Confirming a quiet triumph over al Qaeda
More evidence accumulates that we are winning against al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A report written by intelligence experts at the the United States Military Academy confirms the signs of the major success that I reported recently, in an AT article entitled A Quiet Triumph May be Brewing.
The article was well received by those on the right, but the left went apoplectic. One significant liberal blog was so threatened by the very idea of American military success that they defaced the American Thinker masthead graphics with Photoshopping.
Its' successful attacks on America, first on the embassies in Africa and then on 9/11, gave al-Qa'ida's message an immediate global audience, but the American military response to these attacks have so seriously degraded its organizational capacities that management of that message has been virtually all that al-Qa'ida Central has subsequently been able to muster.There has recently been some speculation that al-Qa'ida has been regrouping in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, perhaps even regaining the organizational capacity to operationally manage terrorist agents, but there is no evidence to suggest that it has overcome the persistent weaknesses identified in this report.107 On the contrary, recent events have highlighted al-Qa'ida's continuing vulnerability to them. For example, in 2005, after the capture in Pakistan of senior al-Qa'ida operative Abu Faraj al-Libi, it was revealed that Central Asian jihadis, a contingent of whom have established a foothold in the Waziristan tribal areas, provided the information to Pakistani intelligence that led them to al-Libi. Bad blood generated by the chauvinistic disdain for Central Asian jihadis displayed by Arab al-Qa'ida personnel in the region had led captured Uzbek, Tajik and Chechen jihadis to provide information on al-Qa'ida's operations, leading to a series of raids and arrests that ultimately led to al-Libi's capture.108Despite the continued appeal of al-Qa'ida's message to certain populations, it must not be forgotten that al-Qa'ida's transition from an extremist cult cloistered in the mountains of South Asia to a publicly-debated global movement creates new sets of vulnerabilities, open to exploitation by any interested party with the means of delivering its message. Lacking a broad command-and-control structure, al-Qa'ida Central finds itself unable to control the uses - and abuses - of its brand by self-starting "affiliate" groups. The gory media tactics of Zarqawi's al-Qa'ida in Iraq did considerable damage to the mass popularity of the al-Qa'ida message.109 Letters from al-Qa'ida Central to Zarqawi attempted damage control while he was alive, and in a recent video appearance, Usama bin Ladin himself has tried to shore up his brand against the effects of Zarqawi's legacy through direct media spin control. For example, he laid blame for the Sunni-Shi`a civil war on the United States, even though he was certainly aware of Zarqawi's role in igniting the bloody sectarian conflict in Iraq, as is abundantly clear in the letters from Zawahiri and ‘Atiyah discussed above.110 The damage to the al-Qa'ida name wrought by Zarqawi's tactics was seen as so bad by his former associates in Iraq that they, supportedby al-Qa'ida Central, changed the name of their organization from al-Qa'ida in Iraq to the Islamic State of Iraq, hoping by this move to regain traction with Sunni insurgents alienated by assassinations of Sunni leaders carried out in al-Qa'ida's name; thus far they have failed.The continuing failure of the Islamic State of Iraq is emblematic of a larger theme of this report: al-Qa`ida is terrible at state building. As long as Bin Ladin and Zawahiri are at the helm, their inability to organize will dash any hopes they have for creating an Islamist state.
It is likely that the Asian al Qaeda fighters who turned against the central al Qaeda Arab leaders as referenced in this study were also under the Maulana's control. I also noted in an earlier article on the jihad fracture that the Maulana had helped the Libyan government to capture some al Qaeda affiliated Libyan oppositional terrorists (he helped Libya because Qadaffi was also a sponsor of the Maulana along with the Saddam regime). As noted in Quiet Triumph, Rahman who strongly supported al Qaeda was recently placed on an al Qaeda hit list. It is clear that Asian al Qaeda affiliates influenced by the Maulana have angered the Arab al Qaeda leaders; thus he is now an al Qaeda enemy.
Maybe they will go to Iraq to martyr themselves to strengthen the jihad. Let's hope they try. They will find their former Sunni allies have completely lost their taste for jihad.
Ray Robison is proprietor of Ray Robison: Pointing out the Obvious to the Oblivious.