Jun 16 2005

Who Is Bin Laden?

Published by at 8:25 pm under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT

I was following up on a Newsmax story about possible future Al Quaeda attacks and ran across a lot about the source Dr. Saad al-Faqih. In doing so I ran across an in-depth interview with the good doctor with the Jamestown Foundation site. The article has a lot of good information on how Bin Laden came to fight America, and why maybe he is not the one most responsible:

No, I am talking about the term al-Qaeda. This term is mostly used by the Americans. Otherwise the organization is real. It has its own structures, its strategies and its plans, but the term al-Qaeda was not used by them or their supporters. Then al-Qaeda people needed a few years to accept calling themselves by this name. The word al-Qaeda was originally used by Bin Laden’s core followers to refer to a documentation system in the late 1980’s.

But in terms of the historical significance of the al-Qaeda phenomenon the most important turning points were when the Americans went to Saudi Arabia and when Bin Laden met Zawahiri again in late 1997

Now if he wanted to be consistent he would now have to fight the Americans. Bin Laden was stunned and shocked by the betrayal of the regime, the religious establishment and the scholars. No one seemed to take it seriously that half a million American infidels are in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula. This had a profound impact on Bin Laden’s thinking and view of the world. He came to the conclusion that the cause of Islam could no longer be promoted through the exploitation of schisms between states.

It was not very complex. It was just to bomb American installations in Saudi Arabia. The Americans understood the significance of Bin Laden’s calls for the infidels to leave the country and that is why their response was low profile. If you go back and trace American statements you will not find any statement of significance about Bin Laden. This did not change until May 1998 when Zawahiri appeared on the scene and changed Bin Laden’s strategy.

Zawahiri impressed upon Bin Laden the importance of understanding the American mentality. The American mentality is a cowboy mentality– if you confront them with their identity theoretically and practically they will react in an extreme manner. In other words, America with all its resources and establishments will shrink into a cowboy when irritated successfully. They will then elevate you and this will satisfy the Muslim longing for a leader who can successfully challenge the West. Zawahiri advised Bin Laden to forget about the 12 page statement as nobody had read it and instead issue a short statement identifying every American as a target. Even though this was controversial from an Islamic perspective, Zawahiri argued on pragmatic grounds that it had to be sanctioned. The statement in February 1998, which was only 3 or 4 lines, effectively sanctioned shedding the blood of every American.

In May 1998 Sandy Berger appeared on ABC and depicted Bin Laden as a huge entity. Nobody in the U.S. administration had done this before. Berger said Bin Laden has the capacity and the will to translate his threats into action. Zawahiri then counselled Bin Lade to attack an American symbol. And of course the best symbols were the embassies. And the busiest embassy in Africa was in Kenya which served 12 other U.S. embassies in the region.

Zawahiri had prophesised correctly—the Americans over-reacted by bombing Afghanistan and Sudan and consequently shifted the focus of blame away from al-Qaeda. If the Americans had not over-reacted to that attack they would have won a great moral victory. Clinton himself identified Bin Laden as the enemy and, in effect, delivered a hero to the Muslims.

The next stage involved initiating a full scale polarization between Muslims and America. Therefore, even if al-Qaeda disappears there would be a huge interest in fighting the U.S. and its allies. This underpinned the planning of the 9/11 attacks. The purpose was not to kill thousands of people. Nobody saw the attacks as an assault against buildings and people, almost everyone saw it as a symbolic action. And everybody is agreed that the world changed after 9/11.

But you have to differentiate between the direct consolidation of material power which consists of bases, and enhanced military power and ideological strength. Now strategically I think America has not only lost but it is likely to vanish. It has started a campaign which has forced the majority of Muslims against it.

This last item is important. To all those who wish for the return of the world 0f 9-10, you are hoping for something that is an illusion. Our greatest gift is our confidence in ourselves and will to protect what we have built. Our greatest weakness is our ignorant libera MSM and pols who are so easily played for dupes.

If another attack in America materializes, the American social structure is simply not powerful enough to withstand it. There is also the argument that no matter how strong your society is, you can not absorb a series of devastating attacks.

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