Across the Bay

Sunday, November 13, 2005


You gotta love Cole. Here's Cole yesterday, on the Jordan attacks:

Claims were made on the internet that the four suicide bombers who attacked tourist hotels in Amman, Jordan on Thursday were Iraqis, including a wife-husband team. Although the four were claimed as members of "al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia" by "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," this allegation makes little sense. Zarqawi's group is alleged to be made up primarily of foreign fighters, including Jordanians, Saudis, Algerians, etc. So where did they get these Iraqi members, and why send them to Jordan, when Jordanians from say Zarqa would have been under less scrutiny than foreigners? Some eyewitnesses heard one of the bombers speaking with an Iraqi accent. This information bolsters the case I made yesterday for the remnants of the Baath Party being behind these bombings. I believe that they blame their worst misdeeds on "al-Qaeda," so as to divert attention from their own sinister role. The Iraqi nationalists and post-Baathists fighting the guerrilla war routinely punish "collaborators" with the Americans. Since those tourist hotels are typically full of "collaborators," and since the Jordanian regime cooperated extensively with the US invasion of Iraq, the Baathists intended the bombings to punish King Abdullah II.

Hmmm, yes. Oozing expertise, categorical, and... full of it. I especially loved the scare quotes around Zarqawi. You know, maybe he's a Shiite forgery.

Of course, there is no real analysis or any mention of Baathist money in Jordan (see Lee Smith's piece on the subject) or any of that jive. It's just a categorical assertion (like the one he made after the London attacks, which was also 100% wrong) based on absolutely nothing.

Here's Cole today:

Jordanian authorities have captured Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, the wife of suicide bomber Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari, who detonated his belt bomb at the Radisson in Amman. She turns out to be the sister of the Anbar leader of the Monotheism and Holy War (al-Qaeda in Iraq), who was killed at some point in Fallujah. His name was Thamir al-Rishawi.

So this Amman operation really does seem to have come out of Zarqawi's group, rather than just using that group as a cover, as is so often done inside Iraq.

No more scare quotes. Here today gone tomorrow. The guy makes it up as he goes along. Like my friend, who recently came back from Iraq put it: "you'd think he'd take it easy with the speculating, given how often he gets it wrong."

My friend just doesn't understand the depth of the expertise involved here. Besides, "Speculative Comment" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Informed Comment."

Update: See this important post from The Counterterrorism Blog. It addresses the theory espoused by Cole about foreign Jihadists in Iraq.