“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” –Teddy Roosevelt
Conservatives, so blinded by their hatred of their caricature of the president, will never understand that Obama has been good for al Qaeda the way a birthday party of ten-year-old boys with magnifying glasses is good for an ant colony. The fact is, Obama has chased al Qaeda to the ends of the earth. When Obama ordered SEAL Team 6 to blow the doors off bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound and paint the walls red, he overruled many of his national security advisers who wanted to bomb the compound. He did so because he expected that the compound would be a treasure trove of information. He was right. The raid didn’t just cut the head off the snake, the SEALs scooped up the contact information for most of the rest of the snake. The Bush Administration diverted most of its essential defense resources toward Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11 or Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda flourished. Four years later, the Obama Administration has swept al Qaeda from all but the world’s darkest holes.
The remnants of al Qaeda are confined to the fringes of the Muslim world. They cannot operate in North America, Europe or Asia any longer. They cannot even operate in stable Muslim countries. They can only operate in lawless regions of Muslim countries where local governments are too weak to hunt them, such as Pakistan’s badlands, Yemen, Somalia and now Libya. The Obama Administration has also shamed governments such as Pakistan’s who have been playing a double game. While Bush thumped his chest on the world stage, saying “either you are with us or you’re with the terrorists,” Obama has artfully pulled the levers of diplomacy to actually enforce a global regime of governments who help us hunt down al Qaeda or pay a steep price. This president has coolly and systematically accomplished what the last administration could only bluster about. Obama implements Teddy Roosevelt’s maxim for the 21st Century.
Against this backdrop, in June, a drone gliding over Pakistan scrubbed Sheikh Abu Yahya Al-Libi from the world. CBS reported at the time that Yahya’s death was
the most serious blow to the battered terror network since the death of its leader Osama bin Laden, CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports.
Al-Libi’s death, which came on the third consecutive day of CIA drone strikes in the Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, is a serious knock to what remains of al Qaeda’s Pakistan-based core leadership.
Al-Libi was among a handful of surviving senior advisers from bin Laden’s inner circle
Fast-forward to this week. Following the “planned and ‘meticulously executed’” attack on the American embassy in Libya, a leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has taken credit for the attack, saying it was revenge for Yahya’s death. Al Qaeda also claimed that the attack was targeted
“against the Islamic nation that has rebelled against injustice.”
The geniuses at al Qaeda have a winning strategy: attack the government that freed the people from Qaddafi. This is obviously an excuse because they have nowhere else to go and can only attack a country in the midst of a massive political transition where they are not wanted. This explains why 10 Libyans died defending the American embassy from the attackers and protesters have taken to the streets in Benghazi to protest FOR America and against terrorism.
The vigilante fundamentalists typically reject elections and democracy, as inauthentic Western imports, and they are headline whores, plotting out attention-grabbing mob actions. These jihadis are tiny groups in Egypt and Libya, though sometimes well-armed and well-trained.
You could make an analogy to the Ku Klux Klan in the United States, which just has perhaps 5,000 active members. But people like Wade Michael Page, who had applied for Klan membership, can make a media splash by simply shooting down people at e.g. a Sikh Temple.
So what kind of headlines was al Qaeda whoring for? In 2008, former counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke told CNN:
“…in 2004, bin Laden did try to influence the US election. Whether or not he succeeded, who knows? But he issued a video tape on Halloween, a few days before the election, that implied that he supported Senator Kerry.”“He knew, that if he seemed to be supporting Senator Kerry, that would help President Bush. And it did.”
“So, we know he likes to try to influence elections,” said Clarke. “So, we can look forward to perhaps another video tape like that, or an attack. But an attack is a heck of a lot harder for them to stage than the easy job of putting out a video tape.”
The biggest splash they could possibly make in this climate is to influence the upcoming American election. The timing is too convenient to be a coincidence. Al Qaeda is casting an absentee ballot. But they can’t attack the US, or a close ally, or even a remote ally. The best they could do was to attack a US embassy in a country in the midst of building a new government after 40 years of loony dictatorship. The best they could do was to seize at a video that looks like a middle school project which created the cover for the attacks. The protesters may not have realized they were being used, and there is a big leap from protest to murder. In spite of the reports of thousands of protesters, it may be that the real killers were only a very small group.
Al Qaeda is making a desperate gambit to remind Americans to be afraid of them as we are about to go to the polls. But there’s nothing left to be afraid of. They have been rooted out of the developed world. They hide in hovels in lawless hell-holes. And now this new Libyan tendril of the al Qaeda weed, hacked to its root, has the Obama Administration’s full attention. The Libyan government is already making arrests. Egypt’s new President Morsi has been condemning the embassy attacks and warning his people not to hurt anyone after he received “a blunt phone call” from President Obama who warned him there would be serious consequences if Americans were hurt. President Obama is sending warships to Libya and announced “justice will be done.“ In short order, the embassy attackers will either be languishing in a prison guarded by Libyans thankful to be free from Qaddafi, or they will hear a strange hissing, look up, and then be vaporized. The Obama strategy of building alliances, networking intelligence and law enforcement, tracking terror to its source and disrupting and terminating it with laser-like strikes, is working. Hunted, exposed, beaten, bloodied, burned, decimated and abandoned, al Qaeda votes against President Obama.