|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
The chaos spreading across nuclear-armed Pakistan after the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is part of the price for the Bush administration’s duplicity about al-Qaeda’s priorities, including the old canard that the terrorist group regards Iraq as the “central front” in its global war against the West.
Through repetition of this claim – often accompanied by George W. Bush’s home-spun advice about the need to listen to what the enemy says – millions of Americans believe that Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders consider Iraq the key battlefield.
However, intelligence evidence, gathered from intercepted al-Qaeda communications, indicate that bin Laden’s high command views Iraq as a valuable diversion for U.S. military strength, not the “central front.”
So, instead of seeking a quick ouster of U.S. forces from Iraq and using it as a base for launching a global jihad – as Bush and his supporters claim – al-Qaeda actually saw its strategic goals advanced by keeping the United States bogged down in Iraq.
To some U.S. analysts, the logic was obvious: “prolonging” the Iraq War bought al-Qaeda time to rebuild its infrastructure in Pakistan, where the Islamic fundamentalist extremists have long had sympathizers inside the Pakistani intelligence services dating back to the CIA’s war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Charlie Wilson’s Blowback
That CIA war, lionized in the new movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” funneled billions of dollars in U.S. covert money and weapons through Pakistani intelligence to Afghan warlords and to Arab jihadists who had flocked to Afghanistan to drive out the Russian infidels. One of those young jihadists was a wealthy Saudi named Osama bin Laden.
Though Bush eventually acknowledged that most of Iraqi resistance was homegrown, he still asserted that al-Qaeda planned to use Iraq as the launching pad for a global “caliphate” from Spain to Indonesia, another alarmist claim that scared some Americans into backing Bush’s war policies.
“This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia,” Bush said in a typical reference to this claim in a Sept. 5, 2006, speech. “We know this because al-Qaeda has told us.”
But many analysts saw Bush’s nightmarish scenario as preposterous, given the deep divisions within the Islamic world and the hostility that many Muslims feel toward al-Qaeda, including its recent much-heralded rejection by more moderate Iraqi Sunnis in Anbar province.
Also, according to a National Intelligence Estimate representing the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community in April 2006, “the global jihadist movement is decentralized, lacks a coherent global strategy, and is becoming more diffuse.” [Emphasis added.]
The NIE also concluded that the Iraq War – rather than weakening the cause of Islamic terrorism – had become a “cause celebre” that was “cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”
The grinding Iraq War – now nearing its fifth year – also prevented the United States from arraying sufficient military and intelligence resources against the reorganized al-Qaeda infrastructure in Pakistan and the rebuilt Taliban army reasserting itself in Afghanistan.
Labels: Pakistan, Rudy Giuliani