This review is of the captured al Qaeda paper as translated by William McCants at the West Point Combating Terrorism Center funded by John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University: The Management of Savagery: The Most Critical Stage Through Which the Umma Will Pass by Abu Bakr Naji.
As documents go this one is a doctrinal look at how al Qaeda can achieve its vision via a given methodology as described in this paper. View this as an al Qaeda version of B. H. Liddell-Hart or Carl von Clausewitz or Niccolo Machiavelli, but with some fantasy ideology thrown in as basis for the review. And as Lee Harris points out, just because it is fantasy does not mean that the practitioners do not base their operations on it. Remember, in this paper you *must* understand the viewpoint of the one doing writing so that a thorough understanding of it can be done. Just disagreeing with the basis of the outlook does *not* invalidate it as a system of thought for those people who *do* subscribe to it.
And worse yet I have only skimmed the document, so this will be one of those 'mention and highlight' as you go affairs, with commentary interwoven. Lovely, huh?
So, to begin on the Preface and the mention of the Sykes-Picot era. This is an interesting place to start as it *does* lay the fundamentals for the modern Middle East, but is such a 'rough sketch' that giving it the authority of being definitional is of questionable value. Be that as it may, it was the first document put forth in secrecy between France and Great Britain during 1915 and signed off upon in 1916. The basic sketch of the Middle East as carved up between the Great Powers was laid out and those basic lines are ones that are still causing problems in the modern era. What is very interesting, however, is that *this* is used as a basis for reasoning and none of the more formal documents, such as the Treaty of Lausanne, 1923, which finally achieved a final end to World War I by turning the Ottoman Empire into a secular State and then removing its Imperial holdings and bringing them under European control. Part of this entire turmoil includes the Balfour Declaration, 1917, which gives the first mention of a Zionist State in the territory of Palestine.
These latter Treaties and other diplomatic works are not seen as a valid construction for the Middle East. By removing the Caliphate as a ruling entity for Islam, that is the *last* legitimate action to be taken there. And do note, by looking to the secret agreement of Sykes-Picot, Abu Naji is playing upon something that is fundamental to Islamic and Arabic tradition: that the actions of Nations are ruled by Conspiracies. Every action taken by any Nation is seen as an outgrowth of conspiracy, mostly against Islam, but often generalized against the Arab peoples. This is the case because no *legitimate* action against Islamic beliefs can be taken *without* the need for secrecy. Thusly every bad thing that ever happens in Islam and to the Arab peoples is due wholly to conspiracy.
That is a fantastic underpinning which will need further examination throughout this document.
Going onwards past the index area we come to the Introduction and look from previous work by Abu Naji. This review of past work looks at jihad as practiced and where it has gone wrong and, in general, the problems it exhibits. The stage-wise approach from early proselytizing to modern jihad is given review and I excerpt and highlight where necessary:
As for the program of Sahwa salafism, particularly in its latest form (the establishment of institutions), it resembles the program of the Brethren movement (the international organization) to a large extent; perhaps it is comparable in some parts of its program. However, I will clarify (by the permission of God) that it cannot go beyond its first stages until after the passage of thousands of years because it transgresses universal laws to a great extent, which are also sharia laws. This makes it revolve in a vicious circle, enabling the infidels, the Taghuts [idols or tyrants (cf. Qur’an 5:60 and passim). [This is the word jihadis use for contemporary Arab rulers who do not implement Sharia law.], and the people of hypocrisy to toy with it. However, in contrast with the Brethren, the current of Sahwa salafism tries to achieve (their program) as it is on paper [i.e. its followers put theory into practice]. As for the current of the Brethren, they set it forth on paper theoretically in order to implement their innovative [i.e. heretical] program or a small part of their secular plan on its basis and to insert their rotten plan into the underlying supports of the youth by means of a written, theoretical model and sparkling slogans, until nothing prevents them from raising the slogan, “Jihad is our path and death in the path of God is our noblest desire..!” or “a salafi movement”!! or “a Sufi reality” [haqiqa sufiyya], as they frankly state. [Hasan al-Bana is said to have divided is missionary activities into three components: salafi proselytizing, a Sunni path, and a Sufi reality. By “Sufi reality”, he meant to emulate the organization and brotherhood of Sufi tariqas.]And do note the emphasis here that the universal laws are those of sharia, which are seen as guiding over all of mankind. Secular Arab States interject secular concepts of States and Nations and water down the message of sharia law and do not implement it fully. Through controlling the organs of the State, secular regimes diminish Islamic sharia law and insert things that, due to not being of that law, are unhealthy to it. From the al Qaeda viewpoint it is sharia law *only* that rules and any other conception of law is illegitimate. The paragraph after that does admit that mere humans are imperfect vessels for implementing 'divine law' and then bemoans how after the first century things just went completely out of whack for sharia. A bit further we get this paragraph which gives a fascinating definition of just what is tyranny according to al Qaeda:
I say: Although some of the failures which their program went through are a predestined part of it that cannot be undone, the steps of their program proceed as they are written on paper in accordance with the sharia laws and the sound universal laws. Out of divine solicitude and care, they will be given (by the grace of God) what is concealed from them in some of the stages. They and their enemies are in a conflict that none denies is like the conflict of the Messengers with the people of unbelief and tyranny, even if it is not recognized that is a true continuation of that conflict.Yes, anything that does not adhere to sharia law is tyrannical! Thus individual rights and freedom ARE tyrannical to al Qaeda. Proselytizing was just the *first* step in the conflict and unbelief, in and of itself, is tyrannical. Freedom is only found through that divine law... no matter that there are so many versions of it that no one can really put a finger on just what it is. Not to worry, though, write it down, follow the writing and you will have the glory of things hidden from you revealed! I had to pause when reading that as it sounds like an introduction of how to make a fanatical cult.
First is assert predestinationism. Thus anything you DO is predestined to have happened according to this greater plan and you are just a mere actor in these things.
Second is that if you follow a written set of guidelines, you will get rewarded. Things are hidden from the world, in general, but if you just follow the things that are set down in writing and do not vary from them, you will get the grace to know how the world REALLY works.
Third, by following those rules you will get approval and reward in your belief. No matter how bad your actions *are* once you have the truth revealed to you then they can only lead to good things because you are now on the predestined path to greatness.
Fourth, you will come into conflict with those that do not believe as you do. Amazing that anyone would deny revealed truth, but those poor unbelievers have not followed the rules and the greatness has not been revealed to them, so they really must be brought into the program.
Fifth, if these unbelievers do *not* convert, then they are tyrants and need to be vilified.
Sound familiar? A quick litany: David Koresh, Jim Jones, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Aum Shinrikyo, Scientology, Hare Krishna Movement, Moonies, Illuminati.... More than you can shake a stick at, really. The basics and fundamentals are the same and even *regular* religion uses this basic concept as a founding. Tell one of the toned down converts that you do not believe as they do and in the things that they do and you get: "Well you are going to hell/purgatory/the pit/fiery depths/limbo/etc. but I *will* pray for your salvation."
Luckily that is as far as it *can* go in States that abide by the Peace of Westphalia and have Nations in which secular freedom to believe as you wish is allowed. Nation States are allowed to have their own internal viewpoints on religion FREE of exterior influence by outside religious leaders. Westphalia finally settled that within the State and amongst States would have to be a common and agreed-upon framework that was NOT biased towards any religion, sect, cult, philosophy and was, indeed, quite pragmatic. al Qaeda *rejects* this Westphalian concept completely and wishes to re-instate religious warfare and domination of religion over the State. Thus the only law is that of the universal divinely given sharia and no variations are allowed and that is harshly enforced *everywhere*. States will ALL worship the same and worship is *mandatory*.
A follow-on paragraph further decries this with the following:
As for the current of the Brethren of Turabi (a schism against the archetypal current), it is a current that took what is suitable for establishing a state (the state of al-Bashir and Turabi, regardless of the current disagreement between them) from universal laws. However, that current’s neglect of some of the sharia commandments and its corruption of some others makes this state a secular state; there is no Islam in it save trade in its name. An explanation of all of this and that current’s program would take too long.States by not adhering to strict sharia and wandering from it are corrupt and illegitimate. All of them. So even if you have 99% sharia law you are not *pure* and not truly Islamic. The only al Qaeda 'seal of approval' is for 100% sharia and NOTHING ELSE. Remember, no matter how devout the ruler, no matter how many religious laws are in-place, if it is not 100% undiluted sharia you have a secular State. Yeah, that would take up some time to explain, wouldn't it?
