Merchant of Death
Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible

Blood from Stones

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The Changing Panorama Across Africa and the World
As Islamists continue their offensive in Somalia,
there are several other key indicators that the violent _wahhabist_ movement across Africa is growing.

The deteriorating situation in Somalia and Africa is symptomatic of other setbacks in fighting the Islamists on numerous fronts. Taken together, the recent developments of 2007 show that:

1) Neither Sunni nor Shi'ite terrorist networks are suffering from any shortage of funds or recruits, but rather seem awash in resources,
2) the increased decentralization of al Qaeda-related groups is a strategy that is paying off well for the _salafist_ movements, which are slowly establishing viable networks in areas where not long ago they had none, and
3) that Islamists have begun a well-financed and sophisticated propaganda offensive, coupled with a political strategy of appearing to soften on some issues (ie Sudan) aimed at presenting a negotiating partner(s) to the West in an effort to forestall decisive action. So far it has been remarkably successful.

Coupled with the deteriorating situation in Nigeria, with a militant and violent Salafist movement in the north; the continued genocide in Sudan, perpetrated by Islamic radicals; and the increasing activity of Al Qaeda's Committee in the Islamic Maghreb in northern Africa, the situation across continent is growing increasingly complex and favorable to the _jihadists_.

When taken in the broader context of the Taliban renewal in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the ability of al Qaeda-linked groups in Iraq to inflict serious casualties despite the troop surge, there seems to be little to cheer in the year's first quarter.

At the same time the _Salafist_ armies are opening different fronts in the region, the _Shi'ite_ groups have not remained idle. A recent study based on field research, which I will post when I can, estimates that Hezbollah is receiving up to $1 billion a year from Iran for its military activities, while expanding its fund-raising among the Lebanese _diaspora_.

This bodes ill on several fronts, particularly for networks embedded in Latin America and, again, Africa.

Taken together, it is not hard to connect the dots of what the enemy is doing. What is much harder to see the contours of is a counter-strategy that uses not just military force but the tools our enemy use. These include outreach, information, engagement in the political field and a serious effort to give the non-Islamist Muslims a modicum of support.

With Iraq sucking the oxygen out of the possibility of focusing on a longer-range and more varied counter-strategy, we are badly hamstrung. We have little or no resources to fight a broader war that is already knocking on our doorstep.
What is Missing From Chertoff's War Assessment
The Wrong Decision on Sudan
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