Al-Qaeda‘planning big British attack

From

April 22, 2007

Al-Qaeda‘planning big British attack’

AL-QAEDA leaders in Iraq are planning the first “large-scale” terrorist attacks on Britain and other western targets with the help of supporters in Iran, according to a leaked intelligence report.

Spy chiefs warn that one operative had said he was planning an attack on “a par with Hiroshima and Nagasaki” in an attempt to “shake the Roman throne”, a reference to the West.

Another plot could be timed to coincide with Tony Blair stepping down as prime minister, an event described by Al-Qaeda planners as a “change in the head of the company”.

The report, produced earlier this month and seen by The Sunday Times, appears to provide evidence that Al-Qaeda is active in Iran and has ambitions far beyond the improvised attacks it has been waging against British and American soldiers in Iraq.

There is no evidence of a formal relationship between Al-Qaeda, a Sunni group, and the Shi’ite regime of President Mah-moud Ahmadinejad, but experts suggest that Iran’s leaders may be turning a blind eye to the terrorist organisation’s activities.

The intelligence report also makes it clear that senior Al-Qaeda figures in the region have been in recent contact with operatives in Britain.

It follows revelations last year that up to 150 Britons had travelled to Iraq to fight as part of Al-Qaeda’s “foreign legion”. A number are thought to have returned to the UK, after receiving terrorist training, to form sleeper cells.

The report was compiled by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) – based at MI5’s London headquarters – and provides a quarterly review of the international terror threat to Britain. It draws a distinction between Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda’s core leadership, who are thought to be hiding on the Afghan-Pakistan border, and affiliated organisations elsewhere.

The document states: “While networks linked to AQ [Al-Qaeda] Core pose the greatest threat to the UK, the intelligence during this quarter has highlighted the potential threat from other areas, particularly AQI [Al-Qaeda in Iraq].”

The report continues: “Recent reporting has described AQI’s Kurdish network in Iran planning what we believe may be a large-scale attack against a western target.

“A member of this network is reportedly involved in an operation which he believes requires AQ Core authorisation. He claims the operation will be on ‘a par with Hiroshima and Naga-saki’ and will ‘shake the Roman throne’. We assess that this operation is most likely to be a large-scale, mass casualty attack against the West.”

The report says there is “no indication” this attack would specifically target Britain, “although we are aware that AQI . . . networks are active in the UK”.

Analysts believe the reference to Hiroshima and Naga-saki, where more than 200,000 people died in nuclear attacks on Japan at the end of the second world war, is unlikely to be a literal boast.

“It could be just a reference to a huge explosion,” said a counter-terrorist source. “They [Al-Qaeda] have got to do something soon that is radical otherwise they start losing credibility.”

Despite aspiring to a nuclear capability, Al-Qaeda is not thought to have acquired weapons grade material. However, several plots involving “dirty bombs” – conventional explosive devices surrounded by radioactive material – have been foiled.

Last year Al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq called on nuclear scientists to apply their knowledge of biological and radiological weapons to “the field of jihad”.

Details of a separate plot to attack Britain, “ideally” before Blair steps down this summer, were contained in a letter written by Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd and senior Al-Qaeda commander.

According to the JTAC document, Hadi “stressed the need to take care to ensure that the attack was successful and on a large scale”. The plan was to be relayed to an Iran-based Al-Qaeda facilitator.

The Home Office declined to comment.

From The Man Himself

From The Man Himself

Petraeus Speaks In U.S. News And World Report, As Earlier This Week The Dems Refuse To Meet With Him. We All Know The Reason: The Dems Are Only Interested In A U.S. Defeat In Iraq, And Have No Serious Interest In Assessing The War. Realizing That Their Refusal Publicly Revealed Their Policy Of Treason, They Changed Course And Decided To Attend The Upcoming Meeting.

_42436143_petraeus_story_afp.jpg

House Democrats Afraid To Meet With Petraeus
H/T: Rich Lowery – The Corner (from Roll Call)

The top military commander in Iraq will make a rare visit to Capitol Hill next week but House Democratic leaders — unlike their Senate counterparts — initially declined the Defense Department’s offer of a Members-only closed-door briefing with Army Gen. David Petraeus, according to Congressional and administration sources.

reidtroops.jpg

A spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) at first acknowledged Tuesday that the Pentagon’s request to have Petraeus give a House briefing had been denied due to “scheduling conflicts” next week. Later on Tuesday, Pelosi’s office contacted Roll Call stating that the Speaker was now working to set up a session….

