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Posted: 10/8/2007 11:21:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/8/2007 11:23:06 AM EST by raven]
engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/al-qaedas-ramadan-offensive.html

From over 700 in August to less than 100 in September, which was Ramadan, which was when they were widely expected to ramp up violence for religious & political reasons.

October 07, 2007
Al Qaeda's Ramadan Offensive

Ramadan began on September 13 and continues through October 12. When it began, I took note of this:



Al-Qaeda threatens Ramadan offensive
...
US military commanders say increased security patrols in Iraq this year, backed by a "surge'' of US forces, has helped curb violence in Baghdad and regions around the city.

But the head of an al-Qaeda-led network in Iraq said in an audiotape posted on the internet today that the group will launch a new phase of attacks to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-styled Islamic State in Iraq, said the campaign will last until mid-October.

I never count al Qaeda out, and I had little doubt that they'd make good on this promise. They still might, but I am beginning to think that reports of al Qaeda's rapid demise in Iraq might be true. I cannot tell if I am just letting my hopes get in the way of my objectivity, but a preliminary analysis suggests that civilian deaths from suicide bombings in Iraq plummeted in September:


What you see in this chart is al Qaeda's "Tet Offensive" in August that was almost surely designed to discredit the upcoming report by General Petraeus. What you see in September is a mind-boggling drop in casualties from suicide bombers. This drop occurred during the very period that al Qaeda in Iraq threatened its "Ramadan Offensive." We still have a few days to go in Ramadan, but casualties in Iraq have remained incredibly low during the first week of October as well. If Ramadan concludes with no sign of al Qaeda's Ramadan offensive, then it will be reasonable to conclude that reports of al Qaeda's demise in Iraq are not premature. I'll let you know, one way or the other.

Most people (and all Democrats) fail to appreciate the fact that al Qaeda was directly responsible for the enormous rise in civilian casualties that occurred in 2006 and that continued until recently. As such, they do not really have a way to conceptualize the enormous drop in casualties that occurred last month and that has been maintained through the first week of this month. Once you understand the role played by al Qaeda, then, if al Qaeda really has been quashed (big "if"), I do not see how civilian casualties will ever again climb to their previous levels. The two main sources of civilian casualties in Iraq -- deaths from al Qaeda's suicide bombers and retaliatory execution-style killings by Shiite militias in Baghdad -- are both under control. If al Qaeda can no longer deliberately enrage the Shiite militias by slaughtering hundreds of innocent Shiite civilians at a time, then where are the extra 1000 deaths going to come from this month? Perhaps I'll find out some day.

Here is yet another in a long series of stories on the suicide bombers in Iraq. They are all written as if they are reporting something new, but they all reach the same conclusion:


The determination to kill Americans was common to the three bombers interviewed for this article, but is highly unlikely to be fulfilled by all of them.

Fewer than a quarter of suicide bombers succeed in blowing up coalition forces, who are relatively well shielded behind concrete barriers or the armour plating of their vehicles.

The bombers are much likelier to be deployed against Iraqi Shi’ites; soldiers, police, officials or even civilians. According to academics who have studied the Sunni insurgency, the main aim is not to avenge the destruction inflicted by US forces, but to broaden the sectarian divide, perpetuate the cycle of hatred and undermine confidence in the ability of the Shi’ite-led government to restore order.

I like that line "or even civilians," as if killing Shiite civilians is a rare, but occasional method used by al Qaeda's suicide bombers. In August alone, al Qaeda killed more than 600 civilians, and they killed civilians by the hundreds in every month prior to that as well. But at least the article correctly notes what every objective analyst (but no Democrat) realizes: al Qaeda's goal has been to incite (not merely participate in) sectarian violence in Iraq. If you are a Democrat -- especially a leading Democrat like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi or John Murtha -- you actually believe that what you witnessed in 2006 was a spontaneous eruption of a civil war caused by the power vacuum that existed in the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's demise. And that's why you cannot even begin to conceptualize the recent dramatic drop in civilian casualties.

