Alternative Insight

From bin Laden to Baghdadi -- Making the World Safe for Terrorists

Osama bin Laden, the master terrorist, is dead, and yet the disturbing world he wanted to create is more and more alive. An inept war on terrorism has been a bonanza for those who seek a new world order that features Radical Islam as a prominent force. Throughout parts of the Middle East and North Africa, the black flag of Daish waves in the hands of those who commit violent attacks on established administrations and atrocities on random civilians. Careless U.S. administrations and disastrous policies that made the world safe for terrorists have shaped al-Qaeda's trajectory from a small cadre of militants to an ISIS caliphate. And not just that; the policies have brought ruin to several nations and brought the possibility of death to the doorsteps of much of the world.

The errors started with President Ronald Reagan who provided money, material and manpower to battle non-existent threats from Grenada and Nicaragua while allowing the CIA to shuffle funds to Pakistan intelligence that were used to install Osama bin Laden and his followers in Afghanistan. Soon to be known as al-Qaeda (the base), they built bases for construction works that eventually became training grounds for militants.

President George H.W. Bush failed to recognize the growing threat from al-Qaeda and permitted the CIA to destabilize Afghanistan and indirectly strengthen Osama bin Laden while sending U.S. might to capture harmless Panama dictator, Manuel Noriega, and pummel a hapless Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. By stationing U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia during the latter war, the elder Bush aroused the incipient Radical Islamists in the Desert Kingdom to join forces with Osama bin Laden. On December 29, 1992, a bomb attack, for which al-Qaeda took responsibility, occurred at the Gold Mohur hotel in Aden, Yemen, where U.S. troops had been staying while en route to Somalia. About the same time, another bomb detonated prematurely at the Aden Movenpick and killed two Australian tourists.

Intelligence and strategy failures by President Bill Clinton elevated al-Qaeda to an international enterprise.
Originally part of a United Nations force, allegedly sent to prevent starvation in Somalia, U.S. troops squashed the potential power of those who fought against United Nations directives. Marines searched houses for weapons, caused several casualties and propelled the U.S. forces into a five-month manhunt for General Mohamed Farrah Hassan Aidid, a former general and diplomat, who had been chairman of the United Somali Congress (USC) and later led the Somali National Alliance (SNA). In the process, the marines engaged in several "shoot outs" with Somali, including the killing of two children who had climbed into marine vehicles and reached for their sunglasses.

According to the NY Times, December 8, 1993, UN/U.S. forces inflicted 6,000 to 10,000 casualties on the Somali, of which Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni estimated 2/3 were women and children. President Clinton's policy in Somalia created a mistrust of American power among East Africans and an anarchy that eventually led to the emergence of The Islamic Courts Union ( ICU), a group of Islamists, who preached Shariah as law and ruled Somalia during two periods. After being defeated, the ICU evolved into the Al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda look alike in East Africa.

Although aware from the start of his administration that al-Qaeda and associates were evolving into international threats, Clinton's intelligence agencies failed to identify and prevent the threats.

On Friday, February 26, 1993, Kuwaiti Ramzi Yousef and Jordanian Eyad Ismoil parked a yellow Ryder van in the public parking garage beneath the World Trade Center. Later in the day, the van exploded, killing six people and injuring 1,042.

In June 1996 an enormous truck bomb detonated in the Khobar Towers residential complex for Air Force personnel in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Nineteen Americans were killed and 372 were wounded.

During the Clinton administration, the Taliban moved through Afghanistan and eventually took control in 1996.

Truck bomb explosions, which occurred on 7 August 1998 at U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, killed hundreds of people. The attacks were linked to local members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, under direction from Osama bin Laden.

Al-Qaeda associates bombed the U.S. Navy warship, USS Cole, in October 2000 and killed 17 sailors. Al-Qaeda in Yemen, soon to become al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was born.

President Clinton's responses to these attacks were more token revenge and display of force than well planned efforts to subdue international terrorism. Ineffectual reprisals consisted of Cruise-missile strikes on a bin Laden camp in Afghanistan and the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. The former missiles did no lasting damage to bin Laden or his encampment, and the latter missiles were sent without strong evidence that Sudan was aware of any terrorist activities by bin Laden during his years of living in Sudan and without verification that the pharmaceutical factory, which administration officials claimed was involved in the production of material for chemical weapons, was a weapons-making operation. If the administration believed Sudan shared responsibility because bin Laden had briefly been there, then Germany must bear responsibility for housing and teaching several of the 2001 Trade Center suicide bombers.

