The Debate

This one’s hard to read, I can tell you where John should have zinged Barack a bit harder, but anyone can see those. As a political junkie I have to say that I don’t know how this will fly with non-political people. Trying to be objective, I would say that of the two John McCain probably inspired more confidence, and came off less petulant even though he was attacking the whole time. So I think that worked, but we will have to wait to see what the poll that counts reads – it’s in November.

Notes to Barack:
At one point I thought I heard you say that we could have intervened in the holocaust? (the dog was barking at that point, I’ll read the transcript to make sure and correct if mistaken,) I think we did intervene, it was called WWII.
UPDATE: I did hear correctly, from the transcript:

OBAMA: Well, we may not always have national security issues at stake, but we have moral issues at stake.

If we could have intervened effectively in the Holocaust, who among us would say that we had a moral obligation not to go in?

Seems Barack forgot that we stopped Nazi Germany. Maybe they didn’t cover that in the elite academy he went to in Hawaii.

Your invade to attack Bin Laden in Pakistan statements might make good sound bites, however they are undermining our policy in Afghanistan. The people of Pakistan burnt you in the streets of Karachi the first time you brought it up, and since then political pressure has steadily soared. The predator raids that were ignored aren’t ignored anymore and every blog and newspaper speaks out against the US much more often than they used to. Even the pro Musharraf camp is now speaking out against us, and the PPP who compose the new gov’t are steadily falling in favor and are being undermined by your constant threats. You are not making it easy on them, but AQ, TTP, LeJ, LeT, HuJI, TNSM, JeM and the others are making agit-prop hay out of every statement on Pakistan you make. (and I doubt that Obama knows of even half of those groups.)

UPDATE: In retrospect it’s easy to see that Barack Obama was correct on Pakistan, and both John McCain and I were wrong for partisan reasons.

President Zardari of Pakistan Under Lal Masjid Fatwa for Comments to Palin

In a bizzarre turn of events President Zardari is under a Fatwa from Lal Masjid, (yes, that Lal Masjid,) and it was issued by a relative of Abdul Rashid Ghazi, instrumental in the deaths of many students from the Mosque. From IBN Live:

A Pakistani cleric has issued a fatwa against Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari for flirting with US Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Maulana Abdul Ghafar of Islamabad’s Lal Masjid said that Zardari’s behaviour was un-Islamic and that the President has shamed the entire nation.

The Maulana said that President Zardari’s indecent gestures, filthy remarks and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt is not only un-Islamic but also unbecoming of a head of state of a Muslim country.

He said that the manner in which Zardari shook hands with Sarah Palin and expressed his deep desire to hug her is intolerable and shameful.

“We are fighting the American war in our country and thousands of our people have been killed just to please Uncle Sam. Therefore, we demand that the military operation in the Pak-Afghan tribal areas be immediately stopped as it is creating hatred amongst the general public against the Pakistan army”, he added.

More at National Post

The Debate: Thanos’ read

First McCain did come off the best in this debate. Both candidates scored important points and talked to their base, however throughout the debate McCain talked to the middle as well and managed to score with all of America again and again.

He scored great points with his tough talk on economics and cutting spending while Obama lost points by talking about all new programs and his unwillingness to cut any.

McCain definitely won on energy. While Obama was interested in gotchas and history, McCain put forth a solid plan that will work.

McCain was a tour d’force on foreign policy, and outshone Obama by miles there.

At a couple of points you could see Barack put up his hands like he wanted to call a time out when McCain was using Barack’s own statements to illustrate his points. Yes, america gets it that you said that Barack, and then you changed your stance after a lot of coaching. It was crystal clear in the debate.

Now we all know there were bigger zingers, harder slams, and tougher things that John could have said, but there are reasons he did not. He is carefully courting the Reagan Democrats and we need them to win. If he goes to polar in the initial debate he loses them from the get go.

He couldn’t go to town with Acorn, Dodd, Raines, Frank, Countrywide, and Johnson the way he could have, and he can’t until we get through the crisis d’jour. He didn’t bring up that they burnt Barack in effigy in the streets of Pakistan after his comments on Pakistan, although he could have.

He didn’t drive home the fact that Al Qaeda is “reconstituted” in Pakistan because we kicked their ass in Iraq and they had to flee there.

