Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Monday, June 12, 2006
William Arkin has a must read column today on the state of al Qaeda:
Even before the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the experts and insiders I regularly talk to were describing an al Qaeda network and organization on the ropes and in control of nothing, with unaffiliated "home grown" terrorism as the next wave.

But over the weekend, I read Ahmed Rashid's sobering account -- "Afghanistan: On the Brink" in the New York Review of Books -- of the resurgence of al Qaeda in south Asia.

Similarly, Anthony Shadid writes from Lebanon in The Washington Post today about the spread of a common movement from Iraq to the Mediterranean.

So now it seems from Nigeria and Somalia to the Lebanon to the Persian Gulf to Pakistan and Bangladesh to Indonesia and the Philippines, even all the way to Toronto and Atlanta, Islamic foot soldiers unite under an Osama bin Laden banner.

Pronouncement's of the death of al Qaeda -- "the base" -- now strikes me as the worst of Washington wishful thinking and a flawed intellectual approach.
Arkin goes on to outline how terrorists organizations have been using Iraq as a training ground and recruiting poster for a very widespread terrorist effort.

Can you imagine that? Who would have thought that Iraq would be such a disaster that such a thing could happen? We never could have predicted it. Right?

To readers of this blog (and most of the liberal blogosphere) this is not news. But it's now gaining traction with policy thinkers in Washington. Funny how the "angry left" has called every turn since 2001.

Take the time to go read the article referenced by Arkin to get a real flavor of what's happening in south Asia. The poppy crop has been a bumper one this year and is funding an extensive summer Taliban offensive. We're not far from being right back where we started in Afghanistan and worse off in the world in terms of the spread of Islamic radical fundamentalism.