Tuesday 2 November 2004

Bin Laden's Real Message (UPI)

M.D. Nalapat
MAINPAL, India, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Where the United States performs superlatively is in the collection of information. Whether it is the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency or one of the lesser-known acronyms in the intelligence community's alphabet soup, vast volumes of data are processed and sent up the food chain. Yet, for all that, much of the intelligence inputs get analyzed from a context and perspective that ultimately distorts their meaning.
Osama bin Laden, poster boy for the Wahhabi war of revenge against the West's victory in the Crusades, conveyed a message in his latest tape that is very different from that which a mere translation of his Arabic indicates.
He offered a conditional ceasefire to Western populations, provided they elect governments that refuse to militarily intervene in the Middle East or give substantive backing to local regimes there.
The jihadist planners of the war of revenge believe the first priority is to establish their sway over their own countries. The reconquest of Israel can wait while the conquest of the West can wait still longer.

After several discussions and meetings in madrases (and in other locations) with those active in the planning of jihad, the contours of the war's campaign strategy become clearer:
- Stage 1: Takeover of the governments in the Arab world.
- Stage 2: Use the resources thus gained in securing control of specific locations such in South, Central and Southeast Asia, together with strengthening of jihadist networks in the West.
- Stage 3: Eliminate Israel and paralyze Russia.
- Stage 4: Launch the main effort against the West - but only after all flanks have been secured and the democracies have been softened up by fear and infiltration.
The underlying theory is that once "the believers" reach a sufficient number vis-à-vis "the Crusaders" -- 20 percent was the most usual estimate -- their fanaticism coupled with the support of God would ensure a Wahabist takeover that, in its operational phase, would look more like the Bolshevik Revolution than the Vietnam War.
There have been several comparisons made between those active in the war of revenge and the Nazis, including that the objectives of one resemble those of the other in their cruelty. In reality, the methods favored have more in common with Leninism than with Hitlerism.
There is not a word in bin Laden's new message that is spoken for effect.
Each sentence is spoken without hype, effect or irony, to convey a precise message. Terrorism experts in the West speak with grudging admiration of the information warfare tactics of the jihadists. The reality is that these enemies have contempt for any strategy that would distort the truth as they see it for tactical gain. What they say is what they know, and what they mean.
Thus, when bin Laden refers to Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon as the source of his desire to hit the United States in similar fashion, he is telling us that those in the West who saw Wahabist jihadis as allies against the Soviets and non-lethal threats to Western interests got it wrong.
The jihadist planners of the war of revenge allied themselves with the United States in Afghanistan in the same way Hitler's Berlin allied itself with Moscow in 1939. The sole purpose of the alliance was to gain time. Thanks to a misreading of the nature of the Pakistani army that continues to this day -- and which is the principal reason why bin Laden remains at liberty -- the United States spurned Afghan nationalists and pumped resources towards Afghan jihadis since the 1980s.
But the end of 2001, it was these neglected and derided nationalists of the "Northern Alliance" who provided the foot soldiers needed to physically drive out the Taliban, who had after all been nourished by the CIA. Now, when Zalmay Khalilzad - U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan -- talks of a moderate Taliban, he is attempting to cover up the fact that the assistance that he and others channeled towards the Taliban in the 1980s was a disastrous investment.
Khalilzad is pretending -- or worse, still believes -- the Potemkin village of an alliance with Wahabist Jihad that he and dozens of other Western policymakers got taken in by is real.
Throughout the 1980s, the same forces that bin Laden's message now reveals to have had the United States in their sights all along received a massive flow of assistance. Unless the history of this effort is analyzed objectively, the danger of similar mistakes being repeated exists. There are several dozen times more nationalists than jihadists in any Muslim country.
If the Arab world is seen as the core support for the war of revenge, less than one in five Muslims is Arab. The demographic heart of the Muslim world is in South and Southeast Asia, which is why jihadist planners (who are almost entirely Arab) understand that the conquest of hearts and minds there needs to precede the final assault on the citadel of the Crusaders.
Unfortunately for the world, nationalism is a term of abuse to Western strategists, except when applied to their own self-satisfied navel-gazing
Why were Sweden and the Patriot Act singled out in the latest message? The Scandinavian countries are known for being aggressive in defense of the civil liberties of elements that do not dirty the spotless backyards of the Nordic countries. Norway, for example, has emerged as an effective champion of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the originators of the modern suicide bomber), with Oslo attempting to help the Tigers establish a Kosovo in northern Sri Lanka that can be run as a personal fief of the LTTE supremo, Vellupillai Pirabhakaran.
