The Seven Phases of The Base


With the fourth anniversay of the hot war between al Qaeda and the West approaching, it is interesting to see how al Qaeda's strategy and objectives have evolved since the United States committed to engaging in open warfare.

The Word Unheard points us to an article in Spiegel Online by a Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, who is believed to be a reliable source of information on al Qaeda. His main source for this article on al Qaeda strategy is none other than Saif al-Adel, al Qaeda's military commander who is currently operating from Iran.

al Qaeda's purported strategy can be broken down into seven "phases" which span from 2000 until 2020, at which time they believe the global Islamist Caliphate will be established and they will acheive "definitive victory." Here are the phases, which are followed by commentary when appropriate.

The First Phase Known as "the awakening" -- this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby "awakening" Muslims. "The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful," writes Hussein. "The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target." The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard "everywhere."

al Qaeda can claim some success in the First Phase, as the organization is now the preeminent terrorist organization on the planet. The attacks of September 11 were cheered throughout the Islamic world. The global media disseminates Al Qaeda commander's speeches. Each and every terrorist attack is followed by suspicious of al Qaeda involvement. And the US did indeed bring the war to the Islamic world in Afghanistan and Iraq, however not against Islam itself. But this came at a price, as Islamist Afghanistan and friendly Saddam-governed Iraq were lost.

The Second Phase "Opening Eyes" is, according to Hussein's definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community." Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an "army" set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.

So far, the Second Phase has been a failure. The Arab and greater Islamic Street has been essentially silent in its support of al Qaeda. The perception that al Qaeda's cause is popular as hundreds of Islamists enter Iraq monthly is overshadowed by the tens of thousands of Islamic fighters who enter Afghanistan during the war with the Soviet Union. al Qaeda has generated new recruits, but not nearly enough to replace the experienced operators and managers that have been lost under the American onslaught in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Winning the Second Phase is important from a ideological standpoint. Defeat in Iraq would seriously harm the credibility of al Qaeda and weaken their mystique. They would possess a losing ideology that could not stand up to the Great Satan. Allah would have abandoned them to the privations of the infidel.

The Third Phase This is described as "Arising and Standing Up" and should last from 2007 to 2010. "There will be a focus on Syria," prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and -- even more explosive -- in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida's masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.

The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that "the creeping loss of the regimes' power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida." At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

The Third and Fourth Phases can essentially be condensed. The potential spread of jihad and instability to Iraq's neighbors of Turkey, Syria, (and while not mentioned, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait) as well as Israel highlights the importance of an American victory in Iraq. Iraq, as a failed state, would provide al Qaeda a base to create instability in bordering countries, setting the stage for overthrow by the Islamists.

It should be noted that Syria is playing a dangerous game by allowing al Qaeda to use its soil to conduct operations in Iraq. The jihadis are developing contacts, networks and obtaining recruits, which can eventually by turned against the Asad regime.

For the record, it seems al Qaeda has already laid the groundwork for the Third and Fourth Phases. There are reports al Qaeda seeks to establish itself in Gaza to strike Israel, and Turkish vacation spots, including cruise ships are believed to have been the target of a just-foiled al Qaeda plot. Islamic countries have been the target of numerous al Qaeda attacks {see flash presentation, 2M download), and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been in open war with al Qaeda for several years. Saudi oil facilities have been a target throughout.

The United States will not allow another Islamic state to fall to al Qaeda's ideologues. The lesson of September 11 serves as a reminder of what happened when Afghanistan became a sanctuary and de facto al Qaeda state.

The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as "definitive victory." Hussein writes that in the terrorists' eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the "one-and-a-half million Muslims," the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than two years.

Phases Five, Six and Seven are merely the dreams of al Qaeda, as the prospects for al Qaeda's success in phases One thru Fourth are looking grim at the moment. Despite media portrayal of defeat in Iraq, the Iraqi people are fighting the insurgency and the Anbar region is set to be reduced as an al Qaeda rear area. The jewel of al Qaeda, Afghanistan, fell almost four years ago, and al Qaeda and its Taliban allies have not come even close to retaining control. There are rumors of a serious rift between al Qaeda and the Taliban, as the Taliban believes its woes were created by closely allying themselves with Osama's cause.

However, in the event of the United State loses its political will and pursues a policy of isolation from the Muslim world, an inevitable showdown with al Qaeda would ensue. Open confrontation with the West, as well as the possibility of a nuclear armed Caliphate, would bring the full military might of the Western World (those who value their freedom). The current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Southeast and Central Asia and within the borders of Western nations would be tame in comparison to what would come. The Japanese, Germans and Italians discovered in World War II the price of wakening the American military psyche.

The West would basically have two options: (1) blitzkrieg 21st Century style - the full mobilization of its military and an accompanying sweep of the Islamic crescent, without regards for Politically Correct warfare; (2) nuclear war. Both campaigns would be designed to fully eliminate the Islamist threat, and the Muslim infrastructure, which allowed for the rise of al Qaeda's ideology.



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READER COMMENTS: "The Seven Phases of The Base"

Posted by USMC_Vet at August 15, 2005 5:24 AM ET:

Excellent work that is much appreciated, Bill.

As per our earlier conversations, it is indeed crucial that we continue towards a clear victory in Iraq and denial of an operational haven for AQ.

I do not believe that al Qaeda can take victory on that front from us, but that is surely not to say that we cannot hand it to them. Political will is indeed the key.

Handing this to them via a premature withdrawal (before Iraqi forces are adequate for self-defense against states (Iran/Syria) and offense against insurgency and terrorist activities would feed al Qaeda's drive toward (and absolute need for) a trransformation into a movement.

Two cents...

