Sunday, September 05, 2004

Al Qaeda’s Dread Touch Falls on Moscow, Beslan, Beersheba...

From DEBKA-Net-Weekly 172 of Sep 3, Updated by DebkaFile

On Friday, September 3, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 172 wrote:

It took White House spinmeisters less than a day to get President George W. Bush to modify the astonishing statement he made Monday, August 30, when he told NBC’s Today Show “I don’t think you can win” the war on terror but “you can you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world”.

Persuaded to reverse course by the flap his remark stirred during the Republican National Convention in New York, the president said in a speech in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday, August 31 “We meet today at a time of war for our country, a war we did not start, yet one that we will win."

No matter how he tries to sell it, Bush’s initial comments were right on the money, reflecting the intelligence briefings put before him day by day.

In “Al Qaeda Today, Centralized Strategic Decisions, Decentralized Operations”, (DEBKA-Net-Weekly 168, August 6) , examination of the terrorist network’s operational deployment revealed that its supreme leadership was losing direct control over target selection or the modalities of attacks decided by local branches, beyond general directives. The brutal school siege in Beslan, North Osettia, this week, was on example of a regional operation run by semi-autonomous regional or local affiliates over which the overall leadership has little control.

The school siege was masterminded by the Saudi wing of al Qaeda in Chechnya. Al Qaeda cells based in Iran are prone to manipulation by Tehran for political and military ends that are foreign to the movement’s objectives. Al Qaeda is also found in league with Iran and the Lebanese Hizballah in attempting to grab footholds in South Lebanon and Gaza Strip.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi sometimes acts out his own agenda in Iraq.

The first cracks are marring the once rock-smooth relations of unity and obedience binding the fundamentalist terror network’s various operational branches to the directives handed down by the top leaders.

This fragmentation of al Qaeda into ungovernable entities allied with outside forces, embedded in civilian populations and targeting other civilians, seriously hampers the efforts of counter-terror force to catch – let alone prevail over - all its widely-diffused fighting elements – certainly not by conventional military means.

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