Thanks to this bias in favor of an organization that has at least 400 suicide bombers in its ranks, Oslo has been silent these past two years at the nine-dozen non-LTTE Tamil leaders killed by the Tigers during this time, and by the use of methods by pro-LTTE elements that some Florida election officials would look upon with awe, so as to win election for members of Parliament who are completely controlled by the LTTE.
This Norwegian initiative has been publicly supported by the rest of the European Union, despite such bagatelles as the conscription of 8,000 child soldiers by the LTTE and the killings mentioned earlier. Even the United States has given its approval to the good work done by Oslo in securing peace in Sri Lanka.
If George W. Bush has been singled out for frequent negative references, the reason is that he is seen as responsible for the actions of the U.S. military and the Department of Homeland Security following Sept. 11. A case can be made out that a Kerry victory would be seen as a victory for the jihadists, the way the defeat of Jose-Maria Aznar's party in Spain was taken as a triumph of the jihadists. Paradoxically, the very qualities that make some in the West detest Bush -- his fanaticism and apparent irrationality in pushing ahead with a course that is clearly not delivering -- are the same ones that hold back jihadist planners from going ahead with fresh attacks.
Those who are the brains behind bin Laden's mask are as cautious, in their own sphere of activity, as Swiss bankers. They want sure things.
That no major attack has been carried out on the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, indicates the planners of jihad have not yet worked out a plan of action that they regard as free of significant risk of failure. A Kerry presidency would lower the bar by eliminating the possibility of an irrational response (such as the ultimate horror of a U.S. attack on holy sites). The more the United States and its allies in the war on terror are seen as placing constraints on their retaliatory responses, the higher the risk of a deadly attack on their home turfs
Had the United States heeded those who advocated the harnessing of Iraqi nationalism rather than its attempted emasculation after the defeat of the Saddamite armies in 2003, the ground situation in Iraq would have stabilized by now. However, as in Afghanistan (where once again, the Saudi and Pakistani influence on US/NATO policy and actions is strong), local elements that are less than happy to see alien troops on their territory but who are anti-jihadist are actually under attack, mostly as a result of misinformation fed by regional security agencies via their Iraqi cutouts that use U.S. troops to take out local rivals by getting air and ground strikes called against such elements.
Today, the "tail" of the Syrian, Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian and Iranian secret services (in all of whom significant elements owe clandestine loyalty to the planners of jihad) is wagging the "dog" that is the coalition military machine. This is one of the great successes of the jihadists in both Iraq and Afghanistan
The assumption that the loyalty of a King Abdullah or a Crown Prince Abdullah will ensure the suborning of the security systems of a country to the U.S. side in the war on terror is false, often visibly so. The latest message once again makes explicit that the planners of jihad see no daylight between the local regimes and the United States and Israel. They are, in this view, coalesced into a single, malign mass that needs to be eliminated by dignified souls such as the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers.
Sadly -- barring perhaps Kuwait -- none of the local rulers have accepted this reality. Instead, as in Qatar or Egypt, or most egregiously in Saudi Arabia, they cosset jihadist elements and seek to wean them away from efforts to topple ruling structures. Apparently, they are as easily deceived as the Norwegians are about the nature of the partner they are so entranced with.
What, in the latest message, is bin Laden's bottom line? For those unwilling to live in a world dominated by the Wahabbis, it is an admission of weakness. It is a call to a ceasefire that has been caused by significant damage to their structures as a result of the counterattack launched after Sept. 11.
Failure stands out like a million sore thumbs. Success goes unheralded, and those responsible are as invisible as the bandicoots that live in the sewers of a city. There may be more attacks. The jihadist foe will not go peacefully into his night. But if the pressure on him is intensified and if the retaliation against each of his actions gets multiplied, then within a generation there could be, not a call for a ceasefire, but the silence of surrender.
Bin Laden's message shows that those planning a worldwide war of revenge are hurting, and hurting badly enough to sue for peace by appealing to that most despicable of human beings, the Crusader.
-(M.D. Nalapat is a professor of Geopolitics at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education. He first identified the Wahabist jihad as an international threat to security in 1993.)

No comments:

Post a Comment