World View: Two U.S. Military Strikes Target Libya, Somalia Jihadists

World View: Two U.S. Military Strikes Target Libya, Somalia Jihadists

This morning’s key headlines from

  • U.S. military captures jihadist leader al-Libi in Tripoli, Libya
  • U.S. Navy Seals strike Somalia jihadists related to Kenya attack
  • Iran’s politics in turmoil, pitting ‘heroic flexibility’ versus ‘Death to America!’

U.S. military captures jihadist leader al-Libi in Tripoli, Libya

More than 220 people died in the 1998 embassy attack in Kenya and Tanzania (AFP)
More than 220 people died in the 1998 embassy attack in Kenya and Tanzania (AFP)

U.S. officials are saying that jihadist leader Abu Anas al-Libi wascaptured in Tripoli, Libya, by U.S. military special operations forceson Saturday, apparently grabbed as he was leaving his home. Therewere no casualties.

The operation was conducted with the knowledge of the government ofLibya, according to U.S. officials. But there is still concern aboutthe possibility of revenge attacks as word spreads about the captureof al-Libi. Last week, Libyans attacked Russia’s embassy in Tripoli,forcing all diplomats to be evacuated and returned to Russia. Andlast year, terrorists attacked the American embassy in Benghazi,killing the U.S. Ambassador and three other diplomats.

Al-Libi is alleged to have been the mastermind for the bombing of theAmerican embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya, onAugust 7, 1998. He’s been indicted in the U.S., and has been on theFBI’s most wanted list. He’s expected to be brought back to New YorkCity for trial, which should be quite a show. CNN

U.S. Navy Seals strike Somalia jihadists related to Kenya attack

U.S. Navy Seals conducted a raid of the al-Shabaab jihadist group inSomalia early Saturday morning. The raid was conducted with soldiersrather than using drone strikes, in the hope that some “high-profiletargets” could be captured and brought to trial. However, theAmerican forces were forced to withdraw in the face of heavy fire.It’s believed that one al-Shabaab leader was killed. There wereno U.S. casualties.

The al-Qaeda linked al-Shabaab terrorist group has received increasedinternational attention and prominence ever since last month’shorrific three-day attack on the Westlake Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.It’s recognized that the attack was extremely well-planned andexecuted, indicating a degree of high sophistication that waspreviously not recognized in al-Shabaab. Furthermore, two of theWestlake Mall terrorists were American cities, from a Somali communityin Minneapolis. A number of Somalis are known to have gone to Somaliafor terrorist training, and returned to the United States, where theycan enter freely because they’re American citizens. (See “23-Sep-13 World View — Minnesota link to Kenya shopping mall attack raises U.S. fears”) This israising concerns about the same of shopping malls and other softtargets in the United States. AP and Fox News

Iran’s politics in turmoil, pitting ‘heroic flexibility’ versus ‘Death to America!’

The United Nations ‘charm offensive’ by Iran’s new president HassanRouhani continues to generate a great deal of controversy within Iran.The charm offensive was triggered by a call from Supreme LeaderAyatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei to adopt a strategy of “HeroicFlexibility” with respect to America and the West. This phrase has agreat deal of historic significance, as it refers to the act of aMuslim hero who reversed his clan’s opposition to the message of theprophet Mohamed in the 7th century. (See “21-Sep-13 World View — Does Iran’s ‘Heroic Flexibility’ signal a real policy change?”)

Rouhani was criticized in the West for ‘snubbing’ president BarackObama’s invitations to meet at the United Nations — and there werefive such invitations, according to news reports. However, any suchmeeting would have generated enormous controversy in Tehran.

An Iranian Revolutionary Guard Council (IRGC) official, MohammadHossein Saffar Harandi, on Friday described the trip to a Tehranaudience:

“This is a situation in which our President [Rouhani]went to the UN to solve problems with all options open from theSupreme Leader and a framework of red lines. The AmericanSecretary of State, in opposition to the commitments andstatements he made, did not recognize Iran’s right to enrichuranium, said that none of the officials had agreed on Iran’sright to enrichment and said that no changes had taken shape inthis area when he spoke to news agencies and themedia.”

At this point, the audience started chanting “Death to America!”,causing Harandi to rebuke the audience for interrupting him, but thenhe added:

“This anger is due to the past memories of thesepeople, and this can be our message. Of course the chant of Deathto America has been and will be reinforced over time, because thepeople have daggers of Americans in the chest, back, and throat oftheir children. These past memories are added to their treacherousdesigns [hidden] behind their diplomatic front. Behind theapparent friendliness, their hostility continues.”

To put all this in perspective, Iran is in a generational Awakeningera, one generation past Iran’s last generational crisis war, theGreat Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the Iran/Iraq war that climaxedin 1988.

America’s last generational Awakening era occurred in the 1960s-70s,one generation past the end of World War II. I recall that onecommentator at the time characterized America’s relationship with theSoviet Union as follows: “The liberals blame the conservatives forwanting to fight a war against the Soviets, while the conservativesblame the liberals for wanting to turn the entire government over tothe control of Moscow.” These differences were characterized at thetime as a “generation gap,” pitting the conservative survivorgenerations of World War II against the liberal younger generation ofBoomers that had grown up after the war.

Iran is going through exactly the same kind of generation gap today.The political faction led by the Islamic Revolution survivors believethat the only way that Iran can survive is to maintain theirrevolutionary ideals, one of which is constant opposition to the GreatSatan and the west. The younger generation almost always wins thesebattles since, after all, the older generation dies off first.Khamanei’s call for “heroic flexibility” and Rouhani’s “charmoffensive” are part of the Awakening era generational transition goingon in Iran today. But the conflict is far from over, and there islittle chance of a major dénouement aligning Iran with the West in thenear future.

The other important fact about this is that this transition isabsolutely unaffected by anything the West does. Iran is now like ateenage girl who’s worried about pimples and whether to have sex withher boyfriend, and couldn’t care less what some preacher down thestreet is saying to them. Last week’s ten minute phone call betweenpresident Barack Obama and Rouhani, which was the subject of so muchidolatrous fawning by the press, had no effect in Iran except togenerate additional condemnation by the hardliners against Rouhani,and force Khamanei to pull back from his call for heroicflexibility. AEI Iran Tracker and Reuters

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