February 9, 2007
The Strategy and Objectives of Al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is not organized legally as a corporation, but like most multinational enterprises, it has objectives and a strategy to realize them. AQ's primary objectives are:
- Spread Islam throughout the world (with or without the consent of the occupants).
- Destroy Israel and any country it regards as affiliated with her - specifically the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and even France.
Understanding the objectives does not require the sources an intelligence officer, speaking Arabic, or even knowing where Iraq is on a map. Al-Qaeda the other Islamic terrorist organizations almost daily states their objectives through both formal and informal leaders.
The strategy of Al-Qaeda is only slightly more difficult to understand. Again, you do not have to be an intelligence officer, but it does help if you study the mindset of Islamic terrorists. This is what I have done for years. With and without their consent.
While in Iraq I had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of Iraqis, many law-abiding and many others who hated America. I preferred to speak with the ones who truly hated America. By doing so they were playing into my hand. People who hate Israel and America provided me information (unwittingly) on what I needed to do to counter "terrorism".
Iranians, Iraqis, Saudis, Jordanians, Lebanese, Syrians, and people from Pakistan, to name a few, have detailed their strategies to achieve their primary objectives. I want to emphasize there are more good people than bad in any country, but my focus is on the "bad" people. The ones who want to kill your children and my children and destroy your country and my country. These are the people I have devoted my life to locate and then insist our justice system follows through.
Al-Qaeda has four basic strategies in order to reach their ultimate goal of destroying Israel and America. They are:
- Overwhelm the enemy
- Strangle the enemy financially
- Have the enemy fight amongst themselves
- Stretch the enemy thin
Overwhelm the enemy
This strategy involves disrupting the lives of the enemy. Al-Qaeda has achieved this in many ways. Our law enforcement agencies have shifted their priorities from solving homicides, rapes, gang activity, narcotics, and robberies, to working counter-terrorism issues. We now have more officers located in the airports, around high profile locations, and running down many leads which are usually frivolous.
Citizens are now afraid to travel because of the real hassles they will encounter at the airports or while traveling overseas. Many still travel but security is always now in the backs of our minds. The enemy wants our children to understand the terror. That is what terrorism aims for - terrorizing. Our newspapers, television, and video games are filled with scenes of terrorism. My 8 year old daughter knows more about terrorism than I did when I first went into the armed forces.
Most of us knew little about terrorist or terrorism until a few short years ago. Al-Qaeda has made each of us go through each day thinking at one time or another about terror or seeing scenes of terrorism. How many people now in America, Canada, or Britain do not think of terrorism every time they get on an airplane (say, while flying to Disney World), or when getting on the subway (to simply go to work or on vacation in a big city). When we take our children to visit the Washington monument we are reminded of terrorism. Police officers are in every corner. Tourists are searched before entering many of our national treasures. The enemy has achieved Strategy number one.
Strangle the enemy financially
The terrorist organizations want their enemy to spend billions and billions of dollars on security. Since 9/11 we have allocated more than ten times as much money than we did previously on counter-terrorism. States, cities, towns, have spent more money on security than on our health care for senior citizens. Several countries have spent billions in fighting terrorist in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Somalia, and we will most likely be spending billions more fighting terrorists in Iran. The enemy has achieved strategy number two. Strategy number three is the most difficult for me to write about.
Fighting amongst ourselves
This is a major goal of Al-Qaeda. They want Americans to be against Americans, British against British, and so on. They want us to be split. Years ago the majority of Americans voted Republican or Democratic based on what their parents had done and their grandparents had done. Many will not admit it but most Americans 15 years ago could not tell you the major differences between the Republican and Democratic parties. The majority of Americans could not tell you who their Governor was, or their local mayor.
Now we are all experts and we all know how to solve the world's problems. We are all politicians (God help us all on that one). The intent for Al-Qaeda is to have us fighting over trivial problems instead of having us united and fighting terrorism together. There was a time in our history when a Democrat would still give a Republican President respect, and vice versa. In today's America there is precious little respect given to our President by many in the opposition.
When I served on active duty I gave 100% to all of the Presidents I served under (Republican and Democrat). I would have and still would give my life for an incumbent of either party. But this is no longer the norm, at least judging from what I see in the media. We now have active duty members who openly disrespect their Commander in Chief. The enemy has achieved Strategy number three. Unfortunately we must move to Strategy number four.
Stretch the enemy thin
The final goal of Al-Qaeda. The terrorists want their enemies to be stretched so thin in their security forces that they can no longer protect themselves internally. They want our law enforcement agencies to be undermanned. They want our military forces to be fighting in many countries. They want our leading scientists and engineers to be allocating their time developing counter-terrorism measures and not utilizing their time in areas such as medicine or finding ways to feed the poor. Why, you might ask, would the enemy want their enemy to devote time and money developing counter-terrorism strategies? Because they know it is extremely difficult to fight terrorists. Terrorists and terrorist organizations are ghosts. Go into any city and point out a terrorist. It is nearly impossible. They know this. Terrorists blend into our society. The terrorists are very close to achieving Strategy number four.
Terrorists will strike their most devastating blows when they have achieved all four strategies. This is when they will use their most dangerous weapons. They will use suicide bombers and chemical, biological, and nuclear material when strategy number four is achieved. We can only stop their objectives when we unite, when we stop being scared of being politically correct, when we stop being nice.
This is not the way I was raised and do not want to become this type of person, but I love America and I want our children to not live their lives in fear. "The truth is often unpopular, but it is never wrong"
Dave Gaubatz is former Federal Agent and was the first civilian Federal Agent deployed into Iraq in 2003.