The next paragraph of interest follows looks at current jihadist movements and examines their directions and comes with one startling phrase in it:
As for the current of popular jihad (like the movement of Hamas and the Jihad Movement in Palestine), in comparison with the four previous programs and what you have learned about this current, you can understand the nature of its program. In short, it resembles the program of the current of jihadi salafism, except that it goes further in its political thought, in the manner of the archetypal Brethren and the Brethren of Turabi. Furthermore, it is deficient in disseminating the correct scientific method among its followers when implementing the pedagogical method. One of two fates is feared for it: either the loss of the fruit (of its labors) in the end and its falling into the hands of the secular apostates and the nationalists, or the establishment of a state resembling the state of al-Bashir and al-Turabi in Sudan. The explanation of the details of all of that takes a long time...In the first part the idea of pushing harder into the political realm to move from mere proselytizing is lauded, but warns of the problems along that road. And success in the political realm is no guarantee that the outcomes will be good as either a State will be secular (not gaining the sharia seal of approval) or fall into factional and regional disputes and not fully implement sharia law. The striking thing is this sentence, to me:
Furthermore, it is deficient in disseminating the correct scientific method among its followers when implementing the pedagogical method.Perhaps it is *just* a translators viewpoint, but the wording of it is so precise as to finally belie that. This sort of thing is the direct call of Socialism in its conceptual wording, although what it wants practiced is something totally different. From a site on Leon Trotsky and looking at Lenin:
In this sharp change of position he seized the method so peculiar to him, of emphasizing the extreme: Yesterday we said socialism is the goal; but today it is a question of so thinking, speaking, and acting that the rule of socialism will be guaranteed in a few months. Does that mean too that it should be only a pedagogical method? No, not that alone. To the pedagogic energy something must be added: Lenin’ s strong idealism, his intense will-power, that in the sudden changes of two epochs shortened the stopping places, and drew nearer to the definite ends. He believed in what he said. And this imaginative half-year respite for the development of socialism just as much represents a function of Lenin’ s spirit as his realistic taking hold of every task of today. The deep and firm conviction of the strong possibilities of human development, for which one can and must pay any price whatsoever in sacrifices and suffering, was always the mainspring of Lenin’ s mental structure.Again we see struggle enshrined in teaching. Change the teaching method to adhere to the ambitions behind it and the forcefulness of personality and the message is one of self-assured predestination. Put in the power of the individual's struggle that represents the greater struggle and the pedagogical method of teaching ensures that this struggle is carried forward. Be it Lenin and Socialism or the Caliph and sharia law. My main problem with predestinationism is that of the theory and practice conundrum, which I go into with Socialism, but looks to be a good fit here, too. The concept is that all roads lie to a predestined end and that, in theory, they all get you there equally. But, in practice, people want to find the 'super secret shortcut' to the end-state. Be it the 'Worker's Paradise' or the 'Golden Age of the Global Umma', folks just don't want to let history take its course. And when you add in a fatalistic trend, like Aum Shinrikyo, which holds out that the end of times will kill everyone and cleans them, you wind up with the concept of: 'Well, if we start the killing *now* we will get there faster!' Even within the framework of predestinationism, the very concept *of it* is broken by trying to get there *faster*.
A bit further on we move to the actual meat of the discussion to come:
The management of savagery is the next stage that the Umma will pass through and it is considered the most critical stage. If we succeed in the management of this savagery, that stage (by the permission of God) will be a bridge to the Islamic state which has been awaited since the fall of the caliphate. If we fail – we seek refuge with God from that – it does not mean end of the matter; rather, this failure will lead to an increase in savagery!!The ideological conception is now put plainly forward: that for the Umma to come to pass the era of the Nation State must end. By dissolving the Nation States of the world into smaller pieces through violence and lack of will to remain Nations, these smaller pieces will be easier to take over, one-by-one, than going after functioning Nations. Even if an Islamic state CANNOT be instantiated, the resulting chaos is still seen as BETTER than living under secular States! No matter how bad the savagery it is better than stability in secular Nations by orders of magnitude to al Qaeda. Disintegration of everything is better than secular civilization.
