, despite calls by many on the left to withdraw only a few years ago. That's life in the big city. Had Musharraf stayed in power this might not be occurring but things change for the better sometimes.

I doubt all of this has escaped the Obama folks. Perhaps they've suddenly realized that winning the war gains them a better chance at passing their domestic agenda and remaining in control of the government by removing most of the GOP's talking points. Peace in Afghanistan, including the capture of a few terror king-pins, is something everyone wants, right? How can the right complain about winning the war?

As to Iraq, our wiley old friend Izzat al Douri, who has recently been operating from of all places Yemen, is ramping up the RDX party ahead of the coming elections, so clueless Joe screwed up by trying to claim any 'success'.

But no worries, the big media have their backs and if the long-forecast civil war finally breaks out nobody will remember Biden's comment or Robert Gibbs explaining how Obama's mere presence in the campaign forced Bush to sign the troop drawdown agreement, etc. Further disasters or attacks will forever be pinned on Dubya so it's all good. They've clearly been doing some deep thinking over this.


To expand on a link in the above, this really is a fascinating story not being told in the US media. CIA has been actively trying to work with former Baathist intelligence officers of Saddam's Mukhabarat who migrated to Yemen after the invasion to form some kind of anti-jihad unit in Iraq in return for reconciliation with the Shia government. The problem:
Mr Saleh also gave refuge to the relatives of Saddam's top henchman, including the families of Tariq Aziz, the former deputy prime minister, and Izzat al-Douri, one of the Iraqi dictator's closest military allies.

But Mr Saleh's allies also include a number of Salafists, whose puritanical interpretation of Islam is shared by many in al-Qaeda. Many fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, an experience that brought some into contact with Osama bin Laden.

Although a majority eschew bin Laden's doctrine of violence, the presence of so many Salafists in the government could explain why the CIA did not tell Yemen it had received intelligence of an AQAP plot to set in motion "a Nigerian bomber."
Problem is that al-Duri himself, the self-proclaimed "supreme commander of the Jihad and Liberation Front", worked for years to garner influence from Salafists in Iraq despite being a member of a Sufi Order. The UPI report from a week later says they were meeting with him; since then we've only seen random suicide bombings increasing in Baghdad.

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