Monday, August 09, 2004


Iraq: Slipping Into Darkness

Will al Sadr be Iraq's next ruler? Does Iraqi democracy mean an Islamic Theocracy? Stay tuned for Mr. Bush's next foreign affairs triumph.

Deepening anti-U.S. rage casts doubt on Iraq leaders' ability to restore order

By Tom Lasseter
Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - After the past two days of fighting in southern and central Iraq, the difference between firebrand cleric Muqtada al Sadr and Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi couldn't be any more clear: Al Sadr has an army, and Allawi does not.

In Iraq, security is politics. When Allawi took office, the self-styled strongman lost little time before declaring that his government wouldn't tolerate the insurgency that's swept the country.

But as in previous battles, when al Sadr's Mahdi Army militia began to overrun Najaf and several neighborhoods from Baghdad to Basra, the Iraqi police force and national guard fought for a little while, then ran.

And as in previous battles, Iraq's Achilles' heel was revealed: To defend their country, Allawi and the interim government must go to the American military, an institution that's widely reviled by many Iraqis as an occupational force run amok...

Full Text

Sunday, August 08, 2004


Bush Admin Blows Al Qaeda Mole's Cover (2)

Informed Comment's Juan Cole has details:

The story of how the Bush administration prematurely outed Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a double agent working for Pakistan against al-Qaeda, has finally hit cable television news. MSNBC picked up the story on Saturday.

On Sunday at around 12:30 pm, Wolf Blitzer's show referred to it. New York Senator Charles Schumer criticized the Bush administration for revealing Khan's name. He noted the annoyance of British Home Minister Blunkett (see below) and Pakistani Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat with the Americans for blowing Khan's cover...

Blitzer then revealed that he had discussed the Khan case with US National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice on background. He reported that she had admitted that the Bush administration had in fact revealed Khan's name to the press. She said she did not know if Khan was a double agent working for the Pakistani government. (!!!)
(Emphasis added.)
Full Text includes links to Mr. Cole's sources.


Bush Administration Betrays Another Agent

This time, rather than a political opponent's wife, the Bush Administration betrayed the identity of a double-agent during a sting operation against al Qaeda.

From Reuters:

Unmasking of Qaeda Mole a U.S. Security Blunder-Experts
Sat Aug 7, 2004 05:47 PM ET
By Peter Graff

LONDON (Reuters) - The revelation that a mole within al Qaeda was exposed after Washington launched its "orange alert" this month has shocked security experts, who say the outing of the source may have set back the war on terror.


"The whole thing smacks of either incompetence or worse," said Tim Ripley, a security expert who writes for Jane's Defense publications. "You have to ask: what are they doing compromising a deep mole within al Qaeda, when it's so difficult to get these guys in there in the first place?

"It goes against all the rules of counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, running agents and so forth. It's not exactly cloak and dagger undercover work if it's on the front pages every time there's a development, is it?"
U.S. officials now say Hindi, one of the suspects arrested after Khan's name was compromised, may have been the head of the team that cased those buildings.

But the Pakistani disclosure that Khan was under cover suggests that the cell had been infiltrated, and was under surveillance at the time Washington ordered the orange alert.

The security experts said that under such circumstances it would be extraordinary to issue a public warning, because of the risk of tipping off the cell that it had been compromised.

(Emphasis added)

Thanks to blogs Informed Comment (Juan Cole) and Daily Kos for first publicizing this story.

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