Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The blast in Egypt
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Although an obvious tragedy, the triple bombing in an Egyptian resort town which killed 23 and injured 62 got me thinking.

Simultaneous bomb blasts are a hallmark of an al Qaeda operation and although no direct link has yet been made, some investigators feel the possibility of al Qaeda involvement is strong.

What got me to thinking about this is the latest Osama bin Laden tape. What starts to emerge, when you review it, is the strategy for al Qaeda may be changing to a "go where the US isn't" strategy. Think about it. OBL talks about Chechnya, Sudan and Somolia. All three are areas where we don't have any sort of military presence. And you can now add Egypt (an probably Saudi Arabia) to that list.

That's a retreat from the former strategy of confrontating (most vividly demonstrated in Iraq) our military. We hear fewer and fewer stories of al Qaeda operations in Iraq. And we hear nothing of OBL's pet "paper tiger" theory about the US.

If one is to take the latest tape by OBL literally, it would seem he's outlining a strategy of avoidance with respect to the US. That doesn't mean he won't attack targets in the US if given the opportunity, but it does seem to mean he's done an assessment of his confrontation of our military in Iraq and found the return on investment to be terrible.

Another interesting outcome from the OBL tape. As you recall, it mentions Hamas and calls for helping Hamas in its war against the "Crusader-Zionist war against Muslims".

Hamas has declared it wants nothing from Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda. And today, the Hamas government specifically addressed the Egyptian bombings in very strong and unmistakable language:
The Hamas-led Palestinian government said it "strongly condemns this criminal act which flouts our religion, shakes Palestinian national security and works against Arab interests".
There is some obvious irony there, but don't forget, the act took place in a majority muslim nation and as we saw when the same sort of thing happened in Jordan, it was roundly condemned by the Arab world.

But in the space of a few days, those are remarkable statements by the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

So the OBL tape is an interesting piece as much for what it doesn't say as for what it does. And while al Qaeda is far from "dead", it appears it has been hurt enough over the last few years that it has finally had to rethink its strategy, concede Iraq and scale back to attacking targets which are poorly guarded and will make a splash in the news cycle of the day.

UPDATE: From the BBC:
Police in Egypt have arrested 10 people in connection with the triple bomb attack in the Red Sea resort of Dahab that killed at least 23 people.

Those arrested are Egyptian and were detained in the town.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
So the OBL tape is an interesting piece as much for what it doesn’t say as for what it does. And while al Qaeda is far from "dead", it appears it has been hurt enough over the last few years that it has finally had to rethink its strategy, concede Iraq and scale back to attacking targets which are poorly guarded and will make a splash in the news cycle of the day.

What are you talking about? The WoT is an obvious failure because OBL is still releasing tapes. Bushco has failed because AQ is coming back stronger than ever in more places and it’s HIS FAULT! AQ can leave Iraq because they’ve already won.

There’s the spin you’ll be seeing.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark, this is obviously your cue for MK to take the mike. QUAGMIRE, QUAGMIRE!!
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Not Mk, Capt joe, but ME... Quagmire, of the quaggiest-quag...Chimpy McShrub is making MORE terrorists!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Ed Morrisey assumes this is AQ, too.

I chuckle at the mess the Islamist terrorists are in, because, now, any AQ-type attack can be reasonably attributed to them - whether they did it or not.

Egyptian AQ Wannabe bomber? Or a Mubarak-gov’t fake-out? It doesn’t really matter anymore. Even the anonymously phoned-in "claims of responsibility" that are featured approvingly on Al-Jazeera seem too opaque to be believed.

All this points to a structural weakness to the AQ business model. AQ’s brand has been corrupted; it’s just too easy to "counterfeit" their techniques. This could be the franchise’s Achilles Heel.
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Consider the pedigree of some of the Egyptian terrorist groups, however.

In 1997, a group of tourists were killed by terrorists at Luxor. The group responsible? "Vanguards of Conquest," a group affiliated with (some say a branch of) Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Who was head of "Vanguards of Conquest"? None other than our old friend Ayman al-Zawahiri.

So, it’s not exactly a new idea, that al-Qaeda would be happily butchering tourists or attacking tourist resorts.
 
Written By: Lurking Observer
URL: http://
The thing that puzzles me about this attack is, "why Dahab?" I’ve actually been there and it is not a very high profile target, to say the least. It’s a little hippie resort town just south of Eilat(Isr.)/Aqaba(Jor.) that doesn’t attract many people besides ... well, hippies.

An attack on Sharm-el-sheikh I can understand since this has become quite the western-style Red Sea resort town. Attacking a bunch of hippies — i.e. those westerners most likely of any westerners to support (albeit indirectly) Islamist missions and objectives — seems counterproductive and a wasted effort.

Unless, of course, the attack was intended to stir up more anti-Americanism.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Unless, of course, the attack was intended to stir up more anti-Americanism.

