Special Operations to the Rescue

Special Operations to the Rescue
By Fred Gedrich and Paul E. Vallely
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 2, 2007

Most Americans desire an effective change in current Iraq war strategy and the wider global war against Islamic extremists and nations supporting them.  President Bush and the new U.S. Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, could deliver it by placing experienced unconventional warfare leaders in charge of the war effort.  Since forcibly removing Saddam Hussein from power in 2003, the U.S.-led coalition has been unable to quell insurgent, terrorist and sectarian generated violence concentrated mostly in four of 18 provinces and Greater Baghdad which are dominated by majority Sunni populations.  About 150,000 Iraqis and nearly 3,000 Americans have died during continuing hostilities.

While many Americans recognize the conflict in Iraq is not going well and changes need to be made, there is substantial disagreement at the national level on a military strategy.  The U.S. is seriously considering adding several combat brigades from outside Iraq to “purge” Baghdad and several provinces infested with local and foreign trouble-makers.  Sending an additional 20,000 U.S. troops to Iraq under current military strategies and rules of engagement will be unlikely to make much difference. 

Unlike U.S.-led coalition troops, the adversaries in this war do not carry arms openly, wear uniforms or insignias, and abide by other laws and customs of wars specified in Geneva conventional and protocols.  They instill fear in military opponents and local populations through use of suicide bombings, improvised explosive devices, kidnappings and beheadings.  And they disguise themselves as civilians and hide among civilian populations with weapons stored and discharged from mosques, schools, hospitals, market-places, private residences and public roads.

To prevail, the U.S. has to transition from a conventional to an unconventional war footing and make the enemy pay a heavy price for their despicable tactics.  In Iraq and elsewhere, traditional troops, weapons and tactics are less useful than tools of influence, covert operations, and intelligence brought to the battlefield by special operators working harmoniously with indigenous forces and local populations.  The prime objective is to create a climate of fear within enemy ranks that breaks their will to continue the armed insurrection against the freely-elected Iraqi Government.

Special Operations Forces (Rangers, Seals, Delta Force and other special units) leaders and troops are uniquely qualified for this mission.  Special operators played prominent and successful roles in removing Afghanistan’s Taliban regime from power and disrupting al Qaeda’s terror base.  In Iraq, they have spent most of their time searching for the infamous “deck of cards,” the elusive WMD arsenal, and high-value insurgents and terrorists.

Joint special operators (from all military branches) are also trained in local cultures and languages making it easier for them to embed in local populations and Iraqi security forces and collect information which in turn may be used to “hunt and kill” hostile forces.  In addition, they can win “hearts and minds” of local populations through civil affairs work and performance of psychological operations against enemies of the freely-elected Iraqi Government.

In January 2003, former defense chief Donald Rumsfeld designated the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) as the lead military organization to prosecute the Global War on Terror but unfortunately that has not materialized. Although stellar U.S. Army commanding generals John Abizaid (retiring early 2007) and George Casey continue to lead Middle East war operations and U.S. troops in Iraq respectively, they are products of the traditional warfare school.  Moreover, nearly all of the 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are too.

It’s time to alter U.S. strategy by putting USSOCOM generals and admirals truly in command of the global war.   And in Iraq, conventional forces could best serve by providing ground, air and sea support to USSOCOM and Iraqi security forces and sealing Iraq’s porous borders with hostile and/or dubious neighbors in Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to prevent foreign jihadis, arms and sophisticated munitions from entering the country.

 The action will surely meet resistance throughout DoD’s conventional warfare ranks, their industry partners, and congressional allies.  The U.S. active duty military force consists of 1.4 million troops of which only about 50,000 are elite special operators, with only several thousand deployed to Iraq.  Many military professionals prefer to have special operators continue in a supporting, not leading role. 

Immediately after recently assuming his new post, Gates correctly stated that the U.S. must win in Iraq or face a “calamity” that would “endanger Americans for decades to come.” Since the fall of Baghdad, the U.S. has had the will to win but not the right strategy.  It’s imperative that the U.S. transition quickly to an unconventional war strategy with USSOCOM generals and/or admirals in charge, or the war will be lost.

Fred Gedrich served in U.S. Departments of State and Defense and is a foreign policy and national security analyst.  Paul Vallely, MG U.S. Army (Ret), is a Fox News Channel military analyst and radio host for “Stand Up America.”

The Minneapolis Jihad

The Minneapolis Jihad
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | January 2, 2007

The Somali jihad is over for now, but it still has supporters worldwide – including within the United States. The southern Somali city of Kismayo has fallen to a combined force of Ethiopian and Somali troops. The Somali Supreme Islamic Courts Council regime ruled Mogadishu for only a few months, instituting a particularly draconian version of Sharia. Now its leaders have fled, and the remnants of their forces are now trapped between the sea and Somalia’s border with Kenya. “Nobody expected the Islamists to show this little political resilience. They were the first movement to pacify southern Somalia for 16 years, yet they crumbled like a pack of cards,” said Matt Bryden of the International Crisis Group. 

Despite reports in the Western press suggesting that Somalis were happy with the Sharia regime of the Islamic Courts, Mogadishu residents cheered the anti-jihad troops as they entered the city last Thursday. However, there were several indications that the Islamic Courts were indeed popular, especially with expatriate Somalis. In an Oslo café, a Somali named Zakharia Ahmed vowed: “If the Ethiopians continue to occupy Somalia, we won’t sit here. We will go back to Somalia and fight as one!” His companions responded, “Yes, we will go back and fight.” Another Somali, Abdi Muhamed, added: “There is virtually no one in Somalia, or Somalians here in Norway, who do not support the Islamist regime.” 

