Morning Report: September 12, 2006

Battles and more battles. A failed attack on an embassy, a successful arrest of a warlord, and an ongoing war against a flower ... plus first-rate analysis from our favorite writers.

US embassy in Syria attacked. Debka: 'Syrian news agency reports 14 people injured including 2 security forces members and a local embassy employee in terrorist attack on US embassy in Damascus. One Syrian guard and 3 assailants were killed and one wounded and captured. No US diplomatic personnel were hurt, according to Syrian sources. The attempt to storm the embassy took place Tuesday, Sept 12, the day after the anniversary of al Qaeda’s 9/11 assaults on America and threats of fresh attacks. According to some reports, the assailants threw hand grenades and RPG rockets and opened heavy automatic fire on the Syrian guards outside the embassy. One car bomb went off and a second, a van loaded with pipe bombs linked to gas canisters, failed. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources add the assault team, almost certainly Al Qaeda from Lebanon, was large enough to attack the US embassy compound from several directions and plant bomb devices around the building.' AKI via The Intelligence Summit : 'Three gunmen who attacked the US embassy in Damascus's downtown Rawda area on Tuesday were killed, authorities said. A fourth attacker was wounded and in custody, they said. It was not immediately clear however how many attackers were involved. At least one Syrian guard at the embassy also died but there were reportedly no US casualties. Several civilians were injured. Syrian interior minister Bassam Abd al-Majid said militants tried to blow up two cars in the attack but only one exploded while security forces successfully detonated a bomb in the second vehicle.' (Debka, TIS)

ITM on 9/11: Blaming the victim. Mohammed at Iraq the Model writes:
I'll try to clarify more and dig up the main reason for the conflict which, I believe, is the thousand year-old interpretations of Quran which were made (the interpretations) divine and holy by despotic rulers and clerics who used these interpretations of the Quran to prohibit rational thinking and obstruct the natural course of mental and cultural evolution of the society asserting that the solution is in returning to the Salaf (ancestors and their doctrine) and not in going forward, these are the kinds of interpretations that shaped the visions of the terrorists who carried out the attack and other attacks.

These interpretations state clearly without any chance for confusion what the attitude toward non-Muslims must be; either convert them to Islam, or force them to pay the Jizya (tax/tribute) or it is war and of course the idea of peaceful coexistence and mutual respect based on equality does not exist, neither do peace treaties. What exists instead is Hudna (temporary cease-fire) which ends once enough power to fight and/or eliminate the enemy is gained.

Now I wonder, if the west chose to change its policy would this encourage the interdependent clerics and dictators to change those interpretations or cancel them along with the set of beliefs derived from them?

Again I don't think so and this what makes the confrontation inevitable. Inevitable because they want it and not the "other" and no matter how the west tries to avoid it, it (war) will come to the west.

The war in fact is one between the set of ideas that seeks to pull the word back into the dark ages and the set of ideas that seek freedom of mind and wants to move human civilization forward.

Go read the whole thing at the link. (ITM)

Michael Yon on Afghanistan's drug empire. Michael Yon at National Review: 'In Afghanistan, heroin has become the Devil’s cocktail. “Smack” is already one of the most addictive and destructive drugs on Earth, and now numerous academic studies show addiction levels on the rise, particularly among younger children. In the place where 90 percent of the world’s heroin supply originates, the Taliban, al Qaeda, and others harvest profits from opium poppy cultivation to buy weapons and equipment used to attack soldiers and civilians engaged in a mostly stalled reconstruction mission. A reverse symbiosis is at work: Those who benefit most from the opium/heroin trades also benefit most from a destabilized Afghanistan, because a stable country with functioning government systems, reliable security forces, and a framework of laws is a bad climate for the drug trade. Conversely, farmers growing crops such as cotton and beans benefit from a stable government climate, which affords the opportunity to think beyond the next crop cycle. In order to make agriculture a more successful business venture, farmers need a stable government as a partner. But since the interests of poppy farmers and narco-kings are in aggressive opposition to any plan to stabilize Afghanistan, this partnership is not even in the talking stages. ...' Read the rest at the link. Afghan Lord has this to say:
The president of the United States George W. Bush has promised for developing and building Afghanistan as a model in the region and among Muslim countries but regretfully contrary to Afghan expectations from the United States there is no news from making Afghanistan as a model or development.

When U.S started war against Sadam hosein regime, the world and U.S attention diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq, in some point they left their serious tasks uncompleted in order to get success in Iraq.

In the five years not only the terrorism eradicated but increased not only in Afghanistan but other Muslim countries. Unfortunately the security situation in both country Afghanistan and Iraq is getting worse. Suicide attacks increased in the capital, the continuing of this situation people think that they lost their dreams for peace and prosperity of their country.

The world and U.S made a mistake which thought Taliban after their fall has finished. Whereas they returned back to their religious schools. The United States underestimated the Taliban which recently the Coalition Forces accepted that they made a mistake. The United States and the world community never tried to talk and put pressure the Pakistan government that supporting the Taliban. [link added - aa]

Full post at the link. (NRO, Afghan Lord)

Hekmatyar arrested in Afghanistan. Pajamas Media: 'Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, former prime minister of Afghanistan, who declared jihad and joined the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the fight against coalition forces was arrested “after credible intelligence led Afghan and coalition forces to his compound”. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)' Dreams Into Lightning has a roundup. (PJM, DiL)

Overtime at the Belmont Club. Richard Fernandez observes September 11 with a one-man blogburst, giving us four posts in a single day. The Day After September 11: 'Distributed terror. The distributed manufacture of nuclear weapons. Fourth generation warfare. The institutions of the late 20th century steadfastly resist acknowledging the existence of these phenomena because doing so would be tantamount to an admission of obsolescence.' How Not To Hunt a Tiger, or how not to interview Christopher Hitchens. (Don't try this at home ... unless you are Christopher Hitchens.) History as Fable: Decline and fall? And the unwashed masses in France issue A Challenge to the Princes: 'Without anyone noticing, in the years between World War 2 and the present the Press has acquired the power to be the arbiter of a great many events: the success or failure of public enterprises, the guilt or innocence of the accused and even the power to declare defeat or victory in war. Vietnam was the first clear exercise of that power. It is a vast power jealously guarded to this day. The trials are less about who killed Muhammad al Durah than about what institutions have the quasi-official power to pronounce upon it.' (Belmont Club)

Commentary. It's been said before, by far more noteworthy blogs than this one: We are in a war for the mind and for the soul, and all of us are involved in the struggle. It is also (as has been said before) a Long War. This means that all of us who care about shaping the future must understand our stake in it, and that victory in the war of ideas will not come quickly or easily. But as the irascible Hitchens reminds us, confidence can be a potent force multiplier.