Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Things are Happening

Strange things. First, Newsweek broke this story Sunday about a top AQ commander captured in Oman last month:
U.S. intelligence officials appear to have obtained access to what could turn out to be a significant trove of phone numbers, photographs and documents detailing the links between Al Qaeda's leaders in northwest Pakistan and the terror group's increasingly menacing affiliate in Yemen, two counter-terrorism sources tell Declassified.
Then this weird story appeared about the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the founder of Hamas' military wing, last month in Dubai:
Dubai's police chief said Monday an 11-member hit squad carrying European passports and disguised in wigs, fake beards and tennis clothes was behind the mysterious killing of a Hamas commander in his hotel room last month.
He was apparently in town alone for some unknown reason (some suggesting he was heading to Iran, perhaps lured?). Huffpo followed today with an even stranger edition including a composite video showing all the suspects captured on various surveillance videos, suggesting some kind of James Bond-like caper (if so it was pretty lame, perhaps intentionally lame?). Why Dubai would release something like this is also strange. Do they want to start a regional war should the culprits turn out to be Mossad or CIA? And why was this man in Dubai without any security? Better, why was this man in Dubai at all?

And we have yet another top terrorist straying from home, ie, the Times bombshell last evening about the number two Taliban commander being recently captured in Karachi. The Gray Lady confirmed the story this past Thursday but held publication back to allow Dick Cheney to come out and criticize Obama over the weekend on TV without knowing at the behest of the administration--here's Bill Keller's flimsy explanation, with this howler:
Back in 2006 the conversations were professional and civil, but in the end when we didn’t agree to hold the story as they wanted us to, it was a kind of firestorm of criticism from the White House aimed at the Times. So far anyway we haven’t had that acrimony with this administration, nor as far as I know have other news organizations.
Digressing, sorry. Of course the obvious question is what changed over there? If the Pakis could have snapped a finger and bagged numero dos why didn't they come through for Bush after all those millions? Did Obama make them a better offer (or threat) they simply couldn't refuse or were they bowled over by misty hope and change? Or are they playing political favorites in America knowing where the One's poll numbers might go? Or was this just good solid diplomacy the Bushies couldn't get away with after Iraq? Oh well, Saddam is still dead--they've got that.

But this could certainly be a big turnaround in the Afghan theater, especially if it leads to grabbing bin Laden and/or Mullah Omar. Keeping hope alive here, at least.

MORE 2/16/10

How much is John Kerry involved in this Taliban catch? He's been focusing there of late:
He reiterated the US stance that Pakistan had to do more to combat terrorists on its soil if it wanted to continue to receive substantial US aid. “Pakistan has got to make clear its willingness to take on internal enemies,” he said.
Not sure when these remarks occurred, because they sound pretty clueless if uttered today. Then again the Paki government has yet to formally acknowledge the Taliban takedown or any cooperation with the CIA yet, so maybe it's part of their buildup to the truth.

The key word there is 'reiterated', as in, we've been pleading with them to cooperate and clear out these terrorists since Richard Armitage's infamous warning about the 'Stone Age' shortly after 9/11. I'm certainly much more observer than expert but Bush was dealing with Musharraf for the entirety of his term while Obama is dealing with a coalition government forged on unity, which might help explain some of our recent successes.

BTW, it's doubtful President Zardari's moment of lust for Sarah Palin in 2008 factored into recent events, but it did get him a fatwa. And probably a mean stare from the first dude.


Debbie said...

I didn't hear about the guy in Oman. I had a tip from someone in the know on January 31, that we were on to someone big, that Mullah Omar and Bin Laden might be in our sights very soon. So this could be the first step in that direction. I sure hope so. It is a crying shame that bin Laden is still breathing.

Right Truth

A.C. McCloud said...

The question is, will bin Laden be hellfired or Mirandized.