The fact that al Qaeda could kill hundreds of innocent civilians every month in Iraq and the additional fact that the media and leading Democrats would, out of ignorance (or something else), portray those attacks as one side of a civil war (e.g., "Sunni insurgents kill dozens in Iraq") initially made me pessimist about the prospects for the troop surge. I supported the surge, but I thought that al Qaeda would just start killing civilians wherever our troops did not go. This, I thought, would help the Democrats convince the American public that Iraq's civil war was hopeless and that our troops should be immediately withdrawn. When we surrendered to al Qaeda in that way, I thought that al Qaeda would next send its army of suicide bombers to Afghanistan (to help Democrats portray that war as a failure, too). I am glad to see that my initial pessimism was (apparently) misplaced.

On the other hand, it might be true that al Qaeda is shifting its theater of operations anyway:


Attacks by Taliban mounting

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Six years after U.S. bombs began falling on the Taliban government and its al-Qaida guests, a suicide car bomber attacked an American military convoy on the road to Kabul's airport yesterday, killing a U.S. soldier and four Afghans, officials said.
...
The United States has 25,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and other NATO nations have 25,000 -- more than three times the number of international troops four years ago when the Taliban appeared defeated. The Islamic militia has come roaring back, with 100 suicide attacks in 2007 -- the bloodiest year yet.

The article makes no mention of it, but I wonder if this means that al Qaeda is beginning to divert its suicide-bomber army to Afghanistan? That is, perhaps they planned to move on to Afghanistan when they were finished with Iraq whether they won or lost that war. Time will tell, but it is clear that the hapless Taliban need the help of al Qaeda. Taliban forces have been getting eradicated this year despite their "resurgence:"


Some 5,100 people -- mostly militants -- have died violently this year, compared with 4,000 in all of last year, according to an Associated Press count. Some 87 U.S. troops have died so far this year; 90 were killed in 2006.

If al Qaeda can't help the Democrats to portray Iraq as a failure anymore, it looks like they might be able to help the Democrats portray Afghanistan as a failure. So, if you are a Democrat who is profoundly demoralized by the success of the troop surge, chin up!
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:28:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By raven:
engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/al-qaedas-ramadan-offensive.html

From over 700 in August to less than 100 in September, which was Ramadan, which was when they were widely expected to ramp up violence for religious & political reasons.

October 07, 2007
Al Qaeda's Ramadan Offensive

Ramadan began on September 13 and continues through October 12. When it began, I took note of this:



<snip>
What you see in this chart is al Qaeda's "Tet Offensive" in August that was almost surely designed to discredit the upcoming report by General Petraeus. What you see in September is a mind-boggling drop in casualties from suicide bombers. This drop occurred during the very period that al Qaeda in Iraq threatened its "Ramadan Offensive." We still have a few days to go in Ramadan, but casualties in Iraq have remained incredibly low during the first week of October as well. If Ramadan concludes with no sign of al Qaeda's Ramadan offensive, then it will be reasonable to conclude that reports of al Qaeda's demise in Iraq are not premature. I'll let you know, one way or the other.
<snip>


Warmed my heart.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:33:43 AM EST

Originally Posted By Shane333:

Originally Posted By raven:
engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/al-qaedas-ramadan-offensive.html

From over 700 in August to less than 100 in September, which was Ramadan, which was when they were widely expected to ramp up violence for religious & political reasons.

October 07, 2007
Al Qaeda's Ramadan Offensive

Ramadan began on September 13 and continues through October 12. When it began, I took note of this:



<snip>
What you see in this chart is al Qaeda's "Tet Offensive" in August that was almost surely designed to discredit the upcoming report by General Petraeus. What you see in September is a mind-boggling drop in casualties from suicide bombers. This drop occurred during the very period that al Qaeda in Iraq threatened its "Ramadan Offensive." We still have a few days to go in Ramadan, but casualties in Iraq have remained incredibly low during the first week of October as well. If Ramadan concludes with no sign of al Qaeda's Ramadan offensive, then it will be reasonable to conclude that reports of al Qaeda's demise in Iraq are not premature. I'll let you know, one way or the other.
<snip>


Warmed my heart.


