By Paul Reynolds
World Affairs Correspondent, BBC News website
Osama Bin Laden. The tactics of jihad...
Monday's bombings in Egypt fit in with the philosophy of war laid out in a 7,000 word document by Osama Bin Laden which appeared recently in the form of an audio tape.
And in turn, the tape came within weeks of the publication in February of the Pentagon's "Quadrennial Defence Review" which stated: "The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war."
We therefore now have two almost simultaneous documents from the leading forces in the war and they are worth comparing.
There will be those who say that any comparison is odious but no professional intelligence officer I know would allow emotion to obscure analysis and it is on that basis that I proceed.
The most striking thing about the Bin Laden statement is its wide ranging nature. One counterterrorism commentator, Walid Phares, of the Florida Atlantic University called it a "state of the jihad address".
The al-Qaeda leader lists about 20 struggles worldwide. It is important to know what they are. Among his declarations:
- There can be no apology for the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which he dwells on at length. Instead he says those "responsible" must be punished and he leaves no doubt as to what that should be
- The West is at war with "our nation", defined as Islam as a whole, which amounts to a "crusade"
- The West's hostility towards Hamas is evidence of this crusade
- The UN Security Council is a "crusader movement along with pagan Buddhism". The Buddhists are represented by China in his view
- Islamic fighters should resist any attempt by the West to cut Darfur off from the rest of Sudan. He rejects the settlement with the South
- Iraq is the central struggle. "The epicentre of these wars and attacks is Baghdad"
- The fight in Iraq is a "crusader-Zionist war against Muslims". So, too, are or were the conflicts in Bosnia, Chechnya, East Timor, Somalia and Kashmir
- He attacks France for banning the headscarf in school and the writer Salman Rushdie is still "the infidel"
- He calls for the death of "Bush's lackey in Pakistan", meaning President Pervez Musharraf
- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is responsible for "submissiveness and humiliation"
- The global war is not a clash of civilisations but an attack "by their civilisation against our civilisation"
- He condemns the use of Nato troops in Afghanistan
- The people in the West are as guilty as their leaders. "War is a common responsibility among people and government"
- No dialogue is now possible with the West as it rejected his own offer of a truce "after the withdrawal of their armies"
Thus, Osama Bin Laden's manifesto.
He does not incidentally mention Egypt but has no real need to since Egypt has always been a battlefield for al-Qaeda.
It is evident that Bin Laden has lost none of his determination in the years since 11 September 2001 ("the Manhattan conquest").
His manifesto is characterised by absolutism. Even the fight in Iraq is pitched in terms of protecting "monotheism", which is an implied rejection of the Iraqi majority, the Shias, according to Islamic scholars.
Whether his gathering in of just about every known conflict involving Muslims is a sign of his strength or a sign that he is trying to raise morale in sometimes weakened forces remains to be seen.
But his ambition remains undiminished.
The Pentagon approach
Against this, the Pentagon is preparing its own plans.
These were partly revealed in the four-yearly document it is required to produce looking ahead towards the next 20 years.
The new document gives it own definition of the struggle and it is also couched in global terms.
...against the long war of Donald Rumsfeld
"Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, our nation has fought a global war against violent extremists who use terrorism as their weapon of choice and who seek to destroy our free way of life.
"Our enemies seek weapons of mass destruction and, if they are successful, will likely attempt to use them in their conflict with free people everywhere. Currently, the struggle is centred in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we will need to be prepared and arranged to successfully defend our nation and its interests around the globe for years to come."
In his usual blunt style, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says in an introduction: "Now in the fifth year of this global war, the ideas and proposals in this document are provided as a road map for change, leading to victory."
The main points
The ideas and proposals are then listed in general terms. The principle is to make the US armed forces more flexible and to shift the emphasis:
- From a peacetime tempo - to a wartime sense of urgency
- From a time of reasonable predictability - to an era of surprise and uncertainty
- From single-focused threats - to complex challenges
- From nation-state threats - to decentralised network threats
- From conducting war against nations - to conducting war in countries we are not at war with (safe havens)
- From large institutional forces (tail) - to more powerful operational capabilities (teeth).
