NYT: Everything comin’ up roses for Al Qaeda in Waziristan

posted at 1:28 am on February 19, 2007 by Allahpundit

The stories about AQ taking over the Pakistani border areas are the Sunni jihadist equivalent of the Iranian nuclear saga: it’s a slow-motion train wreck, it gets worse with each passing moment, and there’s seemingly nothing the west can do short of watered-down sanctions that won’t make the problem considerably worse. Bryan called the Waziristan peace deal between Musharraf and the tribal elders a “surrender” days after it was announced; it was obvious within weeks, as cross-border attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan increased, that it was a disaster; and the Times itself finally administered the last rites in an article back in December, declaring that the tribal areas had become “a Taliban mini-state” infested with foreign fighters and would-be suicide bombers. AQ groupie Peter Bergen warned WaPo readers back in July not to assume the leadership was finished, either. That warning proved prescient a month later when the UK airline plotters were linked to higher-ups in Al Qaeda, and it proved prescient again a few weeks ago when the Daily Mail claimed that a “senior AQ terrorist with close links to Osama Bin Laden” was behind the cell that planned to kidnap and behead British Muslim soldiers. Meanwhile, Musharraf’s looking to expand the treaties with the tribal elders and Pakistan’s foreign minister wants NATO to make a deal with the Taliban, even as suicide bombs are going off inside Pakistani courtrooms and captured AQ operatives are accusing Pakistani intelligence of sheltering Mullah Omar.

Which is a long way of saying that nothing in tonight’s Times article, including the news about the training camps, should come as a surprise.

American officials said there was mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, had been steadily building an operations hub in the mountainous Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan. Until recently, the Bush administration had described Mr. bin Laden and Mr. Zawahri as detached from their followers and cut off from operational control of Al Qaeda.

The United States has also identified several new Qaeda compounds in North Waziristan, including one that officials said might be training operatives for strikes against targets beyond Afghanistan…

[D]ebates within the administration about how best to deal with the threat have yet to yield any good solutions, officials in Washington said. One counterterrorism official said that some within the Pentagon were advocating American strikes against the camps, but that others argued that any raids could result in civilian casualties. And State Department officials say increased American pressure could undermine President Musharraf’s military-led government…

“The chain of command has been re-established,” said one American government official, who said that the Qaeda “leadership command and control is robust.”

American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said … dozens of seasoned fighters were moving between Pakistan and Iraq, apparently engaging in an “exchange of best practices” for attacking American forces.

Over the past year, insurgent tactics from Iraq have migrated to Afghanistan, where suicide bombings have increased fivefold and roadside bomb attacks have doubled. In testimony to the House Armed Services Committee last week, Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry, the departing commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, said the United States could not prevail in Afghanistan and defeat global terrorism without addressing the havens in Pakistan.

The stupider, more reactionary types among the nutroots will try to blame this on Chimpy’s Iraq gambit, but one has nothing to do with the other. The issue here is Pakistani sovereignty, not troop levels, and in any case there aren’t enough men and women in the U.S. military to occupy a country of 160+ million people with nuclear weapons and a jihadist power base that’s the envy of the Wahhabist world. We might have enough troops to invade and occupy the tribal areas if Musharraf was willing to cut a deal on that, but (a) what could we possibly offer him to get him to effectively cede territory, (b) how could he hope to survive the irredentist backlash among Pakistanis, and (c) if you think 3,000 dead in Iraq is bad, what would the numbers look like with U.S. troops fighting Iwo-style cave-clearing warfare in the mountains of Waziristan with jihadis from every shinolahole in the Middle East streaming in as reinforcements?

Exit question: What now?

Update: Super.

I spoke with a senior military intelligence officer about the Times article. He reports that the Times’s description that camps in Pakistan have “yet to reach the size and level of sophistication of the Qaeda camps established in Afghanistan under Taliban rule” and its mention of “groups of 10 to 20 men” being trained is only a partial picture of the training camps in Pakistan. The Times article focuses on al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, camps where militants receive the kind of training that could enable them to carry out terrorist attacks in the West. But there are also larger military training camps — the kind that are used to train Taliban fighters to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, or to train Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, or other Kashmiri separatist groups. The training required to carry out a terrorist attack in the West is different than what is needed to fight in Afghanistan or Kashmir.


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Exit question: What now?

Send in the “W.E. Coyote Brigade…..”……….

{yes, sarcasim on}

Or…….. some B-52′s?

{sarcasim off}

I should have just gone to sleep………. Never mind….

