Thursday, August 25, 2005


I was on base making up a missed drill day today (ssshhhh!!! don't tell the left, or they'll call me a deserter). My OIC handed me an article from Stratfor (a damn good source of intelligence). It was written by analyst George Friedman and was titled Al Qaeda's Global Campaign: Tet Offensive or Battle of the Bulge?. It was published about a month ago, but I hadn't seen it until today.

It costs money to join Stratfor and read all their best stuff, but I found the entire article posted here.
A spate of attacks have occurred recently that we attribute to al Qaeda. In addition to the two rounds of attacks in London this month and the bombings at Sharm el Sheikh, we have seen ongoing suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq that targeted government officials, the bombing of a Sufi shrine in Islamabad, the abduction and murder of an Iranian security official and other killings in the Muslim world. In addition, we have seen an intensification of attacks in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda-linked faction. We are not great believers in coincidence and therefore regard these incidents as being coordinated. The degree of coordination and the method whereby coordination is achieved is murky, and not really material. But that we are experiencing an offensive by al Qaeda is clear.

At issue is the nature of the offensive. To put the matter simply, do these attacks indicate the ongoing, undiminished strength of al Qaeda, or do they represent a final, desperate counterattack -- both within Iraq and globally -- to attempt to reverse al Qaeda's fortunes? In our view, the latter is the case. Al Qaeda, having been hammered over the past four years, and al-Zarqawi, facing the defection of large segments of his Sunni base of support, are engaged in a desperate attempt to reverse the course of the war. It is not clear that they will fail; such counter-offensives have succeeded in recent years. The question is whether this is a Tet offensive or a Battle of the Bulge.

If you haven't read it yet, check it out. It is a well reasoned and dispassionate analysis of the global war on terrorism. George Friedman seems to have a keen understanding of the psychological aspects of war. Public opinion is as much a factor in war as troop levels, training, and munitions. Unfortunatley, the terrorists seem to understand this too.

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