Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Honor of the Winter Olympics, SCTV flashback: Monday Night Curling with Dandy Don Bigelow

Star Wars anologies gone mad: Capture of Taliban big wig Mullah Ghani

Ed. [The true purpose of this post is to flog Star Wars references.]

The capture of Mullah Abdul Ghani by our fickle friends the Pakistanis raises some interesting questions, that are well covered by Crispin over at WOI .

Some quick responses (including lame and confused Star Wars references, because Crispin brought it up):

Will the capture have a serious impact on Taliban fighting ability? Probably not. As is noted in the post, only 6 of the 19 'high council' have been killed in the last3 years, and there are invariably people that fall into the vacated slots.

The only way such attrition could seriously impair their fighting ability is if that rate were to not only increase, but sustain. At some point, we also have to increase and sustain the amount of attrition in the ranks of the er..local Taliban grunts as well, making it clear to the cannon fodder that death is more likely than not should they choose the jihadi career path. This we should do of course, while also attempting to peel off as many of the low level as possible.

No doubt MAG has some actionable intel, that makes more possible the removal of Jabba the, Mullah Omar, but don't count on it. Now that the light has been switched on, it's reasonable to assume that roach has moved to another room. (But, perhaps Jabba's palace, where ever it might be (Perhaps Dubai?) is not quite so safe as he assumes? You might ask the Trade Federation about mean Hamas.

Another question: Is this capture an indication that our capricious friends the Paks have decided to be more helpful? Has the ISI become more reliable? Will it root out radical sympathizers in its midst?Or does Pakistan recognize that it has to, from time to time, throw U.S. a bone or two, given that we have recently been lobbing missiles into their territory? Or, indeed is the recent use of missiles just evidence of said bones thrown? Mullah Ghani is to Han Solo as Lando is to Pakistan. All good questions, I haven't an answer to, other than to say, Pincess Leia's suspicions are very well placed, and it is risky business trusting Lando. (Now that is tortured analogy folks!)

What do we do with live members of the inner circle, now that we have them? Why play Jedi mind tricks on them of course. Play them against each other and against the council, and extract information to boot.

One odd suggestion is that we negotiate with G, given that he is a bit of a softy in Taliban circles, apparently authoring their attempt at COIN doctrine

(Short version: Ignore the fact that we shot women in soccer stadiums, and blew up the Buddhas of Bamayan, brought the wrath of the evil empire down upon our lands. Trust us..we're the good guys..Yeah. That has a chance of working. Well, at least G tried.)

Crispin asks the obvious question: Is this prisoner actually in any sort of position to do what negotiators usually do, enter into pacts or treaties and insure that his side holds up its end of the bargain? It's not at all obvious that he is, unless we can provide him with secure communications to others in the inner circles that are not pleased with Mace Windoo' Omar''s running of things. (Damn I'm mixing my analogies and Star Wars references in ways that defy all decent respect for logic and consistency.)

A conspiracy can be hatched to off Jaba and the other hard line Tallies, and then Han can move in and take over. Would that be to the evil empire's liking? The real question here, is who plays the role of puppet master Palpatine in this scenario. CIA? Obama? Petraeus? Darth Cheney? Bush?

This all assumes, of course that Han Abdul Ghani is really a soft sort. Suppose he isn't. Why not indulge in a little bit of psychological warfare? Lead Jabba's court to believe that he has turned, and is engaged in nefarious conspiracy with the evil empire? What is more, let it be known to the people doing the actual fighting, the pawns, the droid army, the stormtroopers. Sow the seeds of suspicion at the middle management levels. Have the roaches looking over their shoulders, and scurrying from the light. Then we can all laugh at them like Salacious B. Crumb.

Whodunit? Hamas leader assumes room temperature with help

This Dubai law enforcement video details the movements of an 11 member team who assisted Mahmoud al-Mabhouh off this mortal coil. You have to hand it to Dubai. It must be the most thoroughly CCT'd country in the middle east. The video is compiled from airport, shopping mall, and various hotel surveillance vids. How the Dubai police ever pieced all this together, without some sort of assistance, is a true mystery, or a tribute to their abilities.

al-Mabhouh must have been a bit shocked. Surely his guard was down as he assumed he was safe, orchestrating events from a distance in the posh resort. Seems to be a trend that these kingpins should be worrying about, what with two Taliban honchos being captured in Pakistan. The top dogs usually orchestrate from what they believe is a safe distance, and in posh surroundings, letting the pawns take the fall or die for the 'cause'. How's that working out fellas? Usama, you watching this vid, from whatever palatial resort you're hold up in? Don't feel too safe.

As to whodunit? From what I know, it does look like a Mossad project, and was very well carried out. No direct phone calls to one another, an apparent command center in Austria. Agents initially arrive at different times, check in to different hotels, meet at a mall, arriving and departing at different times, disguise themselves, but eventually converge on their target. Seperate surveillance teams are tasked with keeping tabs on MaM. Watch how they determine MaM's room number and set up shop. Brilliantly simple. Who would suspect a couple of tennis tourista types? Most were British or Irish. Perhaps a cooperative effort with MI5. Who knows. In any case, a well organized and executed poisoning it would seem. Targeted assasination = no collateral damage.

One can see that they must have been aware of Dubai's dense CCT, if they went to this amount of trouble.

Questions: Roundabout 4:50 when "Peter" arrives at the Dubai airport, the camera pans to follow his movements. That is odd. Aren't CCT cameras fixed? If not, why did the camera 'choose' to follow him? This happens twice, with the same camera.