If it’s Al Qaeda’s Tet Offensive, it won’t work this time

It appears that the Al Qaeda affiliates in Iraq have switched tactics to favor bombings in places like London and, based on some signs, the United States. The bottom line of such a move, if real, is this: you don’t switch tactics if your tactics are working. Jack Kelly has more on al Zarqawi’s and Al Qaeda’s changed tactics:

Car bombings, al-Qaida’s specialty, have fallen from (a record high of) 170 in April to 151 in May to 133 in June, with less than 100 so far in July. (Journalists describe this as a “worsening” trend.) Al-Qaida could be storing up for an offensive when the new Iraqi constitution is unveiled next month. We’ll know soon enough.

The targets have shifted in emphasis from American forces to Iraqi forces to Shiite civilians to, most recently, Sunni Arabs who are cooperating with the government. This does not suggest growing capability or rising support. Nor do the increasing number of gun battles between al-Qaida and its ex-Baathist allies in the insurgency suggest harmony in the resistance. Suicide attacks have been successful in gaining headlines, but have not slowed enlistment in the Iraqi armed forces, or prevented prominent Sunnis from taking part in the writing of the constitution….

Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-D.C. -based think tank, has been pessimistic about Iraq. He returned from a recent visit singing a different tune: “If current plans are successfully implemented, the total number of Iraqi military and police units that can honestly be described as trained and equipped should rise from 96,000 in September 2004, and 172,000 today to 230,000 by the end of December and 270,000 by mid-2006,” he said.

Strategic Forecasting, a private American intelligence service, thinks al-Qaida is engaged in the terrorist equivalent of the Tet Offensive: “launching a series of attacks — some significant, others mere psyops — in an effort to turn the tide in a war it has been losing.”

Well, if it is Al Qaeda’s Tet Offensive, it can’t work. First of all, the famous call for retreat from Vietnam was issued by Walter Cronkite on February 27, 1968, and the US didn’t fully engage until seven years later. Too late, Zack.

Second, a remarkable shift has taken place in Western thinking after the London bombings, and it is certainly not the one prayed for by Al Qaeda. A few years ago, connecting terrorism to Islam in any way was completely forbidden in the polite company of the elite media. It was all tortured niceties like the ones still coming from Condi Rice: “They want to kill in the name of a perverted ideology that really is not Islam, but they somehow want to claim that mantle to say that this is about some kind of grievance.” However, now we read over and over and over again in the Mainstream Media about Dar al-Harb, Dar al-Islam and cause and effect. In other words: Al Qaeda’s bet that the West would agree that “this is all about Iraq,” and do a Madrid, isn’t playing out as scripted. There is a lot of inquiry suddenly going on in the West about “root causes,” and that is very bad news for Al Qaeda and its breeding grounds. Great news for the West and bad news for Zack and his Al Qaeda colleagues.

One Response to “If it’s Al Qaeda’s Tet Offensive, it won’t work this time”

  1. larwyn Says:

    Dear Jack,
    Found this on AEI – Link at bottom of excerpt. Dowd has put it into
    a form that cannot be ignored no matter the MSM.

    Dark Diary
    By Alan Dowd
    There are those who believe that people are merely a part of history, pieces of driftwood carried along by forces and currents often beyond our control. Others argue that history is shaped by individuals—that the right person in the right place can alter the course of human events.

    Certainly Osama bin Laden shifted the historical tide on September 11, 2001. As General Tommy Franks put it, bin Laden created a “crease in history” on 9/11, a fault line that changed how we piece together the past, how we live the present, how we look at the future.

    To their credit, Americans have—so far—resisted the winds unleashed on that Tuesday morning four years ago, winds that could have blown us to defeat and despair. But what if they had not? What if Americans had allowed bin Laden and his followers to write the story of our time?

    The following is a dark diary of what might have followed.

    September 20, 2001

    In an historic address to a special joint session of Congress, President George W. Bush honored the eight House members, three Senators and 187 staffers, civil servants, and tourists killed on September 11 when United Airlines Flight 93 plowed into the western face of the U.S. Capitol.

    “They were standing their post, and we can do no less,” the President said, fighting back tears. The special session was held at the Washington Convention Center, where Congress has been gathering under heavy security since the staggering terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Capitol.

    Bush refused to characterize the coordinated assaults as acts of war, and took pains to distance himself from comments made by Pentagon officials, who argued that the U.S. should use 9/11 as a rationale for “ending states that sponsor terrorism.” Instead, Bush said that “America’s enemies are the criminals who carried out these attacks—not the states where they hide.”

    September 30, 2001

    British newspapers reported that Washington has quietly asked British Prime Minister Tony Blair to tone down his hawkish rhetoric. Blair has called on the Western allies to “identify the machinery of terror and to dismantle it as swiftly as possible.” Spelling out what some in America have dubbed the “Blair Doctrine,” the British leader declared: “Those who harbor or help terrorists have a choice: either cease your protection and promotion of our enemies, or be treated as an enemy yourself.”

    October 7, 2001

    Appearing on “Meet the Press,” Vice President Dick Cheney downplayed any rift between the two transatlantic partners, but he also panned calls for a global counteroffensive against terrorism. “What do they propose—that we send thousands of American boys to fight in a place that has already defeated the British and Soviet empires?”

    Later that afternoon, Bush asked the Afghan government to hand over bin Laden, and then dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to meet with Taliban emissaries.

    November 11, 2001

    On a kind of two-month anniversary, crowds totaling perhaps 15 million gathered all across the Muslim world to taunt the U.S. Critics in the West warned that America’s feeble response to 9/11 was emboldening fanatics who have lost any sense of respect for U.S. strength or determination.

    December 13-16, 2001

    Car bombs exploded outside the U.S. embassies in Kuwait City and Ankara, killing 204 people, including 73 Americans. The Taliban government, “acting only as a messenger,” delivered a statement from bin Laden claiming responsibility and issuing another warning: “The battle will go on until the infidel leaves our land. The crusaders know not where we will strike, but we do. We will fight them on our terms and at a time of our choosing.”

    Bush announced plans for an international summit on terrorism “to bring an end to this scourge.” The conference will be held in Nevada at Nellis Air Force Base under tight security.

    December 22-25, 2001

    Worldwide air travel came to a shuddering halt for the second time since 9/11, after an American Airlines passenger jet packed with Christmas travelers exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. All 218 aboard were lost, including 181 Americans. Flight 63 was bound for Miami after taking off from Paris.

    Hours later, the BBC received an e-mail claiming that a man named Richard Reid carried out the “martyrdom mission with technical assistance from al-Qaeda.” Reid, whose name was found on flight logs, was a British citizen with links to Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called twentieth hijacker from 9/11.
    Click here: The American Enterprise: Dark Diary

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