Posted by J. Gregory Hass at August 15, 2005 7:16 AM ET:

IMHO, President Bush and other leaders who wish to follow him in office need to annunciate clearly who is our enemy and why. From what I read here and in other sources it is clearly Islam that wishes to reestablish the Caliphate and expand it to the entire earth who is our enemy. It is yet to be decided by me if there is a part of Islam that does not wish for this. Clearly there is the potential for a 5th column to be established as "Moderate" Islam within the West. If we can ascertain if a truly moderate wing of Islam exists, one which does not aspire to the Caliphate, then we can more easily get our nation's collective mind around the idea of eliminating our enemy. If not, then I fear we will have difficulty in convincing the general population of the US that we are, in fact, at war with an entire religion. My sense is the apathy of our society today will only be shaken by significantly more catastrophic and frequent events than that which occurred on 11 Sept 2001. Also, the idea over 1 billion people in this world exist who believe with all conviction that the non-believers must convert, submit or perish will be a hard sell. I simply do believe the society in which I live will readily accept this and understand what must be done. We do not have the discipline or fortitude of the depression era generation that fought Hitler and Tojo. The one thing we have to compare Islam's ambition for world domination is that of Communism/Stalinism during the Cold War. In fact I see many parallels to the classless utopia that Lenin/Stalin pursued to the hegemony that Islam desires. Instead of couched in class nomenclature it is more powerfully characterized by the opiate of the masses; religion. I am cautiously optimistic and hopeful, but wary. We must not fail in Iraq. Be MORE aggressive Mr. President. Who know what kind of personality will succeed you and whether they will have the courage of their convictions such as you.

Posted by Marcus Aurelius at August 15, 2005 8:00 AM ET:

As someone said. If we fail in Iraq we are at the end of the start game. If we succeed then we short circuit the mid-game and can pursue end-game objectives on terms much more favorable to us than the Islamic caliphatists.

Posted by frnakenstein at August 15, 2005 9:00 AM ET:

assaults on domestic political will........

holy moly, it's happening AGAIN.

how are people in the US so willing to scuttle a military operation and side with an enemy, in the name of political expediency?????????

Posted by PJ at August 15, 2005 9:05 AM ET:

Excellent post. It's important for us to remember tha they have long term plans, and so must we.

Alaa at his Iraqi blog has an interesting analysis of the importance of staying the course.

http://www.messopotamian.blogspot.com/

Posted by Apocalypse Later at August 15, 2005 9:24 AM ET:

"Peace" with Al Qaeda would indeed lead to a terrible and brutal war.

Say we elected a pacifist next term and the War on Terror screeched to a halt.

Al Qaeda, once they took over Iraq, would return to their original goal of obtaining a WMD.

Then they would use it on us.

The pacifist administration would appeal for calm and explain how this was just righteous payback for American imperialism.

Al Qaeda would hit us again.

Another speech would ensue, perhaps including a stirring defense of the U.N. as the focal point for finding the "root causes" of terrorism.

This process repeats itself until enough people get angry enough to vote hawks into office.

In the meantime Al Qaeda has taken over Syria, developed an alliance with Iran, and in general dug themselves into the Middle East deeply enough that to fight them we have to devastate the entire region -- not with nuclear weapons, but by the ferocity and scope of the fighting.

We won't just be fighting a band of religious fanatics in nominal control of one country but a fledgling Caliphate controlling half a dozen.

We're better off fighting them now as state-less terrorists than fighting them later under a unified banner of Fundamentalist states.

Posted by ShrinkWrapped at August 15, 2005 9:25 AM ET:

J. Gregory Hass:
The useful idiots in the MSM and the Democratic party are making the war more difficult to prosecute. We are still not facing "all of Islam". Depending on the population involved, al Q's support ranges from moderate to minimal. Lots of Muslims will cheer successful murders of Americans, Israelis, Brits, Aussies, without being active supporters of al Qaeda. Right now we are fighting a PC war, in part, to avoid making the idea that we are in a war with Islam more prevalent. We would be much better off defeating al Q in Iraq, discrediting their ideas globally, followed by search and destroy missions of the dregs than to "cry haovc! and let loose the dogs of war" and destroy Islam.

Posted by Rodney A Stanton at August 15, 2005 9:58 AM ET:

It is a pipe dream The guy is clearly out of this world. We were clearly winning The War on Terror befor Mar 05. The First Pahse was a big negative for them. Al Queda has been the preeminent Terrorist organizatin in the world for 10 years. Ask the Able Danger folk.
We have been getting beat up in Iraq and Afghanistan the last 5 months but we are far from dead. The will of our leaders is the real questin, and has been for 6 months. We can win the War on Terror befor Phase Three ends if we have the will to do so. By We I mean Washington DC.

Posted by Joseph McNuly at August 15, 2005 10:04 AM ET:

The problem is that as-Queda thinks of 2020, while we think only as far as the next election. Democracies are likely to tire and go home by then. Look at what is happening today in Iraq. A country unable to sustaind the level of casualties that we have today is unlikely to remain a world power for long. Imagine the headlines of yesteryear: "3,000 American Boys Slaughtered in First Hour at Normandy; Ike Stubbornly Persists in Trying to Make Ill-Fated 'Overlord' Plan Work." We are primed to look for three-year problems that can be pronounced "solved" by someone, in this case probably a politician, and want to be told that we can safely go back to "American Idol" and our sitcoms.
What we should be doing is reading the Koran and the hadiths of Muhammed. These people take their religion seriously and will either kill us or
convert us or die trying. I predict that we will see a Hollywood conversion in the near future and "People" magazine telling us that covering up in hijab can really be sexy. (Did you see her flash that ankle?") And after all, dhimmitude would not be that bad. Better than letting a bunch of priests go wild with altar boys, or letting the rightwingers loose. I am troubled by that abortion thing though. Oliver Stone will make a "sensitive" portrait of Muhammed that will be critized as historically inaccurate, but praised as "true" in the larger sense of showing just how bad those Crusaders really were. Dhimmitude will be just around the corner and, after all, isn't it really just "multiculturalism" put into statute? Wake up West. We face a challenge we would rather explain away. For the first time in 500 years, we face an honest to goodness religious war; too bad that the West picked this epoch to lose its religion.