PinkyBigglesworth on February 19, 2007 at 1:44 AM

if you think 3,000 dead in Iraq is bad, what would the numbers look like with U.S. troops fighting Iwo-style cave-clearing warfare in the mountains of Waziristan with jihadis from every shinolahole in the Middle East streaming in as reinforcements?

Get India in on it.

Free Constitution on February 19, 2007 at 2:04 AM

After we wrap things up in Iraq, and drop some bunker busters in Iran… we get out and stay out and let all the bleeding hearts have what they’ve always wanted. Then, when they all eventually start screaming for the USA to help them / do something, and they sure as hell will, we tell them to piss up a rope and focus on our own for the next 20 years.

/screw it

SilverStar830 on February 19, 2007 at 2:24 AM

Compared to every other war, GWOT over 6.5 yrs has the lowest, miraculously low, casualty rate for the U.S.

Answer to Exit Question: untie our hands and let us kick @$$! We have the might and technological advantage to embarrass the he!! out of AQ and crush them in place but our ROE’s, which for example forbid us from attacking funerals attended by legitimate targets, let these guys continuously claim victory after their every defeat and spread more photo-shop propaganda. We have the numbers and the moral trust me (i am military). We just need to have our hands untied. These guys do not honor Geneva Conventions but yet we still must do? According to Geneva Conventions, those who do not honor the conventions are not protected by them. But yet we still accord them protections. This is why we have not won the war yet. And Bill Clinton’s staff could not “pull the trigger”

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 2:30 AM

SilverStar830-
Iran’s military would not last 2 weeks agaisnt us. What we have to worry about is the wave after wave of koolaide bongers like they used against Iraq. Those numbers will be very high and it will make us look like we are massacring unarmed civilians. pretty clever unfortunatley.

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 2:32 AM

Iran’s military would not last 2 weeks agaisnt us. What we have to worry about is the wave after wave of koolaide bongers like they used against Iraq. Those numbers will be very high and it will make us look like we are massacring unarmed civilians. pretty clever unfortunatley.

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 2:32 AM

You forgot to I.D. the enemy, something that needs to be done on a daily basis: the Democrat Party, George Soros, the Main Stream Media, it’s cable outlets, liberal print media, and the leftist labor unions…….. they think that a defeat of President George W. Bush will stop all of this, while our enemies see us as one……

I agree..

“pull the trigger”

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 2:30 AM

PinkyBigglesworth on February 19, 2007 at 2:47 AM

PinkyBigglesworth (like the screnname)

If Bush Id’ed the enemy on a daily basis like he should have been, it would have been labeled as propaganda and brainwashing by CNN, AP, Rueter, Etc,…

by not IDing the enemy, Extreme Islam, we allowed it to spread in our own country from our own laws and freedoms. Our enemy is unofrtunatley very smart, and unfortunatley the Democrats (and most Republicans) are not (or are too afraid of offending someone with the truth).

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 2:56 AM

George Soros is the worlds biggest idiot who got lucky on getting rich from the only country that allows this levgel of free and untaxed capitolism. He in turn hates our country for allowing him to become so rich. Like a poor man hating the welfare person who hands him his check. What a tool.

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 3:03 AM

It’s my theory that Musharraf will use these deals to provide political cover for US intervention in these areas. It won’t be large numbers of troops – just a few SOF personnel and almost certainly aircraft.

Pakistan has been trying to control the Tribal regions since 2001 and the lumbering Paki army has, for the most part, been no match for the nimble Jihadi’s. None of the Army troops are from that area and the only Pakistani people with good intelligence in the area is the ISI, which, as we all know, isn’t reliable or loyal.

So, Musharraf will give local leaders rope to hang themselves with. When the US starts hitting these areas hard this spring, Musharraf will shrug and say, “we gave them autonomy and they squandered it by fomenting the Americans.”

We’ll see what the spring thaw brings – hopefully a lot of dead Jihadis as they try to make it over the border.

NPP on February 19, 2007 at 3:19 AM

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 2:56 AM

Thanks,,,,,,,,,,,

Now I can sleep, just for tonight…

PinkyBigglesworth on February 19, 2007 at 3:23 AM

Damn, this is the best news yet! Target rich environment. All in one place. We couldn’t have asked for better!

Capitalist Infidel on February 19, 2007 at 3:34 AM

The CIA could use captured Iranian arms to assasinate AQ leadership. Those Austrian .50 cals could come in handy.

