Over 10 years ago we were told what Al Qaeda had planned. “The Base” knew what their objectives were, and they’ve been working towards them steadily. ISIS and their attacks are right on schedule.
In the introduction, the Jordanian journalist (Fouad Hussein) writes, “I interviewed a whole range of al-Qaida members with different ideologies (including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Seif al-Adl) to get an idea of how the war between the terrorists and Washington would develop in the future.” What he then describes between pages 202 and 213 is a scenario, proof both of the terrorists’ blindness as well as their brutal single-mindedness. In seven phases the terror network hopes to establish an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.
I’m going to use quotes from the Long War Journal’s assessment in 2005, because I’m also going to include their assessments:
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.”
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.
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.
Long War Journal’s assessment of 3 and 4:
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.
That part’s pretty clear. Long War Journal was dead on about it, as was Fouad Hussein. Al Qaeda set their goals and managed to acheive them. 2010 to 2013 saw the “Arab Spring”.
After Mubarak was overthrown, the Muslim Brotherhood was ultimately ousted in Egypt, but not before demonstrating that the West wouldn’t get involved, and would instead sit around handwringing and neither coming to aid of allies nor trying to stymie enemies.
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.
Long War Journal said this (again, with the original article in 2005):
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.
And yet, Phases One through Four were successful, and the Fifth is successful because there is an Islamic State. There has been a growing strength for Al Qaeda and those groups that it spawned. Iraq is losing to the Islamic State, and Afghanistan is another forgotten war where the national strategy has become “cut and run”.
Long War Journal finished up with this, which seems like a strange coda from a different time before microaggressions against transgendered headmates triggered national outrage:
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 US lost its political will when it elected a hard leftist whose objective was to fundamentally change the US through domestic force and culture war. There won’t be a showdown with Al Qaeda or ISIS when we’re led by people who think ISIS only exists because of global warming, or because terrorists don’t have good jobs with a $15/hr minimum wage.
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.
This would require first acknowledging there is an Islamist threat, not spouting counterfactual gibberish that the Islamic State is not Islamic.
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
I find the “ISIS is not Islamic” to be the same kind of nonsense spouted by leftists in the US who say the USSR wasn’t really socialist or communist. The left likes socialism and communism, so they don’t want their chosen ideology to be tarnished with the mass murder of 94 million human lives. They embrace multiculturalism where Islam is an exotic ascetic discipline of exotic desert men they wish they could be as suave as, rather than acknowledging it for what it is – the exact antithesis of everything they claim to hold dear in their home countries.
Saying they aren’t a state because you don’t recognize them is as simple as recognizing them to change that. The Taliban aren’t “a state”, either, but they’re being recognized and negotiated with.
The Russians living on the Volga probably didn’t recognize the Mongol Horde as a state, but it didn’t matter when the mongols took over. Whether some posturing man in a suit half a world away recognizes ISIS as the authority on the ground really doesn’t change that ISIS is the authority on the ground.
Lara Logan hit this nail on the head three years ago:
This is terrorism. It’s a completely and utterly different fight from anything we have faced in our history… Our way of life is under attack – and if you think that’s government propaganda – if you think that’s nonsense – if you think that’s warmongering – you’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script, but you don’t.
There is an ongoing effort to rewrite the script from the White House – it’s government propaganda of the “everything is fine” variety. ISIS is the junior varsity team. Nine hours before the Paris attacks Obama claimed ISIS is “not getting stronger” and “we’ve contained them”.
By reading that, and by listening to John Kerry talk about how the US stands with France and we’ll have some peace talks in January, or maybe 6 months, and that’ll solve that whole Paris terrorist attack thing and that ISIS thing, there is clearly one more option that Long War Journal didn’t consider 10 years ago – that option is to lose.