2006-11-17

Morning Report: November 17, 2006

Dangerous liaisons. In Europe, hope for a refugee from a land where her love dare not speak its name. Connections of a more unsavory character surface in America.

Iranian lesbian granted asylum in Germany. Via Maynard at Tammy Bruce's blog, the BBC reports: 'A court in Germany has accepted an Iranian woman's bid for asylum on the grounds that she is a lesbian. The 27-year-old woman said she would face persecution and isolation if she was sent back to Iran. The court decided she should stay in Germany and said its ruling set a binding precedent for similar cases. ... The woman, whose name was not released, had travelled to Germany in September 2003 where she had applied for asylum.' She was also facing punishment in Iran for refusing to wear a head covering. (BBC)

Suspect arrested in Detroit with cash, cyanide, nuclear info. USA Today: 'Federal agents continue to investigate a Dallas man arrested at a Detroit airport Tuesday after arriving on a flight from Amsterdam with nearly $79,000 in cash and a laptop computer that, according to court papers, contained information about nuclear materials and cyanide. Sisayehiticha Dinssa will appear for a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen at 1 p.m. Monday. He is charged with illegally concealing more than $10,000 in his luggage and with smuggling bulk cash into the USA. If convicted, Dinssa could be sentenced to five years in prison on each charge.' AP at Breitbart: 'Sisayehiticha Dinssa, an unemployed U.S. citizen, was arrested Tuesday after a dog caught the scent of narcotics on cash he was carrying, according to an affidavit filed in court. When agents asked him if he had any cash to declare, he said he had $18,000, authorities said. But when agents checked his luggage, they found an additional $59,000. When they scrolled through his laptop, they said they found the mysterious files.' Dinassa arrived in Detroit from Nigeria by way of Amsterdam and was headed for Phoenix. Go to Tammy Bruce and Gateway Pundit for full round-ups. (various)

More on that nuclear trailer park business. Speaking of nuclear plans in odd places, Tammy brings us up to date on another recent incident:
For more on the significance of drug money now being the primary source of funding for al-Qaida and terrorists world wide, I blogged here about the other recent dscovery of nuclear material, in a drug den, in a border state. This story of nuclear secrets on a laptop with the meth dealing roommate of Los Alamos worker Jessica Quintana, has grown in seriousness. The latest reporting includes the assessment that this could be "potentially the greatest breach of national security" in decades. There's more about Little Miss Quintana:

Though she had completed only one semester of college, in early 2005 Quintana was granted what the nuke world calls a "Q clearance," which meant she had access to nuclear-weapons designs. She had further access to a category of information code named Sigma 15. This meant she could handle material detailing how to override the security locks on U.S. nuclear weapons. The vaults she worked in contained data from 50 years of nuclear tests.

22 years old. Not only no college, but a college dropout, which is even worse. Living in a trailer with a drug dealing roommate. While we still have not been told by the government the significnace of this situation, we at least we now know that Los Alamos is giving extraordinary nuke clearance to people who pose a stunning security risk. Immature. No discipline. Blackmailable because of association, with people involved in crime. And believe me, if she got hired and got that clearance, it must have been par for the course.

So, we are at war with an enemy that we know has been working for over a decade now to acquire nuclear material; we know terrorist groups are ensconced to our south, running the drug trade; and we know that UK spy masters are sure that a terrorist chemical or nuclear attack against Western interests is probable, sooner than later.

Here's the latest from MSNBC: 'It began as a routine police call. At 4:16 p.m. on Oct. 17, two Los Alamos County police officers were dispatched to the Royal Crest Trailer Park. The cluster of mobile homes is located next to Los Alamos National Laboratory, the sprawling New Mexico compound that houses one of America's two main facilities for designing nuclear weapons. A resident had complained that two neighbors were shouting at each other and throwing rocks through the windows of their trailer. The cops expected to find the usual: a domestic dispute that had gotten out of hand. Instead, they discovered what one Los Alamos official—who, like all lab and government sources in this story, would not be named talking about sensitive matters—calls "potentially the greatest breach of national security" in decades. When the police entered the trailer, they found 20-year-old Justin Stone and his girlfriend. Stone said he was a guest of the trailer's owner, 23-year-old Jessica Quintana, who wasn't there at the time. Stone was wanted on a probation violation from an earlier crime. So the police arrested him. ...' Go to the link to read the rest. (various)

