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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Curtains for al-Qaida?
Hitchens: It's Curtains for al-Qaida
What happens when Iraqi "insurgents" take on Zarqawi's thugs?
The significance of this, and of numerous other similar accounts, is three-fold. First, it means that the regular media caricature of Iraqi society is not even a parody. It is very common indeed to find mixed and intermarried families, and these loyalties and allegiances outweigh anything that can be mustered by a Jordanian jailbird who has bet everything on trying to ignite a sectarian war. Second, it means in the not very long run that the so-called insurgency can be politically isolated and militarily defeated. It already operates within a minority of a minority and is largely directed by unpopular outsiders. Politically, it is the Khmer Rouge plus the Mafia—not the Viet Cong. And unlike the Khmer Rouge, it has no chance at all of taking the major cities. Nor, apart from the relatively weak Syrian regime, does it have a hinterland or a friendly neutral territory to use for resupply. And its zealots are now being killed by nationalist and secular, as well as clerical, guerrillas. (In Kurdistan, the Zarqawi riffraff don't even try; there is a real people's army there, and it has a short way with fascists. It also fights on the coalition side.) In counterinsurgency terms, this is curtains for al-Qaida.

Which is my third point. If all goes even reasonably well, and if a combination of elections and prosperity is enough to draw more mainstream Sunnis into politics and away from Baathist nostalgia, it will have been proved that Bin-Ladenism can be taken on—and openly defeated—in a major Middle Eastern country. And not just defeated but discredited. Humiliated. Is there anyone who does not think that this is a historic prize worth having? Worth fighting for, in fact?
Clearly, Simon Jenkins doesn't. He thinks "US officials in Baghdad are on their knees begging Iran-backed Shia politicians and militias to help them get out of Iraq" and that "the west has picked a fight with Iran", (emphasis mine), because we all know the west is to blame for everything. Simon Heffer believes that Doing nothing in Iran is not an option. Shrinkwrapped looks at Cassandra and the Troyan horse. Daniel Drezner expands on the subject. Update: Dreams into Lightning's Morning Report has more.

But back to Hitchens, Hitchens is part of the lawsuit against the NSA.

Another person in the lawsuit:
Rachel Meeropol, granddaughter of the Rosenbergs (those Rosenbergs that were executed in 1953 for spying for the Soviet Union) sues NSA over spying.

Update Powerline:
The CCR lawsuit (PDF) represents the distilled essence of the absurdity on display here. CCR complains that the NSA surveillance program has compromised its representation of terrorist detainees and others. The CCR plaintiffs complain, for example, that their representation of terrorist clients has been inconvenienced by the NSA program in that the attorneys are now "compelled to undertake international travel to avoid the risk of jeopardizing the confidentiality of privileged communications."
You can also read Hitchens's statement at the ACLU site.

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