Mar 3, 2006

Intelligence Sources: Al-Qaeda Plotting "Big Bang"


Left: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Iraq al-Qaeda faction
(Washington, DC) CBS News is reporting that US intelligence sources have intercepted information that a-Qaeda is planning a "spectacular" terror event in Iraq, targeting either a high-profile target or staging a series of coordianted multiple attacks.

This comes on the heels of the attack on the Samarra shrine last week that ignited a wave of sectarian violence, nearly sending Iraq into civil war.

Over 1300 people have been killed since the violence erupted last Wednesday. Sunni leaders say that more than 100 Sunni mosques have been burned, fired upon or bombed in the past week.

Pentagon officials are also worried that a "Big Bang" terrorist attack will undermine administration claims that progress is being made in Iraq. This would lead to a further decline in support by the American people for the Iraq war, and likely put increased pressure on President Bush to step up withdrawal of US forces.


Anonymous said...

This gets worse every day.

historymike said...

What gets worse, anon? The violence in Iraq and the Middle East, the coverage, or the US involvement?

Hooda Thunkit said...

This can of worms has way too many, as yet unseen, worms in it.

That is why we will probably fail in the short term. Most of our so-called allies are still unwilling to talk about the 3,000 pound elephant in the room, until it becomes their problem...

The war on terror has yet to begin in earnest. What is going on now is still the ramp-up to the big event...

Anonymous said...

Terrorism is why we are over there. If they hadn't bombed the WTC we wouldn't be in the Middle East.

-Sepp said...

Can of worms or not, we're over there. We stay and soldiers get killed or, we simply pack up and leave and the people who supported a free Iraq get killed as colaborators, al-quaida gets the distinction of chasing America out of the mid-east and proves the point that terrorism does get you exactly what you want opening the door to every group out there with a demand they want met. If we think that some gulf states support terrorism, think about an Iraq that we abandon and hand over to terrorists. I hear comparisons to vietnam being made regularly which is simply stupid. In vietnam, we left the country to what we deemed more or less a repressive political system. In Iraq we risk leaving the country to a terror organization.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

"Terrorism is why we are over there. If they hadn't bombed the WTC we wouldn't be in the Middle East."

Terrorism is why we're in Afghanistan. Saddam was, above all other things, a survivalist. He wanted to keep his power, he'd already experienced ours (1991), and knew better than to provoke us in a way that would cause confrontation, i.e. a major terror attack. So while anyone reading newspapers since the Clinton years assumed he had WMDs, I don't think anyone thinking critically believed he was a threat to us. A threat to Israel, Iran, Syria, yes; us, no.

The WTC was bombed by not a single Iraqi national, they were mostly Saudis, working at the bequest of bin Laden (a Saudi himself). Al-Qaeda actually had anti-Saddam terrorists working in the Kurdish portion of Iraq from the late 90's on. The 9/11 comission found no evidence of a Saddam link to 9/11. ("to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.")

I'm glad our intelligence community has figured out what's been obvious all along: al-Qaeda in Iraq has been reading histories of Vietnam, and is looking to pull off their own modern-day Tet.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

I love cross-posting.

I would agree with -sepp that comparisons with Vietnam are generally overblown, and am afraid that my Tet comment above might be contstrued as one, when it's actually a comment on al-Qaeda thinking.

M A F said...

Mike, that figure of 1300 dead was the original influence for the elephants in glasses as Republicans ignored or downplayed the increase in violence in Iraq.

Sepp, I see that you like Bush don't have much faith in Iraqis determining their own fate. According to your way of thought, "think about an Iraq that we abandon and hand over to terrorists."

Do you actually believe that the majority Shia would allow themselves to be overrun by a 2-3000 Sunnis led by a Jordanian? To say nothing of the Baathists who make up the majority of the insurgency.

There are certainly comparisons to be draw between Vietnam and Iraq.

liberal_dem said...

I note that the Bush-apologists are still using the tired old propagandist line, 'bring'n freedom to Iraq.'

Gaud. Get a new outlook on life. If Bush were really interested in bringing freedom to the Middle Eqast, he's ask his good friend Mubarek to do so in Egypt and likewise Musharraf
in Pakistan, not to mention the house of Saud, the imirs of Kuwait and UAE.

Freedom my ass!

historymike said...

An editor from The Nation had a funny quip last week about WMD:

"We Meant Democracy!"

Bush-bashing aside, I think the more important question is this:

What do we do now?