Posted by Peter Boston at August 15, 2005 10:04 AM ET:

This description of the Al Qaeda strategic plan is bull-dooey. If such a plan existed on September 10, 2001 it would certainly have included the defeat of the Americans in Afghanistan. A one-two punch of mass destruction in the US heartland AND victory against the US in Afghanistan would have made Bin Laden the most influential person in Islam. That didn't happen.

The MSM glofification of the never-defeated Afghan warrior had more than a little truth to it. Few appreciate how daunting the Afghanistan Campaign was for the US. Chasing out the Taliban in a few weeks is probably the most brilliantly executed military campaign of modern times. You can bet the house that Bin Laden never saw it coming.

The rest of the Al Qaeda plan is about as delusional and likely to be effective as keeping Kabul as the seat of the new caliphate. Al Qaeda and the other Islamist gropus can kill people and make life miserable for others from time to time but they have not demonstrated any ability to actually determine a meaningful outcome. Symbolism yes. Substance no. The political outcome in Iraq will be determined between the traditional Iraqi tribal leaders. Al Qaeda isn't even a consideration.

The body count will rise as the jihadi ideology is confronted and defeated but the probability of a new caliphate is zero.

Posted by JohnM at August 15, 2005 10:15 AM ET:

Not to sound defeatist but there is a negative middle outcome.

It is readily apparent that Iran is already engaged in the Iraq terrorist campaign. That would leave me to believe that they are fully prepared for a tactical exchange. (Success if a different issue.)We in the West get squimish about nuclear deaths that the Muslim Heirarchy might be willing to chance.

So the scenario might develop that the Iranians might nuke say Basra in an attempt to topple the new Iraq government. They would assume that the US won't have the stomach in a tit for tat exchange. They could then threaten the Saudis with a similiar arrangement if the cell has secrecated the bomb into the country. Destabilization occurs from the there with the usual outcomes.

Just a thought.

Posted by Mike K at August 15, 2005 10:15 AM ET:

The question is one of will. We also have to stop the inflow from sanctuaries in Iran and Syria. Hot pursuit rather than invasion would seem appropriate. We should also be providing lots of help to Iranian revolutionaries. I hope we have some special forces teams in there, as rumored a few months ago. An Iranian overthrow of the mullahs would end the struggle.

Posted by Justin B at August 15, 2005 10:22 AM ET:

What was the Communist Plan that Stalin or Lenin envisioned for 2020 going to be like? After the purges of the intellectuals and the capitalists, I thought it would be smooth sailing towards world domination. For that matter, we should all be little Aryans by now if Hitler had been more successful with his 20 year plan.

At least Al Qaeda dreams big. You can be anything when you grow up little Jimmy, even the President of the United States... Little Osama, if you dream big enough, you can enslave the entire world to radical Islam. Allah loves you and your Jihadi brothers and will ensure the success, even though right now you are living in a cave, on dialysis, and most of your friends are dead.

I guess we better start converting to Radical Islam now so when the Purge starts, we can survive it. Grab me a Koran and I will remind my wife to stop buying toilet paper... wait, she won't be able to buy it anyway since she is not allowed to leave the house because she is a woman. I better get rid of all the books that we bought for my daughter since she does not need to learn to read.

Let me start working on my chants:

"Death to America"

"Death to the infidels"

"Allah Akbar"

"No blood for oil"

"Bush lied, kids died"

Not sure about the last two, but they seemed to fit with the other ones. I will have to check the Jihad handbook and see if those are in it.

Posted by Syl at August 15, 2005 10:36 AM ET:

No plan survives contact with the enemy...even al Qaeda's.

I agree with Peter Boston here, they've simply modified their propaganda to gloss over past events like the loss of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Posted by Marcus Aurelius at August 15, 2005 11:02 AM ET:

Mr. J. Gregory Hass,

Yours is a call we hear often. We have a problem. If we get too clear about the enemy we will turn moderate muslims against us.

My experience indicates (at least to myself) that the identity as a Muslim often trumps all other associations and an attack on one Muslim will often be construed as an attack on all Muslims.

At the risk of offending the owners of this blog, I post a link to my blog (please indulge me). This is a story about a criticism directed at the Taliban and had a Muslim girl up in arms.

There is a time for plain talk and a time for veiled talk.

Posted by chthus at August 15, 2005 11:10 AM ET:

"Oliver Stone will make a "sensitive" portrait of Muhammed that will be critized as historically inaccurate, but praised as "true" in the larger sense of showing just how bad those Crusaders really were."

This could actually turn out to be very beneficial were it to come to pass. To my knowledge, only one movie has been made about the life of Mohammed and that had to be shot as though it was from his perspective. It is absolutely forbidden to depict The Prophet in any form in most strains of Islam. If a sympathetic Hollywood producer decided to make a big budget movie about Muhammed and actually show him, regardless of the slant, it would cause much backlash. If the slant was to portray the beginnings of the religion and its founder in a holier-than-thou light, the surprise would be that much more on the left when it was met with death threats. Perhaps then they would actually begin to voice the name Van Gogh.

I am still waiting for some artist to use NEA funds to revisit 'piss Christ' with a 'piss Muhammed'. While there have been a few isolated incidents of violence by Christians in this country when offended, the usual response is protest and a bit of bitching and moaning. Muslims are much quicker to call for blood, just ask Salman Rushdie. A cinematic piece about Muhammed would likely open a good many more eyes to the big picture.

Posted by lk at August 15, 2005 11:13 AM ET:

I too have opinions about Al Qaeda, but I am a stupid white suburban American with enough sense not to pontificate on the Arab terrorist mind, unless I have been drinking with friends, and we are being blowhards.

Posted by Joshua Chamberlain at August 15, 2005 11:15 AM ET:

You say "al Qaeda can claim some success in the First Phase, as the organization is now the preeminent terrorist organization on the planet."

How do we explain the following, as stated in the words of Angelo Codevilla,"al-Qaeda no longer has a base, its contingent of soldiers has been captured, killed, or scattered to the winds, and its principal figures are out of action, while at the same time terrorism has increased"?

Do you think, perhaps, something else is going on?