He didn’t bring up that we really are at the crux of winning three wars in Iraq: the first against Sadaam, the second against Al Qaeda, and the third against the Badr brigades assisted by the Revolutionary Guard of Iran. Few have said that, but it’s the truth.

He didnt’ bring up that the average american farm is Rich in Barack’s book, he didn’t bring up that the average Home run business is rich in Barack’s books. That’s a must do next debate.

Again the real slings and arrows have not yet flown against Barack Obama, they are held in reserve. That’s a good thing.

Also note that McCain is winning in both the Drudge Report and AoL polls immediately following the debates by an almost 70 / 30 split.

New Missile Strikes in Pakistan

A new missile strike in Pakistan has killed 16 Taliban at a madrassah complex belonging to a friend of Osama Bin  Laden’s, Jalaluddin Haqqani. Haqqqani and his son, Sirajuddin, are the leaders of the Taliban in Afghanistan post-Daddullah, and they have been behind this year’s campaign of targetted bombings, kidnappings, and ambushes.

The refinement of tactics we’ve seen from him has been from adaptation of Al Qaeda’s new strategies. No longer do you see the Taliban acting as a large army, but instead using classical asymetric or guerrilla warfare techniques, mixed with many more terror attacks against civilian targets.

The strike was at a compound in the small village of Dande Darpa Khel in the tribal area of North Waziristan. One witness says there were two drones and six missiles used in the attack. It’s unknown whether we got any Al Qaeda or Taliban leaders of note, since villagers quickly surrounded the area and removed the bodies. A Pakistani official states that neither Jalal or Sirajuddin were in the buildings at the time of the attacks, but Pakistani officials have been notoriously wrong in reports in the past, most often they tend to claim that a leader was killed when they were not however.

This and the other recent up tempo strikes by the US and Nato forces seems to signal a new doctrine: that Taliban leaders will not be allowed to attack with impugnity and think their property and homes are safe across the border in Pakistan when they attack the property and homes of Afghans and destroy their lives.

More at the Washington Post:

A Pakistani security official in North Waziristan confirmed local villagers’ accounts of the attack, saying that the Taliban commander’s supporters immediately cordoned off the area around the bombsite and barred anyone from entering. He said that Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin — a leading Taliban fighter — were not in any of the targeted buildings when the missiles struck.

The Pakistani security official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on such incidents, said dozens of the injured were taken by ambulance to local hospitals in the tribal area’s main town of Miranshah. Haqqani’s younger son, Badruddin, told the Reuters news service that his father and brother, Sirajuddin, were unharmed because they were away in Afghanistan at the time of the strike.

UPDATE: 3 Al Qaeda leaders dead from strike per ARY and Rediff: Hamza Arabi, Qasim Hamza and Musa Arabi

Much more on the strike and Haqqani at The Long War Journal
More on Haqqani’s history at Wiki

Pakistan Reopens Torkham Border Crossing to NATO Supplies

Pakistan shut down the border crossing at Torkham to NATO fuel supplies after a series of raids by the US in Pakistan aimed at taking out the leadership of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. They reoppened the crossing today, and it demonstrates the power Pakistan has over Nato supply lines at the moment. The only other options to supply are by air, or overland and sea via Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, or through Russia. Either presents problems at the moment, as does negotiatng new supply routes from China via the silk road.

These raids have increased in tempo since the beginning of the year, but have not to our knowledge taken out anyone higher than mid level in either organization. Osama Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Ayman Al Zawahiri, Baitullah Mehsud, Haqqani, and Abu Yazid Al Masri are still all out there to the best of my knowledge.

While many Taliban and AQ were killed, the identities are largely unknown until we get confirmations from other sources.

More on the interdiction of supplies from Bill Roggio:

The US has recently stepped up attacks against Taliban and al Qaeda safe houses and training camps inside Pakistan’s tribal areas of North and South Waziristan over the last week. The US has conducts five strikes in the Waziristans in the past week, including a controversial helicopter assault in a village along the border.

But other Pakistani officials are maintaining that the border crossing was closed due to a deteriorating security situation. Rahmin Malik, the advisor to Prime Minister Gilani on internal security, said the road was closed after members of the security forces protecting the road to Afghanistan were kidnapped.

This is a political move, demonstrating the new President’s independence from US control, but ultimately the Pakistan economy could not withstand the shock of stopping the supplies permanently, as well as the other likely reprecussions. It is significant that Pakistan also made this move as the India nuclear deal took place, allowing open trade with India and bringing them back into the nuclear arms treaties. Similar deals were in the works with Pakistan, but those fell through, more from the chaos of the elections and the aftermath of forming a new coalition after the initial one collapsed.