Probably not Harry Reid's though.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:36:55 AM EST
That's not the trend that the media wants to report.

Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:37:48 AM EST
Good read, thanks for posting.


Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:38:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By raven:

Originally Posted By Shane333:

Originally Posted By raven:
engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/al-qaedas-ramadan-offensive.html

From over 700 in August to less than 100 in September, which was Ramadan, which was when they were widely expected to ramp up violence for religious & political reasons.

October 07, 2007
Al Qaeda's Ramadan Offensive

Ramadan began on September 13 and continues through October 12. When it began, I took note of this:



<snip>
What you see in this chart is al Qaeda's "Tet Offensive" in August that was almost surely designed to discredit the upcoming report by General Petraeus. What you see in September is a mind-boggling drop in casualties from suicide bombers. This drop occurred during the very period that al Qaeda in Iraq threatened its "Ramadan Offensive." We still have a few days to go in Ramadan, but casualties in Iraq have remained incredibly low during the first week of October as well. If Ramadan concludes with no sign of al Qaeda's Ramadan offensive, then it will be reasonable to conclude that reports of al Qaeda's demise in Iraq are not premature. I'll let you know, one way or the other.
<snip>


Warmed my heart.


Probably not Harry Reid's though.


I can't think of anything nice to say about Harry Reid, so I better not say anything....
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:40:28 AM EST
I love it!

However, as a cynic, I'm trying to come up with a reason why Iran and AQ might find it advantageous to ratchet back the violence.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:44:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/8/2007 11:46:39 AM EST by raven]

Originally Posted By TheCynic:
I love it!

However, as a cynic, I'm trying to come up with a reason why Iran and AQ might find it advantageous to ratchet back the violence.


Well what is happening now is that al-Qaeda is massacring civilians and committing unspeakable atrocities to get media attention from their allies in the Western press & Democrat party. Unfortunately for them, this is a very short-term and unsustainable strategy and turns the civilians away from al-Qaeda and into the arms of the US and Iraqi government.

I mean, they're killing civilians, then coming back, exhuming the graves, and desecrating the bodies. They're complete psychos.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:47:46 AM EST

If al Qaeda can't help the Democrats to portray Iraq as a failure anymore, it looks like they might be able to help the Democrats portray Afghanistan as a failure. So, if you are a Democrat who is profoundly demoralized by the success of the troop surge, chin up!


Isn't that the damn truth.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:49:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By raven:
I mean, they're killing civilians, then coming back, exhuming the graves, and desecrating the bodies. They're complete psychos.

Holy shit.
Link Posted: 10/8/2007 11:52:02 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/8/2007 11:52:45 AM EST by Greenhorn]

Originally Posted By raven:

Originally Posted By Shane333:

Originally Posted By raven:
engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/10/al-qaedas-ramadan-offensive.html

From over 700 in August to less than 100 in September, which was Ramadan, which was when they were widely expected to ramp up violence for religious & political reasons.

October 07, 2007
Al Qaeda's Ramadan Offensive

Ramadan began on September 13 and continues through October 12. When it began, I took note of this:



<snip>
What you see in this chart is al Qaeda's "Tet Offensive" in August that was almost surely designed to discredit the upcoming report by General Petraeus. What you see in September is a mind-boggling drop in casualties from suicide bombers. This drop occurred during the very period that al Qaeda in Iraq threatened its "Ramadan Offensive." We still have a few days to go in Ramadan, but casualties in Iraq have remained incredibly low during the first week of October as well. If Ramadan concludes with no sign of al Qaeda's Ramadan offensive, then it will be reasonable to conclude that reports of al Qaeda's demise in Iraq are not premature. I'll let you know, one way or the other.
<snip>


Warmed my heart.


Probably not Harry Reid's though.


Harry Reid's . . . heart? Are you trying to mess with my head?


Link Posted: 10/8/2007 12:09:46 PM EST

Originally Posted By TheCynic:

Originally Posted By raven:
I mean, they're killing civilians, then coming back, exhuming the graves, and desecrating the bodies. They're complete psychos.

Holy sh**.


I don't view them as psycho. They're evil. Absolutely evil.
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