Posted by Joshua Chamberlain at August 15, 2005 11:19 AM ET:

Do you think the fact Syria seems less concerned about helping al Qaeda than about attacking America may give some indication of the answer to my previous question?

Posted by Bill Roggio at August 15, 2005 11:23 AM ET:

lk,

Good, then get back with your blowhard friends and hav efun.

Joshua,

Read al-Adel's wording on Phase One. By the declared standards of raising al Qaeda's profile, it was successful. As I said, at a cost. And I don't entirely agree with Angelo Codevilla's assessment. Read the link to Saif al-Adel in this post to see why. al Qaeda might hav ebeen scattered and decentalized, but still has an orgnization and dangerous operatives around. Think Zarqawi, al-Adel and a host of others for starters.

Posted by Joshua Chamberlain at August 15, 2005 11:31 AM ET:

Isn't our blaming Al Qaeda for everything analogous to 17th century Spain blaiming the pirates of the Caribbean for their lost gold shipments, rather than the British and Dutch governments who encouraged seamen to become privateers?

Posted by Joe McNulty at August 15, 2005 11:31 AM ET:

Just who are these "moderate" Muslims? Are there any Muslims out there who do not consider Christians polytheists (because of the Trinity)? If so, does this not put Christians below the Jews, who at least believed in Jehovah (Allah) before they turned away? If the Koran and the hadith require the killing of the Jews, what is in store for the Christians? Solsennitsyn said that Stalism was "communism done by experts." In the same way, Islamism is Islam done by experts. It is like saying in 1943: "Let's appeal to the 'moderate' Nazis around Hitler by negotiating an end to the war now and avoiding all that destruction." Just who are these "moderate" Muslims? Who is a Muslim disbelieving that the Koran is the revealed work of God and should be followed along with the hadiths of Muhammed? Is such a person still a Muslim? I saw yesterday that in a radio call on 9-11 a fireman told the fire department to avoid an Arab neighborhood in New York where they were dancing in the streets -- this would slow down the fire trusks responding to the World Trade Center. Perhaps those were the "moderate" Muslims of which you are speaking.

Posted by moptop at August 15, 2005 11:54 AM ET:

Zarqawi? Isn't he dead?

And wasn't Osamma boasting that, after defeating the Soviet Union, defeating the US would be easy?

But seriously, democratization by the sword is by far the least violent option open to us. If it fails, and the Muslim world really desires non-stop, full-out jihad, then our options become quite horrific, and the catch in asymetrical warfare rears its technological head.

Posted by Soldier's Dad at August 15, 2005 12:14 PM ET:

Al Qeuda needs to keep alive the "evil US/Soviet/Zionist capitalist imperialism" meme to survive. Way back in the 70's it was being touted on half the short wave radios in the Middle East and Africa. (I actually found it amusing that the Soviets were accused of being capitalists).

The Soviets subsequently went the "Big Military Footprint" route in Afghanistan and pushed Jihadi/Mujahadeen recruiting thru the roof. The US has gone for a small footprint/partners in peace and democracy model. While there are still a few jihadi's running around Afghanistan, local recruiting isn't doing so well.

Iraq has the added dimension of Former Regime Elements which has forced the US Military footprint to be substantially larger than if we were dealing solely with Mujahadeen and Jihadists. The unfortunate side effect of having a larger military footprint(more of an occupier) is that is has also driven Jihadi recruiting.

The painful and bloody process of reaching out to those who were simply employed by the former regime while excluding those who are still loyal to the former regime will pay dividends, as Bill has highlighted recently in his "Red on Red" articles.

At the current time, US troops have too much visibility in 4 Iraqi provinces to be viewed as "partners in peace and democracy". My humble opinion would be that there will be a tipping point when Iraqi's control 40% of Baghdad.

Posted by Monkeyfan at August 15, 2005 1:29 PM ET:

With Iran getting ever closer to obtaining their atomic grail and various nuclear exchange scenarios no doubt being wargamed as a result, it struck me that we wouldn't have to make the moral choice of whether or not to use nuclear weapons in retaliation to a city killing attack by Islam's fascists.

We likely wouldn't need to use Nuclear weapons.

That recently successful precision kinetic weapon strike on a distant comet opens up the very real technological possibility of launching a space-based conventional counter-attack against even a hardened nuclear armed caliphate.

It's entirely plausible that we have significant assets already deployed in orbit.

Ambitious mullahs would be well advised that there is not a city or bunker in existence that can withstand a targetable hypersonic alloy meteorite of several thousand pounds (DU perhaps).

If al-Qaida and its fellow travellers wish to be closer to their lunar godhead, I'm sure we could oblige them and arrange to deposit an American-made Kabba on any city, village, or specific cave in their caliphate.

I hope the strategic need never arises, but the Ummah should at least be made to know the very real consequences their cultural heros and misleadership would have rain down on their collective 6th phase heads.

Posted by Trashman at August 15, 2005 1:42 PM ET:

What about America's seven phases of World WarIV?:
Afghanistan
Iraq
Iran
Syria
Saudi Arabia
Pakistan
Egypt

Posted by Mad Milt at August 15, 2005 3:58 PM ET:

Very useful info from Al Q but you're wrong to say "But this came at a price, as Islamist Afghanistan and friendly Saddam-governed Iraq were lost." Saddam (the secularist) and Bin Ladin (the Islamist) were never friendly - they dispised each other.

I think Al Q is totally washed up, anyway, except as a symbol. I think the danger is our continued humiliation of the arabs and moslems. Even the US overthrow of the hated Saddam was resented because we beat one of theirs, as horrible as he was. Read Bin Ladin's early speeches - what set him off was the humiliation of arabs and moslems by the west starting with the overthrow of the caliphate. We're continuing to do that and will pay the price. The new Islamist Republic of Iraq will ask us to leave completely with no bases and no special access to oil. Assuming we're not bankrupted first, I presume we will continue to meddle big time and get paid back with terrorism.

Posted by Justin B at August 15, 2005 4:18 PM ET:

Bin Laden despised Saddam? No, don't buy the Islamist versus Secularist argument there for two reasons--Saddam hated Isreal and Saddam hated the US. Al Zarqawi was training in Iraq prior to the invasion of Afghanistan or Iraq and Saddam was funding the destruction of the Jewish state.