Pakistan’s future could be bright: They sit on the best path for energy and food supplies to most of the subcontinent, but as long as their frontiers remain out of control they will never be able to leverage that geopolitial advantage very well.

Catching up

Although it appears that I’ve been slacking lately it’s really a case of over-immersion in work. Apologies to long time readers for all the quick posts of videos, which is really sort of cheating. Blogs are driven mostly by orignal content and perspective, which hasn’t been provided the past two weeks. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, but first some quick thoughts on recent events.

Politics:

Obama’s speech was ho hum and forgettable, people have already stopped talking about it. I expect a bit more bounce out of the convention than the average Republican pundit has predicted, but it’s going to melt quickly as the Republican convention takes off and with the news of Sarah Palin’s selection as John McCain’s choice as running mate.

The choice is being billed as brilliant, and as an Alaskan, I can’t help but be proud of John McCain’s selection. Like most Alaskans Sarah loves the state itself even with its flaws. This is evidenced by the names she has given some of her children; town and place names from Alaska. (Paxson, Bristol, Willow.) Of course they aren’t all named after Alaskan places, but Piper Indy Grace Palin is named for one of the main means of travel and communication in Alaska.

People are going to be surprised by the competency of Sarah Palin. LIke many Alaskans she has struggled with a harsh environment, vast distances, a cyclical boom-bust ecomony, and a business. That makes most Alaskans realists, and no-nonsense people who like to get things done expeditiously. The other thing that Alaskans have in their favor is an outcome of the long winters, the dark, and the cold — they have a lot of time to read, and are generally better informed than the average US citizen on most issues. The press will be trying to catch her out from the get-go, but they are going to have some rough sledding trying to do that.

To sum up on this subject, McCain’s choice was very smart for several reasons: it diversifies the ticket while almost instantly healing some rifts in the party (something the general press is overlooking at the moment,) it has potential to pull some Hillary voters, but most of all it displays McCain’s ability to make a principled decision once again. Sarah is not from a populous state that the Republicans need to pull in the win column, this is a strong blow from McCain against business as usual “realpolitik”. [ For pics of the ground breaking announcement and the McCain and Palin families as well as the great crowd response please see McCain Blogette.com ]

Ongoing things:

In the coming weeks I plan to pick the investigative articles on WE back up, as well as delineate the benefits of high energy environmentalism better than I have. I will also bring you up to date on happenings in Pakistan and the subcontinent, as well as follow the campaigns. If you are real lucky, I will put up a few more pictures of Kasey too.

Musharraf and the Bear’s Bad Bargain

While many are portraying the resignation of Musharraf as either a bad thing or a good thing, in effect it happened two months or more ago. His old friends and associates have been ignoring him, the stalwarts in PML-Q and MQM have deserted him, and even General Kayanni who he appointed as his replacement Chief of Army Staff has deserted by ducking meetings. His popularity with the Pakistani people of all stripes is almost as low as the US congress is with the American People. He lasted the six months past the elections that I previously predicted he would make it at least as far as, but not much further.

The religious conservative nature of more than half of Musharraf’s base has been decaying since 2006 — it started when he turned his back on the government sponsored terror camps for Kashmiri Jihadis, and this turned some factions within the army and ISI as well.
It accelerated as he started flushing the Afghanistan Refugee camps and repatriating them, with the hudood ordinance wrangling for women’s rights, with the de-certifying of madrassa diplomas, and sped up more with the well-constructed Al Qaeda’s cape of Lal Masjid Mosque to Musharraf’s bull.

Then he lost the urban moderate part of his base with the barring of the Judiciary and the censoring of media in the run-up to elections. If there’s someone in Pakistan that Musharraf hasn’t pissed-off, I’m certainly not aware of who it is. At some point you have to step back to admire his tap-dance across the razor wire of Pakistani politics, and the panache with which he carried off several actions of his tenure as president in a country so factionalized you need a score card to know how to dress when you travel.

In the end patronage is what got him post election. The political and business communities in Pakistan thrive on patronage, and without his partie’s people in the bureacracies and positions of power Musharraf has been a thin paper icon and not a real power the past few months, and the final dregs of his support trickled away.

