Monday, July 21, 2008

The Economist on Al-Qaeda

Anton La Guardia has written a long report for The Economist titled "Al-Qaeda: Winning or Losing?" (The link is to the first section; note that each successive section is linked to from the bottom of the page). La Guardia has been around the Middle East for quite some time, and his report is interesting and informative. It's not profound - the fellow is a journalist, not a wise scholar - but given the way most people see the matter through the prism of what they want to believe, it's a worthwhile read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Okay. I'll bite. When did terrorism become a business?

As to where the saud's spend their money (outside of luxury items), you'd find the whole madrass business was a takeover of "old islam" ... with the new terrorist model. And, yes, it's got quite a reach. Because it's in each and every mosque. No matter the country!

For very little "buck" the saud's have quite an "industry."

But, ya know? They can fail.

Just like they did when they pulled that old paperwork out of the drawer ... first sold to Thomas Freidman. Who ran with it on the front pages of the New York Times. It was a "no problem" version of "how Israel could make friends in the region." Of course. By moving her borders back to those set in 1948. And, then? "Recognition."

And, do you know Bush bought this? He's been touting this paperwork from about the time he went into Irak. Where he took off Saddam's head. Because, here, with this American backing, the Saud's were sure they'd own Irak! But not so fast.

When the Iraqis elected their tip-top official, they bypassed the American "choices." Chalabi, with CIA training. And, Allawi with State Department blessings. Both are sunnis.

And, the sunnis have left Irak in droves. They're now down to 15% of the population. And, this is only so, because Jordan closed its borders. Sticking palestinians in no-man's land. And, not allowing sunnis to travel to Amman. Go figa.

All the money in the world, and the saud's have made enemies. Can't quite dictate the results they want.

And, Bush? His popularity kept sliding downhill.

But how can you use "economics" when you're discussing war? For the saud's? CHEAP IS CHEAP.

For the Americans? Gosh, there was a lot to learn. And, so many of our good American kids are thoroughly disgusted with the Iraqis. A bunch of "gonuvim."

Everyone is looking for Uncle Sam's pockets. What kind of "economics" is that?

While the Saud's, furious that they're not getting what they set out to get, on purpose jacked up oil prices ... to prove to Bush their threat was real.

What was the saud's threat? IF Bush wasn't gonna shaft Israel, then Americans would pay for this at the pump.

So, pay we do.

But economics teaches ya that when oil goes up, people stop driving. THe dollar is also down. So? In economics you can fall short. Which happens.

As to the picture of Bin Laden on matchbook covers, where matches are distributed in Afganistan ... What this reminds me of isn't a military engagement at all. Heck, you can only have one "winnah" ... and for that you have to pinpoint Bin Laden. Or cut off his ear. Or something like that.

Once, before computers, in America, at a time when people smoked. A lot. Matchbooks were given out with every purchase of a pack of cigarettes. And, to stem the "free give-away" ... manufacturers used to use the matchbooks for "advertising."

But the only thing I can remember them advertising were "art schools." If you drew a picture. And, sent it in to this "art school" ... they'd reply and tell you if you had any talent.

As to what lays ahead for the saud's? Check out Irak. There's lots of anger! Check out Iran. Ditto. Heck, check out your average American. Eye opening news for you, here.

The Saud's aren't home free.

Because there are no free lunches.

But to invest in terror when you don't have your own army. When you have no education system that trains your young. And, when you think extremism in religion isn't a losing proposition, then you're just nuts.

How many loose Saudi nuts? Less than 50,000. They're days may be numbered? Their swords, displayed on their flag, may fall down. And, hit them in their heads like guillotines.

Meanwhile, Butto listening to Bush, left the safety of Riyadh. And, she lost her head. Then Bush told Musharaf, he had to leave office.

If that wasn't crazy enough, at some point ahead India will have to deal with the lunatics in Pakistan.

And, Bush? People will think he was very naive. Will that be enough?