I supposed OBL despises Syria too... or Iran... Iran and Syria sponsor terrorism and hate the US and Isreal, therefore OBL is willing to collaborate with them until they become adversarial. Iran is even non-Arab.

No, OBL dislikes all the non-Wahhabi nutjobs... all of them. Moderate muslims. Hardcore non-Wahhabi muslims that do not share his vision. But he really hates the non-believers and is willing to tolerate several of the terror sponsoring or blind eye governments during his destruction of the Jews and the US. I am not saying that he is going to leave them alone indefintely, but they are useful to his purposes for now and are supporters (financial supporters) of terror.

Saddam was funding the active destruction of Isreal through suicide bombers... that does not sound very "secular" to me. The Sunnis ran Iraq and gassed the Kurds as well as had a 20 year war against Shiite Iran. Maybe his ethnic cleansing was based on "ethnicity" not "religious beliefs", but to use the term secular does not describe the rule of Saddam. He actively tried to destroy Isreal and that alone is enough to convince OBL to leave him alone.

Posted by Justin B at August 15, 2005 4:24 PM ET:

And our continued humiliation of Muslims is causing further problems? Human pyramids is not as humiliating as having your butts routed on the battlefield or making boasts of destoying the Crusader Infidels, God Willing, then getting smacked around. Or saying streets will run red with blood and you will never be taken alive, then surrendering to police instead of going down fighting.

Humiliations exist and it may inspire some, but the most humiliating thing is to try to kill the infidels and declare Jihad only to get to Iraq and find the people there don't want you, there is no money, and the only purpose you serve is to be a mule for a Suicide vest. Then have the bomb only kill fellow Muslims while the Crusaders continue to occupy Muslim land and establish a democratic government.

Or how about the ultimate humiliation of Muslim women actually being literate. Talk about humiliation.

Posted by Justin B at August 15, 2005 4:26 PM ET:

What got OBL started was having US non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia in the first place... the most holy of lands for Muslims to defeat Saddam in Kuwait. BTW, how many bases do we have in Saudi Arabia now? So OBL is going to be happy and claim victory at getting the Infidel Crusaders out of Saudi Arabia right? He should be happy, No?

Posted by leaddog2 at August 15, 2005 5:09 PM ET:

Joseph and Shrinkwraped,

I understand your concerns. However, the end result is already known.

Satan and his Islamist followers lose.

Posted by Soldier's Dad at August 15, 2005 5:46 PM ET:

"What got OBL started was having US non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia in the first place"

Sorry Justin, there has been a significant US/UK population in Saudi Arabia since before Osama was born. The US Military presence goes back to 1947.

What got Osama started is the fact that without Super Power backing....the Middle East regimes are unbelievably easy to overthrow and set up Islamic Republics.

A couple hundred of US Marines blown up in Lebanon...bye bye superpower...a few soldiers drug thru the streets of Somalia...bye bye Super Power...a bunch of crazy students burning US flags in Iran...bye bye super power.(The Russians were tougher in Afghanistan) Blow up some trains in Madrid...bye bye Spanish

Hey...blow up some towers in New York...why wouldn't he have thought the US would immediately withdraw completely from the Middle East.

25 Years of Appeasement set a very bad example.


Posted by Enigma at August 15, 2005 5:47 PM ET:

Did Saddam and OBL despise each? I'm sure they did. Would that have been enough to keep them from working together towards a common goal? As an old Arab proverb goes, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Posted by BoghRD at August 15, 2005 5:56 PM ET:

Justin,

Did Saudi Arabia (or the Muslim Street) want Saddam's armor and infantry units in Mecca?

Did we want that megalomaniac controlling the entire region?

Was Iraqi occupation of Kuwait a desired end-state?

We were there for many reasons - not all of them oil and global hegemony 

Posted by Gregory McDowall at August 15, 2005 8:50 PM ET:

J. Gregory Hass, though we may not be as disciplined as The Greatest Generation we shouldn't underestimate the ability for people to rise to the challenge when it comes (and when they have personally felt it come) as with Pearl Harbor in 1941. We had that scale of a challenge on 9/11, but as this war is different from anything we have seen in the past it did not have the same staying power. (However, I will admit that the multiculturalist left had a hand in weakening our resolve by casting doubt on the rightness of our cause. Fortunately they did not exist in significant numbers back in WWII.) In fact it offers a rather mixed message--we are in a war, but everything must go on as before as Bush exhorted us to shop, travel, etc (which was indeed necessary for the economy). But the war has only hit a small portion of America in the gut. It is also more complex, in that the connection of the War on Terror to the aim of the Iraq War was not direct, but rather part of a long term strategy to short-circuit terrorism from its region of origin. If Al qaeda managed to gather enough of a following and power to provoke an even more open confrontation, I think the will would be found that our parents and grandparents demonstrated. People say that the youth of today are the most corrupt, undisciplined, and wayward generation we have ever produced. Yet, if you look at the statistics a remarkable, counter-intuitive picture emerges. Teen pregnancy, drinking, youth crime, school violence, and suicide are all decreasing. The more and more I learn about the latest generation to come of age called the echo-boomers (since they are the children of boomers) or millennials, the more I'm convinced that they will do great things both on and off the battlefield. They have a great respect for authority, value teamwork over selfishness, and have been instilled vigorously by their parents the value of education and striving for excellence. We are still a divided nation, but no mortal knows what the future holds. So don't count us out yet even if we fail in Iraq.

Posted by Karridine at August 15, 2005 10:10 PM ET:

What is now coming to public, widespread attention, is the powerful Achilles heel provided by Islamic Hadith and the Quran, both of which have AMPLE references to the Year 1260 AH, the 'return' of the 12th Imam, and the Coming of the Mahdi.

As this very public war continues, there will come a point in the very near future when a PUBLIC, Arab-language and English-language dialogue begins discussing the factual coming of the Promised One, May 23rd, 1844CE/1260AH.

