Rusty made me laugh with this one. If you haunt and track jihadi websites, you'll already know that she's become a familiar face.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the lines between piracy in the Gulf of Aden, geopolitical chaos on the Horn of African, and AQ activity in Yemen are blurring by the week. Armies of Liberation reports on AQ and piracy activities in both countries, including the seizure of a Turkish chemical tanker. In the same post there's a squib that holds very ominous news for anyone with a sense of strategy:
A Somali Islamist militia seized a key port town Wednesday, giving it control of most of southern Somalia and sidelining the weak government. The capture of Merka, 56 miles from the capital, Mogadishu, means the hardline al-Shabab militia now holds both major ports with airstrips south of the capital.
So now AQ's group in Somalia has control of two port towns This could give them a strategic advantage in the Gulf of Aden piracy operations too. We may actually see an increase in piracy over the next year with an even greater portion of the loot going directly to AQ.
In related news, War is Boring reports on a "thousand-ship navy" in the Gulf of Aden. Information Dissemination suggests that the situation is bad enough to effect Christmas-gift related imports from India:
I don't really know where to go with this, and I doubt the video game crowd in Europe has considerable political clout to influence policy anymore than what the EU is already doing, but it is interesting the shipping market is using the Santa Claus will be late this year angle to emphasize how frustrating piracy has become for them moving near the coast of Somalia.
Expect the Obama administration to take up the Aden issue early.
An excerpt from "Islamic Responses to Europe at the Dawn of Colonialism."
A discussion on the eschatology of radical Islam.
Could Qaradawi's Shia problem (so ably reported at the Shack) have its source in a family psycho-drama? MEMRI hints. Or is this just a little Persian love tap on the Sheikh?
Let's see: there's a sword: check. a book: check. two rifles: double check. and those ever-present black flags: check. I could have designed it better.
Another one? Sigh.
I've argued before that al-Qaeda's grand strategy uses terrorism in the service of a 'constructivist' mission: spreading and deepening Islamic identity among Muslims, defining this Islamic identity in very specific salafi-jihadist terms against the competing definitions offered by other Islamist groups, and establishing that Islamic identity requires costly participation in a very specifically defined jihad.
Note to Mr. Aardvark: it's called dawah.
Yeah, they were there, according to this report. I'm convinced that if we hadn't invaded Iraq and torn down that regime, we would have seen Saddam Hussein set up Afghan muj training central (with the usual complicity from the Iranians) in the heart of the Middle East. He would have become AQ's best friend. If you take into consideration all the accounts of young men mobilizing in Pakistan in late 2001-02 to fight Americans in Afghanistan, add to it an active Iraq, and it may have been the case that we would have lost Afghanistan by now.
Interesting links at Intelfusion related to Russia's pre-Georgia invasion prep (along with another one of those Anti-Tufte flow/link charts)