The Islamic Courts also had supporters in the United States. Last Saturday, 1,500 Somalis gathered in Minneapolis’ Peavey Park for a demonstration in favor of the Sharia regime and against American support for the Ethiopian and Somali forces that toppled it. Hassan Mohamud, imam of St. Paul’s Al-Taqwa Mosque, who teaches Islamic law at William Mitchell College of Law and is also president of the Somali Institute for Peace and Justice, the group that organized the demonstration, won cheers from the crowd as he thundered: “We ask the president of the United States, Mr. Bush, and his administration to stop supporting the terrorists. Ethiopian troops are terrorists.” Mohamud has praised the Islamic Courts regime for bringing “peace and security to a large part of the country within 16 days where the international community could not help the Somalis for 16 years.” When asked if Somalis based in Minnesota were supporting the jihadists financially, Mohamud responded: “What I know is that they have overwhelming support inside of Somalia because of the peace and law and order. If you have the support of your people inside of Somalia you don’t need any support from outside.” 

The peace and law and order that the Islamic Courts brought to
Somalia was decidedly a matter of brute force and intimidation.
In November 2005 Sharia supremacists in Mogadishu killed twelve people in the process of closing down movie theaters and video stores, both of which had been deemed un-Islamic. Last July they killed two people at a forbidden screening of a World Cup match. The regime staged public floggings and executions, banned television, music, and women swimming, and in one town a cleric aptly named Sheikh Rage announced that anyone who did not attend Muslim prayers five times a day would be beheaded. The regime repeatedly declared jihad on Ethiopia, making no secret of the expansionist aspirations that eventually led the Ethiopians to take action: Yusuf Mohamed Siad, an Islamic Courts defense official, declared Somalia open to mujahedin from around the world: “We’re saying our country is open to Muslims worldwide. Let them fight in Somalia and wage jihad, and God willing, attack Addis Ababa.”  

Emblematic also of the nature of the Islamic Courts regime were statements by a Mogadishu cleric affiliated with the movement, Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin, after Pope Benedict XVI’s address in Regensburg, Germany that aroused Muslim ire worldwide: “We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion. Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim. We call on all Islamic Communities across the world to take revenge on the baseless critic called the pope,” said Malin. 

The Islamic Courts’ first vice chairperson, Sheikh Al-Rahman Mohomood Jinikow, stated in September that “we will only approve a constitution based on theology, because an Islamic constitution is the only one that serves all of us justly. Secular constitution, whether it is democratic or any other, is never fair and right, and Muslims have only one constitution which is entirely based on Allah’s Qur’an.”  

That seemed to be fine with the demonstrators in Minneapolis. Some carried signs that read, “Islam is the solution.” Abdul Mohamed, a member of the Somali Institute for Peace and Justice, denounced American policy toward Somalia as motivated by “Islamophobia.” Given the nature of the Islamic Courts regime, this raises questions that have less to do with Somalia than with Minneapolis and the United States. What are 1,500 supporters of Islamic jihad and Sharia law doing in Minneapolis? What are the implications of this for our own national security? Would these immigrants prefer to live under Sharia than under the United States Constitution? Why do immigration officials do absolutely no screening for Sharia supremacism, even though the U.S. is embroiled in a global war against Sharia supremacists? Why is no one with any power or influence even asking these questions? 

The Somali Institute for Peace and Justice’s demonstration in Minneapolis was simultaneously a demonstration in favor of Sharia government in Somalia and, unwittingly, of the crying need for serious and searching immigration reform. One may only hope that at least some American officials understood it as such.


Save Judeo-Christian values: Immigration leaves USA vulnerable to Muslim extremists’ infiltration

Save Judeo-Christian values: Immigration leaves USA vulnerable to Muslim extremists’ infiltration

Embattled Congressman Virgil Goode here explains his positions far more articulately and well than he did on TV when the furor over his position on Muslim immigration first broke. “Opposing view: Save Judeo-Christian values: Immigration leaves USA vulnerable to Muslim USA Today (thanks to all who sent this in):

A letter I sent in early December was written in response to hundreds of e-mails from constituents upset about Rep.-elect Keith Ellison’s decision to use the Quran in connection with his congressional swearing-in. Their communications followed media reports that Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, had said that he would swear on the Quran. He repeated that at a gathering of Muslims in Detroit on Dec. 26.My letter did not call for a religious test for prospective members of Congress, as some have charged. Americans have the right to elect any person of their choosing to represent them. I indicated to my constituents that I did not subscribe to the Quran in any way, and I intended to use the Bible in connection with my swearing-in. I also stated that the Ten Commandments and “In God We Trust” are on the wall of my office, and I have no intention of displaying the Quran in my office. That is my choice, and I stand by my position and do not apologize for it.

My letter also stated, “If American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.”

Immigration is arguably the most important issue facing the country today. At least 12 million immigrants are here illegally. And diversity visas, a program initiated in 1990 to grant visas to people from countries that had low U.S. immigration at that time, are bringing in 50,000 a year from various parts of the world, including the Middle East.

Let us remember that we were not attacked by a nation on 9/11; we were attacked by extremists who acted in the name of the Islamic religion. I believe that if we do not stop illegal immigration totally, reduce legal immigration and end diversity visas, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world.