The Yemen Brief: Expanding Scope of US Military Engagement Exactly What Bin Laden Wants

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yemen minister of foreign affairs.jpgAbubakr Al-Qirbi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen, addresses the general debate of the sixty-third session of the General Assembly. (official United Nations photo)
Below the break follows the official statement from Yemen’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
Yemen is in a very complicated place when it comes to its efforts against al Qaeda, other rebel tribes, and managing the lines of its sovereignty against explicit foreign intrusion.
Despite the Obama administration’s strange non-denial denial regarding military activities inside Yemen in which passions are running strongly inside Yemen against the US, the US is working with the Yemeni government in trying to identify and attack al Qaeda operations. Some are arguing that a quid pro quo is developing in which the administration is now engaged in a covert war against Houthi rebels, which the US has refused to identify as a terrorist group, in partial exchange for more kinetic action from the Yemen government against al Qaeda operations.
The Obama administration has to step back at some point and ask itself what the dangers and downsides are of an ever-widening military span of operations. Some neocons in addition to Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) are now pointing to Yemen as “threat next” and agitating for a much more aggressive American presence there.
National security officials in the administration need to go back and read Peter Bergen‘s Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden in which he recounts many aspects of bin Laden’s plan from the Islamic extremist uber-guru’s own words – which was to draw the US deeply into the Middle East, and by its presence — destabilize the governments in the region.
Bin Laden, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, remains the single most significant sculptor of global affairs today, pushing the buttons of an American superpower as well as other regimes, so that they engage in emotional, knee jerk crusades that undermine what is left of a global equilibrium and the perception of American power.
Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and enemies yet to be named win with each new soldier deployed to the Middle East and South Asia.
President Obama must step back and think about America’s current strategic course.
Here is the official statement from the Yemen Foreign Ministry about the Nigerian well-heeled, educated, would-be bomber:

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen
Washington, DC
Office of Media & Public Affairs
Press Statement — December 28, 2009

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Yemen has issued a statement condemning the recent attempted terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national charged with attempting to blow up an American aircraft on route from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Detroit, United States of America.
Yemen has long suffered from terrorism and condemns such criminal acts that kill innocent civilians. Yemen is and remains an active partner of the international community in the war against terrorism. Efforts of Yemeni security agencies to continue ongoing operations and prosecutions against terrorist operatives from Al-Qaeda will not falter.
The Immigration and Passport Agency has confirmed that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was in Yemen during the period from early August to early December 2009 after obtaining a visa to study Arabic at a language institute. He has previously studied in the same institute. His passport had a valid U.S. visa and other foreign visas. There was nothing suspicious about his intentions to visit Yemen, especially considering he had also visited the U.S. in the past.
The statement reasserted that investigations are being conducted by Yemeni Security Agencies to identify any other individuals who may be linked to him, and immediate action will be taken against any accomplice(s) determined. The outcome of the investigation will be shared with the appropriate U.S. authorities. Indeed, the scope of US-Yemen bilateral law enforcement cooperation has been substantial and continues to deepen.
The statement reiterated the importance of international cooperation in the areas of intelligence sharing amongst nations; particularly for those linked to combating terrorism. Furthermore, the official statement expressed the crucial need to enhance security procedures at airports and border posts to prevent terrorist operatives from carrying on their destructive plans that could undermine global security and stability.
December 28, 2009
Ministry of the Foreign Affairs
Sana’a, Republic of Yemen

– Steve Clemons

Comments

52 comments on “The Yemen Brief: Expanding Scope of US Military Engagement Exactly What Bin Laden Wants

  1. atiq masood says:

    honourable world community what benefit Pakistan is getting by fighting the proxy war against terrorism.the reality is that Pakistan is doing his best to make the world prosperous and erasing terrorism and the biggest cost of this war is being paid by pakisani people in the form of lifelost and economic demage.Americans are now the superpower of the world and they are unable even to stop the opium production and smuggling to the world from Afghanistan(inspite of being deployment of a large no of troops in Afghanistan) the aid given by Americans to Pakistan do not touch even the ground floor of the height of damage which this proxy war of the world has brought to pakistan.it is not single duty of america to help pakistan to eradicate terrorism as it is the factor which is damaging or certaiinly will demage more(if not controlled)the whole worls in all respects i.e economy,peace,prosperity,life etc..now it is the responsibilty of all the world community to help Pakistan as Pakistan has achieved the most high sucess with least encouragement from the world.nowits time the world instead of being ask pakistan to do morerather they should do more in repect of aid,appreciation and then thay can definately expect more.(terrorists have no borders,they are enemy of humanity so its combined duty of all of us to eradicate this menace) atiq masood pakistan.

    Reply

  2. John Waring says:

    Steve,
    In his decision to commit 100,000 troops to Afghanistan, President Obama signed off on the principles of The Long War. He has embraced the Bush/Cheney template for combating violent jihadi extremism. To my eyes Yemen is a strange and exotic place, no place for American troops, but Yemen is no stranger, nor more exotic, than Afghanistan. If the administration think war will work in Afghanistan, would not the administration also think war would work in Yemen? We are culturally deaf to the reality that the American military cannot effect the political change we desire in Muslim lands. So I do not see this theater of the absurd ending any time soon.