At that time, the widespread and near-instant conversion and entry into the Faith of Baha'u'llah by TROOPS of ex-Muslims, will both astonish and disempower the lever-holders of today's power, the mullahs and imams! Hundreds of millions of new Baha'is will, in a matter of weeks, change the whole fact of the Global War on Terror, not to mention the political dynamics of international affairs everywhere!

And Zarqawi and bin Laden KNOW THIS, and are taking active steps to try and keep this match from igniting the mass of gasoline-soaked ummah!

Posted by Karridine at August 15, 2005 10:20 PM ET:

#27-Mad Milt, the 'humiliation' experienced daily by Muslims must, perforce, continue as long as their nations are run by 1)thug tyrants, 2)wanting to keep them enslaved mentally and spiritually, 3)by sexual apartheid and 4)petty tribalism while 5)skimming off what national treasure there is, for elitist cronies, a la Iran!

The West, and its values and its existent reality, are an excruciating stick-in-the-eye for Islamic power-grabbers, who scoff and deny the coming of the Lord of Hosts, Baha'u'llah while clinging to ever-weakening holds (thru terror and imposed ignorance) on the people.

The Glory of God had GOOD words for America, and sent His son here in 1921, for a 9-month tour: see Promulgation of Universal Peace.

Posted by Vstress at August 16, 2005 5:12 AM ET:

I definitely urge people to watch the programs on the Victory in Japan (at least there are tons on the tv here in the UK, I should think there would be in the US too).

The Japanese and Al-Quaeda have so many similarities. Not least the fact that in the same way Pearl Harbour made the Japanese feel invincible, in the same way 9-11 has done.
They also all thought that their beliefs made them greater than the "weak" americans.

People may claim that it is all about the atomic bomb, but Japan was already on its knees by then, the US just didnt want to bother fighting when the outcome was already certain.

So many simlarities I will just have to stop.

But from watching these programs, I think it is fair to say that when beliefs overcome truths in military plans, the plans fail. There isnt a chance in hell that Al-Quaeda will succeed, there are just too many people against them, hell, even the Chinese won't want to join them!

Posted by J. Gregory Hass at August 16, 2005 6:58 AM ET:

ShrinkWrapped:



I understand your comments and I fully understand the type of war we are fighting and why. I agree with the reasoning. Perhaps my post was too reactionary as I am just beginning a newly purchased book that has provided a serious whack upside the head to my situational awareness as it relates to this war. The book is titled "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam and the Crusades". I have noticed ads for it on several of the blogs I read and picked it up at B&N the other day. What my original post was expressing is really the question I have in my mind as to what sort of enemy we are fighting. Based on the article I am posting against and the evidence presented in this book, it is very much different than simply Al Qaeda. Being an analyst by nature and profession I am set about to gather more evidence before I come to a conclusion. I hope for many reasons that this conclusion is much more nuanced than we are fighting Islam in its entirety.



The questions I have in my mind now are:



How does moderate Islam reconcile the principle of dhimmitude as proscribed to them in the Qur'an with liberal democracy? i.e. Convince me that American Muslims aren't motivated to establish the Caliphate. The degree to which this can be answered satisfactorily will mitigate the risk of the existence of a lethal 5th column within our society in my mind. This question has bearing for all Western civilization. Clearly Europe is more heavily 'infiltrated' if this is the correct characterization.


Russia and China are clearly aligning themselves as counterbalance to US hegemony as they perceive it. The mistake I see them making is misinterpreting precisely who their enemy is today. In doing so, they are aligning themselves with what they believe to be second echelon allies Iran, Syria who, if their motivation is to establish the Caliphate, is precisely the enemy Russia and China should be worried about. They are still fighting the last war; The Cold War, instead of planning for this war. And they are big military and economic powers. If 'radical' Islam can co-opt one or both of these countries we aren't fighting the war we think we are fighting either.

Posted by Scott at August 16, 2005 9:11 AM ET:

I think Hussein missed a phase;

Phase 1.5-

"Closing Eyes" (in the West) - get a democrat elected to President, who will work to subordinate the US to the UN (i.e. remove US political will and offensive capability), and continue Bill's good work of spreading around classified defense technologies to its enemies (i.e. remove US defensive capability).

Posted by a patriot at August 16, 2005 2:21 PM ET:

My president, your president, is a child.

"Bring it on" he said. Something a child would say.

Our president was self righteous, arrogant, ill prepared, and, like a child, anxious to go to war. The blood of our brave but ill used soldiers and thousands of others is on his hands and the hands of Wolfowitz and Pearle and the other hollow men who planned (badly) for a war that was founded on lies. And in so doing created a two-front war where only one, the war on terror, existed.

Bring it on.

Never has Bush or his hollow men stood in the line of fire. Not in this war or any other. They had ample opportunity thought too highly of their own lives to ever put it on the line. This is the work for others.

Bring it on.

Ask the thousands of maimed soldiers or the families of the nearly 2,000 dead for words to describe what "bring it on" means to them.

Horror, pain, sadness, loss, anger. And two more: shock and awe.


Bring it on.

Posted by leaddog2 at August 16, 2005 5:19 PM ET:

False Patriot,

Where do you get the gall for your pretentious Bull Shit? The President is TOTALLY CORRECT in what he has done in stopping Islamofascism in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are fighting and winning the war on the ground. EVERY single returning soldier will tell you of the many things that they and their buddies have accomplished and that the "media" will NEVER report.

We are winning the war EXCEPT for the left-wing Deaniac and Mooron type traitors. Most of them are Demoncrats. As one example, the NY Times has supported ALL of America's enemies in print consistently since the days of Adolph Hitler and Joe Stalin.

Is it any wonder that veterans such as myself are more than ready to eliminate such "fifth column" murderers? As a decent human being, I pray that it will not come to that, but if it does we know how to fight and win. The Mooron and Deaniac appeaser types only know how to "whine". You are just so typical of the "brain challenged" tolls.

