LONDON — Police arrested 40 people in cities throughout Italy in raids on Muslim gathering places in a security crackdown after Britain thwarted an alleged terror plot, the Interior Ministry said Friday, as Pakistani intelligence agents claimed there was an Al Qaeda connection with ties to Afghanistan to the group of suspected terrorists arrested Thursday.
The arrests in Italy were made Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and other cities on Thursday and Friday “as part of an extraordinary operation that followed the British anti-terrorist operation,” the ministry said in a statement.
Twenty-eight people were arrested for violating rules on residence permits and 12 were arrested for property crimes, the statement said. The raids were made on “Islamic gathering places, including call centers, Internet points and money transfer” offices, the ministry said
The global war on terror rages on, while in the meantime the war on Lieberman here at home continues. Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of the WSJ’s editorial page, explains the consequences for the Democratic party’s knifing Joe Lieberman in the back on the ‘eve of the airliner plot’:
That was unfortunate timing this week for the Lamont Democrats, declaring themselves officially the antiwar party within 24 hours of the Brits foiling an Islamic terror plot to spread thousands of U.S.-bound bodies across the North Atlantic, or perhaps across New York, Boston and Washington as the planes descended. Yes, we know; they support the war on terror but are merely against George Bush’s war in Iraq. How does that work?
Last week before the Lamont victory, 12 members of the congressional Democratic leadership sent President Bush a letter urging that he start a phased pullout from Iraq, euphemized as a “redeployment,” starting before the end of this year. But it is becoming increasingly fantastic to argue that Iraq, with its apparently limitless supply of suicide bombers, hasn’t much to do with the terror threats manifest elsewhere.
Put it this way: From the perspective as of yesterday of getting on a U.S. airliner, who would you rather have in the Senate formulating policy toward this threat–Ned Lamont or Joe Lieberman?
Well, the Democratic Party would rather have Ned Lamont. That commitment was sealed Wednesday when Mr. Lieberman’s longtime colleagues in the Senate, in one of the least edifying spectacles in recent political history, pledged their troth to the one-issue neophyte, Ned Lamont. Sens. Kennedy, Kerry, Clinton, Biden, Reid and, most embarrassing of all, Chris Dodd of Connecticut, participated in what can only be seen as a tragic Shakespearean assassination of a former colleague.
With the knifing of Joe Lieberman, the Democrats have locked in as the antiwar party. No turning back now. You’re in or you’re out. And this will be enforced. Susan Estrich, formerly of Dukakis for President, told the Fox News Channel this week that Hillary Clinton “has got to get herself in a position where she’s for withdrawal of troops in Iraq before the next Democratic primary.”
Running as the antiwar party amid a world obviously vulnerable to pitiless terror will require political suppleness. But the younger generation of Democratic activists–widely praised for their irreverence and antic energy–may not fit the sober public mood now.
This isn’t the moment for a politics based on comics turning the president and vice president into joke material. The national mood may not be right now for extended blogospheric daisy chains of smack-the-enemy or cool wordplays with people’s names. This isn’t a game anymore. Not after yesterday’s news.
Yesterday brought an Islamic plot to blow up people on airliners. The news cycle before that brought Hezbollah’s Katyusha rockets into Israel and a war in Lebanon. Before that, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would give the West its reply to demands to halt nuclear bomb-making on Aug. 22, the anniversary of Muhammad’s flight to heaven on a winged horse. Before that, in July, North Korea fired ballistic missiles toward the Sea of Japan (a little-noticed assessment by U.S. and Japanese technicians concluded this week that six of the seven missiles fell within their targets).
And in the past year, Democratic leaders have criticized not just in Iraq but warrantless wiretaps of suspected terrorists, interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, the Swift financial monitoring program, and data-mining phone records. The pull-out-from-Iraq letter was just the culmination.
This is the context in which the post-Lamont Democratic establishment plans to run as an antiwar party. Commencing a phased withdrawal from Iraq, as they suggest, with the mission unfinished, in my view will cause suicide-bomber recruitment to skyrocket in a delirium of victory over the American infidels. And those bombers won’t remain inside the imaginary security line around Iraq but will travel to the capitals of Europe, to Israel and to the U.S.
In a better world, the U.S. war on terror, at its core, would be bipartisan. That world was what Joe Lieberman’s politics represented. That world is dead. Democratic support for the Republican administration’s plans to fight these terrorists is down to about zero. This means the Democrats must have a plan of their own to defeat terror. Every Republican running for office at every level this fall should force his opponent to describe it. And if they aren’t certain about the details, they can call Ned Lamont.
Lawrence O’Donnell, writing at HuffPo, predicts Lieberman will drop out of the CT Senate race next month:
Joe Lieberman will drop out. He probably knows right now that the day will come in late September when he will announce his withdrawal from the race. No one is going to have to talk him into it. By that time, the Democratic Party power structure will be doing its thing for Ned Lamont and Lieberman will be trailing by double digits.
It won’t be a hard decision for Lieberman. He will drop out to avoid career-ending humiliation.
Wishful thinking on his part, I believe. But we shall see.