Monthly Archives: December 2004

DEBKA

DEBKA claims the Saudi attack was aimed at the royal family. This
was the first attempt by Osama bin Laden’s organization to assassinate
a member of the Saudi royal family. It is a pivotal event in that it
sharply escalates the terrorist offensive besetting the kingdom and
raises the stakes on both sides.
I concur that the royal family is indeed in the crosshairs.

According to DEBKAfile’s counter terror
sources, the first of the three blasts occurred at 20:35 local time in
a traffic tunnel in the town center through which Prince Mohammed’s
convoy drove to his office. Al Qaeda operatives had spied on him and
detonated the bomb car in the opposite lane as the prince’s car drove
past. Because of the heavy Saudi news blackout, it cannot be
established for sure if his five bodyguards were killed or injured.

Mohammed was on his way to a nocturnal
conference with Saudi security and intelligence chiefs on the next
stage of the crackdown on terrorists. Al Qaeda was in possession of the
highly classified information on the time and place of the conference,
the fact that Mohammed would be there to preside, and the route he
would take to get there. This information also enabled the planners of
the attack to prepare back-up plans in case Mohammed survived the
tunnel blast. The second bomb car was therefore detonated, again by
remote control, at the reinforced gates of the high-rise interior
ministry building, while gunmen rained automatic fire on the entrance
and parking lot. They hoped this second attempt would nail the prince
as he stepped out of his car.
It was this blast that rocked
the interior ministry building in the Murabaa district, shattered
windows in the nearby post office, shops and post office and damaged
cars.
But again their victim escaped.

Half an hour later and 8 km away, a third car
blew up at the Saudi special forces recruiting center, the royal
house’s primary fighting unit against al Qaeda. This time, two suicide
bombers with bomb belts began hurling their explosives-laden car
towards the gates, only to be repulsed by fierce fire from the guards.
Although the car blew up short of the gates, it carried enough
explosives to kill or injure a dozen Saudi officers inside the
building.

The third failed attempt to murder Prince
Mohammed also drew on the contents of the most secret contingency plans
to send senior royals and their families to secure shelters if their
lives were threatened. Mohammed’s protected hideout was to be the
special forces recruiting center. Al Qaeda knew enough to waylay him
there.

[John Robb's Weblog]

The Saudi Takedown Scenario

The Saudi Takedown Scenario. Reuters.
2 huge car bombs explode near Saudi security buildings. Earlier this
year, my analysis indicated that the campaign against the Saudi state
would begin in December, after the US elections. Over the past months,
I have made major revisions to my Saudi takedown scenario based on my
evolving model of global guerrilla warfare. The two attacks we have seen so far, fit the model perfectly. I will publish it soon on global guerrillas. [John Robb's Weblog]

All Stick and NO Carrot

All Stick and NO Carrot. I agree with David Stephenson on this. The US is missing a major PR and goodwill opportunity. BTW, it looks like Pfizer is giving as much as the entire US to disaster relief. Spain nearly doubled the US contribution at $68 million…

A little free thinking: A balanced security budget
would see us spending as much on support for our friends (people and
not corrupt governments) in the developing world as on military power.
Remember, the Saudi Madrassa system costs $300 m a year. You can't
fight its influence with rhetoric alone…. [John Robb's Weblog]

continues

Goss continues to clean house in the CIA. It won't change anything.

This is an understatement: Even before taking charge of the CIA,
Goss and his close associates had been openly critical of the agency's
directorate of intelligence, saying it suffered from poor leadership
and was devoting too much effort to monitoring day-to-day developments rather than broad trends.

If they want trends, they should be reading global guerrillas… [John Robb's Weblog]

One of the things that really bothers me about America's new security regime is that it ignores economic realities. The current world order isn't run by nation-states. It's run by Adam Smith (aka global markets).

The history of the last 20 years will focus on the radical expansion of these markets to encompass 3 billion people. It was the tipping point for capitalism.

However, markets are harsh rulers. They punish non-economic behavior with a sharp slap of the invisible hand. There isn't any special immunity for the US.

So, when we spend $150 in direct security costs for every barrel exported by Iraq, we invite the slap. The cost of Iraq's security isn't reflected in the price of oil, nor is the $5 per barrel of naval security we pay for every barrel of oil from the Persian Gulf. [John Robb's Weblog

One of the things that really bothers me about America's new security
regime is that it ignores economic realities. The current world order
isn't run by nation-states. It's run by Adam Smith (aka global
markets).

The history of the last 20 years will focus on the radical
expansion of these markets to encompass 3 billion people. It was the
tipping point for capitalism.

However, markets are harsh rulers. They punish non-economic behavior
with a sharp slap of the invisible hand. There isn't any special
immunity for the US.

So, when we spend $150 in direct security costs for every barrel
exported by Iraq, we invite the slap. The cost of Iraq's security isn't
reflected in the price of oil, nor is the $5 per barrel of naval
security we pay for every barrel of oil from the Persian Gulf. [John Robb's Weblog]

Evangelism

Evangelism. This Fortune article proves that the thousands of hours I spent pioneering the business/blog space on K-Logs
and on my weblog paid off. It's great to see that the thousands of
people, in as many companies, that read my work (or I worked with
one-on-one) were able to leverage it into a revolution.

I am not usually the kind of guy that fights for credit on my
innovations (it's not worth the anxiety for a couple media mentions).
But this is clearly my baby and I am proud of it. I am also glad that
Scoble was able to catch my long bomb and run with it over the goal
line. [John Robb's Weblog]