Tag Archives: conflict

A Darwinian world-AFJ


I think he is incorrect in giving future global influence credit to IGOs…if his argument is the economy, then it would be corporations and/or illicit corporations. IGOs will only give credibility to actions so that one nations actions are not perceived as one sovereign infringing on another sovereign.

At least we have conflict to look forward too.

Libya points to a new era of aggression and turmoil
BY BOB KILLEBREW

As these words are written, U.S., British and French warplanes are striking Libyan ground forces along the Mediterranean littoral; American and other NATO troops are pounding out “fragile and reversible” gains in Afghanistan; and unrest continues to roil governments in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. To our south, criminal cartels and violent gangs murder government officials, civilians and one another in Mexico and points south. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose state policy protects cocaine production and smuggling, invites into his country the Iranian Republican Guard and Hezbollah, while, over the horizon, China continues its naval buildup.

Whatever happened to the “peace dividend” and the long rest the world was supposed to get after the end of the Cold War? Those days are long gone, obviously, in the tectonic forces moving the world forward into a century more unstable than many had predicted.

Three years from now will be the centennial of the 1914 disaster that set the 20th century careering down the road to two world wars and the mass murders of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. We can hope that the 21st century is more peaceful, but it’s not looking good. For all the hope that globalization and the communications revolution would bring people together — and they have — at least part of the result has been to make aggression and murder more practical.

via Armed Forces Journal

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In Arab Revolts, A Boon For Al-Qaeda


Now I know this isn’t the focus of this article so bear with me. However, I ask myself why do I cringe at his comment “Facebook-obsessed, Twitter-addled West?” It’s because I know facebook might not provide value to the time I waste there…no I don’t tweet. I also recall a cyberspace publication I reviewed for my day job citing the “twitter revolution” in Iraq as evidence of the power of social networking media. The opposite was true in Iran, only westerners were using twitter…not the Iranians. So it may be true that in America, we might be mobilized to tweet or like in support/opposition of a social movement, but I don’t think we’ll take to the streets in the same capacity of the current “revolutionaries.”

Washington Post
March 6, 2011
Pg. B1

In Arab Revolts, A Boon For Al-Qaeda

Bin Laden biographer on the new Middle East’s old dangers

By Michael Scheuer

The rush in the West to proclaim the advance of democracy in the Arab world has led to the propagation of an ill-conceived and dangerous corollary: that the revolts in the Middle East and North Africa also mark the irrelevance of al-Qaeda and other Islamist militant groups.

“Al Qaeda Sees History Fly By,” declared the New York Times. “Uprisings Put al Qaeda on Sidelines,” asserted the Wall Street Journal. And Western politicians, academics and even intelligence specialists appear to agree that, with peaceful and pro-democratic change afoot in the Middle East, the world has moved beyond al-Qaeda, leaving Osama bin Laden writhing in the dust.

If only that were true. Since bin Laden declared war against the United States in 1996, al-Qaeda’s main goals have included the destruction of the Arab world’s tyrannies and of Israel. The events of recent weeks only move al-Qaeda closer to those objectives.

Today, the dictatorships of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt are gone. Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh is little more than the mayor of his capital city of Sanaa. And Col. Moammar Gaddafi may be on his way out in Libya, unless some knee-jerk U.S.-led intervention saves him by refocusing Libyan and other North African Islamists on what they consider an infidel threat greater than Gaddafi.

As for Israel, the fall of Mubarak – and the unsealing of Egypt’s border with Gaza – pose a security disaster equal to the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. Israel’s two anti-Islamist shields to the east and to the west are now history.

All of this amounts to an enormous strategic step forward for al-Qaeda. That these victories have come with virtually no investment of manpower or money by the terrorist network, and with self-defeating applause from the Facebook-obsessed, Twitter-addled West, only makes them all the sweeter for bin Laden.

Peering into the future, the autocrats’ probable successors likewise offer abundant good news for al-Qaeda and kindred groups. In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and any other nation with a U.S.-supported tyranny that sinks in the weeks and months ahead, the role of Islamist groups will become larger – and over time perhaps dominant – if only because the populations in play are almost entirely Muslim and because Islamist groups have the most effective nationwide infrastructures to replace the old guard. And most do and will receive funding, openly or covertly, from always generous donors in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Sunni gulf states.

Each new regime is likely to host a more open, religion-friendly environment for speech, assembly and press freedoms than did Mubarak and his ilk. So it will be easier for media-savvy Islamist groups – whether peaceful or militant – to proselytize, publish and foment without immediate threat of arrest and incarceration. Indeed, Washington and its Western allies will dogmatically urge the new governments to maintain such freedoms, even as the Islamists capitalize on them.

The Islamists will follow the formulas for gaining power and then governing that are detailed in the Koran and the Sunnah, the prophet Muhammad’s sayings and traditions. Western experts have long failed to recognize these documents as Islam’s equivalent to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. In Egypt, for example, governance based on them would be far more familiar, comfortable and culturally appropriate than anything opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei and his followers could offer.

The blessing of the Arab revolts for al-Qaeda and its allies also can be seen in the opening of prisons across Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. In Egypt alone, the news media are reporting that at least 17,000 prisoners have been freed. Many of those released are not thieves and murderers, but Islamist firebrands that the regimes had jailed to protect their internal security – at times even at the request and with the funding of Washington and its allies. Indeed, many were incarcerated as a result of quiet cooperation between Western and Arab intelligence services; their release is a major setback for these efforts.

So al-Qaeda and like-minded groups are now being replenished by a steady flow of pious, veteran mujaheddin, each of whom will never forget that U.S. and other Western funds helped keep them jailed by Arab tyrants.

The revolts also mean that the United States and its Western allies must take on a far greater share of the counterterrorism operations that they previously conducted with the help of Arab regimes. The days of Mubarak, Saleh, Gaddafi and Ben Ali doing the dirty work for American, European and Israeli counterterrorism efforts are over. Soon it will be U.S. and Western special forces and intelligence services that will be ordered to capture or kill militants in Muslim lands – individuals that our tyrannical friends used to dispose of for us.

How tragic that in the war being waged against the United States by al-Qaeda and its allies precisely because of Washington’s relentless intervention in the Islamic world, the U.S. government will now be forced to intervene even more – or sit on the sidelines and watch al-Qaeda build or expand bases from which to threaten U.S. security.

Of course, open and vociferous participation by Islamists in the demonstrations in Cairo, Tunis, Tripoli and elsewhere would have earned a lethal and Western-supported response from Mubarak, Ben Ali and Gaddafi. So al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other groups simply used a talent that long ago atrophied in the West – the ability to keep their mouths shut. As usual, the West wrongly concluded that silence connotes not strategy, but impotence and irrelevance.

Bin Laden and his peers are counting on the fact that the uprisings’ secular, pro-democracy Facebookers and tweeters – so beloved of reality-averse Western journalists and politicians – are a thin veneer across a deeply pious Arab world. They are confident that these revolts are not about democratic change but about who, in societies where peaceful transfers of power are rare, will fill the vacuum left by the dictators and consolidate power. These men also know that the answer to that question will ultimately come out of the barrel of a Kalashnikov, of which they have many, along with the old tyrants’ weapons stockpiles, on which they are now feasting.

Michael Scheuer, chief of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999, is an adjunct professor of security studies at Georgetown University. He is the author of the new biography “Osama bin Laden.”

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