What kind of chit-chat do Saudi diplomats make with French attachés at a non-cocktail party in Islamabad? This kind. Which drew a laugh from ISI:

Pakistani intelligence sources say few, if any, of the Saudi sources [in Pakistan] “are of any value” and that “the Saudis repeatedly get conned by these individuals who claim to have exclusive information.”

But note this:

Pakistani intelligence sources say they have been receiving reports for the past 12 months that some Al Qaeda militants are leaving Pakistan for Sudan, Yemen and now Somalia, but certainly not on the scale suggested by the “middleman”.

CBS News is also hearing that AQ leaders are on the move from Afghanistan to the Middle East. In fact, the Brits killed a top Qaeda capo from southeast Asia this morning in Basra; he’d been captured in Afghanistan in 2002, then escaped, and apparently made his way to jihad central in Iraq. I wonder if the alleged AQ influx is why Arab leaders are suddenly so hot for peace with Israel: Assad, of all people, hinted at it yesterday and Yedioth Aharanoth published a sensational report this morning claiming that Olmert secretly met a week ago with none other than Abdullah, king of the Jew-hating kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Olmert denies it, but he’d have to so that Abdullah can save face.

I post this reluctantly, but the world’s most alarmist website says it’s hearing chatter about a new message coming from “an Al Qaeda leader” in the next few weeks. Why is that noteworthy? Because Abu Dawood, the AQ lieutenant Hamid Mir claims to have met with recently in Afghanistan, promised a new message from Bin Laden himself within the next few weeks. If that pans out, Dawood’s warnings about an impending WMD attack will be looking a lot more credible. Then again, some terror experts think that the spate of messages from AQ lately is evidence of impotence, not strength. As the jihad diversifies and Al Qaeda’s own operational capacity dwindles, As-Sahab propaganda might be the only way for them to stay relevant. Osama doesn’t like to be ignored.

Whatever the deal with AQ is, the Taliban seem to be fine. The Daily Telegraph has an ominous report out today that the recent “peace” deal between Pakistan and the jihadis in Waziristan was approved by none other than Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank, “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas — who’s supposed to be a check on Hamas — is making demands on Israel for the return of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier kidnapped two months ago by … Hamas. As for the two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah, here’s the status report on UN peacekeepers:

They cannot set up checkpoints. They cannot search cars or homes or businesses. They cannot detain suspects. If they see a truck transporting missiles for example, they cannot stop it. And they cannot staff check points with the Lebanese Army because they do not know each others procedures…

And so if there was any thought that the multinational forces would disarm or restrain Hezbollah, or search for hidden weapons caches, the commanders on the ground say very clearly that is not their job. Those responsibilities, they said, will depend on the political will of the government.

Which government? The elected one or the real one?