Al Qaeda au Pakistan et le bilan américain de la lutte contre le terrorisme

Vu dans le Monde ce matin…

« Le rapport du Conseil national du renseignement (NIC), une synthèse du travail de 16 agences d’espionnage, n’est pas tendre avec la Maison Blanche. L’International Herald Tribune note que l’organisation a réussi à maintenir en vie Oussama Ben Laden et ses lieutenants tout en se renforçant dans la zone tribale du Pakistan, tandis que les Etats-Unis se concentraient sur l’Irak. En mars 2002, George Bush estimait qu’il ne savait pas où se trouvait Ben Laden : « Je m’en fiche, ce n’est pas important, ce n’est pas notre priorité », confiait-il. El País souligne, pour sa part, que l’organisation dispose à nouveau des moyens d’attaquer les Etats-Unis sur leur sol. Selon le rapport, Al-Qaida « continuera d’essayer d’acquérir et d’employer des matériels chimiques, biologiques, radioactifs ou nucléaires », indique le FT. »

Quelques extraits par ici:

International Herald Tribune – « U.S. intelligence agencies offer grim assessment of Al Qaeda »

By Mark Mazzetti, David E. Sanger and David Stout – Tuesday, July 17, 2007

« WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush’s top counterterrorism advisers acknowledged Tuesday that the strategy for fighting Osama bin Laden’s Qaeda leadership in Pakistan had failed, as the White House released a grim new intelligence assessment that has forced the administration to consider more aggressive measures inside Pakistan.

The intelligence report, the most formal assessment since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, about the terrorist threat facing the United States, concludes that the United States is losing ground on a number of fronts in the fight against Al Qaeda and describes the terrorist organization as having significantly strengthened over the past two years.

(…) In identifying the main reasons for Al Qaeda’s resurgence, intelligence officials and White House aides pointed the finger of blame squarely at a hands-off approach toward the tribal areas by President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, who last year brokered a cease fire with tribal leaders in an attempt to diminish support for Islamic extremism in the region.

White House officials said that the bleak intelligence assessment, issued in the middle of a bitter debate about the future of American policy in Iraq, bolsters the Bush Administration’s argument that Iraq is the « central front » in the war on terror, since that is where Al Qaeda operatives are directly attacking American forces.

But top intelligence officials made clear that the Qaeda-linked group in Iraq, Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, remains focused on attacking targets there, not on American or European soil.

Until recently, Bush administration officials had reluctantly endorsed the cease fire that Musharraf negotiated in Pakistan, as part of their efforts to prop him up. But that accord has appeared to collapse, with new attacks by militants in the tribal areas, and Frances Fragos Townsend, Bush’s top homeland security official, said of the strategy: « It hasn’t worked for Pakistan and it hasn’t worked for the United States. »

(…) Intelligence officials said Tuesday that since the cease fire last September, Al Qaeda has grown stronger in the mountainous region and better able to realize its goal of carrying out a big attack inside the United States.

Townsend found herself in the position of explaining why U.S. military action was focused in Iraq when the main threat to the United States and its allies was based in the tribal areas of Pakistan. For a president who made hunting bin Laden and his terror network his top mission in the days after Sept. 11, the assessment issued Tuesday made clear that early progress had been reversed.

(…) The report issued Tuesday says the United States would face « a persistent and evolving terrorist threat » over the next three years, as Al Qaeda continues to plot attacks comparable in scale with those of Sept. 11. It says the worldwide campaign against terrorism since those attacks had « constrained » the ability of Al Qaeda to attack the American homeland again, but had not lessened the group’s desire to do so.

Despite efforts to root out Qaeda terrorists from their strongholds in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan since 2001, the group has been able to protect or rebuild a cadre of « operational lieutenants » and its top leadership, the estimate says. And while Al Qaeda remains the greatest terrorist threat to the United States, its leadership will continue to prod other terrorists in « extremist Sunni communities » to « mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities, » the 16 intelligence agencies agreed.

Moreover, the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has carried out attacks against Americans overseas, may be tempted to attack the United States if it feels that it or its main sponsor, Iran, is threatened by America, the assessment says.

But « the main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially Al Qaeda, driven by their undiminished intent to attack the homeland and a continued effort by these terrorist groups to adapt and improve their capabilities, » the estimate concludes.

Al Qaeda is expected to cultivate more cooperation with regional terrorist groups, the document says. Perhaps most significant, Al Qaeda will probably try to use its contacts with Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia to foment Sunni extremists, raise resources and recruit operatives for more attacks in the United States, the document says.

Florida Chronicle – Robert Rouse – September 13, 2006

« The men who pulled the trigger on the attacks of 9/11 have all gone to meet their maker. The man behind the attacks is still on the loose. Why is this? Didn’t our president promise to take this man down? Let’s take a look at the rhetoric George W. Bush has spewed on our airwaves since 9/11. At first Bush told us that finding bin Laden was the most important item on our agenda.

« The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him. » – September 13, 2001

« I want justice…There’s an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’. » – September 17, 2001

It didn’t take long for this to start changing.

« Secondly, he is not escaping us. This is a guy, who, three months ago, was in control of a country. Now he’s maybe in control of a cave. He’s on the run. Listen, a while ago I said to the American people, our objective is more than bin Laden. But one of the things for certain is we’re going to get him running and keep him running, and bring him to justice. And that’s what’s happening. He’s on the run, if he’s running at all. So we don’t know whether he’s in cave with the door shut, or a cave with the door open — we just don’t know. » – December 28, 2001

And soon after this, we learned that Bush honestly didn’t care about bin Laden.

« I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority . . . I am truly not that concerned about him. » – March 13 – 2002

Of course later during one of the debates with John Kerry, Bush claimed he never said that. I suppose when you lie all the time, you forget what the truth actually is.

But what led our « fearless leader » to change direction from going after the people responsible for 9/11 to not being concerned about them? This will be for history to answer completely, but a lot of us have a pretty good idea. George W. Bush decided he would use the attacks of 9/11 to further the Neocon agenda of Right Wing supremacy around the globe. And what better way to further this agenda than using the fear that came naturally after 9/11. He and others in his administration would imply that Iraq was involved in 9/11. And to sell people on war with Iraq, he would use words like « mushroom cloud » and « weapons of mass destruction« . I hate to admit it, but his misdirection of the American people worked brilliantly to instill even more fear in an already fearful nation.

But why Iraq? Why Saddam Hussein? A glimpse into that part of Bush’s psyche may provide an answer. In the book « Hubris » by political reporter David Corn and Newsweek investigative journalist, Michael Isikoff we learn that . . .

President Bush was driven by a visceral hatred of Saddam Hussein, which he privately demonstrated in expletive-laden tirades against the Iraqi dictator. In May 2002 – months before he asked Congress for authority to attack Saddam – Bush bluntly revealed his ultimate game plan in a candid moment with two aides. When told that reporter Helen Thomas was questioning the need to oust Saddam by force, Bush snapped: « Did you tell her I intend to kick his sorry mother-f**king ass all over the Mideast? » In a meeting with congressional leaders, the President angrily thrust his middle finger inches in front of the face of Senator Tom Daschle to illustrate Saddam’s attitude toward the United States.

But this had nothing to do with 9/11. A point driven home last week by a Senate report that tore apart the administrations claims – especially those of Dick Cheney – that Iraq was a hotbed of terrorist activity. »





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