Just what it says…on a variety of subjects
Found in Foreign Policy Situation Report this morning:
“Whither the U.S. on Mali? There was an interesting development over the last 24 hours, with a faction of the Mali rebels indicating they would peel off, potentially negotiate with the French, and go so far as to help fight other extremists in the northern part of the country. AP: “Three al-Qaida-linked extremist groups have controlled Mali’s vast northeast for months, capitalizing on chaos that followed a coup d’etat in Mali’s capital, Bamako, in March. But in a new sign of splintering, former Ansar Dine leader Alghabass Ag Intalla told the Associated Press on Thursday that he and his men were breaking off from Ansar Dine ?so that we can be in control of our own fate.’” The leader said his group neither identified with AQIM or another group, the Movement for the Unity and Jihad in West Africa, but rather with a group with a set of grievances against the government.”
AQ must not have registered its service mark and trademarked its name!
For more: http://www.newser.com/article/da40pamo2/malis-ansar-dine-rebel-group-splits-amid-blistering-french-air-strikes-growing-african-force.html
“Al Qaeda,” the New Brand Name? Secretary Clinton’s testimony…What is “Al Qaeda” these days, to it, to us?
There seems little doubt that the original Al Qaeda” organization, based in Afghanistan and led by Osama Bin Laden, has been “decimated,” to use her term. Our enemy in Afghanistan and Pakistan appears to be the Taliban and the Haqanni Network. Yet reports often refer to one or both “Islamic militants” and “Al Qaeda” as if they are two different groups, the latter in some sense more dangerous to us than the former.
Yesterday in her Senate testimony Secretary Clinton referred to Al Qaeda as “a brand,” saying that some groups using that name included people who were trained in Afghanistan by the now decimated organization. She went on to refer to use of the name to recruit adherents and used the term “affiliated with Al Qaeda” to describe other groups of Islamic militants. She pointed to yet other groups that do not use that designation.
Is there any meaning left in the term Al Qaeda that distinguishes these people from Islamic militants from a public perspective? (I can see why intelligence agencies might make some distinctions particularly to understanding the biographies and training of those individuals who have migrated from Afghanistan.)
I raise this question because the term is still such a “hot button.” It seems to me that officials and the media use it to heighten the sense of threat, even as it seems to be losing its ability to be more of a threat than any other militant group.
In my quest to cool hot buttons, if they have no real heat, I raise the question, what is Al Qaeda? What does that term mean now?
“What is the difference between planning to win the next election and conspiring to intentionally collapse the American economy, if necessary, merely so the conspirators’ party can regain the Office of the Presidency? On such razor sharp edges the Republicans decided to dance.”
Taken from Wassup This Week, the blog written by a friend, Folke Tyko Kihlstedt, which I commend to your attention.
Just catch these last few paragraphs. There is a future beyond Brennan, Obama, Romney, all the prospective presidents whose names we might now foresee. Having this in place, as well as laws that fail to define “terrorism” or “associated forces” and permit indefinite detention, even of citizens, and presumably killing them on presidential authority, is not consistent with American values as I’ve learned them.
“Said Brennan: “I think the president always needs the ability to do things under his chief executive powers and authorities, to include covert action.” But, he added, “I think the rule should be that if we’re going to take actions overseas that result in the deaths of people, the United States should take responsibility for that.”
One official said that “for a guy whose reputation is focused on how tough he is on counterterrorism,” Brennan is “more focused than anybody in the government on the legal, ethical and transparency questions associated with all this.” By drawing so much decision-making directly into his own office, said another, he has “forced a much better process at the CIA and the Defense Department.”
Even if Obama is reelected, Brennan may not stay for another term. That means someone else is likely to be interpreting his playbook.
“Do I want this system to last forever?” a senior official said. “No. Do I think it’s the best system for now? Yes.”
“What is scary,” he concluded, “is the apparatus set up without John to run it.””