President George W. Bush continued the intelligence lapses and contributed to the major policy failures that enabled al-Qaeda elements to evolve into ISIS (Daish).
No intelligence failures can possibly compare to those that enabled suspected foreign terrorists to enter the United States, request one-way flying lessons -- take planes up with no concern about being able to land them -- book flight tickets, walk through airport inspections, seize commercial planes in mid-flight and fly them into public buildings. No terrorist action has been as serious as those that occurred on September 11, 2001.

President Bush's response to the debacle echoed President Clinton's tactics -- much bluster and no real plan. The immediate attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan has, after 13 years, been counterproductive. The Taliban still controls parts of Afghanistan and is continually fighting to gain more. Al-Qaeda has expanded and moved to more fertile areas. Pakistan, which previously contained its Radical Islam elements, has been pushed into its own war on terrorism.

Guided by a tendency to assist Radical Islam in its endeavors, the Bush administration provided a route for al-Qaeda to mature into Daish. The invasion of Iraq and disposal of a Saddam Hussein regime that had prevented al-Qaeda elements from establishing themselves exposed Iraq's porous borders to Radical Islamic fighters. Founded in October 2004, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) emerged from a transnational terrorist group created and led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. His cohorts entered through Jordan, while al-Qaeda forced out of Waziristan in Pakistan found a safe haven in Iraq. Meanwhile fighters trained in and wandering through the deserts of Saudi Arabia hopped planes to Istanbul and Damascus and worked there way across Syria into Iraq. Disturbed by the U.S. invasion and military tactics, Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai, later known as Al Baghdadi, founder of the Islamic Caliphate, transformed himself from a fun loving soccer player into a hardened militant and helped to found the militant group Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ), which countered the U.S. military in Iraq.

After previous disastrous policies prepared the framework for Daish to establish its caliphate, and spawning "look-alikes" in Yemen and throughout North Africa, President Barack Obama approached the dangerous situation with confusion.

President Obama's confusion started when he joined forces with the French led intervention in Libya. The coalition portrayed itself as a humanitarian mission designed to prevent civilian casualties during the Libyan civil war by establishing a no-fly zone which would prevent Libyan aircraft from attacking civilians. NATO air force and U.S. drones soon began seeking targets that would enable a rebel victory and rid the world of Moammmar Gadhafi. Not wanting to betray his French ally, Obama brought his country into the fray and the result is obvious -- Radical Islamists and their terrorists found a safe haven in the new Libya. A news report describes the situation.

Washington Post, June 6, 2015
In Libya's civil war the Islamic State shows itself as the main threat
By Hassan Morajea and Erin Cunningham

MISURATA, Libya — As the Islamic State scores new victories in Syria and Iraq, its affiliate in Libya is also on the offensive, consolidating control of Moammar Gaddafi’s former home town and staging a bomb attack on a major city, Misurata.

The Islamic State’s growth could further destabilize a country already suffering from a devastating civil war. And Libya could offer the extremists a new base from which to launch attacks elsewhere in North Africa.

The Libyan affiliate does not occupy large amounts of territory as the Islamic State does in Syria and Iraq. But in the past few months, the local group has seized Sirte, the coastal city that was Gaddafi’s last redoubt, as well as neighborhoods in the eastern city of Derna.

Security experts estimate there are as many as 3,000 fighters loyal to the Islamic State in Libya. The country has become one of the primary locations to train with the group outside of Syria and Iraq. Volunteers from Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other countries have flocked here to fight with the extremists and other jihadist organizations.

Since the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi, a leader who constrained Radical Islam and its terrorist activities, militants from Libya have flowed east, through friendly Turkey into Syria and Iraq to form Daish. Weapons captured from Ghadaffi's stockpiles have flowed west to equip al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM led the 2013 attack on a gas facility in southern Algeria; individuals trained in Libya attacked tourists at beaches and museums in Tunisia; and Boko Haram has spread havoc throughout northern Nigeria and parts of Chad.

