"Faisal Shahzad, French terror arrests, and drone strikes: evidence of a working strategy?"

    is the very good question that Dan Murphy is asking.

    It's hard to avoid the thought that those particular drone attacks  were based on some things this guy said.

    There was also the arrest and interrogation of Ahmad Siddiqui in July.

    There are other things going on, like this

    As I was trying to point out here in 3 comments on Wolfram's news thread of October 1, the U.S. CIA director does not fly to Islamabad to defend most drone strikes. And ordinarily, when a country you are working with is angry at you about something, and something you do is causing them trouble, you ratchet things down some and make nice nice for a while, not have the CIA director fly in to harange them further and ratchet things up. It seemed to me something major was up, which was being judged worth causing major trouble.

    I might add more in comments as I find them.


    Pakistan: Dozens of Europeans in terror training
    By KATHY GANNON, The Associated Press
    Sunday, October 3, 2010


    A senior official of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, told The Associated Press that there are believed to be "several dozen" people with European citizenship - many of Pakistani origin - among the Islamic extremists operating in the lawless border area.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to talk about classified information to the media, said foreigners in the area also include Chechens, Uzbeks, Arabs and Turks, one of whom was a former F-16 pilot in the Turkish air force.

    "That shows you that some of the people who are coming are very well educated," he said.

    The official also said Pakistan authorities arrested four Russian jihadis who infiltrated into Pakistan along with their families. "It was very surprising for us but they come thinking this is the pure (Islamic) ideology that they are seeking," he said.

    Britain's communications monitoring agency, the Government Communications Headquarters or GCHQ, estimates there are as many as 20 British-born militants in the border area, especially in the North Waziristan district that has been the focus of recent missile strikes carried out by unmanned aircraft operated by the CIA.

    Mobile phone communications have been tracked from the border area to points in Britain....


    In addition, a spokeswoman with Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office said last week that there is "concrete evidence" that 70 people have traveled from Germany to Pakistan and Afghanistan for paramilitary training, and that about a third of them have returned to Germany....


    A Pakistani official said some information about the plot came from a suspect who had been interrogated at the military prison at Bagram Air Field north of Kabul, the main U.S. and NATO base in Afghanistan. A U.S. official identified him as Ahmed Siddiqui, a German citizen of Afghan origin who was captured in Afghanistan in July.



    AP Interview: Interpol head warns of Somali threat

    By PAISLEY DODDS (AP) – 5 days ago

    BRUSSELS — Somalia and other African nations could soon pose more of a terrorist threat than Afghanistan, Interpol's secretary general warned Thursday.

    In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Ronald K. Noble said many Somali militants had received training in Afghanistan and Pakistan and were using their homeland now as a base to seed terror.


    Noble's comments came as more details emerged Thursday of terror plot against Europe — one that Pakistani officials said involved eight Germans and two British brothers and one that prompted a surge in CIA drone missile strikes against suspected al-Qaida hideouts in Pakistan. One of the Britons allegedly died in one of the strikes earlier this month.

    Pakistan, Britain and Germany are now tracking the suspects and intercepting their phone calls, a Pakistani official told the AP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information to the media.

    The official is part of an intelligence team that has been tracking the two British brothers of Pakistani origin for nearly a year and the Germans for more than six months.

    He said the suspects are hiding in North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region where militancy is rife and where the U.S. has focused many of its drone-fired missile strikes. British officials have said the plot is still active.

    "They have been making calls to Germany and London," the Pakistani official said. "They have been talking about and looking for facilitators and logistics they need there to carry out terror strikes."



    Winnipeg Muslims shocked local trio target of global terrorism probe

    Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
    Published Friday, Oct. 01, 2010

    Winnipeg’s Muslim community expressed shock and sadness at the revelation that three young men who once worshipped among them have been fingered as the subjects of a massive international terrorism investigation....



