Monday, December 06, 2004

The Glorious Battle of Jeddah

Or at least that's what "expert" Diaa Rashwan would have you believe:
Militants lobbing explosives forced their way into the heavily guarded U.S. consulate in Jiddah on Monday before Saudi security forces stormed the compound and fought a gunbattle to end a four-hour standoff. Eight people, none American, were killed.

Five consulate employees were killed, said a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman in Riyadh. Three of the five attackers also died in the shootout, the Saudi Interior Ministry said. One American was slightly injured.

"This was a very hard target to attack, and they pulled it off," said Diaa Rashwan, a Cairo-based expert on Muslim militants, predicting the attack would boost morale among extremists. "For the government, this was a security failure. For the militants, this was a military victory."

A number of comments spring to mind. Let's seek a little perspective, shall we?

First of all, from an operational standpoint the bad guys lost this one. I don't just say that because three of the attackers were killed (although that's three less we have to worry about). Two of the group were captured, which means we have warm bodies to interrogate. Any intelligence is good intelligence. In addition, it is apparent that the terrorists were targeting the U.S., but in a consular district with over 9,000 Americans in residence, there were zero American casualties. Instead, the terrorists shot up a few of their brother Muslims. Not entirely helpful for them, certainly not as satisfying as shooting innocent Americans would have been. One wonders why these wannabe splodey-dopes didn't opt for a straight up car bombing or a long-distance IED-type bombing. Answer: because this was a poorly planned operation.

Second, the spin from this so-called "expert" has me so dizzy it's hard to decide where to begin. This was NOT a hard target to attack. Any terrorist worth his weight in C4 can chuck grenades and shoot surprised security officers. And on the list of U.S. targets in Saudi Arabia, the Consulate at Jeddah, while a notable target, is not the highest on the list of critical U.S. facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Islamofascists didn't attack the Embassy in Riyadh, or any of our air bases. They chose a relatively less-protected target, and they still ended up dead and captured.

As for Diaa Rashwan, I wonder if he doesn't have a little Frog in his family tree...who else would describe the annihilation and capture of your entire unit a "military victory"? Military competence aside, a little peep into Mr. Rashwan's background proved enlightening. My admittedly limited investigation into his educational history turned up no indication of where Mr. Rashwan was educated or what degrees he holds, if any, that would qualify him as an "expert" in anything. So until someone shows me a curriculum vitae for Diaa Rashwan, I'll have to dispute his "expertise" as unproven.

What I did find on Mr. Rashwan was his place of employment and a body of written work. Apparently, he works at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. A few of the articles you may find on their website include Israel: Between political crisis and civil war, Israel's aggression on Rafah: war crimes under US protection, Torture and the moral collapse of the Bush administration, and Trampling due process. These articles are not exactly supportive of America.

As for our friend Mr. Rashwan, here are a few of his own writings: The Western connection, Feeding terror, Inconclusive evidence, Flawed vision, and Americans as sitting ducks. My personal favorite is Inconclusive evidence, in which Mr. Rashwan argues against the conclusion that al-Qaeda was involved in the 9/11 attacks, and ends with the insinuation that slow reactions by American was due to deliberate decision.

So my friends, ask yourselves what we have. We have three dead terrorists, two captured terrorists, zero dead Americans, and an al-Qaeda apologist who says the attacks today were a "military victory" for the terrorists. I don't know about you, but I'd be perfectly happy to take a few more terrorist victories along those lines.

Thanks so much to AP writer Tarek Al-Issawi in Dubai for searching so diligently for such a distinguished and objective analyst to puff his news story with a little Islamofascist propaganda. If it wasn't for people like him, I wouldn't have much to write about, would I?