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We must organise " Global Counter Terrorism Conferences , Exibitions , Meetings now !

Reader comment on item: Recruiting Soldiers Against Radical Islam
in response to reader comment: Hassan's rant fails to recognize violence by Mohammad and Muslims

Submitted by Pilosnio (India), Apr 16, 2007 at 11:24

We must organise " Global Counter Terrorism " Conferences and invite Prof.Daniel Pipes as chief guest.

Along with Cyber warriors , we should also do some events , meetings and exhibitions related to Counter Terrorism.


COUNTERING AL QAEDA: STRATEGIC & TACTICAL DIMENSIONS - INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR---PAPER NO. 217 (The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: itschen36@gmail.com)

by B. Raman

( To be read in continuation of my earlier article titled JIHADI INTIFADA: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR---PAPER NO. 188 at http://www.saag.org/papers22/paper2135.html)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported as follows on April 11, 2007: "Two blasts in Algeria's capital Algiers have killed at least 23 people and injured 160 - one exploding near the Prime Minister's office. A caller claiming to represent Al Qaeda in the Maghreb told an Arabic TV channel that his group had carried out the attacks. There has been no independent verification of the claim. Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem, who was unharmed, called the attacks a "cowardly and criminal act". The official APS agency, quoting the Algerian authorities, said at least 12 people were killed and 118 injured in the attack on the government building and 11 people were killed and 44 injured in the second attack, on a police station in the eastern district of Bab Ezzouar. The violence in Algiers comes a day after the authorities in neighbouring Morocco said they had foiled a plot to target foreign and strategic interests by suicide bombers. Three suspects blew themselves up after being pursued by the authorities, and a fourth was shot dead by police. It also follows clashes with militants in Tunisia earlier this year. Violent attacks have been increasing in Algeria since the main Islamist rebel group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), changed its name to the Al Qaeda Organisation in the Islamic Maghreb in January."

2. The jihad being waged by Al Qaeda has moved from the sporadic to the sustained and from the tactical to the strategic. Between the formation of its International Islamic Front (IIF) in 1998 and the US occupation of Iraq in April, 2003, its terrorist strikes were sporadic in nature. The underlying motive was the desire for revenge for wrongs allegedly committed against the Muslims. It has always had a strategic political objective----namely, the formation of an international Islamic Caliphate---- but this political objective was only the secondary motivating factor. The desire for revenge was the primary motive influencing its terrorist strikes in Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Aden (USS Cole), the US homeland, Bali, Jakarta, Mombasa, Casablanca and Istanbul.

3. Since the US-led occupation of Iraq, one has been seeing a mix of the sporadic and the sustained and the tactical and the strategic motives. What one has been witnessing in Iraq and Saudi Arabia since 2003, in Afghanistan since the beginning of last year, and in Somalia, Algeria and Morocco since the end of last year is a geographically spreading and operationally sustained jihadi insurgency with a mix of the conventional and unconventional (terrorism) modus operandi. The strategic objective of acquiring political power in these countries through the sustained use of debilitating violence as a prelude to the formation of an International Islamic Caliphate has assumed primacy over the tactical objective of reprisal attacks.

4. Continued tactical reprisal strikes against Western nationals and interests for the West's perceived role in the subjugation of the Islamic world and sustained strategic strikes against Muslim countries for achieving political power have been the defining characteristics of Al Qaeda's operations since 2003. The Madrid blasts of March, 2004, the London blasts of July, 2005 and the foiled (by the Police) London plot of August, 2006, for blowing up a number of US-bound planes were a continuance of its reprisal strikes.

5. Presently, Al Qaeda has been relying on its Pakistani collaborators---- whether in Pakistan itself or in the diaspora of Pakistani origin in West Europe and North America--- for its reprisal strikes against the UK and the US. Its sanctuaries in Pakistan provide the launching bases for its operations in the UK and the US.

6. It is calculating that the success of its recently intensified operations in Algeria and Morocco would not only enable it to achieve its strategic objective of capturing political power in these countries, but would also facilitate its future reprisal strikes in continental Europe---particularly in France, Spain and Portugal.

7. Its operations in Saudi Arabia have a strategic as well as a tactical dimension-----capturing power in a country where the holiest of the holy sites of Islam are located and hitting at the oil economy of the non-Islamic world in reprisal for the perceived wrongs committed against the Muslims.

8. The strategic and ideological guidelines for all these operations continue to come from Al Qaeda's surviving leadership based in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region---- particularly through the periodic messages of Dr.Ayman al-Zawahiri, the No.2 to Osama bin Laden. His messages of 2006 contained clear-cut guidelines about the need for a global jihadi intifada encompassing the entire Islamic world----starting from Afghanistan and Iraq, then spreading to Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Algeria and then covering Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. South-East Asia, Bangladesh and India have not yet come within the sphere of this planned global intifada of Al Qaeda inspiration, but it is only a question of time before the intifada virus spreads there too. The US is an attracting pole and it is everywhere.

9. Centralised guidance emanating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan region and operational autonomy at the local levels are the defining characteristics of Al Qaeda's recent operations. From each according to his capability, all for each and each for all are some of the guidelines stressed.

10. The threat from Al Qaeda is expanding----geographically and operationally. It would be naive to think that the US withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan would bring about an end to this threat. Whatever the mistakes committed by the US in the past, only it has the resources and operational capability to counter this threat strategically and globally. What it lacks is a good understanding of Islam and a national consensus in the US itself as to how to deal with this threat. If the Neo-Conservatives of the Republican Party erred in over-demonising the jihadis and the Saddam Hussein regime, the leaders of the Democratic Party have been erring by playing down the threat in order to score a political goal against President Bush. Al Qaeda and other jihadi terrorists will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the politicisation of counter- terrorism by the Democrats for partisan purposes. The next year's Presidential elections in the US are already casting their shadow on the fight against Al Qaeda and its surrogates in different countries.

11. While countering the tactical dimensions of the threat has to be the responsibility of the counter-terrorism agencies of the affected countries, countering the strategic dimension has to be taken up multilaterally by a small group of concerned countries with the required experience and capability. India, the UK, the US and Australia have to constitute the core of any such group. The group has to work secretly, with its membership strictly confined to counter-terrorism experts of the intelligence agencies. The plethora of Joint Working Groups on Counter-Terrorism, which has come up since 9/11, would not be able to undertake this task. They have become jamborees lacking focus, concentration and the required secrecy.

12. A more useful model would be that of the post-Second World War Security Liaison Network (SLO) of the Commonwealth countries, which came up to counter the threat posed by international communism and the communist insurgencies in different Commonwealth countries strategically. The main objective of the proposed core group to counter Al Qaeda and the IIF strategically would be to identify, locate and neutralise its strategic and ideological brains-trust. Action against Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri has to be taken up on a priority basis. Their neutralisation would not immediately bring about an end of Al Qaeda directed or inspired jihadi terrorism. It could facilitate the tactical operations at the national levels. The Pole Star of the spreading global intifada is in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region. It has to be put out of action through multilateral effort.


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