    Reply

  3. Btok says:

    To tell the truth it is a PSYOP in order for the American Govt. and Globalists’ to Start Controlling Citizens’ Travel!
    Infowars.com
    January 3, 2009
    Prior to the underwear bomber incident on Christmas, the House of Representatives tabled legislation to “reform” the Constitution nullifying Patriot Act. On December 16, nine days before the patsy Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was delivered to the airport in Amsterdam by his handler, Congress decided to shuffle the law off into the New Year.
    Wayne Madsen tells Russia Today the false flag non-attack will be used to push “Patriot Act 3.0.”
    Many of the Patriot Act provisions were set to expire on January 1st.
    David Kravets wrote for Wired at the time:
    Under Wednesday’s action, the NSL-reform [National Security Letters] vote is also delayed until the New Year. And the three expiring provisions will remain in force at least through February. The extension came as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) balked at a Senate plan to include Patriot Act amendments into a $636 billion Pentagon funding measure, saying doing so would create “revolt on the left.”
    In fact, the so-called “left” in Congress is as dedicated to implementing the government’s control grid as the “right.” The only difference is that Democrats engage in more hand-wringing over the legislation.
    So-called liberal Democrats have pushed for renewal of the police state law, including the former Saturday Night Live comedian Al Franken, now a Democrat from Minnesota.
    Judge Napolitano comments on the unconstitutionality of the Patriot Act.
    “Heightened terrorist activity in recent days and months — from the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day to the shootings at Fort Hood, to the murder of a Saudi Arabian border guard by Yemeni insurgents, reveal that our need for robust intelligence gathering tools has not diminished since 9/11,” declared Republican Congressman Dan Lungren on December 31.
    The false flag terror operation above Detroit will be used to squelch any opposition to renewing the Patriot Act in February.
    Funny how things work.
    Check out what Government is doing behind your back at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VebOTc-7shU

    Reply

  4. rc says:

    fyi -
    I refer you to … (in about 1:07 / 9:04)
    January 4, 2010
    Afghanistan and global dominance
    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=4680&updaterx=2010-01-04+03%3A54%3A16

    Reply

  5. fyi says:

    RC -
    Your refrences are obsolete – events have passed them by.
    Truly, US will gain nothing by fighting on in Afghanistan. She ought to leave now.
    Then, all of a sudden, the Central Asian States, China, Russia, Iran, India, and Paksitan will start to worry about Taliban and Al Qaeda in that wretched country.

    Reply

  6. rc says:

    fyi -
    In respect to your 3rd point: time will tell.
    I think there is life in this scenario yet — e.g. http://www.newgreatgame.com/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Great_Game

    Reply

  7. fyi says:

    rc -
    Iran’s relationship with Lebeanon’s Shia Muslims goes back 400 years.
    Her support of Palestinian, on the other hand, must be understood as support for the Muslim Cause of the last 60 years.
    Chinese Copper mining is irrelevant to any Great Game – that is over, kaput, finished.

    Reply

  8. deweytellit says:

    Ron Paul on the failed airline bombing and a possible war against Yemen:
    “It’s time the American people woke up and started realizing that there’s a bit of propaganda going on and quite possibly this incident will not only undermine our personal liberties but will also accelerate our intervention and the violence occurring in the Middle East.”

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  9. rc says:

    … and this little paragraph puts the recent US gov corruption allegations in context — it not a corrupt Afghan government that is the issue, rather a corrupt vassal regime that will not issue contracts according to master’s wishes.
    “To minimize corruption, the Afghan government decided, on the advice of American advisers, to ask the World Bank and a Colorado geological consulting firm to help oversee the bidding. A report last month in The Washington Post quoted an American official as charging that the Chinese swayed the bid with $20 million or more in bribes to the mining minister, Muhammad Ibrahim Adel, who was recently dismissed from the Afghan government in part because of the allegations. Mr. Adel has denied the charge.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/30/world/asia/30mine.html
    I guess there is only one thing better than owning the us$ printing presses — and that is owning the US government debt created by using them. Why would China care about price when it is so strategic a step towards an effective China-Iran bridge. Next step, as the US fades out through domestic issues? A Chinese peace-keeping security service of course.

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  10. rc says:

    fyi, (Dec 29 2009, 11:31AM)
    Perhaps you are correct on the Afghan pipeline & the ‘old’ Great Game scenario, but I detect a new flow of royalty wealth from Chinese copper mining through to American security services (read Military Industrial Complex) as a similar development:
    “To the extent that the Chinese bring Afghanistan up to speed and start paying a billion dollars a year in royalties,” a Western government official who has followed the Aynak project said, “that would mean that Afghanistan is on a firmer ground to start paying for its own security.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/30/world/asia/30mine.html
    Yemen: I’ll wait and see. Is Iran’s connection with Palestinians and Lebanon’s Hezbollah any less? Iran will see it as and encirclement strategy and be poised to react. All that is needed is a trigger, … or should I say a better than average gonad detonator.

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  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    As this thing unfolds, it appears that the Crotch Bomber has put together a positively Rovian Christmas package for Dick Cheney and his slimey crew of neo-con scumbags.
    Geez, what more could they wish for? The “released Gitmo detainees” part of this charade is fuckin’ classic. Is there anything that was left out of Dick Cheney’s “what I want from Santa” list that this obvious patsy didn’t deliver?
    I’ll tell you what, if the American people buy into this bullshit, then we gotta be one of the most naive ignorant societies on the planet.
    Steve, if you’re buying this crock of shit, I’ll need to revise my appraisal of your apparent intelligence. I’d rather see you selling this shit then I would see that you’re stupid enough to buy it.

    Reply

  12. gophigure says:

    Steve,
    Nice, thoughtful post. I’m not sure why it stirred up such rants, but I admire the fact that you actually answer the comments.
    My concern is that pragmatism may be the Achilles Heel of our President. To address the Nobel Committee with a speech justifying war was disappointing in the extreme. I am not a pacifist (yet), but I think the “ideal” of global peace should be pursued. I have to wonder if Obama’s hero, Abraham Lincoln, had been a pragmatist instead of an idealist and had decided it wouldn’t be practical to free ALL the slaves.

    Reply

  13. Bob says:

    I agree with those who say it doesn’t much matter
    whether OBL is dead or alive. He is more of a
    symbolic figure in the AQ movement anyway. I am
    perplexed though by the fact that OBL has stated
    exactly what AQ’s strategy is – and that is to
    bankrupt the U.S. He even provides details. He
    says all he has to do to get the U.S. to hemorrhage more money is to send two mujadeen with
    a banner to some remote corner of the world and
    the next thing you know the U.S. is sending
    generals and troops and equipment.
    He goes even further and states that the only
    people who gain are the corporations involved in
    war profiteering.
    I don’t know – why do I feel like we keep playing
    his game, even after he’s shown us his cards?

    Reply

  14. David says:

    “…so that they engage in emotional, knee jerk crusades…”
    That has defined America for as long as I can remember (I was born in 1942). That is what reactionary polemicists have all too easily exploited, an aspect of the American national character that Joseph McCarthy successfully used to destroy many people’s lives and Eisenhower’s Secretary of State John Foster Dulles was seduced by when he agreed to Britain’s urging that the United States overthrow the government of Iran, a request Harry Truman rejected. Knee-jerk anti-communism and a holy crusade against that godless monster/knee-jerk anti-Islamism and a crusade against that unholy monster, the first in the name of national security, the second in the name of national security, and the victim: rational responses to the actual threats and their root causes, as well as the larger very real threats to the wellbeing of humankind.
    And since a president serves at the pleasure of the electorate, or at least whatever gets recorded as the will of the voters (or a horribly misguided SCOTUS), the mindset of the electorate and the ease with which knee-jerk emotional responses can be elicited from voters in presidential elections, Joe Lieberman will get his way. National politics is only secondarily, if ever, about a comprehensive set of facts subjected to rational analysis.
    And in contemporary polarized America, that phenomenon has only gotten worse, and youthful voters not yet entrapped in that mindless mindset are now disillusioned. I go back, of course, to another time when that was the case.
    Lincoln Chaffee is one of the worthiest politicians in America. As a consequence, he could not be elected president. John McCain wanders about in a terribly misguided mindset. He could be elected president. The Obama campaign outsmarted everyone else electorally, and had the benefit of an electorate quite upset about the US losing the Bush wars and a swing-group of voters wanting something better, at least in the abstract. But now Americans in fewer numbers think global warming is a significant issue or that the environment represents a major concern, among other major disappointments in the American mindset. Someone please tell me how a progressive president can either lead us where we actually need to go or survive the daily reactionary assaults which have such a loud megaphone and such $ub$tantial backing in our society.
    Lincoln Chaffee is going to the only place he has a chance of accomplishing anything, and for that I salute and support him, namely a governorship he can, and hopefully will, win. It will be one more small step for this borderline incoherent enlightenment experiment we call these United States of America.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    As we all know, al Qaeda is currently a somewhat amorphous, mobile, loose network, INSPIRED
    by several figures (like its founder bin Laden, Zawahiri, the Egyptian ideologue Sayyid
    Qutb, and others). At times, the ideology, some of its members, and the mindset behind it
    may be supported by various state actors or parts of a state apparatus, like Saudi Arabia,
    the Taliban in Afghanistan, or parts of the security apparatus and military in Pakistan.
    And at times not. However, it is not a hierarchical, monolithic organization, led by one
    single individual who gives the orders, or permanently connected to a territory or a state
    - the way for example Adolf Hitler`s Third Reich clearly was, or Stalin`s Soviet Union for
    that matter – and not nearby as dangerous as Hitler and his organization.
    Nazism was ALL ABOUT territory; about lebensraum and race; Blut und Boden, and a rigid
    hierarchy with a leader at the top. The Islamic and Islamist concept of the Umma is
    disconnected from territory (apart from a handful of holy places) and race. Al Qaeda may be
    more active in the mountainous Chechnya than in the flatland of Denmark – not because the
    Chechnian soil is particularly holy, and fundamentally not even for historical reasons
    (related to the Ottoman empire), but because the majority there happens to be sunni
    Muslims. If there was a reasonable chance to convert Denmark or Mongolia or Mexico to
    Muslim nations, they would not hesitate to do so. (If Hitler had thought of including
    Mongolia in his visions, it would be at the bottom of the hierarchy.)
    Still, the main US approach to this phenomenon is precisely the same as the approach to
    Nazism and the Third Reich: Fight Germany`s army and allies, invade it`s territory, bomb
    it`s cities and kill Der Führer – and Nazism will be defeated. As a martyr, the man with
    the mustache had absolutely no value for anyone else than a bunch of confused neo-nazis.
    Thus this strategy made sense against Nazism, but it doesn`t make any sense against radical
    Islamism. Still, this is exactly the declared strategy during the last eight years. Bush
    invaded Afghanistan, then he accused Saddam of having connections with al Qaeda, and
    claimed that by invading the Iraqi territory and killing its leader, al Qaeda would suffer
    a significant blow. Then Barack Obama came along and basically said (during his campaign):
    “Hey, Osama bin Blofeld is hiding somewhere in Afghanistan, and we`re gonna hunt him down
    there and kill his Afghan allies!”
    “The network is less important. Their motives are of no interest. Keep the focus on the
    greybeard and his safe haven!”
    Of course this approach will never succeed if the goal is crushing al Qaeda. For the
    militant Islamists, it really doesn`t matter much whether bin Laden is dead or alive. And
    the American strategy to this phenomenon opens up a wide field of legitimate questions and
    suspicions as to the real motives behind invading Afghanistan, Iraq, and the recent actions
    in Yemen – in the Western world, and even more in the Muslim world from Morocco to
    Indonesia.