This increase in savagery, which may result from failure, is not the worst thing that can happen now or in the previous decade (the nineties) and those before it. Rather, the most abominable of the levels of savagery is (still) less than stability under the order of unbelief [niz?m al-kufr] by (several) degrees.
This basic and fundamental conception of brutal savagery and warlords being better than secular rule is one that has not been actively purported by *anyone* for quite some time. Fascists and Communists both recognized the unifying power of the State and sought to use that to their own ends. Here, from the al Qaeda religious perspective of re-establishing the Caliphate Empire, warlords are but a stepping stone as they can be played off against each other and subverted far easier than large Nationalistic entities. The start of the Sikes-Picot era Preface now enunciates that clearly with this paragraph:
Contemplating the previous centuries, even until the middle of the twentieth century, one finds that when the large states or empires collapsed – and even small states, whether they were Islamic or non-Islamic – and a state did not come into being that was comparable in power and equivalent to the previous state with regard to control over the lands and regions of that state which had collapsed, the regions and sectors of this state changed, through human nature, on account of submission to what is called the administrations of savagery.Secular Empires and large Nation States, as seen by the al Qaeda perspective, are unstable entities prone to shaking apart into smaller States. And even these States are, at best, metastable and can be toppled by events. The 'administrations of savagery' is using violence to force submission to a ruling group or organization. This process of Empires retreating and giving rule over to locals is seen as giving savages a chance to reign.
When the caliphal state fell, some of this savagery appeared in some of the regions. However, the situation stabilized soon after that on account of (the order) the Sikes-Picot treaty established. Thereupon, the division of the caliphal state and the withdrawal of the colonial states was such that the caliphal state was divided into (large) states and small states, ruled by military governments or civil governments supported by military forces. The ability of these governments to continue administering these states was consonant with the strength of their connection with these military forces and the ability of these forces to protect the form of the state, whether through the power which these forces derived from their police or army, or through the external power which supported them.
That reigning was done via military power that keeps secular governments in place and protected from overthrow. By using the organs of the State, government that is secular protects itself from opposition by force. A bit further on we come across this gem in the rough:
Whether these countries were truly independent or each secretly succeeded the state that colonized it previously, they began after a time to circle in the orbit of the global order which resulted after the end of the Second World War. The outer form (of this global order) was the body of the United Nations and its inner reality was two superpowers [literally "poles"] that consisted of two states joined by rival camps of the allied, powerful states. (Moreover), each superpower was followed by dozens of satellite states.The idea that States 'rule by conspiracy' is again put forward here. And if you thought the 'Black Helicopter' folks were way into conspiracy, this is a real kicker that outdoes them by quite a bit. The post-WWII era was given form by the UN! Not the Cold War, which was secondary to the UN. The UN holds all States under it, save for those two factions which were superpowers and had their own set of allegiances. That IS the order of precedence here, plain and simple: UN first, superpowers second. And the end of WWII is seen in these terms:
Following that period, some of the regimes collapsed and others were established, either because the superpower abandoned it or was unable to protect it from collapsing, or because another superpower helped a different group infiltrate this regime, overthrow it, and take its place by seizing it in accordance with pure universal law.Yes, it was predestined to end so that the 'universal law' could take hold. Not that it was an ideological conflict between the of individual liberty against National Socialism and 'great man' rulership. Abu Naji then sees that one side or the other imposed its values on those Nations that adhered to it, but those were destined to fall, also, due to universal law. And from there we get to see how majoritarian rule works according to al Qaeda:
In accordance with pure universal law, we find that the powers that can once again enable the values and the belief system of society to govern the state – or not even for the sake of the belief system and truth, but for the sake of rejecting iniquities and (upholding) the justice with which the believing majority agrees – are of two types:An interesting dichotomy, to say the least. So you can either have lots of goods and some material happiness, but woe betide you if you want *real* freedom... or you can use the armies of a Nation to establish justice, but just barely and Nation States with an entrenched ruling class can then keep the armies quelled with luxuries. Either some happiness but not too happy, or suppressed unless you are a ruling elite or the military. A pretty succinct summary of the Third World, as a whole. Although we tend to see way more of #2 than of #1... probably trying to fit the West into the first and having some problems doing so. Not that a lot of folks on the Left would think otherwise....
