International

Wishful thinking

Andrew Sullivan rather states the obvious noting how al Qaeda is hardly likely to win friends in Turkey and Britain with yesterday’s bombing, but he uses this to inject us with a dose of false optimism.

They may well alienate Turkey’s Muslim population. And by murdering Brits, they have hopelessly undercut the anti-Western demonstrations in London.

First of all I am not sure how much the Turks need to be alienated. There was no significant level of support for Bin Laden in Turkey before the bombings. And as for the demo, well what has that got to do with it?

Sullivan’s point about the targetting is being repeated in several parts of the media- al Qaeda are killing Moslems now they must be really losing it.

But they always killed Moslems. They have nearly always gone for soft targets and have never cared who gets in the way. This really is nothing new – remember Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania? Together with the Taliban they helped the slaughter of Afghans. For the past few months they have been busy killing Iraqis.

September 11 really was the exception. And as Jack Straw said on Radio Four this morning, we all too often forget the attacks before 9/11.

The problem with this failure to understand the enemy is that it leads to conlusions such as this from Sullivan:

Perhaps al Qaeda is now so disorganized that it is practically incapable of any intelligent strategy. Either way, these terrible murders are indicators of something worth noting: the enemy may be falling apart. This may make it more dangerous in the short term. But it bodes well for eventual victory.

Let’s recap. Twice inside a week the terrorists have carried out bombings in the heart of a major European city. There was no intelligence warnings. In Iraq foreign troops and Iraqi civilians are being killed every day by the terrorists and there are few signs of progress in defeating them.

This according to Sullivan, “bodes well for an eventual victory”?

I really hope that the people who matter in the war against the terrorists have a rather sharper analysis than this.

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