Unraveling Al-Qa`ida’s Target Selection Calculus-Part TWO

Unraveling Al-Qa`ida’s Target Selection Calculus
Part TWO

To continue:

These instructions given to prospective Jihadis further demonstrate that the primary targets of the al-Qa`ida network are American entities of high economic value such as businessmen and corporations. It should be noted, in particular, that American military targets and soldiers are relegated to secondary importance as potential targets. However, the network does not usually specify in print which specific Western companies or sectors are to be targeted. It is probable that the leadership of al-Qa`ida is being intentionally vague on this matter to make it possible for individual cell leaders to choose appropriate targets on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the availability of targets in their respective theaters of operations.

Two sectors which are sure to be in the sights of al-Qa`ida operatives are the oil and tourism industries. In the past two years the leaders of al-Qa`ida, including Usama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, have specifically called on their operatives to target oil installations in the Gulf to hinder what they refer to as the ongoing “theft of Muslim resources,” and have likewise called for attacks on tourist resorts in the Muslim world.[8] Clearly, the message has been received by al-Qa`ida’s rank and file and other terrorists inspired by the network, as can be seen from the recent bombings in Egyptian tourist resorts and the constant attacks on oil facilities in Iraq (as well as attempted attacks in Saudi Arabia). In the future, al-Qa`ida operations outside the U.S. mainland are likely to concentrate on similar facilities, in addition to financial districts, buildings of high economic value and Western embassies.
One more primary objective of the September 11th attacks is important to note: the goal of dragging the United States into a wider war through which al-Qa`ida and its allies hope to scatter, isolate and bleed the United States militarily and economically [this is referred to as Harb Istinzaf—a long term war of attrition, i.e., “dragging” and “bleeding” the enemy]. The U.S. invasion of Iraq has provided al-Qa`ida with a prime opportunity to attack U.S. troops within the Arab world, as was stated explicitly by Usama Bin Laden in his message to his supporters in 2005, “Bleeding the United States, which is currently in Iraq economically, militarily and morally, is a golden opportunity that you should not miss or you will regret it . . . concentrate your operations on it, especially in Iraq and the Gulf. This will be their end.”[42] The American presence in the Gulf states, coupled with the American occupation of Iraq, is being exploited by al-Qa`ida to rally its supporters to concentrate their efforts on American and Western targets in Iraq, the Gulf (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Oman), Yemen as well as in Jordan

Nevertheless, al-Qa`ida is still likely to attempt to attack the American homeland. Attacking U.S. territory offers al-Qa`ida many advantages, primarily through its symbolic value as well as its indication of the network’s reach and perseverance. More importantly, as discussed previously, such an attack would further the goal of stressing the United States economically. Continuously attacking the American homeland also causes further rifts between the United States and its Arab and Muslim allies, an objective which is among al-Qa`ida’s foremost strategic goals. This point was argued by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the network’s second in command in 2001:

The masters in Washington and Tel Aviv are using the [Muslim] regimes to protect their interest and to fight the battle against the Muslims on their behalf. If the shrapnel from the battle reaches their homes and their bodies, they will trade accusations with their agents about who is responsible for this. In that case, they will face one of two bitter choices: Either personally wage the battle against the Muslims, which means the battle will turn into clear-cut jihad against infidels, or they reconsider their plans after acknowledging the failure of the brute and violent confrontation against Muslims. Therefore, we must move the battle to the enemy’s grounds to burn the hands of those who ignite fire in our countries.[43]

Al-Qa`ida’s leadership argues that only when military and economic alliances between the United States and its Arab and Muslim allies are broken will the network be able to weaken and overthrow these “apostate” regimes and impose an Islamic state, which is the eventual goal of al-Qa`ida. This is the main reason why al-Zawahiri and bin Laden decided to embark on an external Jihad against the “Far Enemy,” i.e., the United States and the West. They opted to attack the West to severe its military and economic support for Arab and Muslim leaders in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and other states seen to have close ties to the United States. Al-Qa`ida’s leadership reasoned that direct attacks on U.S. and European territory will force Western leaders to doubt their alliances with Muslim and Arab leaders and will eventually force the West to abandon their regional allies

This approach was a clear departure from the traditional Jihadi strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood and its various offshoots in the Middle East, who in previous decades have opted to wage a long term internal Jihad against the “near enemy,” Arab and Muslim regimes. Al-Qa`ida also aims to stretch the United States thin, knowing full well that even superpowers have limited financial and military resources. It is the objective of this network to pull the United States into a third quagmire, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to drag, exhaust and further “bleed” the U.S. As stated in a communiqué released in July 2004:

Our Goals in the Next Period . . .

