August 14, 2005


What al-Qaida Really Wants (Yassin Musharbash, 8/12/05, Der Spiegel)

If there is anyone who might possibly have an inkling as to what al-Qaida are up to, it is the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. He has not only spent time in prison with al-Zarqawi, but has also managed make contact with many of the network's leaders. Based on correspondence with these sources, he has now brought out a book detailing the organization's master plan. [...]

In seven phases the terror network hopes to establish an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.

* The First Phase Known as "the awakening" -- this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby "awakening" Muslims. "The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful," writes Hussein. "The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target." The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard "everywhere."

* The Second Phase "Opening Eyes" is, according to Hussein's definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community." Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an "army" set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.

* The Third Phase This is described as "Arising and Standing Up" and should last from 2007 to 2010. "There will be a focus on Syria," prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and -- even more explosive -- in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida's masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.

* The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that "the creeping loss of the regimes' power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida." At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

* The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

* The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

* The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as "definitive victory." Hussein writes that in the terrorists' eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the "one-and-a-half million Muslims," the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than two years.

From the toppling of the Taliban and the widespread move towards elections in the region, The First Phase has been a disaster of the Caliphascists, but even worse is that the main beneficiaries of all of thios have been the Shi'ites, whom they despise.

Former Members of the Taliban Turn Their Backs on Insurgency: Among Hundreds Returning From Exile, Some Running for Office (N.C. Aizenman, August 14, 2005, Washington Post)

A cartoon flickered on a television set in Abdul Samad Khaksar's living room as he took a drag from a cigarette and considered the merits of Afghanistan's former Taliban government.

"The Taliban are like a medicine for Afghanistan that has expired," said Khaksar, 42, a white-bearded religious scholar who is running in parliamentary elections scheduled for September. "They want people to live like in the time of our Holy Prophet. I am in favor of how he lived, too. But it's impossible to bring that time back. The people of Afghanistan need something new."

It was a surprising assessment from a man who was once a senior official of the Taliban government -- an Islamic group so extreme that it outlawed television. Hundreds of Taliban fighters continue to wage a guerrilla war against the Afghan government nearly four years after the group was ousted.

But Khaksar's candidacy also points to a central paradox of the Taliban insurgency. While the extremist militia is mounting an unprecedented wave of attacks, apparently aimed at sabotaging the elections, several hundred former Taliban members have returned from exile in Pakistan to join a government reconciliation program. A handful of well-known Taliban figures have even decided to run for parliament.

Over the last several months, small groups of Taliban fighters have repeatedly battled U.S. and Afghan forces for hours at a time, and they have staged dozens of attacks and bombings that have killed hundreds of civilians -- aid workers, religious leaders, election workers -- as well as Afghan and U.S. troops.

Yet the militia's resurgence comes as a new government reconciliation program, open to all but senior Taliban militants linked to terrorism or war crimes, is yielding unprecedented results.

In Iraq, Bush is laying the foundations of an Islamic Republic (Peter Galbraith, August 13, 2005, Daily Star)
There is, in fact, no Iraqi insurgency. There is a Sunni Arab insurgency. And it cannot win. Neither the Al-Qaeda terrorists nor the former Baathists can win. Even if the U.S. withdrew tomorrow, neither insurgents nor terrorists would be knocking down the gates to Iraq's Presidential Palace in Baghdad.

Basically, the military equation in Iraq comes down to demographics. Sunni Arabs are no more than 20 percent of Iraq's population. Even in Baghdad - once the seat of Sunni Arab power - Sunni Arabs are a minority. To succeed, the insurgency would have to win support from Iraq's other major communities - the Kurds at 20 percent and the Shiites at between 55 percent and 60 percent. This cannot happen.

While the Kurds are mostly Sunni Muslims, they have a history of repression at the hands of Sunni Arabs. A few dozen Kurds have been involved in terrorist acts, but Al-Qaeda and its allies have no support in the Kurdistan population, which is one reason Kurdistan has largely been spared the violence that has wracked Arab Iraq.

The Shiites are completely immune to any appeal by insurgents. Sunni fundamentalists consider Shiites apostates, and possibly a more dangerous enemy than they do even the Americans. (The Americans, they know, will leave. The apostates want to rule.) For the last two years, Sunni Arab insurgents have targeted Shiite mosques, clerics, religious celebrations and pilgrims - with a toll in the thousands. The insurgent goal is to provoke sectarian war, and they seem to be succeeding. In spite of calls for restraint by Shiite leaders, there are growing numbers of retaliatory killings of Sunni Arabs by Shiites.

U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq (Robin Wright and Ellen Knickmeyer, August 14, 2005, Washington Post)
The ferocious debate over a new constitution has particularly driven home the gap between the original U.S. goals and the realities after almost 28 months. The U.S. decision to invade Iraq was justified in part by the goal of establishing a secular and modern Iraq that honors human rights and unites disparate ethnic and religious communities.

But whatever the outcome on specific disputes, the document on which Iraq's future is to be built will require laws to be compliant with Islam. Kurds and Shiites are expecting de facto long-term political privileges. And women's rights will not be as firmly entrenched as Washington has tried to insist, U.S. officials and Iraq analysts say.

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

U.S. officials now acknowledge that they misread the strength of the sentiment among Kurds and Shiites to create a special status. The Shiites' request this month for autonomy to be guaranteed in the constitution stunned the Bush administration, even after more than two years of intense intervention in Iraq's political process, they said.