The first: The power of the masses (quwwat al-shu`ūb). This (power) was tamed and its self-awareness was dissipated through thousands of diversions – whether through the desires of the sexual organs and the stomach, or panting to reach the summit of livelihood or accumulate of wealth – to say nothing of the deceptive media halos in various directions and the spreading of predestinationist [al-jabarī], Sufi, and Murji’ite thought throughout the sectors (of society). From time to time, there is a defanging of some of the masses who wake up from heedlessness by means of the armies and police of these states, which consider this duty to be their fundamental task, for which they accumulate wealth (al-amwāl wa al-`atā’). (This endeavor) protects these regimes or protects the circuit of the ruling regime in the orbit of one of the two superpowers.
The second: The second power that can return society to justice and to its belief system and values – even if it is partially according to the Sunna – is the power of armies. (The states) lavish plundered money upon them and buy them off so that they do not perform this function, but rather the opposite.
Now, how does al Qaeda deal with this? Well here is the answer:
Despite the violence of Satan, a small group of thinkers and noble people remain who oppose tyranny and seek justice. This group wants to use the power they possess to change this reality for the better in accordance with their belief system. However, a second consideration that occurs to them is the existence of a criminal force in these armies which does not pay heed to values. Even if, in the best of circumstances, there is a clear plan for uniting [lit. encircling] the disharmonious elements of the (military) power, one or both of the superpowers will, under the cover of the United Nations, compel the new regime – through trickery, force, pressure, or all of these – to continue circling in the orbit of one of the superpowers and they will force new beneficiaries upon the new regime. This honored person who came to power comes to resemble those who went before him, like al-Bashir in Sudan.And a footnote to this reveals that this was the methodology used in Afghanistan. Starve the regime via sanctions, then when the time was ripe, send an influx of money and supplies to a rebellious faction that supported al Qaeda objectives and take over. Here, again, note the train of thought to conspiracy, here a superpower with the UN....Yes the rag-tag Rebel Alliance shows up again to defeat the Empire and with the way for a NEW and BETTER EMPIRE! Through the perserverence of their beliefs they will overcome the despotic tyranny of freedom and enforce the enlightened rule of sharia everywhere, in which you cooperate or ELSE! And that can actually *work* now and again. The 'ifs and buts', however, weigh against it as a successful long-term strategy unless the field is prepared by disuniting States and fracturing them.
But as that so rarely happens, you get the re-imposition of the nasty superpower via the UN upon a Nation:
For the most part, those who think about these noble people end up turning away from the idea of changing those regimes, accepting the status quo, and turning within themselves, carrying bitterness in their hearts. Those among them that are honest with their weak souls resign from their military work; otherwise, it does not take them long to sink into the quagmire of darkness and decadence beneath the slogan of “No religion and no world” or “No goodness, no justice, and no world”. Such is the state of affairs since the fall of the caliphate.Who would ever have *thought* that al Qaeda *hated* the one-worlders? I wonder if anyone has informed the Left that al Qaeda hates them? Probably not.... that would be 'bias', donchyaknow? Now as this part of the paper was written with the Cold War in its conception, it has some biases, but this extract is interesting:
Therefore, the two superpowers must resort to using a deceptive media halo which portrays these powers as non-coercive and world-encompassing, able to reach into every earth and heaven as if they possess the power of the Creator of creation.Ah, yes, that all-powerful media that was so handy in South Viet Nam. So very handy in dealing with the USSR. That lovely media that didn't see anything wrong with attacking the Good because it was not Perfect and thus just a bit better than Awful, which was the enemy. One runs out of oxygen to get that high up to see that. And haven't you just felt that loving coming from the media for decades now? Seeing no freedom it couldn't demean, no justice worth upholding, and equality only if you are a victim, in which case you were more equal than others and attackers were victims, too! They were ready for al Qaeda to give them soothing words of how they were the rich oppressed wanting to take over the world and kill everyone in their way, because they were the downtrodden! As I said earlier, al Qaeda has a 'fantasy ideology' and this is one of them. They saw the press as powerful in a tool using sense, but really did not understand that anti-American nature of it from the start. Probably a shock on how buddy-buddy the press wanted to be in 'telling the al Qaeda story'!