    Reply

  16. David Billington says:

    Steve-
    The prospects for al-Qaida depend on the success or failure of
    modernization in the major nations of the Islamic world. In
    Saudi Arabia, which I believe you have visited, the government
    has embarked on a crash program to create new cities, new
    education, and new industries and jobs for the young people
    who constitute a majority of that nation’s population. If
    modernization succeeds in Saudi Arabia (and in other countries
    such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Indonesia), al-Qaida will likely
    remain on the fringes. That would still be a concern for us but it
    would be a defeat for them.
    The answer to your question about U.S. policy or strategy (at
    least in the long run) is for us to assist, insofar as we can do so
    in ways that are welcome, in the civilian modernization of the
    major Islamic countries. If these countries modernize, then the
    military and security concerns that we have about the activity of
    private groups will resolve themselves. If the countries do not
    modernize successfully, then nothing we do will really matter.

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    POA, I meant that I would wait to see OBAMA’S transparency, not Steve’s. My sentence was unclear. I do recognize Steve’s position.
    Frankly, I have little hope for sanity prevailing. Truthtellers are ignored, dismissed, ridiculed, attacked, threatened.

    Reply

  18. SamRam says:

    ~TAO~
    Prevent trouble before it arises.
    Put things in order before they exist.
    The giant tree grows from a tiny sprout.
    The journey of a thousand miles starts beneath your feet.
    Rushing into action,
    you fail.
    Trying to grasp things,
    you lose them.
    Forcing a project to completion,
    you ruin what was almost ripe.
    Therefore the Master takes action by letting
    things take their course.
    He remains calm
    at the end as at the beginning.
    He has nothing thus has nothing to lose.
    What he desires is non-desire; what he learns is to un-learn.
    He simply reminds people of who they have always been.
    He cares about nothing but the Tao (the Way).
    Thus he can care for all things.
    ~LAO TZU~

    Reply

  19. samuelburke says:

    Steve, i appreciate your blog, it allows for the expression of
    ideas, something that the msm, otherwise kown as the ministry
    of propaganga or the ministry of truth-pravda…etc.
    its refreshing to be able to hear truth spoken unabashedly
    sometimes on your blog. The Truth is better heard when it is
    allowed to resonate against the backdrop of all the other b.s.
    that is being served daily, somehow it always rings of truth,
    when allowed a hearing. the turth sounds sweeter still in the
    marketplace of ideas, an un-riggable market.
    The voice of the people is what is not heard nor represented
    enough within the legal corporate structure called government.
    if it were would we be in the mess we are in?
    the deconstruction of the constitution is what is driving the
    ship of state these days, among other things.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “But I’ll wait til I hear his response to any of the questions, nuanced or not, and see if he can broaden the conversation”
    Theres no way in hell Steve will say ANYTHING that addresses the transparency of this joke of a charade.
    Can you believe whats happening??? Even if we throw the Crotch Bombwer incident out of the mix, and discuss Obama openly directing our military to ASSASSINATE a Muslim cleric because the cleric exchanged a few emails with somneone that eventually committed a crime, we end up with a scenario that is blatantly and tragically polar to everything we purport ourselves to be. I’ll say it again; Obama is every bit as slimey as George Bush, probably more so. And infinitely more dangerous to our security, as he has demonstrated aq degree of narcissism that was not exhibited by George Bush. Bush’s danger was his malleability, allowing these sick controlling bastards like Cheney to manipulate him. But in Obama’s case, Obama IS the sick contolling bastard.

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  21. fyi says:

    rc -
    Wrong on the Afghan pipeline and also wrong on the Houthi & Iran.
    China, Russia, and Iran (a distant third) have effectively sewed up Central Asian energy resources; the Great Game is over and China has won. No need for an Afghan pipeline.
    The Houthi are not Imami Shias – Iran has had no historical connection with them. Iranians are watching SA and US being sucked into a conflict that will further drain them while they sit pretty in Tehran – doing nothing.

    Reply

  22. DonS says:

    And now the story has moved beyond to regurgitating the debate about whether bomber should havew been indicted in civilian courts, ‘harshly interrogate’, etc. The neaderthals, neocons, and endless war screamers get a new shot of adrenaline to boost them.
    I’m glad Steve has at least called on Obama to ‘step back” and reevaluate his strategic course. I know Steve can’t scream at these guys like they need or he’ll get the bum’s rush.
    But I’ll wait til I hear his response to any of the questions, nuanced or not, and see if he can broaden the conversation. So far he has given the equivalent of a Bush “dead or alive” response; red meat to the masses who are already being fed a diet of hate and fear.
    For instance on the question of federal indictment, interrogation, etc. — as if this has any immediate importance for the whole ‘muslim terrorist architecture’ — will Obama mealy mouth some mouth, low keyed response, or even dodge the question by ‘not second guessing’, etc etc. Or will he take the opportunity to stronly reinforce the strenght of American institutions, and defend privacy, due process, etc.?

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  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And I wish this fuckin’ joke known as the “Fourth Estate” would stop calling the Crotch Bomber’s exploding balls caper a “failed bombing attempt”. Truth is, (and anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together can see it), the exploding balls caper was a smashing success, and did EXACTLY what it was designed to do. And it was definitely NBOT designed to bring that plane down. Had the plane of gone down, how could the IMMEDIATE connection be drawn to Yemen, to coincide with our military actions there? Nope. The Crotch Bomber was duped, just like we have been duped. They gave him a dud, and they meant to give him a dud.