There is a lot more like this in the 92 page document.
The practical effects are going to be an increase in Special Forces and more US forces stationed in perhaps smaller groups around the world, sometimes clandestinely and even without the knowledge of local US diplomats.
There will be more unmanned drones.
There will even be special teams trained to disarm nuclear weapons. The threat of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction is partly what lies behind the overall commitment.
Critics are already saying that the Pentagon will no doubt also demand the big ticket items like new jet fighters and heavy equipment for the army.
But the thinking behind the review is to configure forces to better prevent or counter the kind of surprise attacks launched by al-Qaeda and its network of networks.
What the review does not get into, because it is not meant to, is the place that military tactics occupy in the wider strategy in such a long war.
The document does allude to this at the end by stating: "The United States will not win the war on terrorism... by military means... simultaneous, effective interaction with civilian populations will be essential to achieve success."
And of course the lesson from the Cold War is that it was not won by military means, though military strength certainly played a key role. It was won by one system collapsing.
Web Site: Al-Qaeda Jihad vs US 'Long War'
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|Reviewed by Crystal Silver Angel (Reader)
|(((((Peter )))) this is a very timely, most powerful and despretly needed article.. Thank you friend
..Several feelings and images come to my mind with this..First America was founded on Christian and we have always 150% have backed Isreal..Well, Muslims all over the world have been taught by the Koran that Israelis are scum,that they need to die, that the holocaust never happened.. since the beginning of time the Koran has been nothing but hate.By the way, I am praying for that Muslim woman on the board who is manipulating Authors Den as a platform for her hate..Matt says he is looking into her.. I am still praying for her, though...Also, way before God as we know it knew America would be the nation that would represent freedom..God chose the symbolic eagle to represent her to the world..Today and forever she will always carry herself by the energy of the bald eagle.. Her image is worn but not torn, Peter..She is a nation founded on the human rights of all. I know she at times represents just the opposite and I say it is because when you have such a democracy as her, things happen I think you get the picture.. That is all why we are simply misunderstood all over this world and despised by many who do not know America am extremely proud to say I thank God I live in her freedom, that many people go without food, water, medical care in other parts of the world and I am proud to say we have this birth right..Yeay, I do see some falling through the cracks but there is help for Americans..I am for our troops there.I don't care what the left say. When they attacked so many people on 9/11, I have stood beside her ..I don't agree with all the policies, but Peter no one would because it's run by people, and therefore can have human error and misuse am proud of my men and women serving my country am no left winger who insists laws be made just because they say so without it's moral ramifications.. I pray everyday for the Archangels to intervene in our world.Those Al- queda people, Peter simply have no life, no light, no compassion in their eyes..Just look at that Al-Zarqawi ...He is so demonic possessed it's unbelievable, along with Bin Laden..You wonder how humans could be so wicked feel they are working with Iraq and Iran to bring about this Holy war, to bring down anyone who sides with the US and with Isreal..And what do I say to all of this and the world, peter? The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Also, my rock scripture is psalm 91 We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods.
This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you. His faithful promises are your armor. Now you don't need to be afraid of the dark any more, nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor disasters in the morning.
Though a thousand fall at my side, though ten thousand are dying around me, the evil will not touch me. I will see how the wicked are punished, but I will not share it. For Jehovah is my refuge! I choose the God above all gods to shelter me. How then can evil overtake me or any plague come near? For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will steady you with their hands to keep you from stumbling against the rocks on the trail. You can safely meet a lion or step on poisonous snakes, yes, even trample them beneath your feet! For the Lord says, "Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name. When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue him and honor him. I will satisfy him with a full life and give him my salvation." He Peter is my Lamb, my promise, my light, my safety.. Whatever happens here, we have eternal promise with God..Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
Peace And Love From The Dove, Jo
|Reviewed by Birgit and Roger Pratcher
|Interesting article, makes you wonder...
Birgit and Roger
|Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader)
|Strange, but I just finish, about twenty minutes ago, a poem about the struggle. Post it tomorrow.|