According to an administration official, Pelosi and Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) initially declined recent requests from the Defense Department to schedule a briefing on either Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

The Pentagon first approached Armed Services Committee aides to set up a briefing, but panel aides said they were “too busy” to schedule a meeting next week, the administration official said. A second attempt to set up a briefing with the Speaker’s office was likewise declined….

nancy_pelosi.jpg

“It’s puzzling that for the first time that Gen. Petraeus is in the country since he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate that the House has declined an offer to talk to him. We would hope that they would reconsider,” the official said before Pelosi reversed course Tuesday and agreed to set up a House-wide meeting with Petraeus next Thursday….

Sunday, April 22, 2007 U.S. News & World ReportThe top American commander in Iraq says the new security plan ‘will take months, not days, not weeks’
By Linda Robinson
Posted 4/22/07

BAGHDAD-As one of the season’s first sandstorms began to turn the skies of Baghdad brown last Wednesday, a car bomb went off during the lunch hour. Three more bombs followed in the next six hours, in all killing more than 150 Iraqis and wounding some 200 others on one of the bloodiest days in the four years since the United States invaded to topple Saddam Hussein. Most of that grisly toll occurred in a parking area for the large Sadriya market-a location that was newly vulnerable after residents turned away recent steps to prevent just such an attack.

This wasn’t the first time bombers struck the busy, largely Shiite enclave. The market itself had been devastated (and some 137 people killed) early this year by a suicide truck bomber. In a show of support, the new commander of the U.S.-led coalition forces, Gen. David Petraeus, made a point of visiting the market and mingling with shoppers soon after his arrival in February. As part of the new Baghdad security plan-which Petraeus helped design and is in charge of implementing-large concrete barriers were brought in to restrict access to the parking area after a military “red team” determined that area too was vulnerable. But on April 15, three days before the deadly attack, Iraqi officials ordered the 12-foot “Texas barriers” pulled away after local residents complained about the obstruction.

In a lengthy interview with U.S. News a day after the bombings, Petraeus grimly lamented the loss of life and said that restrictive measures such as the concrete walls are a necessary part of security provisions. “The public has to put up with the inconvenience,” he said. His calls for Iraqis to persevere were echoed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who arrived later in the day and visited the western Anbar province, where months of tribal negotiations and new tactics have brought a glimmer of hope. Once the Wild West hotbed of the Sunni unrest, insurgent violence in Anbar has dropped as Sunni tribes have formed a local council and sent recruits to join the regular police and new ad-hoc militias called “emergency response units.”
(Read More)

China Intensifies Mideast Meddling

China Intensifies Mideast Meddling

Energy-starved China is increasingly involved in the Middle East, meddling in–and, to some extent, manipulating–the Islamist-Israeli conflict to the detriment of the Jewish state and its chief ally and supporter, the United States.

The chief stratetgist is Beijing’s top Arabic-speaking diplomat and special envoy to the region, Sun Bigan.

On Friday, he called on the Palestinians to release captured Israeli soldiers to make way for the resumption of talks and build momentum towards peace in the region. Sun made his comments following a trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Saudi Arabia, where he reportedly pushed all parties to engage in peace talks.

“We urged Palestine to make more efforts and to follow the principle of having prisoner swaps with Israel and release the captured soldiers as soon as possible,” Sun told reporters. “I expressed condolences and sympathy for the pain they have experienced and also for the suffering of these soldiers.

“We also called on Israel and other parties concerned to take further steps to ease the humanitarian crisis that is quite severely confronting the Palestinian people.”

Sun said he met relatives of the two Israeli soldiers, who were kidnapped in the cross-border Hezbollah raid in July that triggered a month-long war in which 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 157 Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed.

Sun said he saw hope in the Saudi land-for-peace initiative originally floated in 2002 and relaunched at an Arab League summit in Riyadh last month, saying it was a sign of momentum towards renewed peace talks. He added that Arab countries supported the move.

“They have emphasised to me that this is their strategic choice,” Sun said.

He also denied that China’s growing interest in the region was being fuelled by its thirst for oil.

“I think those views are not well-founded and lack sufficient information,” he said, asserting that China’s role in the Middle East is active and fair and aimed at promoting peace, which is in the interest of all sides including China.

