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Know Your Enemy


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know-your-enemy_774088.html?nopager=1The Weekly Standard:

Al Qaeda’s grand strategy


Jan. 20.2014


In the summer of 2008, Barack Obama, senator and presidential candidate, toured the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama had endeared himself to the antiwar left by denouncing President Bush’s decision to topple Saddam Hussein and repeatedly claiming that the war in Iraq had diverted resources from defeating al Qaeda and its allies in South Asia. Obama did not tone down this criticism even as he spoke with CBS News from Kabul on July 20, shortly before proceeding to Saddam’s former abode. “We got distracted by Iraq,” Obama said. Afghanistan “has to be the central focus, the central front [in] our battle against terrorism.”




Political Revolutionaries


Osama bin Laden will always be remembered for his success in attacking the United States within its own borders, thereby shattering Americans’ illusion of security. To this day, if you listen to many commentators, this is al Qaeda’s principal reason for existence. It is widely thought that if al Qaeda is not striking targets in the West, then the group must be close to defeat. This is simply not true.


Terrorizing the United States and its Western allies was always a tactic, a step toward achieving al Qaeda’s real goal—power for its leaders and their ideology in the heart of the Islamic world. Al Qaeda’s jihadists are not just terrorists; they are political revolutionaries. They have sought, since al Qaeda’s founding in 1988, to overturn the existing political order in various Muslim-ruled countries.


Al Qaeda’s ideologues believed that the status quo before the 2011 Arab uprisings was heretical. They believed that Muslim rulers had abandoned true Islam by neglecting to implement sharia law as defined by al Qaeda. They also believed, and continue to believe, that an imaginary Zionist-Crusader conspiracy has prevented the real believers from achieving success. Therefore, al Qaeda deduced, the conspirators must be confronted.



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