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Bali Bombing

The first casualties of the "attack Iraq" policy?
t's just a conjecture of mine, but I wouldn't be in the least surprised if the recent bombing in Bali turns out to have been preventable, if only the intelligence community had been keeping an eye on al Qaeda instead of searching (in futility, it would seem, given some of the leaks that have come out) for pretexts to attack Iraq.

What do you think?

address: address: Portland, OR

al Qaida? 14.Oct.2002 18:01

Pragmatist

The most likely culprit of this horrific act seems to be the Indonesian military, which of course has it's own agenda. The lightning speed at which the Bushies fingered al Qaida should be enough to raise many doubts. Of course, it's probably reflexive at this point. I'm surprised they didn't blame Iraq.

[UK Guardian] Op-ed 14.Oct.2002 20:48

David B. davidb@scn.org

I'll respond to my own post. I just noticed the following in the on-line Guardian (see:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/indonesia/Story/0,2763,811482,00.html for the original).

America's obsession with Iraq leaves others free to kill

Bali's victims are testament to Bush's flawed war on terror

Richard Norton-Taylor
Monday October 14, 2002
The Guardian

For months, while their political masters have been increasingly obsessed by Saddam Hussein, western intelligence agencies have warned of planned terrorist attacks by al-Qaida or, more likely, other Islamist extremist groups with similar objectives and outlook.

They have warned in particular about the likelihood of attacks on such American and British targets as bases and embassies - targets, in other words, which represent the governmental, military, presence of major western countries in the Muslim world. Commercial targets, equally symbolic, were also in their sight.

The awful message of the bombing of the Bali nightclub is that Islamist extremists appear to have changed their tactics with horrific implications. Bali may be a Hindu region dominated by western tourists in the world's largest Muslim country, but the nightclub was the easiest and softest of targets.

US officials early this year said that five suspected members of the al-Qaida network had arrived in Indonesia from Yemen in July 2001 planning to blow up the American embassy in Jakarta. They said the men were allowed to get out of the country after they realised they had been discovered.

More recently, the US had expressed concern about the failure of President Megawati Sukarnoputri's government - caught between Washington, on whom Indonesia relies for aid, and opposition in the country to US policy, including the war in Afghanistan - to face up to the threat of Islamist extremism. The US has contrasted the attitude of the Indonesian government with the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, which have taken a far more robust approach.

Western intelligence sources yesterday pointed the finger of responsibility for the Bali attack on Jamaah Islamiyah, an extreme group whose leaders are said to have met Ayman al-Zawahiri, a 50-year-old Egyptian regarded as al-Qaida's deputy leader, in Indonesia two years ago.

Whoever was responsible for the attack, al-Qaida and its supporters have not been defeated. Just a week ago, a French oil tanker was attacked off the coast of Yemen, not far away from the October 2000 attack on the American destroyer, the USS Cole, in Aden.

Since September 11 last year, Pakistani-based extremist groups have attacked a Christian church frequented by western diplomats, and a bus carrying French technicians working in Karachi's military port.

Intelligence sources have revealed a foiled plot this summer by al-Qaida agents to bomb US or British warships in the Straits of Gibraltar, and a possible attack on British military bases in Cyprus. And early this year, the Singapore authorities foiled an elaborate plot by al-Qaida-linked terrorists to blow up western embassies, American warships, the offices of US companies and a bus carrying American soldiers.

But while western intelligence agencies have been trying to track the movements of al-Qaida sympathisers and warned of the certainty of further terrorists attacks, their governments have been preoccupied by quite another matter - Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaida - a word which in Arabic can mean a base but also a model or principle - has lost its base in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is either dead or in hiding, it doesn't matter. That has been the prevailing attitude in Washington, and also in many parts of Whitehall. The Taliban and al-Qaida had been quashed in Afghanistan, now let's take on the next target, Iraq.

For security and intelligence agencies with their ear closer to the ground, it is not so simple. Al-Qaida is not a traditional terrorist organisation with a disciplined hierarchy like the IRA. It is used, misleadingly, as shorthand for any Islamist extremist group. It is more like a movement, almost amoeba-like, with varying degrees of support and contacts with other groups throughout much of the Muslim world, including Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, Indonesia, and elsewhere in the Gulf, including Saudi Arabia. But not among Palestinians, a generally secular people; and certainly not in Baghdad, home of the most secular country in the Middle East, Israel included.

Short-sighted politicians in Washington, notably Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, are putting it about that there are links between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. They have been trying desperately to come up with evidence to prove it, a task which they have singularly failed to achieve. But in trying they have diverted the resources of their intelligence agencies, including the CIA, and worse, they are trying to manipulate intelligence-gathering for political ends.

No one in any competent position in Whitehall believes there is any link between al-Qaida and Saddam. They do not want this said publicly for fear, it seems, of upsetting the Bush administration. Bush, meanwhile, having dealt with Afghanistan, wants to get on with the task of toppling Saddam, claiming it is part of the war on terror.

To begin with, Afghanistan is not dealt with. It remains unstable. Asked the other day what the US approach was to rebuilding nationhood and to the struggle for hearts and minds - one of the key ingredients of the war against terror, according to British ministers, a senior Whitehall official replied: "The Americans are on another planet."

This frustration with the Bush administration is expressed publicly by former president Bill Clinton and his vice-president, Al Gore. Tony Blair and his ministers are now silent about the dangers of fighting a war on two fronts, against Saddam and against terrorism.

Yet before they were told by Bush, in his domestic political interest, that the time had come to concentrate on Saddam, British ministers, even Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, made eminently sensible speeches about the need to confront terrorism inspired by Islamist extremism not only by good intelligence work but by tackling the causes. Terrorism may never end, but at least there are ways to limit it other than throwing around one's military might. It will now be even more difficult for Bush to justify an invasion and occupation of Iraq, which is only likely to encourage further recruits to the cause of Islamist extremism.

Jack Straw was right recently when he warned in a little-noticed speech of the twin dangers of terrorism and failing states. But these dangers were overlooked in Indonesia, as hundreds of innocent victims have now found to their cost.

Portland, OR

To Pragmistist 14.Oct.2002 21:57

Hollow Point

Of Course it is the Indonisia govt and GW, God know that Al Qadia, would never murder innocent civilians just having a good time they are much too honorable for that.

You fucking conspercy theorist I'll bet your mother wished she had a bigger coat hanger around the house when you were festering in her disease riddin gut that is if she ever say you after she dropped you off in that ally dumpster.

Cunt

Hollow Point 14.Oct.2002 22:51

.

Point?

It's all Al-qaeda 15.Oct.2002 00:35

you know that right?

every bomb that explodes on earth from this point until the 'end of the war on terra' (except for the ones dropped by the u.s. military) will clearly be the responsibility of al-qaeda terrorists. it is so obvious that you can set aside all question that any rational person or organization would object to the us empire.

i imagine if the russian or chinese militaries massed on the many borders of europe and asia, the corporate war machine would call it the influence of osama bin laden. more likely, they would pretend the event never happened. the way things are going they might get away with it, until the big bombs drop.

btw, has anyone noticed how the message of war on iraq has now changed to war wherever gwb wants it? during the war on iraq, watch for the destruction of: kuwait (former ally, never anything close to a democracy, now alleged haven of al-qaeda trained terrorists; somalia; ethiopia; syria; yemen; and...

ISRAEL?

Hooked on Phonix 15.Oct.2002 17:31

Hollow Point

Before you go around defending a world wide terrorist organization, you should first learn to spell Al Qadia.

DUMBASS

Next time try defending somthing easy to spell, like HAMASSE