Two gunmen killed after Iraq hijacking. AP: 'British ground forces and U.S. military helicopters fought with gunmen on Friday in southern Iraq where four American security contractors and their Austrian co-worker were abducted in a convoy hijacking. It was not known whether the five were still in the area or whether the gunmen were involved in the kidnapping, said Capt. Tane Dunlop, a spokesman for British forces. He said two of the gunmen were killed. Nine other civilians were in the convoy when it was attacked Thursday near Basra. ...' Full story at the link. (AP)

Strategy Page: Muslim moderates are getting PO'd. And it's about time. Strategy Page:
They are the majority, and there are lots of them actively opposing the fanatics. These backlash incidents rarely make the press. Not quite violent enough. But in places like Indonesia, Pakistan, the Gulf States, Africa and Bosnia, the moderates are stopping the radicals. Sometimes with violence, but more often with words, or using the law and their greater numbers. The radicals will often cry "religious persecution," or insist that their opponents are not "true Moslems." These antics have lost a lot of their impact during the last few years. Mainstream Moslems are getting tired of the empty rhetoric and bullying.

In Indonesia, gangs of Islamic radicals on "anti-vice" patrols (to bust up bars and movie theaters), are increasingly running into groups of cops, or pissed off citizens, who chase off the radicals (or arrest them.) Indonesian Islamic radicals have made themselves lots of enemies by denouncing popular religious leaders. The many followers, of those denounced, make their own threats of violence. It's getting harder to be hard core. ...

Read it all at the link. (Strategy Page)

Commentary. In the post-Rumsfeld era, Barbara Lerner asks:
If Rumsfeld really does see the war in Iraq as a regional war that we must fight as such if we are to win, why the devil didn’t he say so? The answer, I think, is that he did, many times and in many ways, starting in 2003. But he would have said it only to the president he agreed to serve, and to a very few trusted allies, like Vice President Cheney, who share Rumsfeld’s sense of the loyalty that serving cabinet members owe to their commander-in-chief in a time of war. To the best of my knowledge, the only time Rumsfeld made it clear, in public, that he disagreed with the president on the scope of the war was when he acknowledged that he had asked for permission to cross the border into Syria to strike terrorists fleeing there after carrying out attacks in Iraq. He asked a number of times, beginning in 2003. The president said no.

Lerner, whom I first cited in this early post, wrote in 2004 about the original Rumsfeld-Garner plan for Iraq:
Rumsfeld wanted to put an Iraqi face on everything at the outset — not just on the occupation of Iraq, but on its liberation too. That would have made a world of difference.

Rumsfeld's plan was to train and equip — and then transport to Iraq — some 10,000 Shia and Sunni freedom fighters led by Shia exile leader Ahmed Chalabi and his cohorts in the INC, the multi-ethnic anti-Saddam coalition he created. There, they would have joined with thousands of experienced Kurdish freedom fighters, ably led, politically and militarily, by Jalal Talabani and Massoud Barzani. Working with our special forces, this trio would have sprung into action at the start of the war, striking from the north, helping to drive Baathist thugs from power, and joining Coalition forces in the liberation of Baghdad. That would have put a proud, victorious, multi-ethnic Iraqi face on the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and it would have given enormous prestige to three stubbornly independent and unashamedly pro-American Iraqi freedom fighters: Chalabi, Talabani, and Barzani.

Jay Garner, the retired American general Rumsfeld chose to head the civilian administration of the new Iraq, planned to capitalize on that prestige immediately by appointing all three, along with six others, to head up Iraq's new transitional government. He planned to cede power to them in a matter of weeks — not months or years — and was confident that they would work with him, not against him, because two of them already had.

That was two and a half years ago. Now, with Rumsfeld now gone, Lerner concludes:
With the nomination of Robert Gates, a man strongly backed by the first President Bush and his key deal-makers, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, it seems that Secretary Rumsfeld has proved prescient once again. And I think that Republican hawks like Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard — hawks who have been screaming for Rumsfeld’s scalp for years — are not going to like the results, because, in the end, no American patriot will.

