American Elephants

Al-Qaeda’s Strategy of “A Thousand Cuts” by The Elephant's Child

………………………………………………………………………………...Photo: GETTY

This is a story from last fall, found on a link from a story about drones. The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service claimed that a  series of forest fires across Europe were set as a part of a new al Qaeda strategy of  a “thousand cuts.” Alexander Bortnikov said that setting fires in the countries of the European Union is part of the terrorist group’s low-cost attack strategy.

This method allows (al Qaeda) to inflict significant economic and moral damage without serious preliminary preparations, technical equipment or significant expenses.

In linking al-Qaeda to the deadly wildfires, Mr Bortnikov pointed to calls to launch a “forest jihad” by various extremist websites which he said also publish detailed instructions about how and where to best carry out arson.

He said it was very difficult for special services to find and prosecute such arsonists.

Deadly fires have swept through forest land in EU countries such as Portugal and Spain over the past few months, killing scores of people and forcing thousands to evacuate.

In September, a forest fire in the Spanish region of Valencia forced authorities to evacuate around 2,000 people from their homes. More than 184,000 hectares of land in Spain alone were destroyed by fires between January 1 and September 16, according to the Spanish agriculture ministry — the highest amount in a decade.

Although the Obama administration has insisted that al Qaeda has been decimated, they were alive and well in Benghazi and elsewhere.  In its continuing terror attack against the West, al Qaeda has vowed to “bleed the enemy to death” by resorting to inexpensive, low-scale attacks which it refers to as a “strategy of a thousand cuts.”

Last year, David Petraeus , as director of the CIA said that while al Qaeda had been weakened by the death of Osama bin Laden, the organization remained a significant threat to the U.S. because of their willingness to work through these smaller-scale attacks. Our drone attacks are clearly an excellent tool for al Qaeda recruitment. Americans approve of drone strikes which prevent harm to our military. Other countries are not favorably disposed.

During the Great Depression, there were large numbers of forest fires in the West, many suspected to be arson-caused. Unemployment was very high, and pay for firefighters was well above average. I hope somebody is monitoring those extremist websites. In case you didn’t have enough to worry about.PORTUGAL FIRE IN TABUA
……………………………………………………Photo: EPA/NUNO Andre Ferreira
In Portugal, firefighters are apparently called “Bombieros” — what a splendid name for very hard and dangerous work.

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History not being a strong suit of this administration (and of government types in general-what’s going on now is entirely different to anything that has ever happened before, according to some), they will fail to understand that al-Qaeda is simply startig to use some of the same tactics as the Partisans of eastern Europe and the Free French during WWII. Disruption, distraction, confusion… the need to use resources fighting a problem that could be used elsewhere.

Congratulations, Obama, you’ve managed to bring an element of history back to life.


Comment by Lon Mead

I think Obama took all of the wild claims that Democrats made about Bush, Iraq, Afghanistan, al Qaeda — as gospel truth, and his actions have been to show how different and superior he is. Mark Bowden has a new book out on the bin Laden raid, and a review said today that Obama intended to put bin Laden on trial, because that would demonstrate to the world how superior our trial by jury system was. Prove our excellence, and that we weren’t torturers like the hated Bush. Obama’s never gotten over his desire to close Guantanamo.

His idiotic announcements of our withdrawal plans in Iraq and Afghanistan were prompted by the same thing. In Afghanistan the rules of engagement got all politically correct and ended up getting way too many of our troops killed by insisting that those who were training Afghan police and troops have unloaded weapons to prove how trusting we were. It’s like a member of Code Pink is Commander in Chief. He’s trying to do a responsible job, but his understanding of war and foreign relations is simply unrelated to reality, and off in some ideological one-world never-never land.

I just read Rush to Judgment by Stephen F. Knott, which takes all the incoherent and hysterical claims by the Libs seriously, and methodically dismantles them by showing how Bush’s actions were directly in line with his predecessors and perfectly in line with law and the Constitution. Good Read. Also just read Lone Survivor Marcus Luttrell’s account of a SEAL action that turned into a nightmare when the four of them were surrounded by a force of 80 Taliban fighters. He talks briefly about problems with the rules of engagement which put them at a severe disadvantage. Also a good read. Obama’s nominees for Defense, CIA, Treasury and State are yes-men who will help him to dismantle our defenses so we can be a nicer nation and more popular.Very scary.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

I haven’t had a chance to read Rush to Judgement yet, but it’s on my list… everything I’ve read of his I’ve liked.
And on your other point, Obama, like Clinton before him, believes popularity and being “liked” by everyone is the greatest measure of success. Problem is, Obama thinks that to be liked he has to give people in other countries whatever they want (unless they were nations that were friendly to us during the Bush administration). Obama (rather ridiculously in a chief executive) still holds the idea that anything favored by Republicans is wrong (simply because a Republican favors it) and that anything a Democrat favors is right (simply because a Democrat favors it), which is responsible for the seeming incoherence and some of the outright contradictions that come up.
If Obama is using being “liked” by other nations as his yardstick, he may want look quite a bit closer at his strategy… the popularity of the U.S. has declined steadily since he took office, and he has lost the respect of traditional allies. In the long run, I believe Obama is going to be judged a failure as president by every measure, including the standards he has set for himself (whatever they are).


Comment by Lon Mead

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