There are those who disagree with that assertion. Acknowledging that their government is keen on strengthening ties to China–for economic and political reasons–some Israeli analysts argue that escalating tensions in the Middle East actually benefit rising China, an ally and major oil customer of Islamist Iran. The Islamist-Israeli dispute and the nuclear standoff with the Iranian mullahocracy absorb US attention and resources and divert attention from China, making it easier for the country’s Communist Party rulers to maintain their dictatorship, threaten Taiwan, expand and modernize the Chinese military–including its increasingly ominous space-warfare programs–and compete with the US in terms of access to resources and markets around the world and international influence and prestige.

In short, the Middle East could be the key to further isolating and weakening the US, which China sees as a dying but still dangerous (and economically necessary) Hegemon.

Tensions in the Middle East also boost Beijing’s arms sales to the region–especially to Iran and Syria–encouraging further expansion and development of China’s defense industries.

The challenge for China, according to the above-referenced analysts, is to manage the tension. A crisis leading to full-blown conflict could disrupt oil supplies and send crude prices skyrocketing–not a good thing for the world’s second largest importer of the resource, after the US.

My request to Sen. Lieberman

My request to Sen. Lieberman

Ray Van Dune
Senator, I thank you for your simple and eloquent words in regard to the actions of Senator Reid in declaring the Iraq war “lost”.


I ask you to be of further service in two ways:
1. Immediately cross the floor and join the Republicans in order to forestall any further attempts by the Democrats to stab our troops in the back.
2. Immediately call for Senator Reid to resign, since he has demonstrated that his allegiance to his political party has assumed the position of primacy that Americans expect to be reserved for his country.
Again I thank you, and I hope that you will consider my request, in that it may help steel the resolve of this nation to meet its moral obligations, and show the positions of Senator Reid and other Democrats for the cynical opportunisms that they are.
Ray Van Dune

The Awakening Russian Bear

The Awakening Russian Bear

By Jeff Lukens

The fearsome Russian Bear appears to be coming out of a 16-year hibernation. President Vladimir Putin says he wants to regain Russia’s prominence in the world community, and his actions are backing up his words. Unencumbered by Marxist dogma, he is attempting to regain Russia’s superpower status by the old Soviet method of intimidation.
Putin has directed the seizure of assets of the oil giant Yukos, and restricted oil supplies to Eastern Europe. But if he can decree such gross confiscation of property, then there is no rule of law and Russia’s reforms mean nothing. Moreover, Moscow has drastically raised energy prices and threatened an oil cutoff in former client nations that have had the dared to pursue economic and political independence apart from Russia.
Putin sees Russia’s vast petroleum reserves as more than a means to economic growth, but as an avenue to superpower status once again. Last year, Russia was the second-highest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia. Their GDP has grown at an average rate of 5.5% since 2000, largely by energy exports.
Now that world oil prices are high, and rising, his strategy is working. But if they fall, Russia will be in trouble, as was the USSR following the price collapse of oil in the 1980s.
Russians wearily remember the early days of democracy following the collapse of the USSR. That was a time when an erratic, and perhaps alcoholic President Yeltsin governed the country. It was a time when their money became worthless, and crime ran wild.
Most Russians would rather have a strong and secure nation than one that guarantees personal freedoms. This sentiment, and the growing economy, is the basis for Putin’s broad popularity. A recent poll found only 16 percent of Russians surveyed want to see Western-style democracy remain in their country. Predictability is perhaps the greatest comfort to the average Russian.
Demographically, however, Russia is a nation that is slowly dying. The country has dwindling birthrates, and amazingly, declining life expectancy. That portends a bleak economic outlook unless they can leverage their energy resources to attain higher growth rates. This is Putin’s strategy.
Since he became president, rising oil revenues have allowed the Russian defense budget to grow enormously. Defense outlays for 2007 are at a post-Soviet high of $32.4 billion, rising 23 percent in the past year, and four times expenditures of 2001.