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  24. Outraged American says:

    Gee whiz-between Xmas & New Years Israel launches a new
    provocation! Warplanes flying over Lebanon this year!
    Who would’a guessed that Israel would use YET AGAIN the time
    when Americans are at their most stupor-forious (I just made-
    up that word) to launch a new war?
    Not me — I’m too busy planning my early New Year’s Eve party
    to worry about Israel attacking Lebanon again (I’ve lost count) or
    our bombing of Yemen/ WW III.
    Hey, you’re all invited — prime rib, Kahlua brownies and prawn
    coconut curry. And Nadine, if you’re unattached, I have a nice
    goy boy for you– a little young but they’re the best if you know
    what I mean.
    Paul, it gets chilly in Phoenix (by which I mean reaches freezing
    temps, late at night, about three times during our “winter”) but
    you’d probably like it right around now. Still shorts weather
    during the day.
    Israeli warplanes fly over Lebanon, draw army fire
    BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s army said on Tuesday it fired anti-
    aircraft rounds at four Israeli warplanes which flew at low
    altitude over south Lebanon.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BS1EI20091229
    Hope Hezbollah has good aim.

    Reply

  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “DonS–Exactly! If Bin Laden didn’t exist, he would have been created”
    He WAS created. The story, and the celebrity, no longer have any resemblence to the foundational truth.
    And the excrement in Washington DC keeps adding fictitious details, determined by their global aspirations. This latest charade, the Crotch Bomber, is transparent to the point of being utterly and completely slapstick in its choreography.

    Reply

  26. JohnH says:

    DonS–Exactly! If Bin Laden didn’t exist, he would
    have been created. You have to have a bogeyman to
    instill fear, paranoia, and militancy in the
    general public. And that bogeyman must be a BIG,
    BAD BOGEYMAN so that people will not ask questions
    while merchants of death loot the treasury more
    and more. Osama bin Laden will not die. But if his
    body is ever found, there will be plenty of
    reincarnations, as long as the BOGEYMAN is needed.
    This fear mongering has been so successful that
    the President doesn’t even think about asking for
    money to pursue to Bogeyman in Afghanistan, Yemen,
    Somalia. He just prints whatever is required.
    But health care, jobs, financial regulation, food
    safety? Ah, there’s no money for that. The till is
    empty–unless the proponents can find a way to
    fund it.

    Reply

  27. DonS says:

    Does it really matter whether Bin Laden is alive? since the Bin Laden industry remains intact. The question that irks me is how significantly US policy is based at primary and secondary levels on the manipulation of [supposed] actions of Bin Laden.
    To be less obscure, how intentional is the nexus of actors, including neocons, whose primary goal seems something other than a ‘best practice’ foreign policy, perhaps far less? I am willing to acknowledge that Joe Liberman, William Kristol and the like are deluded beyond the point of holding them accountable for their twisted thinkng.
    But isn’t it about time we dancing around the edges of the question of when evident incompetent foreign policy is just running in circles chasing it’s tail, at best, and when sane policy making is being subverted? There must be various cadres within the policy making apparatus and we can no longer afford to avoid embarrassing them for their incompetence. Those with competence and sanity must be supported, but that requires that those with subversive motives, intentional or not, must be exposed.
    That there is at least a conspiracy of silence is evinced, for starters, by the fact that dangerous views of individuals like Liberman and McCain are not just tolerated; the individuals are accorded respected senior status. How many others, political and administrative, whose views and actions work against sane policy, get a pass? And, equally worrying, why?

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  28. rc says:

    Oh, and BTW, it is obvious the emerging Yemen issue is surely only about provoking Iran into some form of action (like the Palestinian issue) that will, they hope, justify retaliatory action by others (guess who?).
    No surprise that Saudi Arabia, at the request of the said Monarch we assume, is using, yes guess what, phosphorous bombs. Made where? Hmmm…? Nullifying any war crime charges against Israel by any chance?
    It is indeed a dark and murky business running the ‘world’. Stop trying to, now, before you all go blind! Oh, and Merry Christian celebrations and ‘peace’ to the world for 2010: Ha!

    Reply

  29. doughboy says:

    Have Robert Rubin and Bin Laden been secretly working together?
    Much scarier than Bin Laden, Robert Rubin received the highest rankings earlier this year when in January 2009, Rubin was named by Marketwatch as one of the “10 most unethical people in business”.
    Rubin helped “pre-wire” then demolish our economy while living outside of a cave.
    Is that really possible?

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    ” … pushing the buttons of world affairs from a cave somewhere in Pakistan, like supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the old James Bond films.”
    I was thinking more of the “smart bug” in the film Starship Troopers, Paul. That’s about the level of US discourse on jihadism.

    Reply

  31. samuelburke says:

    the american imperialist that took over our govt permanently
    using sept 11th, continue to send osama bin laden into every
    country they want to attack.
    osama and alqaeda are in afghanistan, we attack afghanistan.
    osamas agents meet with iraqui intelligence in europe so we
    attack iraq.
    osama and his vandals move to pakistan and the imperialist in
    hot pursuit are in that land murdering innocent women and
    children from while invading another sovereign nation.
    now its on to yemen, the nefarious alqaeda boogeyman pulls us
    in with the laptop bomber.
    its the only credible threat the american people can not seem to
    refute.
    how can you prove a negative…osamas body would have to be
    produced to prove his death.
    the bigger the lie the more likely it will be believed.
    osama has a micropship kidney dialisys machine he carries
    around in his back pack to help him survive.
    i believe it.
    fidel castros anti imperialists rants against the behemoth from
    the north was the only truth that man probably ever spoke.
    like merciless ming the imperialist ruthlessly murder innocent
    men women and children in foreign lands in pursuit of power.

