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Old 05-26-2004, 04:29 AM   #1
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"Al-Qaeda Has 18,000 Militants for Raids"

From our friends at Reuters:

An interesting article about the annual report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). I'll just quote some interesting parts, even though I might as well quote the entire article.

Quote:
Al Qaeda has more than 18,000 militants ready to strike and the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq has accelerated recruitment to the ranks of Osama bin Laden's network, a leading London think-tank said Tuesday.

Al Qaeda's finances were in good order, its "middle managers" provided expertise to Islamic militants around the globe and bin Laden's drawing power was as strong as ever, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.
Quote:
The IISS said al Qaeda lost its base after the toppling of the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001 but had since adapted to become more decentralized, "virtual" and invisible in more than 60 countries.
Quote:
The IISS said the 1,000 al Qaeda militants estimated to be in Iraq were a minute fraction of its potential strength.
Interesting article to say the least, it more or less says the war on terror has been a complete faillure.
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Old 05-26-2004, 05:20 AM   #2
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Not a failure yet, I think you are failing to reciognise the tremendous sucesses that we have had.
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Old 05-26-2004, 05:36 AM   #3
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No, I agree there were a lot of successes. But when I hear Bush say they're taking the battle to the enemy (Afghanistan, Iraq), I would expect them fight against more people than a few thousand. According to the article, the entire coalition in Iraq seems to be occupied by a whopping 5% of the potential Al Qaida force. Not that taking out those people, and prevent Iraq from becoming a country run by terrorists isn't important, but what are we going to do about the other 95%? What's the plan? Is there a plan?
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Old 05-26-2004, 08:25 AM   #4
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If they want a war on terror and a if they want to take the battle to the enemy, why do they bring the war to Iraq and not Saudi Arabia where most 9/11 Terrorists came from?
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Old 05-26-2004, 09:30 AM   #5
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Good point Klaus^^

I think that Saudi Arabia will be an even bigger problem in the future when either:
a) The oil runs out and the entire country collapses in on itself triggering a dangerous chain reaction.

b) The debts continue to accumulate in the Kingdom and internal disputes over this rip the entire regime apart.

It's really a question of when and not if (speaking in terms of decades and not years) the whole thing will collapse, what the effects of this will be remain to be seen.


The war on terror is unfortunately being sold as a big bang, hi-tech guided missile thing but it is really an intricate web of intelligence and diplomacy designed to decapitiate leadership of terrorist organisations as well as prevent attacks.

When Bush speaks about Afghanistan or Iraq being the sucesses of the war on terror I cannot help thinking that we are ignoring the capture of top operatives (your Khalid Shiek Mohammeds or Hambali's) and the world looses sight of what is really a covert and intelligence driven "war".
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Old 05-26-2004, 09:39 AM   #6
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Top operatives don't seem to be the problem on the short term. Al Qaeda have cells in over dozens of countries who work independent from their leaders and who are just waiting for the right (political) climate. Countries and intelligence agencies have to cooperate more but as long there is distrust between countries who are supposed to be on the same side in the war on terror, it's not going to happen and we can expect more WTCs and Madrids in the future.
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Old 05-26-2004, 09:50 AM   #7
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Quite, but you must agree that an agressive campaign against the leadership and middlemen reduces the ammount of coordination and expertise availible to these individual cells as well as resources to mount large scale attacks.

Any covert actions must be backed up with a strong ammount of positive reinforcement for good governance and proper enforcement of law in these base country's. The best defence is to cut the blood supply, perhaps a more positive engagement with the arab world is required. This of course would be one where we reward positive actions rather than simply condemn negative ones.
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Old 05-26-2004, 09:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Quite, but you must agree that an agressive campaign against the leadership and middlemen reduces the ammount of coordination and expertise availible to these individual cells as well as resources to mount large scale attacks.
Absolutely on the long run as they won't have the ability to recruit and train new terrorists. But you won't stop the cells who are already amongst us, they already have the weapons or they know where to get them on the normal black market. They don't need to get a phonecall from the Middle-east to tell them when and where to strike. They see the political climate and they know when and where to strike just as much as you or I could.
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Old 05-26-2004, 05:21 PM   #9
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Saudi Arabia scares the out of me. If it's when and not if about someone taking out the House of Saud, and some of the royals anticipate being kicked out themselves, who will run the place? Some other horrid Wahhabi outfit?
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Old 05-26-2004, 10:54 PM   #10
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Some important things to note about the IISS report:

#1 It is based on information which either shows or suggest that 20,000 people were trained at Al Quada camps in Afghanistan over a period of roughly 10 years.

a. I've not seen this actual information and do not
know how accurate it really is.

#2 Another a confirmed estimate helps in arriving at the number of 18,000 Al Quada members worldwide. Its the figure that estimates that 2,000 Al Quada fighters have been killed in Afghanistan. So, 20,000 minus 2,000 = 18,000, and there you go.


