Wednesday, May 23, 2007

How severely has Al Qaeda been disrupted?

Obviously this guy seriously knows his stuff...

Yet at the same time, I think he's grasping at straws to make our impact on Al Qaeda smaller than it probably is.
I also think he's making a much broader distinction than is warranted between Al Qaeda insurgent forces and terror attack forces. I've never seen anything suggesting Al Qaeda has that sophisticated of a management structure, nor do I think such a structure would be anything but an impediment to them. I think they run their business like Mullah Omar ran his Taliban government... cash kept in boxes under the bed. Okay.. lots of cash.. but still, not sophisticated management.
I absolutely agree with his analysis that they tend to retreat to a safe haven (in this case pakistani border regions) to return later to 'bloody up' whatever they're planning on taking or re-taking.
This is how it's worked for them in Afghanistan (in the 80's), Chechnya, Somalia, and Iraq.
Except that the four above were immediate responses, not some '7 year plan' as this author claims. He doesn't cite any evidence suggesting that Al Qaeda, as an institution, has that kind of patience for inactivity when it comes to their territory being seized. Certainly they have some patience regarding terror plots (KSM supposedly came up with the 9/11 idea soon after the first WTC bombing).

I also think this guy also believes that Bin Laden/Al Qaeda knew that 9/11 would take the WTC down. I'm pretty confident they were surprised by this, as statements recorded by Bin Laden when it happened suggest. Until the first one started to fall, I really would've thought it impossible myself. The point is, that without actually taking the WTC *down*, we would not likely have removed the Taliban from Afghanistan. So making it out as though Al Qaeda transferred all its assets out of Afghanistan because they knew the US would oust the Taliban is... well... I'd like to see at least some minuscule amount of proof on that one. There is definitely some evidence that Bin Laden and his immediate group moved the night before, and that the move was motivated by the attacks themselves, but that's not much.

One other missing point, is how severely has Al Qaeda's recruitment/movement been disrupted by US military action?

I certainly don't want to underestimate Al Qaeda, but significantly overestimating them could do a bit of damage as well in terms of not allocating precious resources properly.


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