    Reply

  32. rc says:

    Dear “PissedOffAmerican, Dec 28 2009, 10:00PM”
    10/10 for the excellent rant!
    Thanks.
    Now please take the calm-down medication. No point having a stroke over such minor matters. … ;-)
    These aircraft events go all the way back to the 1970′s and Libya. Nothing new. Whether the real bin Laden is alive or dead is of little consequence — the public persona is little more than a comic cartoon stip character from GWBush’s imagination and amplified by mass media interests. As I understand it there is still no actual proof he did the Twin Towers job, and his subsequent claims to have done so merely fit a convenient niche in the American psyche for an arch villain. If he was out to piss off America — then he would claim the links, would he not?
    There is one very simple way fix the bin Laden problem which I’m sure no-one actually wants to do before the Afghan pipeline route is secured. That is take all the bin Laden family, from the God Father himself down, and hold them in Gitmo Bay as hostages until Osama turns himself in … or one of their super-rich family brats dob him in. Simple really. Now why did not the CIA or the Suadi ‘monarchy’ think of that? Perhaps GWB has some plutocratic links they could use — he was photographed holding hands with the gay Saudi monarch some years back I think.
    Now to a serious point: what color is the toilet paper now in the White House? I want to see real change, or my money back!

    Reply

  33. Trudy Johnson-Lenz says:

    Trivia answer: The film was Rising Sun, starring Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes (1993).

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    As an (on topic!) P.S. to my last post – this is a trivia question for the readers of
    this blog:
    Steve Clemons, the publisher of the popular political blog The Washington Note, served as
    technical advisor to what film starring Sean Connery?

    Reply

  35. Dirk says:

    Steve,
    I’ve noticed that people are confusing the two different conflicts taking place in Yemen. You address the issue tangentially in your article:
    “Some are arguing that a quid pro quo is developing in which the administration is now engaged in a covert war against Houthi rebels, which the US has refused to identify as a terrorist group, in partial exchange for more kinetic action from the Yemen government against al Qaeda operations.”
    It is important to distinguish these two conflicts since they have nothing to do with one another.
    The Houthi rebellion or Sa’dah insurgency is a long running (2004 – present) conflict that pits Shiites living in the north of Yemen, along the Saudi border, against the Yemeni government and currently also against the Saudi government.
    See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa%27dah_insurgency
    The Yemeni government/US attacks against al-Qaeda
    are in the south and east and pits the Sunni government and the US against the purported Sunni radical Salafists that comprise al-Qaeda. This is at least plausible since the Bin Laden family is originally from Yemen before moving to Saudi Arabia.
    But, the two conflicts couldn’t be further separated, ideologically and religiously. This last weekend there was a Reuters article which was edited to conflate the two if you didn’t carefully read carefully:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BQ0U920091228?feedType=RSS&feedName=everything&virtualBrandChannel=11563

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    I have to confess that I am a bit fascinated by Steve Clemons` romantic imagery. Evil,
    incarnated in a single sculptor, pushing the buttons of world affairs from a cave
    somewhere in Pakistan, like supervillain Ernst Stavro Blofeld from the old James Bond
    films. The only thing lacking is Blofeld`s white cats and the sharks in the aquarium! And
    then there is the hero, America, who doesn`t act like a hero, but instead gets involved
    in highly predictable, emotional, knee jerk crusades.
    Those Bond films must have had a huge impact on Steve. But he`s in good company: John F.
    Kennedy invited Sean Connery to the White House after seeing “Dr. No” (1962); and Edward
    and his wife reportedly spent the last days of the Senator`s life watching old Bond
    movies and the “24″ series (I would have thought that the latter was more Cheney`s cup of
    tea…).
    Of course, no one knows for sure if bin Laden is dead or alive, and Steve knows as well
    as anybody else that al Qaeda is a loose, regionally and locally organized network,
    inspired by bin Laden as a symbol, but not dictated by his words. Still, Steve prefers
    the image of a single individual, actively pushing the buttons from some hidden,
    mysterious residence.
    The good force in this idealized image gallery is America ca. 1945-1990, almost
    resembling an Aristotelian god: a benevolent and somewhat enigmatic creator of order and
    balance, perceived as a power with no limits, not so much due to it`s actions as to its
    refrain from acting. But alas! Bush jr., Rummy and Cheney screwed up big time by exposing
    the limits of this semi-god, just like Blofeld…uh, bin Laden had hoped for and
    predicted. And now, much to Steve`s despair, Obama seems hellbent on following the same
    script, adjusting and improving on the optics, while in substance further detronizing
    America and its power.
    To Steve`s regret and despair, America still acts like an aggressive, disorganized and
    immature teenager, and not like a wise, calm and smiling oriental god, concerned about
    its long term goals (like the Chinese leadership).
    The big question remains: Can we still put our hope in the bottomless wisdom of older men
    like Biden, Brzezinski, Scowcroft, and Hagel (assisted by the New America Foundation, and
    some smart, ambitious and informed young bloggers), helping Obama in restoring some of
    America`s former glory and power – or is it too late? Time will tell.
    But isn`t this image gallery somewhat colored by teenage fantasies as well?

    Reply

  37. doughboy says:

    It’s more than Bin Laden we need to worry about. How about these bogeymen?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4it-Fs8RLw&feature=player_embedded

    Reply

  38. easy e says:

