- You can tell it’s the dog days…
- you can tell circulation is fading….
- you can tell Tora Bora is being hit again….
- you can tell we are nearing the report on the important surge in Iraq…
When magazines retread rumors and old news on Osama Bin Laden.
In Newsweek’s upcoming edition you will see all the old stuff, coupled with a visit to the front in Tora Bora where the Uzbek and Chechens who have been pushed out of Pakistan by Mehsud and the Pakistan army’s separate actions are getting obliterated.
Now I’m going to offer some wild, opinion based speculation — putting myself in AQ’s shoes for a short while. Since the leadership has always fled before the storm arrives in the past leaving brainwashed flotsam to mask their retreats, I assume that’s what they’ve done now. IF they were in the Frontiers, they probably aren’t anymore with the pincers closed both sides of the border.
While the hunt in Tora Bora is likely to net us some important leaders in Al Qaeda, Bin Laden’s not going to be one of them. As I’ve said in the past — Bin Laden’s dead, captured, held prisoner elsewhere (Iran, or by Ayman Al Zawahiri,) or he’s beyond caring anymore. He’s thoroughly ineffective now, and our efforts need to be focused on Zawahiri and As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s media front.
From the frequency and type of releases we know that Ayman’s somewhere close to somewhat sophisticated production facilities — meaning Peshawar, Quetta, or another civilized to semi-civilized metropolitan area.
The only other speculations I would offer is that we’ve seen a steady increase in Uzbek and Chechen agit-prop media productions the past three months, so it’s possible he could be in Tashkent, Samarkand, or another spot in Uzbekistan. Another potential is a shift to Bangladesh; the unrest there the past couple of months speaks to someone pulling strings behind the scenes.
I offer these up since Al Qaeda’s worn out their welcome in the frontiers by declaring war on their previous hosts — Pashtunwali only goes so far after that. Once tribal markets started burning and normal business was interupted AQAM became less welcome than a cross-border surgical strike. AQ’s a liability to the old-guard ISI contingent with war declared, not an ally — anyone can see that.
Here’s the usual bodyguard and entourage rumors, here’s a preview of the mostly retread Newsweek piece that’s upcoming. Newsweek also takes obligatory swipes at Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the competence of our forces and operations in general at several spots in the article.