Got one

by Ted on May 4, 2005

Need some good news?

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Authorities arrested the nation’s most-wanted militant, the head of al-Qaida operations in Pakistan who had a $10 million bounty on his head, and said Wednesday they now were ”on the right track” to catch Osama bin Laden.

Abu Farraj al-Libbi, who allegedly orchestrated two assassination attempts against President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was arrested after a firefight on the outskirts of Mardan, 30 miles north of Peshawar, capital of the deeply conservative North West Frontier Province, the government and security officials said.

Via praktike, who has more.



ed_finnerty 05.04.05 at 11:49 am

Of course this “arrest” was announced when there was a need to get the Kurdish massacre off the news lede.


Arthur Davidson Ficke 05.04.05 at 3:02 pm

Cheer up ed! I’m sure you’ll be able to enjoy some bad news soon.


abb1 05.04.05 at 3:41 pm

This is fantastic news, says Praktike. And for the guy who is now being promoted to the Abu Farraj al-Libbi’s position it certainly is. For the rest of us I’ll say: Libbi-Schmibbi. The whole freakin region has been set on fire; pathetic freakin wingnut cult has grown into a freakin world-wide movement – but now we have a truly fantastic news: freakin Mr. al-Libbi of whom no one of us has ever heard before is arrested.



carla 05.04.05 at 4:54 pm

What abb1 said.

Arresting these characters one creep at a time is meaningless. They just stick another creep in his spot and keep on keeping on.

The good news will be when we find a way to gain a victory against all of rightwing extremism..whether it be Muslim, Christian or NeoCon.


Ted 05.04.05 at 5:19 pm

How about this angle:

* Abu Farraj al-Libbi, who is personally responsible for serious and specific crimes, has been caught. He will be made to pay for what he did.

How about this:

* Abu Farraj al-Libbi, who has some degree of personal knowledge of al-Qaida operations and personnel, has been captured. His testimony, and evidence seized as part of his arrest, will be invaluable in tracking down and stopping future acts of terrorism.

or how’s this:

* Absent a magical “kill every terrorist in the world” button, Pakistani authorities did the next-best thing, capturing the nation’s most-wanted militant.


Katherine 05.04.05 at 5:35 pm

The knowledge of exactly how he is likely to be made to pay dampens my enthusiasm somewhat, but considering that there’s a chance his capture will prevent the murder of friends or family of mine or people just like them, only somewhat.

Is this guy related to the Sheikh Ibn al-Libi who ran the Khaldun camp and was rendered to Egypt a few years back? Arabic names are endlessly confusing.


David All 05.04.05 at 7:20 pm

To paraphase Field Marshal Montgomery”
Hit’em for Six
Kill a Terrorist a Day &
Two on Sunday!

Phrase Hit’em for Six is British slang for cricket and equivalent to American phrase to knock one out of the Park for Baseball.


ed_finnerty 05.04.05 at 8:51 pm

This reflects the “monsters crate history” school of reason vs the “history creates monsters” school.

To quote DeGualle, “The graveyards are full of indispensible men”.

The capture of any of these people will not affect the underlying principle on which they are acting


Withel 05.04.05 at 9:40 pm

Right – so let’s sit idly by and leave them well enough alone! Worked so well before…


Katherine 05.04.05 at 10:55 pm

Well, look, neither can be true. “Monsters create history” suggest that evil men can rise to power without many, many, many helpers & are unaffected by their times. “History creates monsters” suggests that there’s no such thing as free will.

What, exactly, would you propose that we do about al Qaeda? I mean, there will always be murderers in the United States, yet we feel the need to arrest, try and sentence them.

The “new recruits” argument is a good argument about not using any means necessary & killing civilians & committing atrocities to get these guys. But the idea that we shouldn’t capture Al Qaeda’s operations directors or that it is useless to do so is absurd.


abb1 05.05.05 at 3:15 am

I don’t think it’s so much a ‘new recruits’ argument as a ‘new paradigm’ argument.

Here’s timeline of the beginning of the WWI (from

June 28,1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife are assassinated in Sarajevo.

July 28 – Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.

July 31 – As an ally of Serbia, Russia announces full mobilization of her armed forces.

August 1 – Germany mobilizes her armed forces and declares war on Russia.

August 3 – Germany declares war on France.

August 4 – Germany declares war on neutral Belgium and invades in a right flanking move designed to defeat France quickly. As a result of this invasion, Britain declares war on Germany.

August 6 – Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia.

August 22 – “The Battle of the Frontiers” — 27,000 French soldiers die on this single day in an offensive thrust to the east of Paris, towards the German borders.

Ferdinand was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip…

…a 19 year old tubercular Bosnian Serb student. A member of Mlada Bosna (“Young Bosnia”), a movement dedicated to a Bosnia free of Hapsburg rule. He and his six fellow assassins were equipped with pistols and bombs by a Serbian terrorist organization known as the Black Hand.

On 28-Jun-1914 he succeeded where his accomplices failed in assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Countess Sophia in Sarajevo.

He attempted suicide at the scene but the gun was knocked from his hand by an onlooker. His second attempt at suicide was by cyanide, but it made him retch and he vomited up the poison. He was taken into custody and made to stand trial. He was found guilty but, because of his age, spared the death penalty. He died in prison of tuberculosis in 1918.

I bet in 1915-16 everyone in Europe still remembered this “Mlada Bosna”. But now, almost a hundred years later, would it seem like an important historical event to you at all if one or another leader of “Mlada Bosna” was arrested in 1915 or 1916?


ed_finnerty 05.05.05 at 8:17 am


I would argue that 1) there will always be a small number of thrill killers who will join/start terrorist groups because it titillates them, but 2) for a terrorist group to thrive it needs some popular support (or at least toleration) and this only comes if there is a general sympathy with their aims. For a terrorist group to enjoy support and be able to conduct operations there must be a feeling that to a certain extend it is better to be a dead hero than a live coward. I realize the specific capture at the subject of this thread was Al Qaeda and in pakistan/afganistan but it is illustrative of a wider principle – The US has created this condition in Iraq – they will not stop the insurgency untill this condition is corrected.


james 05.06.05 at 10:32 am

ed_finnerty and carla support surendering. Not a good plan. People who view violence as a simple tool, tend to avoid attacking those who can hurt them.


nofundy 05.06.05 at 10:34 am

Was this arrest supposed to be timed as a little gift to Poodles right before the election?


des von bladet 05.08.05 at 10:19 am

It’s now being reported that al-Libbi is a vair vair small fry. (There’s allegedly an al-Liby who is of vastly more consequence and who is of course still at large.)

Is this being covered in the FDR? (I saw it in a Swedish paper.)

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