Any discussion of energy prices ultimately leads to the Middle East.
Instability in the Middle East leads to higher oil prices, and works to Russia’s financial advantage. For obvious reasons, therefore, Moscow wants to stir the pot. But it’s a balancing act. They don’t want to unnerve things so badly that the Saudis, or anyone else, feel so threatened that they glut the market with cheap oil.
Other sources of revenue come from sales of arms and nuclear technology. In arms sales alone, Moscow exported $6 billion in 2006 to more than 70 countries. Before Putin, most Russian arms sales were those of old Soviet-era armored vehicles and military aircraft. Since they shipped them to Africa and other remote places, no one was overly concerned about it.
But recent sales have increasingly turned to sophisticated weapons, including precision-guided munitions, and advanced air-defense systems. And they are selling them to rogue regime Iran and to Venezuela, among others. They have the dual purpose of aggravating the U.S. while earning Russia money.
For its part, Washington may have unnecessarily provoked Putin as well.
Following 9/11, Putin agreed to allow Americans to stage the Afghanistan invasion from bases in former Soviet central Asian republics. Washington’s reluctance now to depart from these bases has become troublesome to Moscow.
Overreach by NATO hasn’t helped either. With China to the east, radical Islam to the south, and NATO’s advancement from the west, Putin fears Russia is being threatened and encircled.
When the Soviet Army departed former Warsaw Pact countries in Eastern Europe, they were not expecting NATO to expand eastward. But that is exactly what happened. Not only did Poland and the Czech Republic join NATO, the former Soviet republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have joined too.
These days, the most important political question in Russia is over who will succeed Putin when his second term expires in 2008. He is much admired, and almost certainly would be reelected if he were eligible to run. Though the Russian Constitution forbids him from running for a third term, it doesn’t stop conjecture that he may do so anyway. No matter what the law or his legitimacy may be, many believe he has the support and authority to stay in power. His actions in 2008 will foretell much about which direction, whether cooperative or confrontational, the country is heading.
Russia’s culture and history are tied to Western civilization. While recent events may give pause, we should encourage those foundations, and work to advance our common interests. The fight against radical Islam — whether in Iran, Iraq, Chechnya, or elsewhere — is one that Russia should unite with the West.
During the Cold War, the Soviet Union was our adversary. Russia need not be our adversary today.
Jeff Lukens can be contacted here.

The “Root Cause” of the Middle East Turmoil

The “Root Cause” of the Middle East Turmoil
Would peace descend if the Arab-Israeli conflict were resolved?

There are many who are convinced that the existence of Israel and its “alien” presence in the predominantly Muslim Middle East is the “root cause” of the ongoing and never-ending violence in the area and of terror in the world. James Baker, the former secretary of state and head of the U.S. Iraq Study Group (no friend of Israel and of the Jews), also propagates this “root cause” theory of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

What are the facts?

Israel is a tiny country, with only six million inhabitants (a million of whom are Arabs). It is surrounded by 22 Arab countries, with 300 million people. Arab propaganda has convinced the world that Israel is the mighty Goliath compared to the puny Arab states. It is a supreme irony that six million Israelis, surrounded by implacable enemies who are fixated on their destruction, are considered a mortal danger to the Muslims and to the peace of the world. And that, if it were not for Israel and for the Jews, peace would descend upon the world and terror would cease.

Israel is not the “root cause” of this strife and turmoil in the Middle East. Violence and war are endemic in Arab society and in Arab history. Israel was not involved in the deaths of the millions who perished in the Iraq-Iran war. Israel certainly has nothing to do with the slaughter in Iraq, in which on an average day, 100 people or more are killed in the deadly and never-ending Sunni-Shiite conflict. And even though Israel is the common enemy, it has nothing to do with the daily killings between the rival factions of Palestinians. Arab-Muslims killed over a million of black Christians and animists in the Sudan and brought intolerable suffering to that impoverished region. The Sudanese government, dominated by Arab-Muslims, hasn’t lifted a finger to help its citizens. The slaughter goes on. Israel is certainly not involved in that. The thousands whom Hafez Assad, the father of the current president of Syria, slaughtered in the city of Hama for having voiced opposition to his rule have no connection with Israel. Abdal Gamel Nasser, the self-appointed president of Egypt, mortal enemy of Israel and instigator of the Six-Day War, did not invade Yemen and gassed its people because of Israel. Saddam Hussein did not torture and kill tens of thousands of his own people and did not invade Kuwait because of Israel. The Lebanese did not stage their civil war and kill tens of thousands of their own people because of Israel. And there are many more examples of intra-Muslim and intra-Arab slaughter and mayhem. Israel was uninvolved in any of those.