Theworldisnotenough on February 19, 2007 at 4:22 AM

NPP

Interesting. But what about the inevitible war crimes for us killing civilans – unlawful combatants whose weapons were removed thus turning them into civilians before the drive by media could show up?

El Guapo on February 19, 2007 at 4:38 AM

Didn’t I see this movie on ABC a while back. I distinctly remember that the gov. didn’t dare hit A.Q. camps for fear some “innocent civilians” might be killed.

Maybe if we sold the NYTimes to A.Q. it would start reporting all the bad news it can about them for a change.

flataffect on February 19, 2007 at 5:06 AM

Uhm, AP is right. Things are going to get worse before they will get better. Pakistan is not stable. Musharraf will only do what will keep him alive. We need India’s help, that alone might be enough to better co-opt Musharraf. IF not, it would be a matter of making the inevitable sooner rather than later.

Free Constitution on February 19, 2007 at 5:13 AM

Waziristan looks like something Colonel Kurtz would be proud of, in this article about the new Taliban State

If we are serious about the War on Terror, we need to bomb the place flat.

If Musharraf complains, point out how all the recently captured terrorists in the UK received their training in his country and casually mention all the military help we might be able to provide India with.

Al Qaeda are cockroaches. We know where they are hiding. No more excuses – it’s time to flush them out and kill them.

uptight on February 19, 2007 at 6:13 AM

Somebody needs to ask Musharraf if maybe those tribal lands wouldnt better serve his country as a glass parking lot.

mrfixit on February 19, 2007 at 6:35 AM

“Which is a long way of saying that nothing in tonight’s Times article, including the news about the training camps, should come as a surprise.”

Oh, blather!!

If the New York Times said it, IT IS PROBABLY LYING.

Seriously.

Ladies and gentlemen: It doesn’t take a genius to question whether this is a PROPAGANDA PIECE attributed to anonymous sources. It is possibly DISINFORMATION designed to (1) cause Americans to lose heart and (2) a partisan attack against the Bush administration.

At best, this is probably over hyping the situation. At worst, it is a concentrated attempt to undermine the will of America to fight in Afghanistan — the NEXT place where the left will demand we withdraw from after Iraq.

Read the text of the article, the clues are all over:

according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials….

American officials said…

American officials say…

The intelligence and counterterrorism officials would discuss the classified intelligence only on the condition of anonymity. They would not provide some of the evidence that led them to their assessments,….

Just WHO are these OFFICIALS? Is his name J. Hussein who also works for the Associated Press? WHAT IS their evidence? Surely they can provide some specifics?

The Times (like the AP) are KNOWN TO HAVE FABRICATED STORIES. They have been KNOWN TO INVENT SOURCES. And they have been KNOWN TO USE EMBEDDED DEMOCRATS IN THE CIA FOR PARTISAN PURPOSES.

Since when has the New York Times *EVER* held back publishing classified information that could damage efforts to beat Al Qaeda? They exposed a successful program to track down Al Qaeda operatives operating in America. They exposed a successful program that follows the money trail, leading to the capture of important AQ money-men. Why, all of a sudden, are they so concerned about SECRECY when they didn’t give two hoots about it before, even if American lives would be lost if secrets were disclosed?

What makes you believe that this story is accurate, then?

This isn’t a NEWS story, it’s nothing by tabloid fodder at this point.

Is Al Qaeds on the ropes in Iraq? Yes.

Is Al Qaeda on the ropes in Afghanistan? Yes.

Id Al Qaeda hiding out in wester Pakistan and in the tribal areas? Certainly, yes.

Does this mean a resumptions of “world-wide” operations against America? Not a chance at this point. In 2001, they OWNED an entire country, it’s transportation and communication infrastructures. They had DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY for international travel as part of Mullah Omar’s government, for Pete’s sake! They had wire-transfer for funds, and world-wide financial holdings, all of which we dismantled and have prevented from resurgance.

What do they have now? MULE caravans carrying WRITTEN ORDERS to their “far flung” operations net. Not email. Not web. Nothing electronic (they fear Predator) like they used to have.

They have years to go to achieve the level of command and control that they had prior to November, 2001 when we went to war against Afghanistan. And without it, they CANNOT move faster than we can react without persistant, reliable, and extensive command and control.

Pakistan agreed to allow the United States to overfly their country, to stage in their country because Armitage told Musharraf (according to him) that we’d bomb them back to the stone age if they didn’t. Does anybody really believe that threat, if actually made, is no longer on the table, and that we’d allow Al Qaeda to reconstitute themselves to where they were in 2001?