With Musharraf now gone, the US got the bear’s bad bargain from him, as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) have been securely in Taliban hands the past two years, and during the last year and a half they’ve made steady progress in trying to take over the North West Frontier Provinces (NWFP). Ayman Al Zawahiri and Bin Laden have been directing events, and they’ve created the next generation of Jihadi leadership under his nose. There’s been billions in aid and hardware spent, and now like the bear in the story, we are rambling off with empty paws.

The effects of Musharraf’s departure, like all multi-faceted events, are much more complex than any single pundit can predict, but I will do my best to sketch some possibilities here.

This will put Zardari, a questionable character in his own right, in charge of PPP, as the likely next president – if it’s not then it will be a puppet of his. (This goes with the usual codicil in Pakistan: If he lives, his name probably heads Baitullah Mehsud’s assassination list of 300.) There’s a slim potential to make Nawaz Sharif president, but the chances of that aren’t likely.

I think you will see Al Qaeda declare that PPP is just the newest US puppet, and they will continue their war against the government of Pakistan; they need to do that to survive. Brokering peace in the frontiers isn’t likely except under one scenario, and it’s probable that it will be floated or tried at some point so watch for the following possibility:

I would wager that the the new government would be willing to turn Jihadi ire away from Afghanistan and back towards India and the Kashmir standoff if they think that will bring them peace. With the Kashmir intifada heating up, it’s a likely ploy and scenario to regain the conservative sympathizer vote and to shore up the peace in the frontiers. Without an external enemy to focus the jihadis upon the jihadis will continue to eat the state of Pakistan.

The other challenges before the government are many, and how they answer them will be instructive over the next few months. The economy is floundering, in stagflation from energy and food inflation, coupled with decreased productivity and increased joblessness. Hunger is beginning to stalk the subcontinent once again, and that’s something that could snap the populace into their face very quickly if not abated.

Pakistan is energy deficient, which leads to many of their other woes for you can not support a dense population without abundant, cheap energy.

If they agitate in the Kashmir too much, they will find food supplies shortened, which certainly won’t help matters.

Then of course there are the Islamists, who are trying to overthrow the Government of Pakistan, and if they fail in that, they will next attempt to create the breakaway state of Pashtun land (there are many spellings for the envisioned state to be carved out of FATA, Southern Afghanistan, and NWFP, I’ve anglicized it.)

So lots of challenges, and at this point I have no firm predictions.

For a run down on potential candidates, here’s a list from Pakistan policy blog.

 Also just a couple notes to correct some misconceptions in other articles I’ve seen in the blogosphere:

It was Richard Armitage who took the message to Pakistan that we would bomb them to the stone age if they did not cooperate according to Musharraf’s memoirs.

It was under Bhutto that the Kashmir genocide through forced migration started, and prior to that General Zia al Haq had been using Bin Laden and AQ to cleanse the hinterlands of Pakistan, like Chitral etc.

Missile Strike Against Hekmatyar Camp in Pakistan; 9 Dead

Associated Press and Reuters are reporting a missile strike at a Gulbuddin Hekmatyar training camp in Pakistan. The report has 9 militants dead (unamed, but militants usually equals foreign Taliban or Al Qaeda, local TTP Taliban are either named or tagged extremists.) From Reuters:

WANA, Pakistan, Aug 13 (Reuters) – At least nine militants were killed in a missile strike on their training camp in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region, near the Afghan border, security officials and residents said on Wednesday.

In a separate incident, a militant faction leader was shot and killed by a gunman at his office in a mosque in a northwestern town.

This strike occurred in Bhagar, about 22 miles West of Wana, a hotbed and gathering area for Taliban forces in the South Waziristan area. One out of two camps located at Bhagar was hit. According to an unamed Pakistan intel official :

“This camp was run by Hizb-e-Islami and there were about 15 people including foreigners there at the time of the attack,”
Militants sealed off the area and were not letting anyone approach, they aren’t even letting residents who live nearby go there but our information is that they have recovered nine bodies.”

Here’s the wiki page on Gulbuddin, you will see that Hizb-e-Islami (G) and Hekmatyar have a long history, including some ties to Iran.

Update: AFP reports the possibility that Zanjir Wazir, commander of HIG Afghanistan was killed. His brother, Abdur Rehman and Abdul Salam were counted among the dead.