    More on Rita Katz: Katz…http://wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/6467
    Rita Katz’s Jewish Media Group, SITE, release the latest “al-Qaeda” recording
    Don’t let the fact that Rita has been paid huge sums of money by the federal government and the FBI as a consultant blur the story line about the boogeyman known as “al-Qaeda.”
    The Jewish owned media group, S.I.T.E. Intelligence, led by Rita Katz, is back in action, releasing yet another tape–only audio–purported to be by al-Qaeda’s #2, al-Zawahiri.
    Instead of running with an actual news story, the whole damned thing stinks of a psyop press release, with the same story repeated numerous times in the world press, as shown in this release. Search the story on the ‘Net and see how alike each and every article is.
    Zawahiri urges Muslims to make Iraq ‘fortress of Islam’
    Again, Ms. Katz is the first one to get ahold of this tape, just like numerous other video and audio recordings alleged to be made by AQ.
    Katz and her “handlers” are using their usual modus operandi by releasing this story to the overseas press, so that today, it can be picked up and run as a “legit” story by the American MSM.
    Again, the question needs to be asked, as it was asked here on WUFYS last Fall, about Katz:
    How is it that a Jewish owned group like S.I.T.E. can outperform the world’s best and brightest in the intelligence field and be the first to know that a group like al-Qaeda is getting ready to release another tape?
    How is it possible that Rita Katz and S.I.T.E. can work this magic? Maybe looking at Katz’s background will help:
    Rita Katz is Director and co-founder of the SITE Institue. Born in Iraq, her father was tried and executed as an Israeli spy, whereupon her family moved to Israel [the move has been described as both an escape and an emmigration in different sources]. She received a degree from the Middle Eastern Studies program at Tel Aviv University, and is fluent in Hebrew and Arabic. She emigrated to the US in 1997.
    Immigrated to the U.S. in 1997, yet Rita, at this link, claims to have participated or obsreved alleged AQ operations in the U.S. going back to 1986.
    Maybe Rita is a clairvoyant, to have participated and observed events in the U.S. before she was even in this country.
    Rita’s been busy, unearthing and making unique finds that no one else was able to spot, not even the world’s intelligence agencies, as this article shows Rita “discovering” a book in the 1990′s called “The Arab Volunteers in Afghanistan.”
    Katz tells the world stage that the obscure book is a regular “Who’s Who of al-Qaeda.”
    My, my, my. What a lucky find for Ms. Katz, especially considering that book was so obscure.
    She has been making these “unique” discoveries about AQ and other allegedly sinister plots all over the place and usually is the first and only one to unearth this data.
    Katz has even bragged that she knows more about al-Qaeda than the FBI does.
    Don’t let the fact that Rita has been paid huge sums of money by the federal government and the FBI as a consultant blur the story line about the boogeyman known as “al-Qaeda.”
    Question: If al-Qaeda is such a dangerous and far-reaching organization, as claimed by Katz and since Katz claims to have an intelligence line to the heart of this operation, then why doesn’t AQ do something to eliminate this irritant who consistently exposes AQ ops?
    Katz, whose book, Terrorist Hunter, published by a Harper Collins, which is owned by Zionist Rupert Murdoch, seems more like the Austin Powers character portrayed by Mike Myers in the movie, “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”
    Except there’s no mystery here to Ms. Katz. Katz is an obvious MOSSAD agent and is part and parcel of that agency’s ongoing project to conflate the racist and Apartheid state of Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign of the indigenous Palestinians with the White House manufactured “War on Terror.”
    A war that is in need of a gargantuan funding increase by June of this year.

    Reply

  39. michael says:

    When your guests wax profanely poetical on the pros and cons of our slow escalation into the Middle-East I can only wonder if their emphasis is to please their own moronic juvenile self, or if their prose has some supposed higher purpose not made clear by their conclusions.
    True enough that there is quagmire enough to go around in our knee-jerk approach to world problems, but where is there a sense of a behind-the-scene dialogue towards establishing peaceful alternatives. Where is their a sense that the other side wants something more than martyrdom or a capitulation of the West to their sad philosophies. Or that we don’t want their oil or their land or to beat into submission their strange philosophy with our strange philosophy.
    It is merely another in a long line of struggles of our sense of right over your sense of right based of my God is better than yours’. Take out the religion and the arguments implode.
    The neocons don’t want to enter Yemen; they want Obama to do it to soothe their wounds over their incursion into Iraq. They would put more precious blood (not their own)at risk to make political gain. Nothing more and nothing less.
    On the other hand, from one with some experience with warrior castes, if you speak from weakness they will stuff your dirty little privates in your mouth just for giggles and just before another solemn rote prayer to their all-knowing gods. And still laugh and play with their children as wonderful husbands, fathers and protectors of the faith…just like our RW religion-filled military’s here in the good old USA.

    Reply

  40. easy e says:

    Steve,
    Rita Katz’s SITE Institute and The Rendon Group are just a few propaganda groups that are successfully being used by Neocons, War Profiteers, Israeli Lobby, and Military Industrial Complex enablers to ensure that Osama bin Laden is “not dead”.
    When will TWN finally address this? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Reply

  41. JohnH says:

    Sometimes it appears that Bin Laden has won. His
    motivation for 911 was to drag the US into an
    pyrrhic quagmire, just like the Soviets before their
    collapse.
    The US has been sucked into the vortex–massive,
    annual increases military spending leading to
    massive budget deficits funded by massive borrowing
    from abroad. And now, more military adventurism in
    Yemen, Somalia, Colombia, and perhaps Iran, leading
    to even more massive “defense” spending funded by…
    Engaging militarily in Yemen seems to be just one
    part of a spiraling death wish.

    Reply

  42. ... says:

    do any americans ever wonder why al qaeda wants to inflict death on the usa??? might it have something to do with all the death the usa inflicts elsewhere????? when will americans ever wake up???? how many foreign wars, drone planes, and on and on does it take for the americans to wake the f up???? if it isn’t bin laden, it will be someone else and behind that person someone else again until americans wake the f up… geez, it is hard to believe a country and it’s leaders can make out like they don’t have a clue and the only way to resolve this is thru more military adventures…. that is going to have the opposite effect…. bring death to innocent people, not to mention suspected this and that bullshit and it will be one big constant fear fest in the usa with nothing much else going on down their…

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    Steve, I don’t believe OA is a pacifist; she’s rooting for the other side.

    Reply

  44. Steven Clemons says:

    Outraged — I think you have misread my post. I have significant
    concerns about widening US engagement in the region. I’m not an
    advocate of this. I’m not a pacifist – -but I do worry about the
    neocons and others calling for an expansion of America’s wars to
    Yemen. Thanks for your views — but please re-read.