Yes, we will have to deal with their safe havens in the tribal lands. We have and no doubt will continue to strike Al Qaeda operations there.

Remember, folks. The role of the New York Times is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt among Americans who still support the war on terrorism and Bush.

Until otherwise confirmed by REPUTABLE sources, hold your water and stop squealing like girlymen.

georgej on February 19, 2007 at 7:52 AM

It has been our policy since the evening of 9/11/01 that we will make no distinction between the terrorists and the states that harbor them.

We need to lay it out for Musharraf, just like we did prior to the Afghan campaign. By the standards of the region, he is a relatively rational actor, and I think he can be made to see reason. It is better for all concerned if he takes care of the problem in his own country. Inevitably, he will not give us everything we ask for, and there will be a price, but an incremental solution is still better than the alternatives.

LagunaDave on February 19, 2007 at 7:58 AM

Musharraf has cooperated as much as he can w/o his own people, and more importantly, the military, overruning him. Remember, he came to poewr himself through a military power grab. He has been the target of many attempts on his life, many of them at leat partially inside jobs. He also needs the jihadists to keep up pressure on India with respect to Kashmir.

So don’t expect any more from Musharraf. With their nuclear capabilities, do you really want Musharraf gone, and an Islamic nutjob leading Pakistan?

RW Wacko on February 19, 2007 at 8:18 AM

Right on RW….

The last thing we want is for Pak and India to exchange nukes. Talk about pulling all the Muslim countries together that would do it.

Musharraf needs to be kept in power as long as possible. Once some Mufti takes over the Pak government India is going to get very very nervous. We here in the west have this ‘Ghandi’ view of India. If some ‘Dinnerjacket’ takes over Pakistan I sure wouldn’t want to be living in Karachi.

Limerick on February 19, 2007 at 8:32 AM

Answer: isolate Pakistan. Nobody gets in or out.

Jaibones on February 19, 2007 at 8:35 AM

Let’s face it . . . the New York Times is an integral part of the terrorist propaganda network and should be treated as such.

rplat on February 19, 2007 at 8:53 AM

Pakistan has always been the elephant in the room. This “story” is not news but some material rehashed and dressed up to make it seem like news.

We have many problems in dealing with Pakistan and these haven’t changed since Bush’s father took the oath of office. They and India have had a tenuous relationship since they gained independence and their intelligence agency fostered the creation of the Taliban. This article focuses on the rural parts of Pakistan, but the cities are every bit as problematic, Karachi especially.

Bush has actually done a pretty good job here; something the article attempts to undermine. As is pointed out by others, there is no way for us to control this country through use of military force. Our only hope, unfortunately, is to rely on Musharraf, and he seems too politically weak to solve these problems. If Musharraf is assassinated or overthrown, we’ll have some really tough decisions to make.

cmay on February 19, 2007 at 9:05 AM

Our troops fighting on the border have been talking about Taliban retreating into Pakistan for years just to come back again refresehd and rearmed. The only answer is detroying them anyway we can, using any means. Honoring lines on a map when it comes to chasing down our enemy didn’t work in Southeast Asia and has the same effect here.

Nothing will be done until we get hit again and it results in losing large numbers of American military to possibly defeat these maniacs. The Democratic congress makes it all even a bigger disaster.

Hening on February 19, 2007 at 9:27 AM

We have recently loosened up the restrictions on any fire into Pak border areas – enough of a loosening…eh? NYT hyperventaling aside, the NW Frontier isn’t quite the platform to project power from. You can cross and fight directly in at least three Afghan provinces – but this is also making the fight very localized, and there are lots of places to use airpower. I remember A-10 pilots coming back to Bagram AF “dry” on ammo when the TB tried to push larger formations across.
One thing that may quite disrupt AQ and TB’s capabilities is if the Paks close the Afghan refugee camps in the area, as they have been recently saying they will. But that might take some serious doing, so I shan’t count on anything happening too quick.
I guess we’ll see soon enough.

major john on February 19, 2007 at 9:48 AM

Many here are missing one aspect of the military, and its use, that can be VERY effective here.

The problem in Iraq is that we allowed ourselves to get embroiled in peace keeping and government creating operations…

For Iran, I offer a different solution… smash, and go.

We destroy the Iranian army (a couple of weeks)… we destroy the countries bridges, factories, infrastructure, and oil production facilites, and don’t bother to occupy.

If their attitude is not to our liking after that? We do it again!!!

Eventually the populace will regain control of their government in order to STOP the pain… The modern idea that we can wage war on a country without waging war on its people is BS… War is War….