Even if Bush was impeached, we would still have 130,000 + troops in Iraq. Pulling them out would be certain civil war.

Leaving them there means more US body bags and many more dead Iraqis.

There will never be an end to insurgents, as new Iraqis will take the place of the ones we kill. The longer we are there, the more we look like invaders, and the stronger the insurgents can make a case that they are "freedom fighters" or "patriots."

-Sepp said...

And my answers to those questions...

"Sepp, I see that you like Bush don't have much faith in Iraqis determining their own fate"

You mean like they were determining their own fate when Saddam was slaughtering them?

"Do you actually believe that the majority Shia would allow themselves to be overrun by a 2-3000 Sunnis led by a Jordanian?"

Allow themselves to be "overrun" NO. Thrown into a civil war with Mercenaries pouring in from each direction? YES. What about right now? What are they doing to put an end to the guerillas that are bombing their neighborhoods, mosques and police stations? When they are plunged into a civil war, who is going to be the implementation force that that enforces the peace whenever the war should end? The US's 1 year commitment to Bosnia that started in 1995 is still ongoing.

Sure you can rant and rave that Bush got us into this and it's all his fault but, it's not about Bush anymore. It's about the people who whether they wanted it or not, are stuck between an insurgency that cares very little about how many Iraqis they kill in order to get one American and, the Americans on the ground dealing with it all.

So, instead of pointing at Bush and whining, tell me what you propose we do to harness the situation while avoiding a civil war at the same time? We could all sit around and bitch about Bush this and Bush that and solve nothing. I want to know what you armchair diplomats would do in his place right now as the situation stands. Well?

liberal_dem said...

Sorry, sepp, Bush gets paid the big bucks for being president. His pre-emptive war, his problem, his solution.

McCaskey said...

Yep, Bush broke it, he owns it, he has no idea how to fix it but he and all his supporters now want us all to chip in with our ideas on how to solve it. Gee, thanks, NOW for sharing...

M A F said...

Sepp, It is all about Bush and his decision, his words, his propaganda.

So why should I have to come up with solutions for the mistakes of Bush (it was his war of choice not mine) when he can't even offer any viable plan? Just so we are clear, "stay the course" is not a plan or solution.

Of course, Bush or some other president will end up following Nixon, (alas another Vietnam comparison) and announce the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and proclaim victory in an effort to save face.

Again, the majority of Iraqis want the US out of their country and a sizable portion condone killing of US troops. If the US leaves Iraq the insurgents (Baathists) will be left to fight it out with the foreign fighters (which is already happening) the Shia and the Kurds for power.

The civil war that was supposed to start if the US pulled out has already started (Mike). Should the conflict continue to grow (as I fear) the US soldier can look forward to taking fire from more than just the insurgents.

Lastly, the "slaughtering" to which you and the other sychophants for Bush refer to was condoned by the US government, for at the time Iraq was an obedient client-state. That is until the invasion of Kuwait.

Bosnia? A very interesting non sequitur you have chosen.

-Sepp said...

Union liberals? All I asked is what you would do to solve the problem if it were yours to solve and I got the same "ain't my job" non-answer from all of you. If you don't know, just say you don't know.
My bosnian comparison was no "non sequitur". If indeed a civil war does errupt, sooner or later there may have to be foreign troops in place to enforce a ceasefire not unlike in the former jugoslavia. Jugoslawia also had foreign insurgents pouring in from every direction and keeping the war going long after the actual inhibitants were ready for peace.

liberal_dem said...

Union liberals?

Maybe so. But we're not Union Generals.

Speaking of generals, did you catch the photo-op of Bush and Gen. Musharraf in the tranquil setting of the 'red zone' in Islamabad? Heavily fortified zone of protection around the general, aka dictator of Pakistan. Gosh, he took his army uniform off for the photo session with Bush.

Bush could have dressed up in his pilot suit [see 'Mission Accomplished'] and the two would have looked much TOUGHER!

Seems that in the 'green zone' there wre thousands of protestors, but not quite as many as ther could have been. The dictator, er general, er president locked up his political opposition leaders for a day or two during Bush's visit.

'Bring'n democracy...'

-Sepp said...

Like I said, if you don't know, just say you don't know.

McCaskey said...

Of course he doesn't know. Nobody knows. Especially those who got us into this mess to begin with...and they're the ones who are SUPPOSED AND GET PAID to know...