1. Increasing the scope of the conflict by spreading operations all around the world. Dragging America into a third quagmire in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan; let it be Yemen god willing. We have mentioned this in our communiqué of March 11, 2004: “we tell the company of Abu Ali al-Harithi, the leadership has decided that Yemen will be the third quagmire for the hegemon of our era, America. More so, to discipline the collaborating infidel government that is second only to Musharaf.”
2. Shaking the confidence of investors in the American economy.
3. Exposing the Crusader Jewish project.
4. Scattering and bleeding [exhausting] the enemy
.


Following these steps comes the awaited strike that will break the will of America, who in return will abandon its collaborators and agents, so we can settle our scores with them. Then we launch the caravan to Jerusalem with god’s permission.[44]

The Various Phases of al-Qa`ida’s Global War and Path to the Caliphate

Ongoing analysis and examination of al-Qa`ida’s vast published literature, abundant manuals and endless statements imply the following eight successive phases in the network’s plan for a long-term battle against the United States and its allies in the Middle East and Muslim world:

Awakening the Masses: In this phase the network aims to increase the consciousness of the global Muslim community by “exposing” the alleged inherent American and western hostility to Islamic peoples. The network argues this will lead to increased hatred of western influences in Muslim lands and swell the ranks of al-Qa`ida and its affiliates with new volunteers and sympathizers. As important, in this phase “apostate” governments will reveal their alleged “collaborative” nature when they are forced to side publicly with their western “masters” in the aftermath of al-Qa`ida attacks. Furthermore, in this phase other political trends in the Middle East (nationalists, leftists, liberals…etc) will be shown as weak and indecisive, thereby enhancing the image of the Salafis as the only entity in the Arab and Muslim world that is willing and capable to fight on behalf of the Muslim masses and take the fight to the west and to the corrupt “apostate” regimes

“Harb Istinzaf — A long term war of attrition”: In this phase the network aims to “bleed the enemy” until it crumbles. In short, their goal is to make the United States “bleed” economically, militarily, and politically until it loses the desire and the means to fight and withdraws militarily, politically and economically from the Middle East and other Muslim lands

Severing Western/Muslim alliances: In this phase, an American withdrawal from the Middle East will lead to the severing of American alliances with secular and moderates regimes (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc). This will entail the end of American military and economic support to Arab and Muslim regimes. Absent American military and economic aid, these regimes will be greatly weakened and will eventually lose their grip on their populations and will lack the ability to resist the global Jihadi movement

“Tasfiyat Hisabat — Settling Scores”: Once Arab and Muslim regimes are weakened, al-Qa`ida and its affiliates aim to overthrow them, and “settle scores” by eliminating the leaders and their security forces.

“Idarat al-Tawahush — Management of Barbarism”: Prolific al-Qa`ida thinker Abu Bakr Naji considers this phase the most dangerous. In this phase the network and its sympathizers will aim to administer and manage Arab and Muslim lands in the intermediary period immediately following the collapse of apostate regimes. At this fragile period rampant chaos will ensue in Muslim lands due to lawlessness and lack of authority.[45]

Establishing Shari`a Law: In this phase the network aims to establish pious Shari`a governments that will rule individual Arab and Muslim states by Islamic law for a temporary period, while awaiting the return of the Muslim caliphate

Removal of All Western Influences from the Region: This phase entails the full liberation of all Muslim lands including Palestine [i.e. the destruction of Israel] and Kashmir, and the retrieval of lands once ruled by Muslims, including al-Andalus [Andalusia, Spain].

Reestablishment of the Caliphate: The final phase will ensue once Shari`a rule has been established in all individual Arab and Muslim states, and following the full liberation and retrieval of all historic Muslim lands. At this juncture the global Jihadi network and its sympathizers intend to reestablish the historic Caliphate which ruled the Muslim community as a single entity for many centuries. The Caliphate is viewed by many Islamists as the golden age of Islamic power.

Currently, we are still in the first three phases of this long and protracted conflict, which the al-Qa`ida network wishes to expand and intensify. In these concurrent initial three phases, the al-Qa`ida network aims to exhaust the United States, sever its alliances with Muslim and Arab governments, and simultaneously escalate anti-Western animosity in the region. The al-Qa`ida network reasons that the best way to achieve the goal of exhausting the United States is through repeated attacks against American and Western targets of high economic value. Some prominent analysts of the global Jihadi movement argue that al-Qa`ida’s quest for the reestablishment of the historic Caliphate and the removal of all western influences from the Muslim world is a step toward the networks ultimate goal of establishing” Hakimiyyat Allah — God’s rule over the world”, whereby the Caliphate dominates the rest of the world.[46]