    EU plot, German jihadis and the Waziristan connection

    Daily Times (of Pakistan,) October 5, 2010

    By Ali K Chishti

    On March 4, 2009, three men and two women boarded an airplane from Hamburg that was to take them to Qatar and then to Peshawar.

    The five Islamists wanted to leave Germany and live in a remote and lawless part of Pakistan near the Afghan border at Waziristan. Shahab D of Iranian descent, who had fled with his parents after the Iran-Iraq war to Germany, was one of the Islamists.....


    US report says Pakistan unwilling to pursue militants

    Dawn (Pakistan), Wednesday, 06 Oct, 2010

    WASHINGTON: A new White House assessment concludes that Pakistan has been unwilling to aggressively pursue Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban militants in a Pakistani tribal region.

    The White House assessment, first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday and confirmed by Reuters, faults the Pakistan government and military for lacking the will to take action against the militants in North Waziristan.

    “The Pakistan military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or Al-Qaeda forces in North Waziristan,” the assessment said, according to a US official who has seen the report.

    “This is as much a political choice as it is a reflection of an under-resourced military prioritizing its targets,” the report said....


    He asks a good question, though I think the title is misleading, or else I'm reading wrong.  The evidence that shared intelligence is helpful is good to hear.  Drone strikes in response are not helpful, IMO, in any but the shortest run.  It's the part of the White House's master plan on Pakistan (according to Woodward, anyway) that I find so incredibly flawed.  The notion that you can bomb away safe havens to prevent the rage that causes rage against the west simply bumfuzzles me.

    Lots of info there, thanks Artie.

    "The notion that you can bomb away safe havens to prevent the rage that causes rage against the west simply bumfuzzles me."

    I don't disagree that bombing in and of itself doesn't promote peaceful and productive international relations.  On the other hand I also think that there are all kinds of things that promote "rage against the west."  So I think that rage has to be taken into account before we use a drone (which I guess I prefer using as opposed to a real, live American boy or girl to attack a target that we have genuine reason to believe poses a real threat to Americans), but I don't think it's fair or helpful to presume that, but for that drone (or that real live American son or daughter), there wouldn't be rage against the United States or the west. 

    This is in line with what uyou posted at Wattree's thread, Bruce,  Can't say I think you're right, but you may find this at FP of interest:


     But drones are not bombs, they are actually an alternative to them. You can certainly be against them both, but grouping them together for a facile antiwar argument isn't really going to convince anyone where that convincing matters. I myself recall that some antiwar people used to make the opposite argument--i.e., why are we always going to war (and bombing) in order to get one or two terrible guys--why not just assassinate them.

    Some drones carry bombs, AA.

    AA, I didn't take the time yesterday, but here's this on drones and bombs:


    "The company had a dual role in the drone program, said current and former employees and intelligence officials. Contractors on the secret bases assembled and loaded Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs onto drones, and they also provided security at the C.I.A. bases.

    The C.I.A. did not allow contractors to select targets for the drone attacks or pull the trigger on the strikes. That work was done at the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Langley, Va.

    But Blackwater’s direct role in the drone operations sometimes led to disputes between the contractors and C.I.A. employees, as the spy agency sometimes accused Blackwater employees of poor weapon assembly if the missile or bomb missed a target. In one instance last year, a 500-pound bomb dropped off a Predator before the drone had launched its payload, leading to a frenzied search along the Afghan-Pakistani border."


    If the strategy is to pick off our assailants one by one as our intelligence manifests itself, that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.  It's also basically law enforcement with predator drones, almost akin to putting SWAT team snipers on the top of every building in New York and telling them to pick off criminals as they witness the acts.  We'd be far better off with a more cohesive, global, on the ground law enforcement effort, though we're well past the point we're talking about terrorism as the criminal act that it is has become an acceptable part of our serious discourse.

    Art, this is good. In truth, except for the body bags, (a real big "except") Af-Pak is turning out to be much worse than Vietnam. Certainly the fallout for the US is going to be worse in the long run, I'm sure.

    I did a video on the drones once. Unlike TPM, we can share videos here, here it goes.


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