Friday, May 30, 2008

Al-Qaeda on the verge of collapse?

I imagine after the political fiasco of the "Mission Accomplished" banner, the Bush Administration is loathe to call any conflict "near victory". But the CIA has now released a report indicating that Al-Qaeda may be on its last legs.

"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he said, ticking down a list of accomplishments: "Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam," he said.

The sense of shifting tides in the terrorism fight is shared by a number of terrorism experts, though some caution that it is too early to tell whether the gains are permanent. Some credit Hayden and other U.S. intelligence leaders for going on the offensive against al-Qaeda in the area along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where the tempo of Predator strikes has dramatically increased from previous years. But analysts say the United States has caught some breaks in the past year, benefiting from improved conditions in Iraq, as well as strategic blunders by al-Qaeda that have cut into its support base.

"One of the lessons we can draw from the past two years is that al-Qaeda is its own worst enemy," said Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism official who is now managing director of Kroll, a risk consulting firm. "Where they have succeeded initially, they very quickly discredit themselves."
This may also explain the rumored Bin Laden tape which calls for the use of WMDs on Western Civilians - a sign of desperation and a complete abandonment of any moral high ground by even the most ardent Militant Islamic observer.

Ward and I were discussing just yesterday the administrations unwillingness to toot its own horn right now in the Iraq War and the battle against Al-Gaeda. Do you think this is a reversal of that policy, or is the CIA trying to make their own news outside of the White House news cycle?

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