In sum, al-Qa`ida’s target selection is neither arbitrary nor impulsive. Continuing examination of al-Qa`ida’s primary literature and operational manuals reveals that their target selection calculus is governed by a sinister desire to bring down the economy of the United States and other western powers. This targeting strategy is an integral part of the network’s overall objective of “bleeding” and exhausting the United States in order to force it to leave the Middle East and abandon its regional allies. To do so, al-Qa`ida will primarily attack facilities of high economic value. The al-Qa`ida network is likely to continue to focus on targets that cause economic disruption within the United States and worldwide, as al-Qa`ida’s strategy is to engage the United States and its allies in a long-term war of attrition. As noted in a network communiqué, “The enemy may be patient, but it cannot endure. As for us with our doctrine, belief, and our love for meeting God, we can endure until the enemy crumbles. If this takes decades or centuries, we are charged with fighting them come victory or martyrdom.”[47]

Note: This article is drawn in part from the piece entitled “Unraveling al-Qa`ida’s Target Selection Calculus,” written by Sammy Salama for the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy, West Point, in December 2006

Sources:
[1] Nur al-Din al-Kurdi, “The Arenas of Jihad,” Dharwat al-Sunam (Peak of the Camel’s Hump), Volume 3, p. 27-28 [translation by author].
[2] Akhu Man Ta`a Allah, “What Else is There to Say About September 11,” Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad Magazine), Volume 26, p. 35-42 [translation by author].
[3] Abu Mus`ab al-Najadi, “al-Qaeda’s Battle is Economic not Military,” October 3, 2005 [translation by author].
[4] “Al-Mubtakkar al-Farid: Li Irsaal al-Safah al-Athiri Ila al-Kafir al-`Anid — The Unique Invention: To Deliver the Atheric Killer to the Stubborn Infidel,” al-FirdawsJihadi Website, October 2005 [translation by author].
[5] Abu al-Usood al-Faqir, “Instances of Radiation Pollution from 1945-1987,” al-FarouqJihadi Website, October 2005 [translation by author].
[6] Abi Hajer Abd al-Aziz al-Muqrin, “Military Sciences — Targets inside the Cities,” Mu`askar al-Battar (al-Battar Camp) Magazine, Volume 7, p. 23-27[translation by author].
[7] Ibid.
[8] “The Complete Text of Sheikh Usama Bin Laden’s Call Especially to the Muslims of Saudi Arabia and General Muslims Elsewhere,” al-Tawhid wal-Jihad Website, December 15, 2005 [translation by author].
[9] Jane Corbin, Al-Qaeda: In Search of the Terror Network That Threatens the World (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003), 81-82; “Verdict Reached in U.S. Embassy Bombings Trials,” CNN, May 29, 2001.
[10] Ibid., p. 199.
[11] Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam (New York: IB Taurus, 2004), 199.
[12] Jane Corbin, Al-Qaeda: In Search of the Terror Network That Threatens the World, p.95
[13] Peter L. Bergen, Holy War, Inc: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden (New York: Free Press, 2001), 27-28.
[14] Jason Burke, Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam, p. 265.
[15] “Bin Laden ‘inspired Bali attacks,'” BBC, July 10, 2003.
[16] “Al Qaida Trained JI Hotel Bombers,” Sunday Mail (SA), August 10, 2003; Simon Elegant, “A New Wave of Terror?” Time, August 10, 2003.
[17] “Hambali caught in Thailand,” New Straits Times (Malaysia), August 16, 2003.
[18] Toby Harnden and Amberin Zaman, “Synagogue bombs were ours, says al-Qa`eda group,” The Daily Telegraph (London), November 17, 2003; “Istanbul rocked by double bombing,” BBC, November 20, 2003.
[19] Damien McElroy and Philip Sherwell, “Bomb attacks were planned in internet cafe,” The Sunday Telegraph (London), November 23, 2003.
[20] “Turkey: Charges in Istanbul Bombing,” New York Times, February 26, 2004; Sebnem Arsu, “Turkish court sentences militants for 2003 bombings,” International Herald Tribune, February 16, 2007.
[21] Hugh MacLeod, “Syria Hands Over Suspects who Fled After Quadruple Suicide Bombings in Turkey,” The Independent (London), December 1, 2003; James C. Helicke, “Turkish synagogue bombers ‘met bin Laden,'” Jerusalem Post, September 14, 2004.
[22] “Turkish bomb gang defused,” The Weekend Australian, December 27, 2003.
[23] “Truck bombs rock Istanbul,” Jerusalem Post, November 21, 2003.