As good a Think Tank as the IISS is, I don't think you can take that number to the bank. Estimating or determining numbers of tanks, planes and ships, military spending for countries around the world is far easier and more likely accurate task than estimating and determining the size and structure of a well hidden decentralized terrorist organization like Al Quada, who's members don't have tanks, planes, ships, divisions etc.

I don't find the number of people trained in Afghanistan to be an accurate number unless they provide some more detailed information for that basis. The number of Al Quada killed in action in Afghanistan is very difficult to really know for sure give the large munitions used against mountain structures where members could be buried now under hundreds of feet of earth or had the enterence to a cave covered up by bombing or died from exposure somewhere in the mountains which is a difficult climate.

The number of attacks that Al Quada has been able to launch worldwide since 2001 does not suggest a number of 18,000 terrorist. Around a dozen pulled of the Madrid bombing, and few dozen pulled off 9/11.

Although I don't have any info to back it up, I'd say a high end estimate of 6,000 is most likely. Really though, I doubt even the CIA has a number that they are really comfortable with.


A better way to estimate how the war on terror is doing is to look at how many attacks have been successfully launched by Al Quada, rather than looking at estimates of numbers that have very little evidence to support them.

It is better to use a measure of something we all know rather than estimates that even the best intelligence agency in the world probably does not have.

It is also important to note that Al Quada has failed to be able to attack their #1 target since 9/11, which anything inside the borders of the United States.
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Old 05-26-2004, 11:04 PM   #11
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Bin Ladin wants the West to believe that Saudi Arabia is not their friend and ally but their worst enemy. That is why Bin Ladin made sure that the majority of the hijackers for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Fact is, he could have made them all Jordanian, or Syrian etc. Al Quada has enough members of every Islamic country to be able to stack the deck the way they want to in order to produce the desired political effect in the attacked country. In this case its, Saudi Arabia is the worst enemy of the USA because 15 of 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Bin Ladin new people in the West would point fingers at Saudi Arabia and he indeed hoped there would be enough pointing to cut the strong 60 year relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States which was started by President Roosevelt.

The fact is, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is way to strong for such a gimmick to work. Saudi Arabia has the worlds largest reserves of oil and impacts the energy market more than any other single country on the planet. Without Saudi oil, the global economy would collapse.
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Old 05-27-2004, 09:12 AM   #12
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I'm not even sure if we know that Bin Laden was the Mastermind behind 9/11, anway you're right that it's not important from which country they came. Even invading Saudi Arabia wouldn't change anything on the war on terror like Invading Iraq didn't help the war on terror.

Quote:
the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is way to strong for such a gimmick to work
There is only one relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US $$$ for Oil. If the saudis had no oil our foreign relationship to this non-democratic country who supports radical muslims wouldn't be verry respectful
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Old 05-27-2004, 04:15 PM   #13
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The latest update on an imminent terrorist attack (where have I heard that word before.

http://www.tompaine.com/articles/terror_and_lies.php

Terror and Lies
May 27, 2004
Just in case we didn’t get the point, a Bush administration official quoted in the pro-Bush Washington Times , the Moonie News, said that the coming attack might even involve weapons of mass destruction. “A WMD attack remains on the table for the bad guys. Although Osama bin Laden has not used these attack modes yet, clearly he is interested in them.”

Really? Would those be the same “sources” who said that Iraq was an imminent threat? And that Iraq supported Al Qaeda? (False and false, of course.) The Washington Times announced all this in a screaming headline with photos of seven supposed terrorists—somehow omitting that lawyer in Oregon, who is now collecting FBI apologies—but it received enormous coverage in sane newspapers, too.


Well God bless The New York Times. Ashcroft’s baloney appeared nowhere on page one. Instead, it was relegated to page A14, in an article whose headline said: “Some Question the Threat and Its Timing .” Wow. Here’s an excerpt:

There's no real new intelligence here, and a lot of this has been out there already,” said one administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “There is really no significant change that would require us to change the alert level of the country.

The names of six of the seven were publicly circulated by the authorities months ago, and officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said that they had no reason to believe that any of the suspects were in the United States.

Some intelligence officials said they were uncertain that the link between the fresh intelligence and the likelihood of another attack was as apparent as Mr. Ashcroft made it out to be.

Harold Schaitberger, head of the International Association of Firefighters, told reporters in a conference call organized by Mr. Kerry’s campaign that he found the timing of the announcement to be “politically convenient at best” because it came after “we see the president’s approval ratings plummet.”
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Old 05-28-2004, 04:29 AM   #14
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Or the same sources who said that they had the 100% proof (fingerprint) that this man (lawyer?) from the US was involved in the al-qaida terror-strike of Madrid?
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Old 05-28-2004, 12:57 PM   #15
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Nothing like the gift of criticism...

If we didn't get a warning, the article would read, "why didn't they tell us"

If we are hit with a terror attack, the article would read, "why didn't they stop it"

If the attack is prevented, but individuals not directly involved are arrested, the article would read, "we live in a police state"

If the attack is prevented, and only the "bad guys" are arrested, the article would not be written.
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