I’m slow today, how does killing Westerners, more or less likely to support Al-Qaeda, stir up anti-Americanism?
Attacking a bunch of hippies — i.e. those westerners most likely of any westerners to support (albeit indirectly) Islamist missions and objectives — seems counterproductive and a wasted effort.
Uh becuase they DON’T LIKE WESTERNERS? At the risk of Goodwin/"Archetype Fallacy" charge, Nazi’s didn’t like Jews... they tried to kill Jews, whether or not the Jews, were more or less sympathetic to the Nazi position. So AQ and Islmao-Fascists don’t like Westerners, whether you voted for Dubya or are a Granola-munching, Birkenstock-wearing, Hippie, they don’t like you and will try to kill you. That would be my theory.

Plus it restricts tourism and that hurts the local/national economy, poor economic conditions can lead to a more radicalized politics, which might aid AQ or other Islamist organizations.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Since they’ll kill their own (muslims) at the drop of a turbin to get a couple of westerners, or jews (or even better, Western Jews) I don’t think they’re much worried about the political views of whatever westerners they manage to kill.
They don’t NEED support of granola crunchers. Having it is convenient but strictly not necessary. And prior experience probably indicates to them that the granola crunchers tend to view it as the fault of GWB when a fellow granola eater is killed by an extremist anyway, rather than laying it at the feet of the actually responsible party.

To some extent I think they do these things to keep their stock of suicide dynamite pilots busy and enthused about future excursions to Allah’s paradise.
At a strictly crass commercial level, I think they also do it to keep the ol’ buckeroos flowing into their coffers so they can live whatever the Islamic fundamentalist version of the ’good life’ is.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
If one is to take the latest tape by OBL literally, it would seem he’s outlining a strategy of avoidance with respect to the US.
I think we have a bad habit of forgetting that the United States is not the only, nor even neccesarily the primary, target of groups like Al-Quada.

They are often referred to as Islamo-fascists for a reason. A key part of any such idealogy is to build up the notion of external enemies in order to consolidate internal support, meanwhile the primary goals involve advancing an agenda within their sphere of influence rather than truly seeking to destroy the ’enemy’.

Muslims have been, by far, the primary victims of such extremist organizations. Destroying the ’infidels’ of the west will always remain a secondary goal to implementing their twisted idealogy in Muslim nations. It may be easy to think of ourselves as the center of the world, but that is not neccesarily always accurate.
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
I’m slow today, how does killing Westerners, more or less likely to support Al-Qaeda, stir up anti-Americanism?
The same way blowing up Sunnis will make them mad at Shiites and vice versa. I was just musing, but it seemed to me that harming those who are already opposed to US foreign policy, and then asserting that very foreign policy as the reason for the attack, could have the effect of causing those harmed to blame the purveyor of the foreign policy (as opposed to the attackers). It seems I’ve seen that cause and effect in other instances.
They don’t NEED support of granola crunchers. Having it is convenient but strictly not necessary. And prior experience probably indicates to them that the granola crunchers tend to view it as the fault of GWB when a fellow granola eater is killed by an extremist anyway, rather than laying it at the feet of the actually responsible party.
Exactly. As I mentioned above, I was simply musing. And to be clear, I haven’t been to Dahab since 1992. It may have changed a great deal since then (Sharm el-sheikh sure did). Dahab just seemed a very odd choice for such an attack.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
I think we have a bad habit of forgetting that the United States is not the only, nor even neccesarily the primary, target of groups like Al-Quada.
"Only?" OK, I’d obviously agree with that.

"Primary?"

We’re not referred to as "the Great Satan" for nothing.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I really get a kick out of those that argue that the WOT is lost because "we didn’t get OBL."

Not very bright thinkers, I’d say. Perhaps it is nicer to say that this is "Gore-esque" or "Kerry-esque" thinking, and it goes right to the heart of the "Law Enforcement v. War" divide.

There would be nothing better for Radical Islam than to have the US chasing OBL around the world while the "root cause" of terror continued growing.

Did it ever occur to these rocket scientists that "finding OBL" is the worst possible thing that could happen in this long war? "Got him? Good, now we can go back to Oprah and our 401(k) statements.

In all likelihood, OBL is buried under a rock in Tora Bora, and the CIA "authenticating" these tapes is the first smart thing they’ve done in the last 50 years. Conversely, the fastest way for Zawahiri to end our war against him is to admit OBL is dead.
 
Written By: Bruno
URL: http://www.extremewisdom.com
Countering Bruno:

A law enforcement approach would give weight to means, motive and opportunity that allowed AQ to attack. Means would highlight the widely suspected links between the friendly states of Saudi, UAE, Kuwait and Pakistan to terrorism. Motive would consider religious beliefs, how salafism and wahabism feature strongly in teaching respect for violent jihad. Opportunity reveal weaknesses including border/passport control and strengths including military superiority.

Law enforcement approach has been ditched because it would be extremely unprofitable to interfere in the good relations between America and its Islamic allies, especially now that oil is becoming scarce. Because it is political suicide to announce that a fundamentalist religion might is evil when you have had most every place of worship for another religion in your back pocket electorally. And because border security concerns do not exist under this administration.