"We didn't calculate the depths of feeling in both the Kurdish and Shiite communities for a winner-take-all attitude," said Judith S. Yaphe, a former CIA Iraq analyst at the National Defense University.

The neocons, generally having no religious faith of their own, never grasped that the Sunni had to go along to get along once the Shi'ites took over. Kurdistan and Shi'astan is a victory. The Sunni may choose failure for themselves, but not necessarily, Iraqi Sunnis Battle To Defend Shiites: Tribes Defy an Attempt by Zarqawi To Drive Residents From Western City (Ellen Knickmeyer and Jonathan Finer, August 14, 2005, Washington Post)
Rising up against insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, Iraqi Sunni Muslims in Ramadi fought with grenade launchers and automatic weapons Saturday to defend their Shiite neighbors against a bid to drive them from the western city, Sunni leaders and Shiite residents said. The fighting came as the U.S. military announced the deaths of six American soldiers.

Dozens of Sunni members of the Dulaimi tribe established cordons around Shiite homes, and Sunni men battled followers of Zarqawi, a Jordanian, for an hour Saturday morning. The clashes killed five of Zarqawi's guerrillas and two tribal fighters, residents and hospital workers said. Zarqawi loyalists pulled out of two contested neighborhoods in pickup trucks stripped of license plates, witnesses said.

The leaders of four of Iraq's Sunni tribes had rallied their fighters in response to warnings posted in mosques by followers of Zarqawi. The postings ordered Ramadi's roughly 3,000 Shiites to leave the city of more than 200,000 in the area called the Sunni Triangle. The order to leave within 48 hours came in retaliation for alleged expulsions by Shiite militias of Sunnis living in predominantly Shiite southern Iraq.

"We have had enough of his nonsense," said Sheik Ahmad Khanjar, leader of the Albu Ali clan, referring to Zarqawi. "We don't accept that a non-Iraqi should try to enforce his control over Iraqis, regardless of their sect -- whether Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds.''

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 14, 2005 11:54 AM

"Is it possible that they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget."

Some parts of the world may have a short memory and need to be reminded. Their idea.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 14, 2005 12:18 PM

go get 'em, lou.

"my dog's meaner'n your dog" is a time-honored method for solving communication problems.

so is "he started it!"...

Posted by: lonbud at August 14, 2005 12:49 PM

lonbud, check out the Seventh Phase again. I think they're talking about you.

Posted by: AllenS at August 14, 2005 1:27 PM

lonbud: Obviously what we have here is a failure to communicate.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 14, 2005 1:35 PM

In one aspect, the Jihadists and the Left are very much alike. Look at that timetable, and you see that what Islam hasn't come close to accomplishing in a millenium will now be completed in a couple of decades, at most. Earlier attempts at the Caliphate/World Socialism were failures because it's only now that the right people have come along to bring it about. And the Infidels/Bourgeoisie will play their part in the the grand scheme because it's been forordained by Allah/Scientific Socialism.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 14, 2005 1:59 PM

Is Osama Bin Laden working with Dr. Evil, (index finger to lips).

Posted by: neil at August 14, 2005 5:53 PM

The first 4 phases read like Charles Manson's "Helter Skelter" theory. It will be just as successful.

Posted by: Patrick H at August 14, 2005 6:14 PM

lou: i've been waiting for somebody around here to channel strother martin; thank you.

Posted by: lonbud at August 14, 2005 8:53 PM

Somewhere around Phase Three he is missing a phase, described as "The Sun Rises in the West. And South. And North. And East."

Posted by: ray at August 14, 2005 9:25 PM

When the moon is in the Seventh House.....

Well, they're probably right about a focus on Syria, although it will be before 2007. The clearest way to "isolate" Iran is to remove any geographical proximity (can't remember the proper word, I know it starts with a 'c') to Israel, Lebanon, and the Palestinians. That means regime change in Damascus.

Posted by: ratbert at August 14, 2005 11:04 PM

allen: how's that? i don't have a problem with anyone who is a true follower of islam. similarly, i feel no threat from any true follower of jesus, nor any of the buddha, or yawheh, gaia, elvis, or science. it's the death cultists you want to give a wide berth to.

Posted by: lonbud at August 14, 2005 11:36 PM


Posted by: oj at August 14, 2005 11:53 PM

lonbud: My comic reference to a famous movie line should not be taken to diminish the seriousness of the commment itself.

Not every war is caused by a failure to communicate, but many are. World peace is gravely jeapordized by aggressors' misapprehension of our will to resist them.

If our dog is in fact bigger and meaner than their dog, it is best for everyone, for us, for them and for those who live downwind of the coming sea of glass, that the situation be adequately communicated.

Thus it is the sensitive and the nuanced who have the blood of millions on their hands for having enabled agressors to dream that we will allow them to have their way. It is never that the democracies won't fight, only that the other side, not understanding that we allow our peace creeps freedom of speech, imagines that we won't.

If we really desire peace, our will to deter war must be credible: it must be sincere, we must be ready, if necessary, to see our adversary's language spoken only in hell, and there must be no failure to communicate.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 14, 2005 11:56 PM

like i said, go get 'em lou!

Posted by: lonbud at August 15, 2005 1:17 AM

Lou: Sometimes they really do want to die for what they believe.

Posted by: David Cohen at August 15, 2005 9:09 AM

Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community."

Yes, tell us all about yourselves, especially the gps coordinates of your caves and bunkers.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at August 15, 2005 11:30 AM