    Reply

  45. pauline says:

    Bin Laden will live on longer than Fidel Castro or Elvis Presley, however long the Mil-Indus-CIA-Security complex wants him and the myth to exist.
    The Complex wants to keep us “safe” so the trillions spent now and for 2010 and for years to come can be justified and rationalized. The heck with that public-option health care reform, the heck with creating American middle-class jobs, the heck with border control, the heck with true oversight of banks and other brokerage houses acting like banks, the heck with controlling international corporations who take every last penny of self-written tax laws while shipping jobs overseas faster than their inferior, cheaply-made products come back to the many Walmarts in the U.S. marketplace, the heck with controlling and investigating the foreign ownership of the so-called “federal” reserve banks, the heck with that electronic-voting fraud stuff, Dem bozos and Repugnant bozos rule the DC asylum, so don’t plan on any real hope for the New Year.
    Besides all the above, U.S. citizens have to apparently lose sleep with Bin Laden possibly coming back to life and finding another 19 Arabs with box-cutters and knives.
    It was so easy for him to beat our trillions spent on defense and spill our blood and others’ innocent blood the last time, and right in the middle of a Cheney-led war game exercise, right?

    Reply

  46. Outraged American says:

    Steve, I lost a friend on 9/11. He died an extremely honorable
    death. He wouldn’t want us bombing YEMEN, and I would
    venture to guess that he couldn’t have placed it on a map, much
    like 99% of Americans.
    Past that, my step-father-in-law is on dialysis and has to get it
    3 times a week or die. Is Bin Laden’s survival then a miracle?
    Or just the most magnificent coup the Israel lobby/ Terrorism/
    Military/Industrial complex has pulled of in the history of the
    Earth?
    I lose respect for you when you abandon basic common sense.
    Why do they hate us? Because of our obvious support for Israel
    and her ENDLESS FUCKING WAR AGAINST ISLAM.
    Again, if Israel had been put on the moon we’d be fighting moon
    dust on the dark side.
    ENOUGH.
    We lost 3000 people on Sept. 11, a good percentage of whom
    WERE NOT EVEN AMERICANS, and for this we have sent the world
    down this catastrophic path to WW III????
    Those martinis better be damn good on the DC cocktail circuit,
    or are you all just tripping on meth?
    I see almost all my nieces and nephews tomorrow, ranging in
    age from 5 to 37, I’ll be fucking damned if the chattering class
    in DC take away their lives.

    Reply

  47. Dan Kervick says:

    “Jeez, can you imagine? Some false flag boogie man wearing an “Al Qaeda” baseball cap tells ya you are going to martyr yourself, and all you end up doing is singing all the hair off your left gonad and blistering your glans? Would that piss ya off a little?”
    Maybe that was his motivation? I wish these religious freaks with a self-castration obsession would find a private spot to blow off their naughty bits, instead of trying to take out a plane full of people in the testicular fireworks.

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, Bhutto certainly believed he was dead. I’d say she was a bit better positioned to know than we are, or Steve Clemons, or some sack of shit Message Force Multiplier on MSNBC or Fox News.
    I listened to some RW asshole filling in for Michael Savage today on the way home, and he was saying that two “Al Qaeda” that were released from Gitmo last year assisted the Crotch Bomber in launching the sinister exploding balls plot.
    Right, eh??? Uh huh.
    Also, some jackass named “Jim Franklin”, another RW radio Fart Show host, was saying yesterday that “Al Qaeda trained and equipped” the Crotch Bomber as if it was gospel, despite the fact that many terrorism experts aren’t buying it, and the FBI hasn’t verified it.
    Brian Jenkins over at Rand is saying its highly doubtful, as he astutely points out that if theres anything “Al Qaeda” DOES know how to do, it is make a functional bomb. But of course, eventually these lying scheming pieces of shit in DC WILL “verify” it was Al Qaeda in Yemen. After all, thats the point of this whole exercise, no?
    Jeez, can you imagine? Some false flag boogie man wearing an “Al Qaeda” baseball cap tells ya you are going to martyr yourself, and all you end up doing is singing all the hair off your left gonad and blistering your glans? Would that piss ya off a little?
    Intriguing that nobody is nattering about the dead Houthi leader that seems to have mysteriously taken Anwar al-Awlaki’s place on the marble slab. Interesting that. Seems we now openly brag to the world community that we are in the assassination business, and ya better fuckin’ watch out if you dare exchange an email or two with someone that eventually commits a crime. Uhm, never mind about the rule of international law, or basic morality. Heck, we didn’t even have a warrant out for the arrest of the guy. Too much paperwork, I suppose. Oh well, if we didn’t frag that nasty raghead Awlaki, at least we got Saleh’s arch enemy. Golly gee damn, what a coincidence, eh? Fancy that.
    Probably managed to cook a few score of women an’ children too, by golly. Well you know what they say, doncha? If ya can’t win thier hearts and minds, by God, than ya might just as well bomb the shit out of ‘em. C’est la vie.
    I understand the White House is using a different brand of toilet paper these days.
    Finally, change. I knew he’d come through.

    Reply

  49. Dan Kervick says:

    I also believe there is a good chance that Bin Laden is already dead. But more importantly, I don’t think it matters much.
    If he is alive, he is clearly now so isolated from the rest of humanity that it really makes little difference what he wants or doesn’t want. I doubt there is anything coming from from his remote hideaway that constitutes “direction” to the troops, much less “orders”. Bin Laden himself is yesterday. But we’re going to have a certain number of these violent jihadists to deal with on occasion, Bin Laden or no Bin Laden. We should just get used to that.

    Reply

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