First, back to my cockroach analogy three years ago this month... an excerpt below.
But I return to the cockroach theory as a foundation for the ever-ongoing-debate between Bush's "aggressive" response on the WOT, and that Kerry guy's suggestion that we call the Orkin man... aka, the UN... to take care of the task for us.
Lest you think my analogy is far fetched... allow me to quote from one pest control site on how to kill cockroaches:
Roaches can't help the fact that to most humans, they are unwanted company. It's funny, though, how these pesky insects can often make a grown man or woman scream, tremble and run for cover. If you have a roach problem and the Raid TM just isn't working, and if you want to get rid of roaches in your house, we have a 5 step cure that's proven to work.
Step 1: Cut down on their food supply
Step 2: Hit'em Where They Hide!
Step 3: Monitor, Monitor, Monitor! If you don't know where they are, how can you kill all of them? By using monitors (sticky traps),you can easily find "pockets" of roach hiding places, you may even find them in places you never thought of.
Step 4: Dry Up Their Water Supply
Step 5: Keep Them Out! To prevent roaches from migrating from your neighbor's place to yours, seal up common roach entryways. (Mata Musing: even better, help your neighbors kill the infestation to minimize the risk of reentry to your home)
The resemblance is uncanny, yes?
Next train of thought... there is no doubt that the disgust of the united tribes of Iraqis with the Sharia law advocates in their midst has led to a very unwelcoming environment for the ambitious jihadists. They are leaving Iraq in droves.
And where are they going? Ray Robison's usual spot on analyses say they are reappearing back in Afghanistan, and reuniting as a new wing of the Taliban.
Faced with the looming conflict with the Maulana, Al Qaeda is concentrating its forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The New York Times describes a new influx of foreign fighters into Pakistan and Afghanistan. As always, the Times spins the hollowest analysis to portray defeat for the United States. But there are some questions the Times didn't bother to ask or answer, beyond the usual "the U.S. made them do it" tripe anyway. Chiefly, "why are they coming to Afghanistan"?
As the Times notes, many of these new foreign fighters in Afghanistan are being placed in leadership positions within the Taliban, usually under newer, younger Taliban commanders. The article even notes that this is a somewhat "new" vs. "old" battle for Taliban leadership. The Times fails to realize the obvious, that these are al Qaeda fighters, and instead refers to them as new Taliban recruits. But the timing of this "new phenomenon" makes the reality self-evident.
These fighters were meant for Iraq but the core al Qaeda leadership has realized that the war there is lost. They are no longer sending the new recruits in large numbers. In the current environment, only small teams can go unmolested in the Iraqi lands al Qaeda used to control. Since al Qaeda can no longer send large numbers of fighters to Iraq and since their Taliban support base is slipping away at home they have one option left to them.
Al Qaeda is attempting a hostile takeover of the Taliban.
Which brings us full circle to the Guardian's post today, outlining peril for Afghanistan... at risk of another fall to the Taliban's charms.
The Taliban has a permanent presence in 54% of Afghanistan and the country is in serious danger of falling into Taliban hands, according to a report by an independent think tank with long experience in the area.
Despite tens of thousands of Nato-led troops and billions of dollars in aid poured into the country, the insurgents, driven out by the American invasion in 2001, now control "vast swaths of unchallenged territory, including rural areas, some district centres, and important road arteries", the Senlis Council says in a report released yesterday.
On the basis of what it calls exclusive research, it warns that the insurgency is also exercising a "significant amount of psychological control, gaining more and more political legitimacy in the minds of the Afghan people who have a long history of shifting alliances and regime change".
It says the territory controlled by the Taliban has increased and the frontline is getting closer to Kabul - a warning echoed by the UN which says more and more of the country is becoming a "no go" area for western aid and development workers.
The council goes as far as to state: "It is a sad indictment of the current state of Afghanistan that the question now appears to be not if the Taliban will return to Kabul, but when ... and in what form. The oft-stated aim of reaching the city in 2008 appears more viable than ever and it is incumbent upon the international community to implement a new strategic paradigm before time runs out."
What the recent-current events-challenged Guardian pundit has failed to put together is just who comprises this *new* Taliban. He instead assumes it's the same ol' Saturday night beer drinking buddies who's tied up with some locals in dire financial straits.
The insurgency is divided into a largely poverty-driven "grassroots" component and a concentrated group of "hard-core militant Islamists", says the Senlis Council, which has an office in Kabul and field researchers based in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.
Yet if the tarot card reading of news is correct, those hard core militants described above are, in reality, ostracized AQ types - relocating their jihad efforts from Iraq back to Afghanistan. And if Robison is again, correct, they may just be facing internal battles the original Taliban founding members. And that group has their roots firmly entrenched in Pakistan... along with the support of the old Bhutto Pak govt.
All this has been going on for more than a month. Now add Musharraf's reasoning for emergency rule for terrorist control, an odd fellows alliance with the Maulana Fazlur Rahman after the release of the 61 terrorists by the so-called democratic judiciary ousted by Musharraf, and maybe there shouldn't be so much head scratching about Musharraf's emergency rule after all. Could it be he has had a wary eye on the AQ hostile takeover in Afghanistan, and it's effect on Pakistan?
This means it could be bad guys battling bad guys, Pakistan's involvement (overt or subtle), as well as the existing NATO forces. All putting the new Taliban/AQ in their crosshairs.
One thing is for sure. We may be coming full circle to a rejuvenated Afghan battlefront. And again, I believe Arab democracy will prevail in that country. But I think the players and the war game strategy are going to be very different this time around.