Punitive expeditions have been a valid technique of war forever…

Key here though is that we have to secure our own dam borders first.

Romeo13 on February 19, 2007 at 9:57 AM

Until otherwise confirmed by REPUTABLE sources, hold your water and stop squealing like girlymen.

georgej on February 19, 2007 at 7:52 AM

Well said, georgej! ALL of it.

There is a massive propaganda push on right now from all the usual suspects in an effort to crush whatever remaining fighting spirit might remain here in America.

Walking away from this fight will be a national and global disaster the likes of which the world has never seen. It is in our National Interest to press on toward Victory.

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. ” President John F. Kennedy

Where the hell is that American Spirit?! On BOTH sides of the asile.

techno_barbarian on February 19, 2007 at 10:09 AM

Ok it is ‘Official’ ! Here are all the ‘official’ sources of information in this article. Nuf said:

1.according to American intelligence and counterterrorism officials 2.American officials said there was mounting evidence 3.American analysts said recent intelligence showed 4.Officials said the training camps 5.The new warnings are different from those made in recent months by intelligence officials 6.American officials say that the new intelligence is focused on Al Qaeda 7.The intelligence and counterterrorism officials would discuss the classified intelligence only on the condition of anonymity 8. the officials said 9.an administration official said. 10.Officials from several different American intelligence and counterterrorism agencies presented a consistent picture 11.have yet to yield any good solutions, officials in Washington said 12.And State Department officials say increased American pressure 13.“The chain of command has been re-established,” said one American government official 14.American officials and analysts said a variety of factors 15.Other experts questioned the seriousness of Pakistan’s commitment 16.according to American analysts 17.The analysts said that North Waziristan 18.Officials said that both American and foreign intelligence 19.Officials said that the United States still had little idea 20.Among the indicators that American officials cited 21.American intelligence and counterterrorism officials said that most 22.They said dozens of seasoned fighters 23.Pakistani officials say 24.Officials said that over the past year 25.Officials in Washington say they believe that.

With sources like these would could go wrong?

Limerick on February 19, 2007 at 10:15 AM

Is that a red laser targeting spot on the middle of al-Zawahri’s forehead, or is he just glad to see me?

Let the jihadist lunatics mass in Pakistan, and then send them to their 72 year old virgin.

(Yeah, the multiple “virgins” bit was a typo in the Hadiths.)

profitsbeard on February 19, 2007 at 11:12 AM

F U Captain Slappy ! You got the mark-o-da beast on your forehead!

sonnyspats1 on February 19, 2007 at 11:12 AM

Air Power?

I suspect if the U.S. “went it alone” and bombed the heck out of this area, a revenant Tora Bora, Democrats would oppose it as a war crime, widening the war … in Iraq?

Anil Petra on February 19, 2007 at 11:19 AM

Exit question: What now?

Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Lazarus on February 19, 2007 at 3:26 PM

In my opinion, everything needs to be coming up TULIPS for OBL et al.

csdeven on February 19, 2007 at 4:14 PM

In my opinion, everything needs to be coming up TULIPS for OBL et al.

csdeven on February 19, 2007 at 4:14 PM

I thought it was daisies myself (as in pushing up daisies).

Seriously, I hope we have a good eye on all of Pakistan’s nukes and a way to remove them at the drop of a hat ready to go 24/7.

steveegg on February 19, 2007 at 4:55 PM

Time to begin producing and stockpiling neutron bombs, not for immediate use at this time.

DaMav on February 19, 2007 at 5:15 PM

Steveegg,

Yeah, you’re right. It’s daisies. There should ba a disclaimer on this site warning non-professionals not to attempt this at home. :-)

csdeven on February 19, 2007 at 11:14 PM

Exit question: What now?
Nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

Lazarus on February 19, 2007 at 3:26 PM

“Get Bishop on the uplink, seal all the doors, and by the way, where is……….. “Where is Shepard?”

“Hicks?!?!?!”…….

“On my way……..”

PinkyBigglesworth on February 20, 2007 at 1:38 AM

[D]ebates within the administration about how best to deal with the threat have yet to yield any good solutions, officials in Washington said. One counterterrorism official said that some within the Pentagon were advocating American strikes against the camps, but that others argued that any raids could result in civilian casualties.

I think the Americans should feel a little sore toward “civilians” who acquiesce in the establishment of an al-Qaida operational center nearby. “Civilians” will stop permitting such things if we make spectacular examples of those who do.

Kralizec on February 27, 2007 at 6:36 PM