The war approach is not without merit, but it encounters the same AQ-type enemies. When AQ operates in Iraq the Iraqi and US/UK military strongly degrade its opportunity to act (fighting them over there/flypaper strategy). Means and motive are ignored in favor of total focus on opportunity alone, pressing with the considerable advantages that America has over Islamists. The war approach leaves means and motive to seek opportunities in an Egyptian resort or London street or...
Did it ever occur to these rocket scientists that "finding OBL" is the worst possible thing that could happen in this long war? "Got him? Good, now we can go back to Oprah and our 401(k) statements.
And turning a blind eye to the activities of kingdoms and emirates who preach islamofacism is so much better? To fight a long war the enemy needs inexhaustible means and motive, why allow them these luxuries? Why fight a long war?
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
In all likelihood, OBL is buried under a rock in Tora Bora, and the CIA "authenticating" these tapes is the first smart thing they’ve done in the last 50 years.
I’ve had some of the same thoughts the last couple of years. This is a complex game theoretic problem. If we assume that Osama is indeed dead, then it may very well be that both sides are unenthusiastic about the world finding out. The leaders of Al Qaeda might fear that their already-fragile organization would completely implode if it were known.

And, as you pointed out, the US (i.e. the Bush administration) has no strong interest in pushing marginal information, even if they are privately convinced that Osama is dead. After the WMD fracas, BushCo is probably reluctant to go public with anything except a DNA-matched dead body. Even if they were right, absent objective and verifiable proof, their enemies in the MSM and in the Middle East would confuse, obfuscate, dissemble, and otherwise attempt to keep Bush from getting any credit. And the temptation to declare victory and go home would certainly be increased. I think most of the readers of this discussion forum understand exactly what that would mean.

The tragedy from my point of view is that the entire political sphere in the US is contaminated by the clear partisan leanings of the MSM. We can’t just put the facts on the table and have an open discussion about borderline evidence of Osama’s death and the consequences thereof. At least one side is unable or unwilling to do that. (I don’t know how much Bush’s reticence comes from the incessant attacks by NYT, Boston Globe, Washington Post, LA Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN, etc., but it has become flagrantly clear that those entities are more interested in making Bush look bad than they are interested in getting at the truth.)

The CIA’s verification certainly seems to have a tentative quality. It’s as if they think it’s possible or even probable that at some point a three-year-old body will be found and they will have to eat those words.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
I would like to think that the west in general and the US in particular have some serious covert initiatives gunning for AQ. Initiatives we don’t know about nor or likely to know about for some time. I’d like to think that this is putting some big time pressure on AQ, big enough that they are being forced to forego attacking the targets they would most like to attack and instead be forced to settle with hitting those targets which the can attack. Dahab fits that description. I would also like to believe that this attack indicates that Bin Laden is essentially neutralized (I doubt he’s dead however) and al Zawahiri has taken the fight back to it’s Muslim Brotherhood roots: Qutb’s Egypt.

In other words, I’d like to think we’re winning.

Then again I could be completely wrong.
 
Written By: Peter Jackson
URL: http://www.liberalcapitalist.com
"Did it ever occur to these rocket scientists that "finding OBL" is the worst possible thing that could happen in this long war? "Got him? Good, now we can go back to Oprah and our 401(k) statements"

You’re right, the worst thing Bush could do is catch OBL. Don’t forget, kids: if we catch and kill bin Laden, the terrorists have already won.

Re: the analysis of the tape: it strikes me as a mistake to think this is a change in strategy. As pointed out upthread, al-Q has consistently gone after non-fundy muslims and governments.
 
Written By: jpe
URL: http://
"Only?" OK, I’d obviously agree with that.

"Primary?"

We’re not referred to as "the Great Satan" for nothing.
Don’t look at what they say, look at what they do. Note the parralels to fascism. It is all about trumping up the external threat as a method of internal propaganda. How many of their ’own’ do they end up killing as opposed to ours?
 
Written By: Rosensteel
URL: http://
In general, excellent commentary from McQ!

After picking a fight with America, we quickly install the government of our choice in two Islamic countries. Iraqis are still lining up to join their government’s security forces. And the Pew Center polls that used to report majority support for bin Laden have turned south. Muslims don’t like losers. Mohammad conquered—not cowered in some cave sending messages by stealth means.

There’s an important saying of Mohammad: my people as a whole will never be wrong. Thus, the consensus that supported Al Qaeda (whether it was active support or intimidated passive support) has dissolved. The mandate for jihad against America is being questioned. The “far war” was supposed to get America out of the region but has only gotten us into the region in a far greater manner. And the “near war” to unseat moderates and “traitors” seems further off than ever.

As Al Qaeda was an umbrella group drawing together previously independent groups, I’m sure they’ll continue and others will arise like them. And there is still a question of planned attacks against us that are in the pipeline but have been delayed because of the inability of jihadists to test and establish secure execution on a sufficient scale. It’s hard to tell but Sunni jihadists may focus on intimidation of local populations in softer areas that are more vulnerable. They need some wins.

Of course, the Shiite jihadists are the main problem now … they see a void that can be filled and they strike me as crazy enough to try.
 
Written By: Jason Pappas
URL: http://libertyandculture.blogspot.com/

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider