Global War, Global Enemy

In the current environment of politicizing the War on Terror, it is often lost that the fight against al Qaeda and its global allies of the International Islamic Front far exceeds the scope of operations in Afghanistan or Iraq. The presentation on the major al Qaeda attacks worldwide reinforces the global nature of the fight, but al Qaeda’s statements must also be looked at as well to obtain a full understanding of their strategy. They provide a constant reminder of the nature of the enemy.

Two recently released statements, one from the recently captured al Qaeda commander Abu Musab al-Suri (a.k.a. Mustafa Setmariam Nasar), and another from an anonymous author who published a presentation at “a password-protected al Qaeda-affiliated forum” provide yet another window into how al Qaeda views their struggle as a united Islamist movement against the entire world.

Counterterrorism expert Evan Kohlmann provides a translation and transcript of a recently released audiotape by Abu Musab al-Suri just prior to his capture in September. al-Suri views the fight as a “global conflict” and refers to the combatants as “the family of mujahideen, or Al-Qaida as we are usually named today…” He views France as a specific enemy worthy of attack due to its involvement in the Algerian civil war, as well as for their dealing in Bosnia, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, the Middle East in general, Afghanistan, involvement in NATO, support of UNSC Resolution 1559, the banning of hijabs and a host of other grievances. In his own words:

This is why I hereby call all the mujahideen-regardless of whether they are from Syria, Lebanon or any other place-to strike France immediately. The mujahideen should target French interests wherever they may be-including the French mainland itself, just as they have struck other countries-and we shall not be swayed by their worthless positions on Palestine and Iraq. Why should we [attack them]? We shall strike France for becoming involved in Syrian and Lebanese issues and for supporting the colonialist [United Nations Security Council] Resolution 1559 that is essentially a preliminary step toward future occupation of Syria and Lebanon. France has already used similar resolutions to occupy Iraq. We shall strike France for striving, along with the U.S and Britain, to impose an embargo on Syria through the United Nations. Our countries are apparently incapable of fighting France themselves, so therefore we are the ones who must stand up in their defense. This is something that every Muslim in Syria, as well as other places, must take part in. We shall strike France for seeking to disarm those in Lebanon who wish to fight Israel. We shall strike her for helping the Jews throughout the course of history and arming them with nuclear weapons. We shall strike France for treating both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Palestine as terrorist organizations. We shall strike her for having her soldiers in Afghanistan at this time. We shall strike France for the massacre of Muslims in Bosnia and for being an active member of NATO-the same force that occupies Afghanistan and takes part in every aspect of the war in Iraq. Last but not least, we shall strike her for her aggression on the hijabs of our sisters that live in France 

I hereby call upon the mujahideen in Europe, the mujahideen in other enemy countries-as well as all those who are able to get to these countries-to act quickly and strike Britain, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Australia, Russia, France, and all other countries that have a military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Arabian Peninsula. They must either strike the territory of these countries or targets that are outside of their borders. O’ sleeper cells, wake up now!…

We consider the battle to be against a single entity that is comprised of all the allies. As far as we are concerned, America is the same as Israel, Britain, Poland, Italy, and the others. They are an alliance, and as such, they are all accountable for their actions.

al-Suri is clear about his intentions for global war, as is an al Qaeda planning document. The SITE Institute translates a “12-page presentation of targets for jihad operations” which was posted on a well-known al Qaeda online forum. The targets included are “Oil pipelines, refineries, and pumping stations… in Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, and within the United States, specifically Alaska… [and including] Texas, Louisiana, California, and Oklahoma.”

The entire oil infrastructure of Caspian region and the planned pipeline through Pakistan, as well as transient oil tankers, are targets for operations. These are predominantly Muslim countries which would be negatively impacted by the economic and environmental catastrophes of the resultant destruction. But, as we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kashmir, Thailand, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Indonesia and a host of Muslim countries, al Qaeda and its regional affiliates are not concerned with the safety or wellbeing of the Muslim people, but only in the subjugation of those opposed to their ideology.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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