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Subject: Al Qaida 2--The return of Osama, sequel
Herc the Merc    2/19/2007 6:34:36 PM
New York Times: Al-Qaida Chiefs Have Regained Control By VOA News 19 February 2007 The New York Times is reporting that U.S. intelligence officials believe senior al-Qaida leaders operating from Pakistan have re-established a chain of command over their worldwide terror network. An image grab taken from a video broadcast on Al-Jazeera television 20 Dec 2006 shows al-Qaida number two Ayman al-Zawahiri The newspaper cites anonymous U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials, saying there is mounting evidence that Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, have been building up operations in the mountainous Pakistani area of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border. The Times quotes unnamed analysts who say groups of militants receive guidance from their commanders and Zawahri, and that bin Laden appears to have less direct involvement. Until recently, U.S. intelligence assessments had described senior al-Qaida leaders as detached from active militants, only able to provide inspiration for future attacks. A U.S. government official tells VOA that the United States and other governments have been aware of al-Qaida activities in the tribal regions along the Afghan-Pakistani border for some time, and that they are a matter of concern. The official said that efforts are ongoing to disrupt the terrorist network, and said al-Qaida does not have a safe haven in Pakistan. Pakistani officials also say they are doing their best to gain control of the area.
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swhitebull    Wait One New York Minute - NYTImes Doom and Gloom - as Usual, looked at Soberly   2/20/2007 10:45:20 AM
From National Security fellow, American Foreign Policy Council, James Robbins, National Review:" valign="bottom">" width="100%">" width="100%">

Al Qaeda is Back?
Let's go to the videotape.

By James S. Robbins

Periodically I give a seminar as part of a government course for counterterrorism analysts. The general topic for that segment is assessing the War on Terrorism, and I am billed as “The Optimist.” The organizers tell me they like to bring me in because I am provocative. That has always surprised me, because I never thought telling people they are doing a good job keeping the enemy at bay was particularly controversial. But you’d be surprised, as I am time and again, at the level of skepticism I run into. It is the same point of view reflected in the piece in Monday’s New York Times, based on intelligence-community sources, that says Al Qaeda is reconstituting. Their command and control is robust. They are running training camps. They are on the way back. Seems like five years into the war and we have nothing to show for it.

One frequently hears similar views in the debate over the war. So long as Osama bin Laden is alive, he is winning. The sanctuaries in North Waziristan are an Afghanistan redux. The Taliban are resurgent and on the verge of victory. The U.S. is bogged down, its resources stretched thin. They suckered us into the region, and now everything is going according to al Qaeda’s plan.

Part of the problem is that we attribute preternatural qualities to the terrorists while establishing standards for our own success that are unattainable. For example, the notion that anything at all is going according to al Qaeda’s plan is nonsense. Bin Laden laid out the strategic goals of the organization in his 1996 Declaration of War. What would winning look like in their framework? Osama bin Laden the most popular leader in the Muslim world, revered by all, leading an increasingly united nation of true believers. Attacks on U.S. and Coalition military installations and warships throughout the region, sometimes resulting in major losses, leading to a comprehensive retreat from the Middle East. Regimes in the region suffering internal revolts, riots, a breakdown of the internal security apparatus, mutinies among their troops, assassinations of key leaders, and eventually armies of mujahedeen seizing control of the capitals and pledging allegiance to bin Laden’s growing empire. A united Palestinian movement, religious in orientation and loyal to the al Qaeda program, waging a war to the death on an increasingly beleaguered and strategically isolated Israel. Incessant, occasionally dramatic attacks in the West and especially in the United States, showing the puissance of the movement and its ability to inflict damage on the U.S. at times and places of their choosing.

Is this the war we are fighting? Not even close. The U.S. is more involved in the region than ever before. No regimes in th
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