The United States can defeat al-Qaida if it relies less on force and more on policing and intelligence to root out the terror group’s leaders, a new study contends.
“Keep in mind that terrorist groups are not eradicated overnight,” said the study [253-page PDF document] by the federally funded Rand research center, an organization that counsels the Pentagon.
Its report said that the use of military force by the United States or other countries should be reserved for quelling large, well-armed and well-organized insurgencies, and that American officials should stop using the term “war on terror” and replace it with “counterterrorism.”
Editor’s Comment — After 9/11, the US government and the American people colluded in a charade: an American conquest that would supposedly result in the eradication of terrorism and — taken to its hyperbolic height — bring about the end of evil. The idea that George Bush and Dick Cheney were going to lead the charge in bringing about an end of evil should have been met with howling, derisive laughter. Instead, the phrase “war on terrorism” slid so smoothly into everyday language that it quickly acquired social weight even while remaining conceptually as light as ether.
So, now we get word from the sober and hardcore establishment RAND Corp. that — surprise, surprise — combating terrorism is really a policing and intelligence issue.
Obama has promised to end not only “the war” (limited to Iraq) but also the mindset to took us into war. To do so will require deconstructing the concept of a war on terrorism, yet far from doing that, his campaign rhetoric merely echoes the mindset that took us to war by reinforcing the idea that the war on terrorism is a real war.
If Israel releases Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament as part of a deal for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, PA President Mahmoud Abbas will dismantle the Palestinian Authority, Abbas warned Israel last week.
Abbas sent the warning to GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni via Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the PA’s civil affairs department, who is responsible for coordinating with Israel on anything involving the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Al-Sheikh, who told Shamni that this was a “personal message” from Abbas, stressed that the Palestinian leader did not speak merely of “resigning,” but of “dismantling the PA.”
Israel arrested dozens of Hamas politicians, including ministers and parliament members, shortly after Hamas kidnapped Shalit on June 25, 2006. Many have since been released by order of a military court, but about 40 remain in Israeli jails.
The message from Abbas was highly unusual, since publicly, he tries to portray himself as the leader of all the Palestinians – for instance, by repeatedly demanding that Israel release all its Palestinian prisoners.
Editor’s Comment — The Haaretz report says:
According to an Israeli source well-versed in what is happening in the PA, publication of Abbas’ threat to dismantle the PA if Israel releases the Hamas parliamentarians is liable to discredit him massively in the eyes of many Palestinians.
Worse than that, the more obvious it becomes that there is virtually no such thing as Palestinian solidarity, the more tenuous it becomes to sustain the idea that there is such a thing as a Palestinian cause. Palestinians face an existential threat and while that threat may have originated from Zionism and the state of Israel, the greatest danger now appears to be of self-destruction.
Is neo-conservative Richard Perle — one of the most effective voices in encouraging the Bush administration to topple Saddam Hussein — in talks to join a consortium of investors to drill for oil in Iraq’s Kurdistan and in Kazakhstan?
The Wall Street Journal says so in a piece this morning, pointing out that Perle has been talking to Kazakhstan’s Washington envoy, Alexander Mirtchev, and his associate, Kaloyan Dimitrov. As for the Kurds in northern Iraq, the Bush administration — and the government in Baghdad — have asked them not to issue any oil-drilling contracts until Iraq enacts a national oil bill to divvy up lucrative oil revenues. The Journal says Perle has approached the Kurds.
As I watched the right pour out its rain of fury on Barack Obama after his Berlin speech I couldn’t help but think of poor old Wile E. Coyote, raging impotently as the Road Runner zips through one of his carefully prepared snares.
Over the years conservatives have invested considerable capital, and enjoyed considerable success, in making “old Europe” a veritable synonym for all that is effete and snobbish and Chablis-drinking and just plain alien about liberalism. “Europe” was a bit of symbolism they thought they had tarnished beyond redemption; a well they had poisoned for good.
Remember “Freedom Fries”? Or how John Kerry was supposed to “look French”? Or how misguided Europeans were supposed to be with their national health plans and their failure to tremble before the Almighty?
A top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled secretly to Islamabad this month to confront Pakistan’s most senior officials with new information about ties between the country’s powerful spy service and militants operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas, according to American military and intelligence officials.
The C.I.A. emissary presented evidence showing that members of the spy service had deepened their ties with some militant groups that were responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan, possibly including the suicide bombing this month of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the officials said.
The decision to confront Pakistan with what the officials described as a new C.I.A. assessment of the spy service’s activities seemed to be the bluntest American warning to Pakistan since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks about the ties between the spy service and Islamic militants.
Ever since Pakistan signed onto the United States’ “war on terror” in 2001, Washington has adopted a carrot-and-stick approach in an attempt to prod its often reluctant partner.