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Marineoffiser Pete Devlins rapport om situasjonen i Anbar-provinsen i Iraq og Ahmed Rashids dystre analyse av krigen i Afghanistan gir grunn til bekymring. Situasjonen vil bli verre før den blir bedre, og spørsmålet er: finnes det politisk vilje til å handle?

One Army officer summarized it as arguing that in Anbar province, «We haven’t been defeated militarily but we have been defeated politically – and that’s where wars are won and lost.» The «very pessimistic» statement, as one Marine officer called it, was dated Aug. 16 and sent to Washington shortly after that, and has been discussed across the Pentagon and elsewhere in national security circles. «I don’t know if it is a shock wave, but it’s made people uncomfortable,» said a Defense Department official who has read the report. …

Devlin reports that there are no functioning Iraqi government institutions in Anbar, leaving a vacuum that has been filled by the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Iraq, which has become the province’s most significant political force, said the Army officer, who has read the report. Another person familiar with the report said it describes Anbar as beyond repair; a third said it concludes that the United States has lost in Anbar.(washington post)

As the situation has deteriorated, insurgent attacks have increased. The report describes Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia as an «integral part of the social fabric» of Anbar. The organization, which is predominantly made up of fighters who are native Iraqis, is flush with cash, much of it earned from black market or criminal activity.(nytimes)

Hvis provinser i sunni-triangelet blir utenfor myndighetenes kontroll kan prosesen mot en de facto deliing av landet, aksellerere.

Ahmed Rashids beskrivelse av Afghanistan er like pessmistiske. Han sier jihadistene lærer av hverandre. Det mest alvorlige er at Sør-og Nord-Waziristan er blitt Al Qaidas nye fristed. Han kaller avtalen mellom Musharraf og lokale stammer for en kapitulasjon.

In North and South Waziristan, the tribal regions along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an alliance of extremist groups that includes al-Qaeda, Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, Central Asians, and Chechens has won a significant victory against the army of Pakistan. The army, which has lost some 800 soldiers in the past three years, has retreated, dismantled its checkpoints, released al-Qaeda prisoners and is now paying large «compensation» sums to the extremists.

This region, considered «terrorism central» by U.S. commanders in Afghanistan, is now a fully operational al-Qaeda base area offering a wide range of services, facilities, and military and explosives training for extremists around the world planning attacks. Waziristan is now a regional magnet. In the past six months up to 1,000 Uzbeks, escaping the crackdown in Uzbekistan after last year’s massacre by government security forces in the town of Andijan, have found sanctuary with al-Qaeda in Waziristan.

Taliban hindrer fremveksten av et sivilt samfunn ved å drepe skolelærere og andre offentlig ansatte.

Moreover, efforts by armies to win the local citizens’ hearts and minds and carry out reconstruction projects are also failing as extremists attack «soft» targets, such as teachers, civil servants and police officers, decapitating the local administration and terrorizing the people.

Rashid anklager NATO for å tenke kortsiktig: hvis man skal ha noe håp om å stanse strømmen av Taliban over grensen, må det legges press på Musharraf. Det motsatte har skjedd.

På femårsdagen for 911 kan man si at situasjonen er mer alvorlig, men det tar tid før erkjennelsen kommer. Og hva gjør politikerne for å forberede opinionen?

Rashid er veldig dyster. Kanskje for dyster. Men det han sier om at jihadistene tilpasser sin taktikk, og at de samarbeider på tvers av regionene er sikkert riktig. Også faren for at opprøret kan spre seg til Kaukasus. Det er et eksplosivt område, men mange kryssende konfliktlinjer.

If this is indeed a long war, as the Bush administration says, then the United States has almost certainly lost the first phase. Guerrillas are learning faster than Western armies, and the West makes appalling strategic mistakes while the extremists make brilliant tactical moves.

As al-Qaeda and its allies prepare to spread their global jihad to Central Asia, the Caucasus and other parts of the Middle East, they will carry with them the accumulated experience and lessons of the past five years. The West and its regional allies are not prepared to match them.

Losing the War on Terror
Why Militants Are Beating Technology Five Years After Sept. 11
By Ahmed Rashid