Consistent failures by several U.S. administrations to reduce terrorism and constant policies that allowed al-Qaeda to expand and consolidate is shown by the appearance of al-Qaeda in Yemen (AQY), which has grown from a community of jihadists during the 1980s to an insurgent force that has fought Yemen's changing governments and trained terrorists to operate against the United States. The Northwest Airlines Flight 253 bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who failed in his terrorist attempt, received training from AQY.

The confused and hypocritical manner in which the U.S. administrations have approached terrorism is shown by the joining of al-Qaeda forces with U.S. allies, in an effort to subdue the Houthis who are severe enemies of al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2015
Al Qaeda Fights on Same Side as Saudi-Backed Militias in Yemen
Special forces from United Arab Emirates said to have joined battle
By MARIA ABI-HABIB in Beirut and MOHAMMED AL-KIBSI in San’a, Yemen

Local militias backed by Saudi Arabia, special forces from the United Arab Emirates and al Qaeda militants all fought on the same side this week to wrest back control over most of Yemen’s second city, Aden, from pro-Iranian Houthi rebels, according to local residents and Houthi forces.

How does the Obama administration explain this nefarious arrangement?

From Pakistan, through Egypt and North Africa and South to Somalia and Kenya, al-Qaeda, Daish and a multitude of terrorist organizations perform daily bombings, killings and insurrections. This is a result from policies of all U.S. administrations since the "gipper" assumed the presidential office.

After not preventing a handful of al-Qaeda conspirators in Afghanistan to become an international organization of terrorists, the Obama administration has no recognized strategy of how to defeat Daish. If not the U.S., who will defeat Daish?

Certainly not the Iraq army, which has retreated from any battles with Daish.
Possibly, but improbably the Shi'a militias who can defeat Daish on Shi'a populated territory but hesitate to engage them where Sunnis will not appreciate the entrance of Shi'a militias
Possibly but improbably Iran who will only contest others when its borders are crossed.
Possibly but improbably the Kurds who will defend their own territory but do not have capability for large scale offensive actions and also hesitate to engage where Sunnis will contest their appearance.
Not Syria, which will be fortunate to survive much longer.
Not Saudi Arabia or the Arab Emirates who vacillate between appreciating Daish contesting Shi'a and Iran and not wanting the Caliphate to approach their areas.
Not Germany, whose people do not favor foreign adventures.
Possibly France and Great Britain but not without the United States taking the lead.
Not the United States, whose failures in several foreign wars have made its citizens unwilling to support more of its children fighting overseas.

There is still no challenge to Daish's capture of Mosul and Ramadi. In summary, no strong military is presently available to subdue Daish, which means the Caliphate becomes stronger each day, converts more of its terrorized populations to its agenda, raises Radical Islamic children, acquires more weapons and fighters and extends its reach. Contesting Daish one minute from now may already be too late.

General Joseph Dunford, during his confirmation hearing to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, exposed the complacency that continues the defenseless position against Daish. In his discussion with the Senate Armed Forces Committee, General Dunford said, "If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I would have to point to Russia. If you look at their behavior, it's nothing short of alarming,"

Dunford had China falling behind Russia as top threat because of its capabilities and behavior throughout the Asia Pacific. "China has been increasingly assertive in the South China and East China Seas, building up artificial islands for possible military use and asserting territorial rights disputed by their neighbors, most of whom are American allies."

North Korea and its missile capabilities came third and "the growing international threat of ISIS" made fourth on the list.
In the Middle East, he signaled Iran as "the most destabilizing element" in the region and "clearly a malign influence."

ISIS (Daish) is tearing the Middle East and North Africa apart and has directly threatened terrorist actions against the U.S. mainland. The other mentioned nations (Russia, China, North Korea and Iran) have clashing perspectives with the United States on vital issues but they have done nothing to threaten the U.S. mainland. If the incoming U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff cannot recognize that Daish's operations makes it the prime challenge to U.S. hegemony then there is no hope to contain Daish and little hope of peace in the future for the entire world. Recent Daish actions prove this assertion.

"The Islamic State appears to have manufactured rudimentary chemical warfare shells and attacked Kurdish positions in Iraq and Syria with them as many as three times in recent weeks, according to field investigators, Kurdish officials and a Western ordinance disposal technician who examined the incidents and recovered one of the shells."

alternative insight
july, 2015