Developing Coherent Strategy for a Long War With Al Qaeda Article

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Developing a Coherent Strategy for a Long War with Al-Qaeda

The phrase 'War on Terror' would have been a very uncommon phenomena if it was discussed somewhere near the 1970s. Till then, wars had only been fought amongst nations for the race to become a super power and achieve global supremacy over other states. In present times, the term 'War on Terror' has brought a new dimension to the concept of war on our planet. This has been due to organizations rising up to achieve their agendas using the means of violence. The Al-Qaeda has been one such organization and it can be said that the current international 'War on Terror' is being fought mainly because of the Al-Qaeda and its terrorist activities around the globe.

Such activities have and will continue to hinder global development in all aspects and endanger people's lives, if not dealt with urgency. Therefore, to achieve global peace and harmony, it is vital to strictly act against the Al-Qaeda and its operations being carried out through the globe. But, considering the mobile nature and globally expanded network of the Al-Qaeda and other such difficulties, this war has taken more than a decade to fight and to bring these terrorists to justice, and it still doesn't seem to end.

Therefore, different perspectives over this war against the Al-Qaeda have been discussed in this paper. To tackle this problem, the necessity to follow a strong strategy and the important areas to focus, have been laid down. If properly followed, such a strategy can surely achieve success against the Al-Qaeda and its terror.


The decision to go to war against a country or a particular group is usually made by the Congress or the President in the case of an emergency. However, these few individuals not only make the decision for themselves, they decide on behalf of the millions of people that reside in their country. Thus, the elected representatives of a country should bear in mind when making such irreversible decision with gargantuan consequences for the nation and people they govern and the ones on which they are set to declare war.

The costs and benefits that arise from taking such an action that puts millions of lives in inevitable risk and danger should be evaluated with great care and each and every move should be strategized and planned meticulously. It should be the least sought after option for political wars can lead to mistrust and unrest in the public when body-bags start rolling in as an aftermath. Carl Von Clauswitz is of the opinion that, "No one starts a war or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so, without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it . . . Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of the object must determine the sacrifices made for it in magnitude and also in duration. Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow." (Clauswitz, 1984)

A cohesive and well thought-out strategy is required in combating those that threaten the security of a nation. In this case, we choose Al-Qaeda, the architects of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre and definers of the term, "International Terrorism." The pre-September 9, 2001 history of Al-Qaeda has been largely erased to poise the terrorist group as Anti-American with objectives to destroy the democratic and economic progress in the country. The origin of Al-Qaeda and its ties to the CIA are rarely mentioned.

Formed in the early 1980's, Al-Qaeda started out as a band of Muslim soldiers (also referred to as the Mujahedeen) fighting against the Soviet Union in the Soviet-Afghan War, with financial and military-training support provided by the CIA in close connection with the Pakistani ISI (Coll, 1992).

Literature Review:

Ahmed Rashid reports that, "With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan Jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan's fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually, more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad." (Rashid, 1999). Indeed, the illusive leader and mastermind behind modern day Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden was recruited from Saudi Arabia, to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war in the Mujahedeen army (Davies, 1998).

The main motive of those serving in Al-Qaeda in the 1980's was to eradicate non-Muslim influences in Afghanistan. This, at the time, meant the Soviet Union. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in the 1990's, Al-Qaeda turned its attention toward other western influences that were seen to have a corrupting effect on their culture as well as on the Muslims worldwide. So the objectives of Al-Qaeda evolved. The main purpose of their existence in modern times is to remove all Western influence from Islamic Nations and to govern these states under strict Islamic Sunni Shariah Laws.

Post-September 9, 2001, the links between the CIA and Al-Qaeda are seen to be of a "bygone era" and irrelevant when taking into consideration the current situation with regard to both organizations. Today, Al-Qaeda operates as a multinational, stateless army, i.e., it consists of loosely aligned individuals and groups with a common purpose; the removal of Western influence from Muslim states through a global Jihad (Gunaratna, 2002). Al Qaeda maintains liaisons with terrorist organizations such as Jama'at al-Tawid wal Jihad (Iraq), Abu Sayyaf Group (Philippines) and Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen) etc. (Council On Foreign Relations).

In the book, The Secret History of Al-Qaeda, Abdel Bari Atwan summarizes the strategies and long-term objectives of the Al-Qaeda to be implemented in various methods, to rid the Muslim Ummah (Muslim Generations) from oppression. These include:

Provoking the United States Government in to attacking a Muslim country (as to attain a motive of retaliation to wage a war against the U.S.A.).

Encourage the locals to resist the occupying forces and create a state of chaos and anarchy.

Converting the Al-Qaeda ideology into a set of principles that can easily be franchised in other countries without any direct involvement of the group itself and then through those franchises, incitement of attacks on those countries to be made which ally with the United States in the War against Terrorism.

Pressuring the U.S. economy into collapse as a result of numerous engagements in various parts of the world with regard to the War. As a result, initiating a domino effect, with economies that are dependent on the United State's economy collapsing as well, throwing the world into a state of global political instability and economical crisis.

A Global Jihad in the face of western crisis and the establishment of a global Wahabi Caliphate across the world (Atwan, 2005).

Data and Design:

To carry out its plans, Al-Qaeda has formed a command structure to formulate and control each and every step of the operations that it conducts against its Western Enemies. The head of the pack was, before his assassination by the U.S. forces on May, 11 2011, Osama Bin Laden. Most of the financing in the early days of Al-Qaeda even came from Bin Laden's personal wealth (estimated 300 million). After his death, Aymen al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda's Deputy Operations Chief, took his place as the first-in-command (New York Times, 2011). The Second in Command was said to be Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. However, he was captured and killed in August 2011 (Balz, 2011).

A congress of an estimated 20-30 senior Al-Qaeda members serve on the Shura Council as advisors to previously Bin Laden and now to Aymen al -- Zawahiri. There is a Military Committee which is in-charge of training troops, planning attacks and acquiring weapons of sorts. While The Business Committee is responsible for arranging funds for the operation of the organization and also provide false passports and air tickets to travelling Al- Qaeda members (Hoffman, 2002). Al-Qaeda has also established As-Sahab. It is a production house that caters to its media relations needs. It supplies all the video and audio material needed by the group to interact with the world and get their message across. Other Committees include the Law Committee which ensures compliance of the actions of the Al-Qaeda with the Shariah Laws, and the Fatwah Committee which issues religious edicts.

In order to defeat an enemy, one must gain complete and clear understanding of whom and what the enemy is, what its capable of, its strengths and weakness and its motives. It has been made clear by al-Qaeda that their motive is the destruction of the modern Western world and restoration of fundamentalist Islamic Caliphate. Conservatism is the major key behind such a mission statement of the Al-Qaeda, and instead of using proper dialogue and humanitarian ways to achieve their…

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