Wednesday, August 20, 2003

This has been a very bad day.

On the one side, we likely will see some kind of Palestinian civil war at this point:

Palestinian sources told CNN that Abbas began holding meetings with his ministers and heads of security after the bombing, and decided to break off talks with the two militant groups. The source said the Palestinian Authority blames Hamas and Islamic Jihad for severely damaging the interests of the Palestinian people.

The authority is also considering additional measures against the groups, details of which will be announced in a few days.
..and on the other side, it looks like Al Qaeda may intend to turn Iraq into America's Afghanistan, at least according to Peter Bergen:

"A half-dozen U.S. officials who investigate or analyze al Qaeda ... say that Iraq has become an important battleground for al Qaeda in the past several months," CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen said.

"The officials use words such as 'magnet' and 'super magnet' to describe the attraction that Iraq has for al Qaeda and other 'jihadists,' " said Bergen, author of "Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden."...

..."Let's face it, if you are a terrorist in the Middle East and you have a mission to kill Americans, Iraq is now the place you're going to want to go," said [former U.S. deputy secretary of state James] Rubin, speaking from London, England.
Once again, this doesn't mean the "flypaper" theory is validated; American cells aren't going to Iraq, but may well attack while American forces are distracted. Indeed, now may well be an ideal time, as National Guard units continue to be posted to Iraq. The fighters in Iraq may not be part of "Al Qaeda" per se, but simply independent cells under Al Qaeda's indirect control.

One of the bigger wrinkles here is the Saudi angle:

[Dr. Saad]... al-Faqih said Saudis make up about 85 percent of the foreign fighters in the country, but a few of them are Kuwaitis.

The Saudi fighters consider their actions jihad because they see coalition soldiers as unjustifiably occupying a Muslim country, al-Faqih said.

Another factor is that Saudi authorities have cracked down on al Qaeda since May, when terrorists attacked complexes housing Westerners in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, giving al Qaeda members an additional impulse to leave the kingdom.
There are still people who believe that it is Saddam loyalists at work: Ken Pollack and Paul Bremer both argued that it is likely to be loyalists rather than Al Qaeda. Still, it could well be that the United States is now embroiled in a war on three fronts: the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Saudis pouring into Iraq to fight the Americans there, and the continuing danger of terrorist attacks around the world.

Far from his claim of "mission accomplished", it looks like Bush's half-assed and inept foreign policy has only made things worse. Even Ronald "we launch in five minutes" Reagan couldn't have screwed it up this badly, and he started this whole damned mess with his ham-fisted Afghanistan policy back in the 80's. This time, though, there's no Gorbachev to save Bush's hide.

No comments:

Post a Comment