General Eclectic

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Future of al Qaeda

As long as the Israelis are free to achieve a Palestinian Diaspora, the fundamentalist Islamists have a rallying point around which to gather all Moslem nations and unite Sunni with Shia. We don't have a solution for the Middle East because we are jousting for election here in the United States. Our foreign policy for the region is trifurcated by the claims of the Jewish citizens ("Never Again"), the wants of our oil lobby, and the insatiable desire for petroleum products.
Worse, we have the egotistic misconception that the United States is the primary objective of the al-Qaeda movement. Attacks in America are designed to convince us to back off.

The capture of Saudi Arabia with the control of the Holy Places -- the triumph of the Wah'hab -- and the oil reserves are the primary objective. The loose association with fundamentalist movements in Asia will then coalesce under the protection of the Islamists with the threat of asymmetric warfare being waged against those countries which interfere. Cooperation with other Muslim nations (in particular, Pakistan) in the obtaining of nuclear weapons and missiles can be expected.

We must do everything possible to ensure that there remain political and religious caverns between Sunni and Shia. We must not be tempted to intervene in the ongoing revolution in Iran, and drive each into the other's arms.

The USSR fell over time as its militant firebrands died off and were replaced by technocrats and bureaucrats and the corruption of the third generation. The huge public trough could not be borne by the people.

The Wah'hab scimitar will extend from Morocco east to Indonesia (skipping over Iran and India.) At that time Pakistan, with its nuclear program, falls into line.

But. in my view, the point of the blade does not turn north to Europe or west to the United States. The northern movement may extend to Turkey, the Moslem majority 'Stans and perhaps into the Balkans.

Here is their long term strategic plan. The blade turns south to the unlimited resources -- people and minerals -- of Africa, uniting tribes and countries, fixed with the artificial barriers set forth by the colonial nations, under a common religion.

At any point along this curve of development the United States may choose to intervene. When we do we must be extraordinarily prepared for what they would call counterattacks on our home soil. And surely such attacks will from time to time occur

Countering the Fundamentalist Threat

It strikes me that in fanaticism and religious fervor The Wah'hab and their fundamentalist Sunni ilk are close to that of the radical Marxists, who -- splitting off from their socialist brothers at the International Conference of 1905 -- became the crux of the communist movement. That conference was the high water mark of the international socialist movement. Thereafter, while state socialism continued to grow, especially in the industrialized countries of the west, there was no single, predominant socialist international movement other than the one co-opted by the Russian communists.

The workers of the world would not unite, but died by the millions fighting for various nations in World War I. Parenthetically, it is interesting that the spread of the communist ethos was successful only in countries where agriculture was the predominant economic force -- czarist Russia and China.

The bonding of individual struggle into class struggle came apart in the United States in particular through the continued availability of interclass mobility. Where class barriers permanently separated the ruling classes from a proletariat, resentment was as heated steam within a pressure vessel. This was especially true where an relatively small educated class was inspired by the thoughts of Marx, Hegel, and Feuerbach and their call for violent overthrow of an oppressive ruling class. They would lead the revolution and free -- eventually -- the ignorant and oppressed lower class. Marx described religion (except for his own creed) to be the opiate of the people.

Within the Middle East, national leaders used religion to maintain political power. Secular leaders have permitted their religious allies to direct the pent up energies of their people towards those infidels outside the country, under the guise of religion. Vast sums of wealth are used for this purpose not only within the Middle East but also to contributions to mosques and nascent madrassas around the world. Overseas Imams are beholden to money from the homelands. We in the West believe strongly that the human spirit exercised through the family provides the energy within the system to lever economic status. Neither the secular nor the religious leaders in Muslim states focus on this. Rather, they prefer in countries they control that the economic and religious caste system remain in place.

The Muslim religion at its most fundamental does not call for the economic growth that leads to interclass mobility. Instead, it calls for a satisfaction in the role that their God has given them. The patriarchs in each family unit counsel reliance on the Qu'ran to ease the burden of life in a harsh climate. The energy of the human spirit is channeled into efforts outside the state to spread the religion. Rewards are reserved to the faithful in the afterlife,

Interestingly, as the economic wealth in the upper classes makes overseas education attainable, it also fosters in these first generation bourgeoisie a reaction against the entitlements that come their way and a sense of guilt, Searching for answers points them towards a more fundamentalist set of core beliefs. Enter been-Laden and the reawakening of the Muslim spirit. Solidly based in the Wah'hab tradition, he combines the religious with the secular.

The Arabs of the prophet in the seventh century with the strength of zealots converted the unbelievers, moving north through Turkey into the Balkans and west along southern shores of the Mediterranean, then moved north through Spain and into France. The religion took hold among certain of the African tribes.ben-Laden is doing nothing more than refocusing energies outwards in a reprise of the seventh century onward. He has smartly realized the benefits of a non-hierarchical structure as an antidote to the concentration of power present in the governments of the west, al-Qaeda binds together with common purpose the frustrated and the disaffected. Speed of communication and freedom of movement works in favor of asymmetric warfare. Losses are localized and the weapon systems employed are -- in the absence of WMD -- readily available.

Attacks on the so-called developed nations force them to spend vast amounts to quarantine and defeat these Pimpernels. The media provide a frame in which all feints an all attacks are reported and circulated around the globe -- acting as recruiting data for the partly motivated.Keeping the United States off balance with the occasional atrocity, al-Qaeda moves its agenda outwards. It need not invade us nor destroy us, but to weaken our resolve and force us to spread our resources in response to new threats. France, Germany and Great Britain are similarly threatened. In their case, however, it is the Muslim immigration that has raised the threat level.Winning this ideological war -- of Muslims who believe they are following a sacred path -- will take the development of a different Muslim society. That is a task facing this generation and the next.

It will require a new 'containment policy' such as that proposed by Kennan decades ago to bottle up the secular use by the USSR of the religion of communism. In the present instance, however, there will be a series of tactical strikes and counterstrikes, the former by al-Qaeda as it attempts to keep us on the defensive, with little opportunity to deploy overwhelming force.

al-Qaeda views Iraq as its "Spanish Civil War" training ground.

Perseverance won for us that Cold War. Towards the end, the USSR was revealed as an imperialist nation using the communist movement as its tool. Support in the countries outside of the Iron Curtain for the international movement melted away. for that reason and because the relationship between modern capitalism (with all its faults) and the human spirit became apparent. Even the socialist movement has crumbled in countries in which citizens generally have disposable income and the ability for interclass mobility. Is there any hope that the same result might happen in this new threat situation?

If communism in its second generation of existence under the aegis of the Great Russian commissars could be seen as a tool for the benefit of the dictator, can Wah'hab fundamentalism be separated from its Arab masters? Alternatively, can the Sunni sect itself become subdivided and its influence over people of various races have national rather than international effect?

The discrediting of this international movement must be the focal point of our efforts. It can only come from within. Wah'habism rules through the education and training of the Imams sent throughout the world and the well funded madrassa system in which it educates the Muslim youth of all races in all countries. It has succeeded best in those nations with a permanent underclass or where the aspirations of the family towards interclass mobility have been permanently dashed. Wah'hab preaches passive acceptance of economic status and revolutionary religious fervor. It is the friend of the ruling class. It must be defeated. It can be defeated through the recognition of economic hope. The fatwah system allows individual Imams the ability to spread dogma to their followers, It is linked through the brotherhood of fundamentalist Imams.

Just as the Jewish religious split into factions as circumstances changes among the faithful, so the tide which created the fundamentalist movement can recede and more moderate Imams arise. The flower of the desert religion is the same as that of the slums of Europe and even America which are home to Muslim workers. In the desert they were without secular hope and subject to the generosity of the ruling class. Elsewhere, they can absorb the benefits of an open society, move into the sunlight of opportunity, and ameliorate the harsh constructs of the Wah'hab sect.

The weakness of Moslem fundamentalism is that there is not a single Pope. The strength is in the alliance between for whatever purpose the secular leaders and the religious. A new day, new mosques, and a new minaret. That, in turn, will mean a theological recognition within the religion of an outward and upward aiming point among the families, within the family of the value of interclass mobility to the future generations. In other words a restructuring of the tribal dynastic control of the nation states of the Middle East and the oppressive control of the fundamentalist Imams

The perseverance of the capitalist system and the republic that is the United States-- unless it corrupts itself in the interim -- will carry the day.It took from 1905 to 1985 before the Russian system disintegrated. The dangerous years were the last forty, Have we the patience and the foresight to outlast the current threat?

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