Posted by anon at August 17, 2005 12:17 AM ET:

The problem, in my opinion is that most of the posts here make claims on Islam (and the majority of Muslims) as if they know the religion. Islam, in doctrine does not impose its itself on others. The is in hadeeth and Quran. ALL Muslims should learn and be educated (for those victims of CNN who think women should be oppressed under Islam). In fact, some of the top scholars of the different madhab (or schools of thought) were taught by women. Modesty is also very key component of Islam, both in dress for women AND men as well in manner. So women are worth more in Islam than just viewing pleasure in beer commercials. Islam sees a woman, whether single or married, as an individual in her own right, with the right to own and dispose of her property and earnings. There is hadeeth that says, 'The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manner and kindest to his wife.' Islam protected the Jews from the crusaders in history. Historically, when the khalipha Omar entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam granted freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city. Anyways, I could go on, but I won't. But one thing for sure, there is real evidence of a need to understand this religion better and why it is the fastest growing one. I agree that many Muslim countries may not be practicing what Islam teaches, but name me a real Islamic country who is not headed by some propped up dictator.

Posted by J. Gregory Hass at August 17, 2005 5:52 AM ET:

Anon,


Your post is precisely the issue I am questioning. How do we reconcile what some scholars have learned and written about Islam and your post? I would like to believe you and accept you and your religion in peace as the Christian that I am. However, the continued existence of my county and form of government, based on Judeo-Christian principles, is at stake. Therefore I must be cautious. Trust but verify as the great Ronald Reagan once said.

One of the statements made in the book I am reading about your religion is that for every book or anecdote that professes Islam is a religion of peace and moderation, the extreme Imam's can produce 10 that contradict it and have a significantly greater level of historical accuracy and authenticity. I must investigate this further.

Hopefully Anon, you can see that I have not passed judgment yet. However, taken in the larger context of the original article re: the 7 phases  and we assume the worst for planning purposes, the war we are fighting now is dramatically different than what most in this country have in mind. In fact, there is a significant minority that believes we should not be fighting a war at all. Both of these perceptions need to be overcome in order for us to prevail. Of course this assumes that by prevailing it is meant that our country, form of government and society continues along the same trajectory as status quo ante.

Posted by superpatriot at August 17, 2005 9:13 AM ET:

Bringing it On Again.

(A bit more bull spit as one of your reader calls it).

Post 9/11 the Bush people correctly identified Afghanistan as the target and followed the blueprint war plan left behind by Bill Clinton (or so they say). We invaded, the murderous scum that is the Taliban were routed. The world approved. All in all, a pretty good start for the war on terror.

It was at this point however that an administration run by amateurs and, I hate to say this but yes, chicken hawks, began to show full feather. Juiced up just a tad on wartime endorphins following the successful (minus capturing Bin Laden) prosecution of the Afghan campaign the Bushies found themselves face to face with the real enemy: themselves. Bush forgot the most basic of rules (other than that someone other than he should do the fighting) that war , in fact , could be hell (I respectfully acknowledge thanks to Roggio's bio that he does not share the same hole in his resume with our fearless leader). And so how does one forget or not realize war is hell? First and foremost by never having been in one. All the blogging in the world will not change the fact that Bush and Wolfowitz and Pearle and Rove and pretty much his entire brain trust (such as it is) never thought enough of fighting for their country to actually go out and do it. Never having taken a single pro-active step in their collective lifetimes towards putting their own lives on the line in defense of country, of the precious freedom they extol with such gravitas to grieving widows, nonetheless these gentlemen produced a common vision with an uncommonly high degree of thirst for blood by proxy. That they perhaps believed in what they were doing is as immaterial as it is probable. These guys believed all right but belief is the easiest of states to achieve when it comes to the table cloaked in arrogance and self righteousness. This is the same cocktail that produces terrorists and fanatics. (Do you think for a minute the 9/11 bastards felt any less righteous or believed any less in their mission?) What we needed at this point in time was a clear-headed non-emotional well thought out program to deal with terror. A marshalling of resources and a building of alliances with a post 911 world sympathetic to our pain and our cause. What we got was basically a grudge match and a poorly planned and executed one at that. A war and post-war fought in the wrong place and time and on the backs of a bunch of kids who never knew what hit them.

Having spent a good deal of his life in and around Texas, George Bush could perhaps be forgiven for having forgotten the "talk softly" part of one very famous presidential edict. He cannot however be forgiven for having "the big stick" shoved back in our faces. With not enough boots on the ground to secure the territory they had worked so hard to occupy, the Bush plan sunk in a sea of blood and chaos. Not his blood (never is) but that of thousands of wonderfully brave but misled American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi men women and children caught in the crossfire. In place of professional leadership and statesmanship Bush's childish "Bring it On" and "mission accomplished" photo ops served us most poorly and provided a rallying point for the opposition.

In the end Bush empowered the opposition as no one else could. The great irony is that the thrust into Iraq, peddled with lies to the American people to win it's approval, had less to do with fighting terror than with establishing a pro-American, stable, democratized government in the place of a murderous and self-interested state run by a family of thugs. Not a bad thing on the face of it but not on task. The war on terror was the task and the American people understood this and had the Bush lot sold the war for what it was, it would have been no-sale. And they knew it. So they used the executive privilige of lying about the true purpose and circumstances of the invasion. I will not comment on this tactic other than to say there is plenty of historical precedent for this going back to, beyond and including FDR's "managing" of the news in order to help Britain in the roll up to WWII. Pehaps the biggest problem with Bush's war is that his people prepared so poorly for it. It truly was war on the cheap. One can still see Wolfowitz sitting in front of Congress telling them why the generals were wrong and how we didn't need a larger force to achieve our goals. My guess is he understood that to seal the deal he had to make it look as painless and inexpensive as possible. Lie or misjudgment, the result was the same. The sale was made and the fate of thousands of lives were sealed.

