Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Al Qaeda and Regime Change in Iraq Update

NOTE TO READERS: I am reposting these two articles by request. Enjoy. -Dave

From Badgers Forward:

An Undeniably Bad Case of Denial

"[The] characterization of Al Qaeda as an "obscure group" and as "relatively limited in their global and regional pull defies every American's ability to interpret events for themselves. It is now of course well known the plans for the events of September 11, 2001 were first proposed in 1996 when Khalid Shaikh Mohammed first suggested the attack to Usama bin Laden. The plot was over five years in the making and spanned three continents.

Al Qaeda is a highly organized and disciplined military organization; four large commercial aircraft are not commandeered in mid-flight, three of which are then redirected into buildings, due to luck. For the events of that day to be successful, a high degree of coordination and security was required. To dismiss that as pure luck is pure folly and naive. Quite possibly though, that day is too emotional for some people to analyze critically.

Go back though to August 7, 1998, to the East African Embassy bombings. Somewhere between 225 and 303 people were killed that day in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. AQ began the mission planning for that attack in 1993, again five years before the attack. The planning only required travel across two continents.
In Al Qaeda in Iraq and Regime Change, I wrote that "[t]he question is not whether Al Qaeda would have toppled Saddam Hussein. Given the opportunity to depose a sectarian (and therefore infidel) government in such a culturally and religiously important place, Al Qaeda would have jumped on it. I believe the evidence shows that they were doing just that. The question is whether Al Qaeda could have achieved regime change and the installation of the Caliphate of Baghdad."

Badger 6's post makes a compelling case for regarding Al Qaeda as a serious military threat by pointing out the planning capabilities of the group. Complex operations take time, effort and resources that often defy the understanding of non-military minds. Soldiers however, recognize the planning and logistics requirements of operations almost instinctively. In refuting the LA Times undeniably foolish Op/Ed piece, Badger 6 makes it clear that 9/11 was as carefully planned as Al Qaeda's earlier attacks, and that such planning capabilities demonstrate that Al Qaeda is not "little more than an obscure group of extremist thugs... relatively limited in their global and regional political pull."

As this relates to my theory that Al Qaeda was plotting regime change in Baghdad, the fact that Zarqawi was in Iraq months before Operation Iraqi Freedom began casts things in a new light. We know Al Qaeda is capable of planning operations well in advance and uses assets spanning multiple continents. We know Al Qaeda operatives were in Iraq as much as a decade before 9/11, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. If they were planning the attacks in Nairobi, Dar es-Salaam and Yemen for years, what were they doing in Baghdad?