On a less pessimistic note, Eric Egland at The Standard offers six steps to victory:
1. Encourage innovation by emphasizing small-scale technological solutions and rejecting peacetime bureaucracy.
2. Improve pre-deployment training realism and abandon Cold War-era checklists.
3. Allow local commanders to buy what they need and nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.
4. Strengthen intelligence sharing between tactical and national levels, and develop a national insurgent database.
5. Take the offensive by reducing predictable patterns on the ground while conducting operations that hunt, rather than chase, the enemy.
6. Accept the realities of warfare in the media age by decentralizing the sharing of information with both the Iraqi and the American public.

Read the article for full explanations of what these mean. The common theme is mobility, flexibility, unpredictability - in other words, fighting a guerilla war as guerillas. Spook86 agrees with Egland, and has more here:
Fascinating read at Defensetech.org, which profiles a British commander who has implemented some innovative--and perhaps historical--tactics for controlling a sector of southern Iraq, along the Iranian border. When Lieutenant Colonel David Labouchere found his base a magnet for enemy rocket and small arms fire, he took a page out of the T.E. Lawrence playbook, going light (and mobile).

"Like Lawrence, Labouchere relies on speed and agility. He travels light in just a dozen vehicles per squadron, mostly trucks and speedy Land Rovers but including a handful of Scimitar light tanks armed with 30-millimeter cannons. At night he bivouacs in depressions or nestled between hills to shield him from prying eyes. By day he sorties to patrol the border, show the flag in remote towns and hold court with Iraqi cops, local army troops and the tribal leaders who are his eyes and ears and his allies in the fight against smugglers and foreign fighters. He and his troops shit in ditches, shave with bottled water and eat foil-packed rations. They sleep under the stars on collapsing cots. They live simply and waste little, all in an effort to stay light and to ween themselves from slow, vulnerable ground convoys."

That's the battle. Now let's go back to the war - which, as Lerner and the departing Rumsfeld understand, is not confined to Iraq. Here's what Michael Ledeen thinks the Baker/Hamilton Commission should understand:
Instead of trapping themselves in an imaginary quagmire, the commissioners can help us face the real war. What’s going on in Iraq is not “the war,” which is raging over the entire world. The real question — the life and death question — is: How can we win the war in the Middle East, which now extends from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia?

That question forces us to devise a strategy to deal with multiple enemies instead of limiting our strategic thinking to the Iraqi insurgency alone. It forces us to confront the terror masters in Tehran and Syria as well as the killers in Iraq. If we ask how to win in Iraq alone, we are led into a fool’s errand of trying to convince our sworn enemies–Iran has been at war with us for twenty-seven years—to act like friends. But if we ask how to win the war, we can see that we have many good cards to play, and many real allies, from the Iranian and Syrian people to the millions of Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria, to several other oppressed groups throughout the region, and even to leaders who today denounce us.

Our strategic thinking and our tactical thinking must reflect flexibility. What needs to remain inflexible is our will to win. We can defeat the terror masters - if we choose to.


POSTSCRIPT: Richard Fernandez has been quiet for the last few days, but his latest post is well worth the wait: it's about the Philippines, and it's called The First Iraq.
Imagine a time when America found itself in a war against a foreign foe whose strategy was to inflict a constant rate of loss on the army; invited US and British reporters to feed antiwar elements with atrocity stories; when US commanders who expected a quick war against a corrupt and oligarchic native elite found they had roused the countryside against them. Imagine a time when the issue of this war was central to an American Presidential election, caused a split in one of the major parties and planted the seeds for a world war. Not Iraq. The war was Philippine-American War and the election that of 1912.

In that war,
McKinley's victory in 1900 convinced the Filipinos that the US would not soon embark upon a "responsible redeployment". Washington's stated aim was to remove the obscurantist and bloodthirsty Spanish regime from the backs of the downtrodden Islanders and give them a government better than could be provided by the landed illustrado elite.

Read the post to learn how General Funston gained military advantage; what William Howard Taft said about the Filipinos, and what he meant; the fate of a Philippine hero named Jose Abad Santos; and what secret weapon the Thomasites carried that finally turned the tide. (Hint: We're using it right now.) And there's much more. Find out how the Philippine revolution was interrupted, delayed, and set back - but never stopped. This is the story of how a nation takes its place in the world. Could it one day be the story of Iraq? If you only read one article about Iraq this month, read The First Iraq at The Belmont Club.