Al-Qaeda's Waiting Game

By Scheuer, Michael | The American Conservative, May 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

Al-Qaeda's Waiting Game


Scheuer, Michael, The American Conservative


Bush isn't winning in his battle against our real enemy.

AMERICANS TEND TO FORGET that while we were surprised by the 9/11 attacks, al-Qaeda was not. The attacks' exact date was known to bin Laden and two or three others only six days before Sept. 11,2001, but they had long known the attacks were coming. Thus al-Qaeda was able to move important operatives, archives, materiel, and other assets out of Afghanistan in advance.

The al-Qaeda fighters who stayed to fight the U.S.-led coalition came from the organization's insurgent arm-which is al-Qaeda's largest component -and, according to the U.S. military, they turned in an excellent combat performance before withdrawing to Pakistan and elsewhere. U.S.-led forces, therefore, were never fighting remnants but a professional insurgent force that had no intention of standing and dying in the face of overwhelming American power. Al-Qaeda commanders applied to the letter Mao's guerrilla-war lessons and their own experience fighting the Red Army.

So al-Qaeda got out of Afghanistan in good shape and with little need to regroup, if regrouping is defined, as it has been by U.S. officials, as a thoroughly defeated military force trying to pull its fractured pieces back together. Al-Qaeda simply moved from one safe haven to another-from Afghanistan to Pakistan's Pashtun-dominated border provinces. From there, with the Taliban, it began to plot the reconquest of Afghanistan. Sayf al-Adl, then al-Qaeda's military commander, has written that bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and company concluded that it would take about seven years to re-establish Taliban rule. Al-Qaeda made its plans on that timetable and sent many of its insurgent fighters home to rest until they were needed. Far from regrouping, al-Qaeda decided to disperse and wait. Al-AdI adds that many of these fighters were in tears when they learned they would not immediatery fight the U.S. military. Presumably their tears have now turned to grins.

Beyond failing to defeat or even permanently impair al-Qaeda Central-the forces commanded by bin Laden and alZawahiri-we now confront a substantial number of al-Qaeda franchises, 29 of whom have publicly declared their presence in such places as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Egypt

Terrorism experts typically describe these franchises as replacing the alQaeda threat that the military claims to have mopped up. This is incorrect. AlQaeda Central remains in business and able to attack the United States. The franchises form a second tier of threats in their local areas. In other words, where there was once one threat, there are now many. The proliferation of these franchises also underscores bin Laden's startling ability to continue inspiring and instigating Islamiste to jihad despite his infrequent media appearances.

Thus the United States and its allies are not experiencing a resurgence of al-Qaeda and Taliban action, with the suggestion of spontaneous, unplanned attacks that designation carries. Rather, we are witnessing the early to early-middle phases of a long-planned campaign to reclaim Afghanistan for Islam. America's opponents are not swinging wildly at us but are progressing along a path they have delineated with patience, common sense, and professionalism.

Capitalizing on the swell of antiAmericanism that the Iraq War provoked across the Muslim world, alQaeda has plenty of manpower and has imported the tactics of roadside bombing and suicide attacks perfected by its forces in Iraq. And because of the 200506 run-ups in oil prices, al-Qaeda's Arab benefactors are flush with cash. What this means for the United States is that al-Qaeda will be at the Taliban's side when, over the next several years, U.S.led forces are evicted from Afghanistan and Mullah Omar once again unfurls the prophet's banner over that country.

And this may be the least of it. American defeat on the ground in Afghanistan could well be accompanied by another massive al-Qaeda attack inside the United States. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Al-Qaeda's Waiting Game
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.