[24] Marianne Kearney and Sebastien Berger, “Car bomb explodes outside Australian Embassy in Jakarta,” Ottawa Citizen, September 10, 2004.
[25] “Full text: ‘Al-Qaeda’ Madrid claim,” BBC, March 14, 2004; Al Goodman, “Madrid bombings trial: Key defendant denies involvement,” CNN, February 15, 2007.
[26] Michael Scheuer, “The London Bombings: For al-Qaeda, Steady as She Goes,” Terrorism Focus, Volume 2, Issue 14 (July 22, 2005) p. 5-8.
[27] “Explosion rocks Red Sea resorts,” BBC, October 8, 2004.
[28] Roger Hardy, “Tracking down Egypt’s bombers,” BBC, July 26, 2005; Diaa Rashwan, “Was it Al-Qaeda?,” Al-Ahram Weekly, 28 July-3 August 2005.
[29] “‘Bomber confession’ shocks Jordan,” CNN, November 14, 2005; “Bomber’s wife arrested in Jordan,” BBC, November 13, 2005.
[30] Sharmila Devi and William Wallis, “Al-Qaeda says it unleashed Amman bombers,” Financial Times, November 11, 2005.
[31] “Aircraft bomb plot thwarted,” Telegraph, October 8, 2006; “‘Airlines terror plot’ disrupted,” BBC, August 10, 2006.
[32] John Ward Anderson and Karen DeYoung, “Plot to Bomb U.S.-Bound Jets Is Foiled,” Washington Post, August 11, 2006.
[33] “Details emerge on alleged plot to bomb airliners,” MSNBC, August 10, 2006.
[34] David Batty and Mark Oliver, “‘Mass murder terror plot’ uncovered,” Guardian, August 10, 2006.
[35] Op. cit.; John Ward Anderson and Karen DeYoung, “Plot to Bomb U.S.-Bound Jets Is Foiled,” Washington Post, August 11, 2006.
[36] “‘Airlines terror plot’ disrupted,” BBC, August 10, 2006.
[37] John Ward Anderson and Karen DeYoung, “Plot to Bomb U.S.-Bound Jets Is Foiled,” Washington Post, August 11, 2006.
[38] “Triple blasts rock Egypt resort,” BBC, April 25, 2004.
[39] “Egypt bomb suspects ‘surrender’,” BBC, May 13, 2006.
[40] “Country Reports on Terrorism 2005 – Statistical Annex,” United States Department of State, April 7, 2006,http://www.state.gov/documents/ organization/65489.pdf>.
[41] Ibid., p. 131.
[42] Ibid.
[43] Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004), p. 22.
[44] Abu Hafez al-Masri Brigades [al-Qaeda in Europe], “A Communiqué.” July 1, 2004 [translation by author].
[45] Abu Bakr Naji, “Idarat al-Tawahush: The Most Dangerous Phase That The Islamic Nation Will Go Through,” The Center for Islamic Studies and Research, as viewed on al-Firdaws Website, October 2005; Stephen Ulph, “New Online Book Lays Out al-Qaeda’s Military Strategy,” Jamestown, March 18, 2005; an excellent English translation of the book “Idarat al-Tawahush” by William McCants is available from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, at: http://www.ctc.usma.edu/ Management_of_Savagery.pdf.
[46] Dr. Bassam Tibi, discussion with author, Monterey, Spring 2005; Bassam Tibi, “Jihadism’s roots in political Islam,” International Herald Tribune, August 30, 2005.
[47] Abu Hafez al-Masri Brigades [al-Qaeda in Europe], “A Communiqué.” July 1, 2004 [translation by author]

********************
As noted before, this is an extremely long article from American Congress for Truth. It falls right along the same lines as Islamberg and the Sanctuary Villages being formed throughout the country.
Janet Reno had no compunctions about bombing the hell out of the Branch Davidians and, point for point, the Branch Davidians were nowhere near the violent, insane threat we’re now facing.
We have defeatocrats running this country, people who in fact welcome this threat to our society. They will tell you there is no threat here, it’s all overseas. Well, they’re wrong. DEAD WRONG.
I still want to know why the congressional representatives of the states involved in the Islamberg hamaats aren’t focusing on this internal threat, why the residents are able to work in credit card processing centers handling financial records. And why, oh why, aren’t these places and people on the terror watch lists.
It’s time to pull our collective heads out of the sand and demand, DEMAND these places be put under surveillance and broken up. Not tomorrow, not next time you think of it, NOW. The danger is real. Are you going to face that danger and do your best to overcome it or are you going to put it aside, forget about it and when it’s knocking at your door, look like a deer in the headlights and say, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?”. Your choice.

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