Al Qaeda Adapts

…That’s about the only growth al Qaeda is experiencing… Most of al Qaedas traveling experts are dead or in prison.

How does Jim know that? Interesting nevertheless… Of course I hope he is correct.

July 1, 2007: Al Qaeda continues to take a beating, but you can ignite a media firestorm just saying that. One of the most irritating things about the war on terror, is trying to keep score. Unlike a conventional war, where you can measure territory won and lost, as well as casualties, the current conflict does not really lend itself to those measurements. But there are things that can be measured.

Al Qaeda operations continue to decline, as the number of al Qaeda members, and leaders killed or captured, goes up. Then there’s al Qaeda media activity. Up until last Fall, 93 percent of al Qaeda Internet announcements were video. Since then, most of them are just audio, and sounding increasingly less confident. There is good reason for that lack of confidence. American and Pakistani attacks (usually with missiles or smart bombs) along the Afghan border in the last two years have killed an increasing number of foreign fighters. DNA tests can tell if someone is from the region, or elsewhere in the world. But that’s not what worries al Qaeda, it’s the increasing amount of accurate information the counter-terror forces are getting. No one is talking, but al Qaeda chatter claims that either the Americans have some wondrous new bit of technology, or Yankee money has corrupted more al Qaeda members to give up information. The Taliban is suffering the same kind of casualties, and coming up with the same paranoid theories. More people in Pakistan and Afghanistan, some of them innocent, are being accused of spying, and killed by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Some of those multi-million dollar rewards for terrorists have been collected. Some openly, some more discretely. There is some reason to be paranoid.


How is al Qaeda doing in Iraq? Their barbaric car/truck/IED bombing attacks don’t require sophistication, just another “martyr”. The homicide bomber fodder supply chain seems to be working fine — but with Iraq’s porous borders I don’t think that says much about al Qaeda’s health. I.e., there’s no shortage of wannabe homicide bombers so long as some Saudi will buy his ticket. That is why I believe it is folly to define success as “zero bombings”. Given the insignificant cost, why wouldn’t al Qaeda maintain a pipeline of human-guided missiles on the hope of destabilizing the Iraqi government?