Many call me a cynic. But it makes sense. They obviously let the Pentagon coffee boy draft the response to the Somalian air raids, because quite frankly anyone who gets upset about the UIC and allies getting the shit bombed out of them needs their heads checked. Then again, logical consistency has never been a strong point of the left or right wing, at least not for 60 odd years.
So everyone is crying foul over Somalia and meanwhile, the USA raiding the Iranian consulate in Iraq (an act of war), has dropped off the BBC front page already. Oh, wait, its reappeared, because Iraq now say they backed it. But it wasn't up in the early afternoon. And suddenly everyones favourite bogeyman, Al-Qaeda, is back on the radar.
Here is the cliff notes version of the BBC report: Al-Qaeda is based in Pakistan now and is trying to reconnect to its Middle East, Asian, European and African Horn cells.
Yeah, thats it. Shit, I'm no expert on AQ but I could have told you this and ten times more in a few off hand comments. In 2003, Al-Qaeda sent fighters who had been trained by them to Iraq, where they made contact with Zarqawi's cells and used their superior tactical information to plot attacks. In 2005 the CIA caught a man who was commonly referred to as the "Switchboard", because he was reconnecting the Al-Qaeda cells, which have been cropping up like nobodies business, and with no prompting from the core leadership since 9/11, who had communications disrupted since being ousted from Afghanistan.
Is this really news to anyone? What did they expect, that Bin Laden and Zawahiri would say "well, shit, thats us beat. Fancy a visit to the brothels in Karachi? There's this one strip club in the Shiite quarter with the most amazing...". You get the idea.
So obviously, since such old news is being reported, something is up. And that, my friends, is Iran. Dr Ali Ansari, one of my favourite lecturers up here, as well as probably the most consulted expert on Iran for the media (I'm surprised he ever sleeps, given how quoted he is), thinks this bodes bad. Really bad. And knowing how academics are careful with their choice of words, thats not a good thing to hear. Israel also started off the New Year with a plan to detonate nukes over Iran in a first strike leaked to the Times. But only little nukes. So thats all fine, then.
Some of the blame for this, I feel, goes with the Democrat hawks. Clinton, Dean and Obama, in particular, are more than up for blasting Iran back to the stone age. So thats some of the leading lights of the Dems and the Executive in agreement then, as well as Israel in a dangerous mood after its conventional defeat in Lebanon over the summer, to Iran's proxies no less.
I'd lose no sleep with Iran's repugnant and backward regime being wiped out of existence. Its the millions of innocents that would go with it which worry me. And thats not hyperbole. Iran is not very popular with the Arab states right now, bar Syria. Should Iran end up being pre-emptively nuked, there will be a tidal wave of vengeance across the Middle East from every fanatical faction. This justifies every paranoid conspiracy theory being peddled by the more insane Imams right now, about a US overthrow of Muslim regimes. Since these ideas already are gaining currency since the invasion of Iraq, this will just confirm them among the wider population. We're talking a regional powershift that could leave the USA with barely a friend in the Middle East. Radical governments hostile to the USA and Israel could be swept to power on a message of revenge and hate. International groups like Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda would profit incredibly in terms of recruits. If we could bet on anything, it would be Hezbollah unleashing a terrorist campaign against the USA.
Isn't anyone in policy saying this? It can't just be the people outside of the government who can see the obvious problems this would cause, can it?