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Day 12, November 11, 2008
The New York Times reveals that as far back as 2004, US Special Operations have been launching covert operations into countries not at war with the United States to weed out suspected al-Qaeda elements.
This means that despite the loud protests against US incursions into its territory by Syria last month, this is not the first time it has happened.
With the tacit approval of the president, the US military according to an order signed by President Bush , launch an incursion into 20 sovereign nations if there is the possiblity of arresting al-Qaeda members. In 2006, US Navy Seals went into Bajaur, Pakistan, raiding a compound suspected of having been used by miliants, as top command watch the entire operation “live” in Virginia.
Another similar operation was to have taken place a year before that into the same area, had it not been for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense at odds over the reliability of information that Osama bin Laden's top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri being there for a meeting of the leadership.
Sensibly, Iran does not figure on the list of countries for what is termed as the “al-Qaeda Network Exord”. The effectiveness of this exord or Executive Order depended on it being a secret. Now that the outside world is aware of what those in the region have known of a while now, will the smiling new president herald in a less morally-dubious and illegal alternative?
In a speech in August 2007, Obama said,
“...It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al-Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.”
This September, he reiterated in an interview on Fox News when asked about Pakistan,
“And what I will do is, if we have bin Laden in our sights ...we target him, and we knock him out.”
In the following weeks Obama may set a clearer directive on Pakistan but anyhow, when he checks into the Oval Office in January, he will find on the table an open invite to attack, signed by his predecessor.