US officials are denying the strike, which was four missiles. Pakistan is known to have laser guided munitions (helicopter launched) and as the training camp’s plot is well known, the missiles could have been targetted via GPS.

Also note this from the AFP Story linked above:

Separately on Wednesday a gunman shot dead an Islamist militant leader, Haji Namdar, as he taught at a religious school in the Khyber tribal region near the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said

It’s a “red on red” killing and retribution for Namdar’s resistance in the Khyber agency, there will undoubtably be counter-strokes, stay tuned.

More at Jammie Wearing Fool

Yazid Al Masri Update: Army Spokesman Partially Confirms Death of AQ #3

From the Pakistan Daily Times we have a named source saying that they think Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri is dead. He refuses to confirm until secondary verification from ground sources however.

From the Daily Times:

Strikes by Pakistani fighter jets have killed a senior Al Qaeda commander in the Bajaur Agency, according to unofficial reports on Tuesday. Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas said the security agencies had intelligence on presence of top Al Qaeda operative Abu Mustafa Al Yazid but his death could not be confirmed as yet by “contacts on the ground”. “I can only speak when we have 100 percent confirmation that he was killed,” Abbas told Daily Times. However, he confirmed air raids in the area by security forces.

UPDATE II: In the International Times they have both Taliban and “Arab” sources denying the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri. This looks like another false report from Pakistan’s Military at the moment, but note that the military also states that intercepted insurgent radio chatter is where they first heard of the death, we’ll give this another 48 hours since Al Qaeda ususally does confirm when we kill a leader.

Update: Apparently after the strike the bodies where taken away, and then sent to separate villages, see this article.

Militants’ positions were also targeted by artillery and mortars from the paramilitary Bajaur Scouts headquarters in Khar, they added. The officials said 21 militants were killed and several were injured in the daylong bombing and artillery shelling on their hideouts.

Officials said the militants later took bodies of the slain and injured colleagues to their headquarters in Seway village of Mamond subdivision. “After their funeral prayers offered in Seway, the bodies of the militants were dispatched to their respective villages for burial,” sources close to militants told The News from Seway.

Sources said the militants from other tribal regions, including South Waziristan, Khyber, Mohmand and settled districts of Mardan, Peshawar, Nowshera, Dir and Swabi also reached the area to fight alongside their fellow fighters in the Bajaur Agency against the security forces.

[also note that the village mentioned has a history. You also see that the Mullah Faqir mentioned in the article and released in 2006 is leading the Taliban here.]

Today’s Earlier Post:
Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.) Originally billed as Al Qaida’s leader in Afghanistan way back in May 2007 in an As Sahab video, he later seemed to have been replaced in subseqent announcements by other AQ leaders in Afghanistan as they tried Emir after Emir. I think this was by design after Dadullah’s death, their second tier now leads from the rear. He was the replacement after we killed Mullah Dadullah, and from what I can see he was in the second tier of leadership of Al Qaeda, managing both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here is the video announcing him as leader in Afghanistan from Memri.

While I’m calling Abu Yazid as a “tier II” leader, some refer to him as Al Qaeda’s number three, he also served time in the same cell alongside Ayman Al Zawahiri in Egypt. Regardless of where you place his position, he is part of the critical strategic leadership for AQ, and this is a tremendous blow to them if the initial reports pan out.

He was the one who declared Jihad against Turkey, and later he pops up in the news claiming credit for the Benazir Bhutto assassination for Al Qaeda. ( Rememeber that many think Baitullah Mehsud did it as well, I would still wager that AQ ordered the killing and that Baitullah managed the logistics.)
You can also see in this dispatch at Memri that he doesn’t distinguish between civilians and government for purposes of Jihad.

Here’s the story from Fox News:

Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official told Reuters on Tuesday.

“He was believed to be among the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” the senior security official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the senior most Al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month

You can also see that Abu Yazid Al Masri, like all Al Qaeda leadership, interprets Jihad the way he wants to at the moment. Here he specifically states that blowing up mosques is forbidden, but later you saw Al Qaeda suicide bomb the mosque at Charsadda in an attempt to get Aftab Ahmed Sherpao:

In the interview, Abu Al-Yazid stated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad last June. He said that the bomber was a Saudi, and added: “We are proud to have carried out [this operation], and we congratulated our brothers for completing this task. We timed the attack in such a way that no Muslims were in the vicinity.” Abu Al-Yazid also stated that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On a previous occasion, he claimed that the organization had carried out the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime-minister Benazir Bhutto.

