The Two Al Qaedas Are On The Same Page

November 8, 2007

Or as I’m observing, this would be the “new” and the “original” al Qaeda.   I’ve always thought of “al Qaeda” as less of an actual organization and more of an ideology.  An ideology, incidentally, that is easily fermented by the reality of American troops invading and occupying Islamic countries, so I guess that one shouldn’t be surprised by the existence of the former in light of what’s happened in Mesopotamia.  Anyway, I bring it up because it just so happens that stories about both showed up on memeorandum today.

First, there seems to be quite a bit of back-patting going on in the blogosphere over the news that, after half a trillion dollars, tens of thousands dead and the destruction of our credibility worldwide, we’ve managed have some success battling the “new”:  Militant Group Is Out of Baghdad, U.S. Says

BAGHDAD, Nov. 7 — American forces have routed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, the Iraqi militant network, from every neighborhood of Baghdad, a top American general said today, allowing American troops involved in the “surge” to depart as planned.

Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commander of United States forces in Baghdad, also said that American troops had yet to clear some 13 percent of the city, including Sadr City and several other areas controlled by Shiite militias. But, he said, “there’s just no question” that violence had declined since a spike in June.

Great news, I suppose, but it would seem that the incredibly costly cleanup of the “new” situation didn’t really do anything to affect the status of the “original” one, as on the same memeoranum page you see this:  Exclusive: FBI: Al Qaeda May Strike U.S. Shopping Malls in LA, Chicago

The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning. (Click here for full text.)

The alert said al Qaeda “hoped to disrupt the U.S. economy and has been planning the attack for the past two years.”

I’m compelled to assume that these two stories appearing right next to each other like this is nothing more than a coincidence that happens to serve as a reminder that we can have a legitimate discussion about whether or not we’re any better off (from a homeland security standpoint) because this whole Iraq endeavor.  I know that I’ve never bought into the “fight ’em over there so we don’t have to fight them here” rhetoric, but I’m pretty sure that plenty of Americans have.  I’ve always believed that it was going to make the overall situation worse, and perhaps I’m guilty of selectively highlighting evidence that supports this viewpoint while downplaying evidence that doesn’t, but it’s really hard to make the argument that we’re really any safer because of it (at least in the short term).  At this point I think that, at best, we’re pretty much back where we started even with a “working” (I love that concept) “surge”..  But time will tell, as they say. 

BTW-  There is one more thing at the end of this ABC blotter “exclusive” I thought I’d leave open to discussion as well.  It’s this little nugget:

“We have no credible, specific information suggesting an imminent attack,” a DHS official said.

So what, exactly, is the point?  You see, it’s this type of thing that serves as fodder to those who make claims of fearmongering (as I’ve done a few times, admittedly).  Be on the lookout for…what, nothing specific?  What are they hoping to accomplish with this warning?  I mean, aren’t we always on The Two Al Qaedas Are On The Same Page regardless?

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  1. CZ I can try to dig up the article but as far as “2” AQ. AlQaeda actually is very much 2 entities wherever it shows up. As an ideology the “regulars”show up and join locals in the local cause. Afghanistan in Soviet era,Afghanistan Taliban era and Chechnya for example. AQ has a solid ideology that it then hopes the locals will fully embrace and travel w/ them in future incursions.This is how Yemenis and Saudis are found in Afghanistan and Iraq.Al Qaeda Iraq often viewed as a separate entity isn’t. Operating under the auspices of the original and eventually supplemented by them w/ manpower AQI is a good example of my opening comment.
    As far a surge reporting. I solidly think this is the beginning of the pullout and as you said tell will tell.

  2. OT: Pray for a sick child.

  3. Since we are not fighting a conventional army, and as you pointed out, we are in fact fighting an ideology that perfectly blends into its surroundings, we will have to change the rules that we play by. We cannot win by playing the “moral high ground”, “keep the United Nations happy” card. It’s an “old school” guerrila fight, time to break some eggs to eat the omelette…

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