All the necessary information to avoid the worst of the mistakes existed had hubris and politics been left out of the equation and professionals allowed in. Neither happened. Dissent was not invited into the room (see Colin Powell) In the end the Bush plan set in place a chain of events that has resulted in the creation of a chaotic breeding ground in Iraq for a home grown insurgency and a recruitment bonanza or al Queda. Next door in Iran the invasion of Iraq squashed the momentum for the moderate cause breathing new life into the purveyors of radical Middle East theocracy, a murderous and unsavory lot for the most part.

So now we are truly stuck. It's quagmire time. We have a two-front war, a re-invigorated opposition, daily death and destruction, a sad-sack coalition, a worldwide approval rating deep in the toilet and money flowing into a black hole draining our economy at the very time we need it most to invest for the competition in the global economy. And oh yes, oil prices through the roof. All in all, the Bush Doctrine has been a quite the ticket.

It is hard to know what Kerry would have or could have done, stuck as we are, had he won in '04. His performance at the Democratic convention with salute and reporting for duty schtick was all panderama. In fact the entire election was. You've got your saluting GI Joe Kerry and you've got your fear-mongering sabre-rattling Bush playing the John Wayne come to the rescue. Some choice. But it may have in fact been too late to make much of a difference.

Anyway, fear sells. The nation re-upped with the Duke and the rest is history. We brought it on.

Posted by Hank at August 18, 2005 5:24 AM ET:

Mad Milt (post #27) seems to think that humiliating the Arab Muslims is our biggest problem.

Well he's right: we're not humiliating them nearly enough.

Humiliation is a double-edged sword.

The sickly little fat kid on the playground gets teased and bullied and wedgies in front of the whole class every day - the fat kid feels humiliated.

The fat kid decides he's had enough. He clocks the biggest, meanest bully in the class and lays him out bloodied - the bully feels humiliated.

One form of humiliation is unjustified and brews anger and resentment. The other form is a justified reaction to a specific cause. It serves as a warning in order to stop future maltreatment, and it does so by forcing the bully to consider revising his previous assumptions of the playground order. His humiliation is useful; it has purpose; it can bring about positive change in the behavior of the bully.

Arab Muslims are a preposterously arrogant people, and arrogance is the kryptonite of self examination or improvement.

Islam is the practically the only thing Arabs have invented, especially in the last 700 years or so. They've been playing hookey with their precious Islam during lessons of civilization advancement by the rest of the world. If it wasn't for the industrial/geographical accident of oil, they would still all be camel and sheep herders - no kidding.

They have made or created or inspired virtually nothing besides Islam. The phrase "Made in..." is always followed by the name of a country. Mexico, China, USA, Thailand, Brazil, Germany, Taiwan, etc. When was the last time you saw that phrase ended with the name of an Arab country?

Islam is their singular point of pride, and that's why they place such little value in advancing in other areas besides religion (human rights [a.k.a. civilization], education, science, medicine, art, business, construction, technology, etc.).

You could show a Middle Eastern Arab an i-Pod for the first time in his life and he will snatch it from you to show you how to use it (as he completely screws it up) - so convinced he is that there is simply no possible way you could possibly know anything he doesn't. After all, he's an Arab Muslim, and you are only a lowly infidel.

I've been running construction projects here in Iraq for over a year. The two things that catch everyone by surprise (and we've worked all over the world) are the fusion of immovable arrogance and total incompetence among these people.

People who think they are totally superior to you will never listen or adapt. The only way to make progress with them is to convince them that they are NOT superior to you. And the transition between they thinking they are superior and finding out that they really aren't virtually requires feeling some humiliation on their part.

The opposite of obtuse arrogance is open-minded humility. And humility usually requires some, well, humiliation.

Humility is usually a good thing, and it's badly needed here.

orangeducks
Baghdad

Posted by carolina at August 18, 2005 2:07 PM ET:

Superpatriot,

I am short on time so I'll have to keep this brief.

Seek help. You seem to have convinced yourself, perhaps in some induced-haze, that you truly understand the inner workings of man, government and nations. Let me help you out, friend, you were not the proverbial fly on the wall and you lack any firsthand knowledge to backup just one of your assertions. Stop writing fiction as non-fiction. It is annoying.

Your basic thesis is that Iraq is not part of the War on Terror. And, at its core, your argument also rants against the wisdom of preemption. Preemption's great strategic "flaw" is that its success can never be proven to those too naive (excuse me, "stupid") to have missed the the threat in the first place. The circumstantial evidence would tend to suggest that preemption has worked in this case. Military history tends to support preemption works generally (see Pax Britannica).

Now to the matter at hand...your assertion that Iraq is not part of the GWOT. Are you insane? Iraqi intelligence agents in Germany at the same time as the 9/11 cell leaders, Saddam's payments to the families of suicide bombers, terrorist training camps in Iraq (including mockups of airliners), Jordan's extradition request for Zarqawi (to Saddam) and on and on it goes. Saddam was involved in terrorism (please see www.husseinandterror.com for a great and detailed explanation). There is no question on this and you are flat out wrong.

The funny thing about the above is that after proving this point, I have to concede that it is almost irrelevant. After all, the wisdom of removing Saddam rests not only on his past actions but his likely FUTURE actions. Anyone reading the Duelfer Report or Scientific American's interview with an American serving on the UN weapons inspection team should have been chilled to the bone. The thought of mature WMD capabilities (stockpiles) in the hands of an aggressive madman (or are two aggressive wars not enough for you) is almost too much to bear.

While I'm sure your tender sensibilities and malfunctioning moral compass would have preferred to invade Iraq only after an Iraqi-sponsored attack killed thousand more Americans, let me assure you that removing Saddam in such a scenario would have cost significantly more, in both lives and treasure, than the current campaign. You can't have it both ways cowboy. Certainty and the moral high ground can get real expensive, real fast.

It is a shame we have to save you from yourself. I almost wish I could ship you to the parallel universe you pine for...one where President Kerry plays rope-a-dope as the fists come flying.

Posted by Enigma at August 18, 2005 7:30 PM ET:

Ask the thousands of maimed soldiers or the families of the nearly 2,000 dead for words to describe what "bring it on" means to them.

You presume to speak on their behalf? You would do well to let them speak for themselves.