Good Reads: Taliban's Kabul attack, looming demise of Al Qaeda... and the euro
Today's top stories include a report that the Taliban attack on Kabul may have been a 'last gasp.' Also; how Al Qaeda is being eclipsed by its affiliates. And is the eurozone on its last leg?
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“Ultimately, offensives like this – which follow on the heels of a truck bomb assault on a base in Wardak Province, which borders Kabul, Saturday and another this summer on the Intercontinental Hotel, a popular spot with Westerners in the capital – may prove considerably more effective for the insurgency than fighting troops on battlefields in the south and east.”Skip to next paragraph
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And what about Al Qaeda? Remember them?
According to Michael G. Vickers, the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence, that boys’ club of radical revolutionaries is a spent force, denuded by US military and intelligence operations, and Al Qaeda’s remnants in Pakistan and Afghanistan could be finished off in “18 to 24 months.”
The bad news is that Al Qaeda is being eclipsed by its own affiliates in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa. Mr. Whitlock and Mr. Miller quote CIA director David Petraeus as saying the Al Qaeda affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula – now engaged in a guerrilla war against the Yemen government – is “the most dangerous regional node in the global jihad.”
But rather than launching spectacular attacks like 9/11, the new Al Qaeda is using small, relatively inexpensive attacks to drain the resources of big rich countries. As Petraeus says, “Al-Qaeda’s efforts to carry out relatively small attacks that would . . . generate fear and create the need for costly security improvements.”
Now, about those rich countries: The Economist, in a series of stories this week about the euro, that troubled common currency used across Europe, writes that efforts to keep the single-currency zone from collapsing are not going well.
Heavy spending by southern European countries such as Italy, Spain, and Greece are pushing those countries toward default. Richer northern European nations are threatening to just let them default, and to expel the failing southern members from the eurozone. Fair enough, but such a move could weaken faith in the future of the eurozone, and bring the whole euro house down upon itself.
As always, the Economist does a great job of making all this number talk understandable. Gold stars to whoever wrote this opening line: “When Russia worries publicly about the financial stability of the European Union, as opposed to the other way around, you know the euro is in real trouble.”