And how about terror? Again, many believe that Israel is the “root cause” of the terror that Arab-Muslims have visited and continue to visit upon the world. The attack on our country on September 11, 2001, the destruction of the two U.S. embassies in West Africa, the bombing of trains in Spain, the murderous attacks on the London subway system, and so many other acts of cowardly terror would have taken place even if there were no Israel. They are a reflection of the hatred that the Muslim world harbors against the West and its institutions. That hatred has nothing to do with Israel. And many believe that if only the United States would withhold its support from Israel (and get out of Iraq), terror would cease and the world would no longer have to fear the scourge of suicide bombings, the devilish invention that Arab-Muslims have visited on the people of the earth. It is an illusion. That hatred would continue even if Israel would cease to exist tomorrow.

Many claim that Arab-Muslim terror is the result of despair, hopelessness and poverty. But that is patently absurd. The Arabs are some of the richest people in the world, although, instead of using their enormous wealth to benefit their people, they squander it in bizarre luxury excesses for a privileged few. The nineteen hijackers were not poor or desperate. They were, without exception, well-educated people, members of upper-middle class families. The leaders of such Arab-Muslim terror organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah or Islamic Jihad are educated people, from the upper reaches of their societies. No, terror is the customary response of Arab-Muslims to express their grievances. It is a result of their culture and of their history. It has nothing to do with Israel and would not be any different if Israel had never existed or would cease to exist.

The proclivity to war and to terror on the part of the Arab-Muslims has nothing or little to do with Israel. It is the result of their culture and of their history. For centuries, the historical Muslim empires of the Middle East were confident societies, which long led the despised Christian West in terms of science and economic well-being, as well as in military power. But then a lasting reversal and decline set in, in which the loss of Spain and the ascent of the West and its towering achievements in every human endeavor played a key role. This thirst for war against each other and against the hated infidels – foremost among them Americans and Israelis – and the lust for terror will not end until Arab-Muslims come to terms with the West and accept its predominant role. But that may take a very long time – in fact, it may never happen.

Acting Speaker of Palestinian Legislative Council: Kill Jews and Americans “to the very last one”

Acting Speaker of Palestinian Legislative Council: Kill Jews and Americans “to the very last one”

More calls for genocide, while the world yawns.

“Acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Sheik Ahmad Bahr from Hamas, Declared during a Friday Sermon at a Sudan Mosque that America and Israel Will Be Annihilated and Called upon Allah to Kill the Jews and the Americans ‘to the Very Last One,'” from MEMRITV, with thanks to all who sent this in:

Following are excerpts from a sermon delivered by Ahmad Bahr, acting speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, which aired on Sudan TV on April 13, 2007.Ahmad Bahr: “You will be victorious” on the face of this planet. You are the masters of the world on the face of this planet. Yes, [the Koran says that] “you will be victorious,” but only “if you are believers.” Allah willing, “you will be victorious,” while America and Israel will be annihilated, Allah willing. I guarantee you that the power of belief and faith is greater than the power of America and Israel. They are cowards, as is said in the Book of Allah: “You shall find them the people most eager to protect their lives.” They are cowards, who are eager for life, while we are eager for death for the sake of Allah. That is why America’s nose was rubbed in the mud in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Somalia, and everywhere.

[…]
America will be annihilated, while Islam will remain. The Muslims “will be victorious, if you are believers.” Oh Muslims, I guarantee you that the power of Allah is greater than America, by whom many are blinded today. Some people are blinded by the power of America. We say to them that with the might of Allah, with the might of His Messenger, and with the power of Allah, we are stronger than America and Israel.

[…]

The Palestinian woman bids her son farewell, and says to him: “Son, go and don’t be a coward. Go, and fight the Jews.” He bids her farewell and carries out a martyrdom operation. What did this Palestinian woman say when she was asked for her opinion, after the martyrdom of her son? She said: “My son is my own flesh and blood. I love my son, but my love for Allah and His Messenger is greater than my love for my son.” Yes, this is the message of the Palestinian woman, who was over seventy years old – Fatima Al-Najjar. She was over seventy years old, but she blew herself up for the sake of Allah, bringing down many criminal Zionists.

[…]

Oh Allah, vanquish the Jews and their supporters. Oh Allah, vanquish the Americans and their supporters. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them all, down to the very last one. Oh Allah, show them a day of darkness. Oh Allah, who sent down His Book, the mover of the clouds, who defeated the enemies of the Prophet – defeat the Jews and the Americans, and bring us victory over them.