Sunday, April 16, 2006

Keeping Al-Qaeda in His Grip

I suggest reading this article. It discusses what the real issues within Al Qaida are from ideological compatriots and other mid-east experts. The main problem is that there is no real agreement on strategy, tactics, who and what they should be fighting and certainly their is a problem with even the ideology since there are many sects of Islam, not just Sunni and Shia, but Sunni Wahabi, Sunni Ashouri, etc, etc, etc.

Some of the best parts of the article:

CAIRO -- In January 2003, one of the two most wanted men in the world couldn't contain his frustration. From a hiding place probably somewhere in South Asia, he tapped out two lengthy e-mails to a fellow Egyptian who'd been criticizing him in public.

"I beg you, don't stop the Muslim souls who trust your opinions from joining the jihad against the Americans," wrote Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy leader of al-Qaeda. He fired off the message even though it risked exposing him.

"Let's put it this way: Tensions had been building up between us for a long time," explained the e-mail's recipient, Montasser el-Zayat, a Cairo lawyer who shared a prison cell with Zawahiri in the 1980s and provided this account. "He always thinks he is right, even if he is alone."

and this

Zawahiri's visibility, eclipsing Osama bin Laden's, reminds al-Qaeda's enemies that the network is capable of more attacks. But a closer look at his speeches and writings, and interviews with several longtime associates in radical Islamic circles, suggest another motive: fear of losing his ideological grip over a revolutionary movement he has nurtured for 40 years.

In fact, this has been a problem all along and why all of these movements, while seeming popular, can never achieve the type of popular support they would need to bring themselves to power. The last letter to Zarqawi was pretty plain that he did not agre with Zarqawi's tactics or with his insistence on arguing with his local counterparts about which Sunni ideology would govern Sharia law as well as his compatriots enforcing a strict Sharia court and system on all areas they were invited to, of course finding "apostates" and other violations, and inflicting their severe punishment on their hosts.

Another issue, which this focuses on, is the difference in thinking on what constitutes the main objectives of the movement. The main they agree on is to establish the Islamic Caliphate, but whether it is to make Egypt an Islamic state first or whether it is Zarqawi's plan to over throw Jordan's King and create and Islamic state there, or other such considerations. They do not agree and each of the loosely associated groups continue to persue their own local agendas.

He is risking his credibility among Islamic radicals by speaking out on so many subjects, according to Osama Rushdi, an Egyptian who spent three years in a Cairo prison with Zawahiri in the 1980s and now lives in exile in Britain.

"He's trying to stay in control and give the impression that he's behind everything in the Middle East and everywhere else, fighting against the Americans in Iraq and against Britain in Europe," Rushdi said in an interview. "He is trying to take responsibility as a leader for what is going on in Iraq. But he knows, and everyone knows, that that is not true, that he has nothing to do with anything in Iraq."[snip}

"What they've started has taken on a momentum of its own," said Maha Azzam, an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. "Obviously, this is a global movement. And it has global support, and it can't be controlled centrally as much as perhaps they'd like it to be. It's almost as if Zawahiri doesn't want to be left behind. They don't want the events on the ground to supersede them."

Please read the rest and discuss.

No comments: