While nearly everyone (rightfully so) is discussing the baffling decision to send more troops down the Iraq sinkhole, there has been some little noticed but still very important events going on around the world which are at the same time alarming and confirming of the canard which is the “Iraq is the central front in the war on terror™” and the “we are making the world safer” memes.
But nearly everywhere you look – and everyone that is willing to speak (including Negroponte) there is a bleak picture of the fruits of the neocons’ world domination folly. Of course, there is the news today of the attack on the US embassy in Greece, which thankfully caused no casualties. But, of course, since that was against American interests, it gets all of the press, while countless examples of rampant terrorism worldwide gets little notice.
That being said, it certainly does little to diminish the worldwide view that the US has become the biggest threat to world peace, or that Bush is the most dangerous man in the world – helping to put a bull’s eye on our backs, as well as on the backs of our “interests” and allies around the world.
In addition to the bombings in London and Madrid, there have been a great many alarming developments as a result of this needless false bravado and chest thumping done over the past few years. From Afghanistan to Pakistan to Europe to Australia to the Philippines to Somalia to the rest of the Middle East – there are increased attacks, larger numbers of deaths, more sophisticated attacks, and regrouping of terrorist groups.
And yet, none of these countries are named Iraq, which, as we all know, is the central front in the war on terror. And even Bush, in his infinite, er, “wisdom”, had this genius remark a few short months ago:
I know some in America don't believe Iraq is the central front in the war on terror, and that's fine, they can have that opinion. But Osama bin Laden knows it's the central front in the war on terror.
Funny, because if that is the case, then why do we see news like this:
Mr Negroponte told a Senate committee that al-Qaeda was still the militant organisation that "poses the greatest threat to US interests".
"They are cultivating stronger operational connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hideout in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe," he said.
Hmmmm…you don’t spell Iraq “P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N”. Or, of course, this piece of news, where the US launched an attack on “suspected al-Qaeda operatives” in Somalia (also not Iraq), but alas, missed the intended targets. But not to worry about those missed targets, right? No harm, no foul, right?
The principal aim of the United States air strikes in southern Somalia appears to have been the elimination of three al-Qaeda suspects held responsible for the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The limited US operation was not part of the larger, Ethiopian-led military effort to topple the country's Islamist movement and rescue Somalia's pro-Western government -- and runs the risk of undermining it.
But as in Afghanistan, the predominant US focus on its "war on terror'' objectives could prove counter-productive for international efforts to reverse decades of Somali violence, famine and despair. The European Commission was quick to voice such doubts this week. "Any incident of this kind is not helpful in the long term,'' a spokesman said.
And despite the interim government's support for the US action, Somali public opinion is unlikely to welcome this latest, crude infringement of the country's battered sovereignty any more than it has welcomed the Ethiopian invaders.
As for who is a threat to us, well it seems as though we may have a new “suitor” in Hezbollah after last year’s stellar diplomatic handling of the Israel/Lebanon situation by Rice:
In his annual review of global threats, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte highlighted an increasingly worrisome assessment of Hezbollah — backed by Iran and Syria — since its 34-day war with Israel last year.
“As a result of last summer’s hostilities, Hezbollah’s self-confidence and hostility toward the United States as a supporter of Israel could cause the group to increase its contingency planning against United States interests,’’ Negroponte told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Of course, this could be just to bang the war drum against Iran and Syria, but it is out there in a way that it was not just a few years ago. But why stop there? Let’s see how much “safer” the rest of the world is from terrorism, including two countries that we have been heavily involved with over the past few years – Pakistan and Afghanistan.
First, Afghanistan. On the heels of yet another report of a suicide bomber near Kabul (which by the way, are tactics that were not used in Afghanistan until militants saw how “successful” they were in Iraq), we have some chilling news about attacks in Afghanistan this past year:
Taliban militants last year launched a record number of attacks in Afghanistan, and an estimated 4,000 people died in insurgency-related violence, the bloodiest year since the US-led coalition ousted the Taliban regime in 2001.
Afghan and Western officials say the militants operate from sanctuaries in Pakistan, but Islamabad insists it does all it can to stop them.
Well, there are our buddies in Pakistan again. Seems like Pakistan can be called the “central front in the war on terror™”. Except that they are our bestest buddies:
"Pakistan is our partner in the war on terror and has captured several al-Qaeda leaders. However, it is also a major source of Islamic extremism," Mr Negroponte said in written testimony submitted to the Senate committee.
I guess that whole “countries that harbor terrorists” only matters when that country doesn’t actually harbor terrorists.
Back to Pakistan though – a recently released report indicates that this “non-central front” had a pretty bad year, from a terrorism standpoint:
Terrorist attacks killed almost two people a day in 2006, with Balochistan and the country's tribal areas becoming the worst trouble spots.
These are the findings of a research study conducted by an independent think-tank, Pak Institute for Peace Studies, which found that the overall security situation remained extremely precarious in the previous year.
According to daily 'Dawn', the government blamed the terrorist attacks on insurgents in Balochistan, the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, and sectarian militants.
According to the research study, 657 terrorist attacks, including 41 of a sectarian nature, took place in the preceding year, leaving 907 people dead and 1,543 others injured.
And lookie at who shows up again – the Taliban (who we “crushed” in 2001, right?) and al-Qaeda (you know, the ones who actually carried out the 9/11 attacks here in the US).
Not to be forgotten is a recent report which suggests that 2007 is going to be a “fun” year for terrorists in Europe:
London-based political risk analyst Exclusive Analysis Ltd. has warned of more terrorist attacks in Europe, although actions are likely to be smaller and aimed at a broader range of targets.
In giving key forecasts for 2007, Kirsten Parker, director of analysis at Exclusive Analysis, said that there was a higher probability that large plots would be foiled in the United Kingdom. “However, we expect more smaller attacks in the U.K. with a broader target set,” she added.
Speaking at a seminar hosted in London by the International Underwriting Association, Ms. Parker also warned that France is more likely to experience terrorist attacks, noting that the Algerian terrorist group known as GSPC (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat) has taken a more global view. Adding that Italy and Germany were also targets for Islamic terrorists with transport in particular being a target.
Of course, since Germany is part of that “old Europe” then they don’t really count. And since the attacks are more likely to be “smaller”, then that won’t really count either – you know since we don’t do body counts.
The bombings on Wednesday evening occurred in three cities - General Santos, Kidapawan and Cotabato - in the southern Philippines. Police said eight people were killed in the attacks, which also injured dozens of others.
No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, although police officials in the southern Philippines were reported saying Thursday that the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah were likely suspects because, according to one official, the groups were behind similar bombings in the past. Jemaah Islamiyah is the Southeast Asian terror network that originated in Indonesia and was said to be responsible for the Bali bombings in 2002 that killed more than 200 people, many of them foreigners.
Central front, my ass. Terrorism and attacks are occurring all across the globe, and incidents are up everywhere. The only way we, or anyone will be “safer” is when we get these lunatics out of power.