Referring to the permissibility of suicide bombings, Abu Al-Yazid said that eminent Islamic scholars around the world had issued fatwas sanctioning them. He added: “Suicide attacks are justified by Islamic shari’a. [However, Islamic] scholars [who are affiliated with] governments issue whatever fatwas they are told to issue… However, suicide attacks inside mosques are forbidden.”

Meanwhile the offensive in Bajaur is continuing, I think the ruling coalition in Pakistan has realized that they must get AQ and Baitullah before the terrorists get them. ( Baitullah circulated a list of 300 PPP and PML-N stalwarts up for assassination last month.)

More at Jawa Report

More at The Long War Journal

Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid aka “Sa’id” Al Qaeda Leader Dead

Pakistan has announced the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” al-Masri in the Bajaur region as a result of their ongoing offensive there. (The Reuters story specifies an “Unamed Official, but that’s normally how these reports come from Pakistan.) 
UPDATE: In the International Times they have both Taliban and “Arab” sources denying the death of Abu Yazid “Saeed” Al Masri. This looks like another false report from Pakistan’s Military at the moment, but note that the military also states that intercepted insurgent radio chatter is where they first heard of the death, we’ll give this another 48 hours since Al Qaeda ususally does confirm when we kill a leader.

Originally billed as Al Qaida’s leader in Afghanistan way back in May 2007 in an As Sahab video, he later seemed to have been replaced in subseqent announcements by other AQ leaders in Afghanistan as they tried Emir after Emir. I think this was by design after Dadullah’s death, their second tier now leads from the rear. He was the replacement after we killed Mullah Dadullah, and from what I can see he was in the second tier of leadership of Al Qaeda, managing both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here is the video announcing him as leader in Afghanistan from Memri.

While I’m calling Abu Yazid as a “tier II” leader, some refer to him as Al Qaeda’s number three, he also served time in the same cell alongside Ayman Al Zawahiri in Egypt. Regardless of where you place his position, he is part of the critical strategic leadership for AQ, and this is a tremendous blow to them if the initial reports pan out.

He was the one who declared Jihad against Turkey, and later he pops up in the news claiming credit for the Benazir Bhutto assassination for Al Qaeda. ( Rememeber that many think Baitullah Mehsud did it as well, I would still wager that AQ ordered the killing and that Baitullah managed the logistics.)
You can also see in this dispatch at Memri that he doesn’t distinguish between civilians and government for purposes of Jihad.

Here’s the story from Fox News:

Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri has been killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces in a Pakistani region near the Afghan border, a security official told Reuters on Tuesday.

“He was believed to be among the top leadership of Al Qaeda,” the senior security official told the news agency on condition of anonymity.

Al-Masri, which means Egyptian, was the senior most Al Qaeda operative to have been killed in Pakistan’s tribal belt since the death of his compatriot, Abu Khabab al-Masri, an Al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, last month

You can also see that Abu Yazid Al Masri, like all Al Qaeda leadership, interprets Jihad the way he wants to at the moment. Here he specifically states that blowing up mosques is forbidden, but later you saw Al Qaeda suicide bomb the mosque at Charsadda in an attempt to get Aftab Ahmed Sherpao:

In the interview, Abu Al-Yazid stated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad last June. He said that the bomber was a Saudi, and added: “We are proud to have carried out [this operation], and we congratulated our brothers for completing this task. We timed the attack in such a way that no Muslims were in the vicinity.” Abu Al-Yazid also stated that Al-Qaeda had been responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. On a previous occasion, he claimed that the organization had carried out the December 27, 2007 assassination of former Pakistani prime-minister Benazir Bhutto.

Referring to the permissibility of suicide bombings, Abu Al-Yazid said that eminent Islamic scholars around the world had issued fatwas sanctioning them. He added: “Suicide attacks are justified by Islamic shari’a. [However, Islamic] scholars [who are affiliated with] governments issue whatever fatwas they are told to issue… However, suicide attacks inside mosques are forbidden.”

Meanwhile the offensive in Bajaur is continuing, I think the ruling coalition in Pakistan has realized that they must get AQ and Baitullah before the terrorists get them. ( Baitullah circulated a list of 300 PPP and PML-N stalwarts up for assassination last month.)

More at Jawa Report

More at The Long War Journal