But the interesting thing that happened is that these two superpowers believed, for a time, their media deception: that they are actually a power capable of completely controlling any place in the entire world, and that (this power) bears the characteristics of the power of the Creator. According to the media deception, it is an all-encompassing, overwhelming power and people are subservient to it not only through fear, but also through love because it spreads freedom, justice, equality among humanity, and various other slogans.
When a state submits – whatever the extent of its ability – to the illusion of the deceptive power and behaves on this basis, that is when its downfall begins. It is just as the American author Paul Kennedy says: “If America expands the use of its military power and strategically extends more than necessary, this will lead to its downfall.”
The paper then goes on to examine what happens when all the elements for rebellion happen and the feet of clay of a superpower, in this case the USSR as al Qaeda doesn't much care about Vietnam, are seen. Far from being an overwhelming and dominating force, they can be countered. Still, from their eyes it is a perspective worth looking at:
This is exactly what happened to the Communist superpower when it was put in a military confrontation with a power weaker than itself by several degrees; it was not even comparable. However, (the weaker power) succeeded in exhausting it militarily and, even more important, it activated the elements of cultural annihilation in (the superpower's) homeland:And don't mind all those US Stinger missiles and training you got! That helped not one little bit, did it? Like turn around the entire situation by removing Soviet aircover for their troops and putting them in mountain fighting without cover, in which small forces are the winners and large forces the losers.... don't forget to mention that the *other* superpower made that little deal possible...
- The dogma of atheism versus belief systems that believe in the next life and a God.
- Love of the world, worldly pleasures, and opulence versus individuals who had nothing to lose.
- Moral corruption, the least manifestation of which was that Russian soldiers or officers returned (home) – if they returned – and found that their wives had a child or relationship with someone else.
- Social iniquities clearly floated to the surface when the economic situation weakened because of the war. Then when money becomes scarce and monetary crises begin, the major thieves appear, especially if accurate accounting [?] begins.
This is also the strangest reading of the USSR that I have ever seen.... "Love of worldly pleasures"? You mean they really DID have a 'Worker's Paradise' overflowing with goods and worldly pleasures? Uh-huh... sure they did, they just perferred poverty. The rest, atheism, wandering libido and social inequality is really something that al Qaeda can attribute to a number of Nations and those last two to just about any Nation. Especially where sharia law holds and a woman can be executed for being raped... for dishonoring her family!
But they do get a good handle on most of the economic problems of the USSR and the reasoning behind its disintegration, but that was *not* due to loss of respect for the Soviet military, it was due to the inability of the Soviets to do ANYTHING about the standard of living of its people. People forgot how much they had hated the Czar and soon came to hate the Commissar more. Also it fails to mention that the disintegration started on the outside and moved inwards until the Soviet system was being held accountable by its People for its neglect.
So at about page 20 of 268 I am going to rest now.
The picture being built up is very interesting, to see how fantasy ideology plays out in examining the actual causes of world events. There are moments when the analysis looks half-way decent and then suddenly goes off in a direction that has no support to it beyond belief in the fantastic. Fascinating to read, but extremely tiring for me to do so. More if I can get to it again, but for now the foundational basis of al Qaeda aiming for destabilizing Nations into chaos and then using opportunism to exploit vulnerabilities is relatively clear. And that bodes ill for *anyone* thinking that *running* from Iraq will make anything better for anyone, anywhere.
Put out as-is, no spelling or grammer review done...
[Continued 15 SEP 2006]
al Qaeda, however their fantasies run, does not divorce itself from the totality of the actual real world and recognizes that there are activities that take place within it that are of great importance, no matter that they are all guided by Predestination of the will of the Divine. Interesting how *that* little bit of construing freedom of action with restriction to divine will plays out, not only for al Qaeda, but for every other religion that adheres to such. Boiling things down to 'Yes, you have free will, but the way you will decide has already been seen and things arranged because of that' really does smack of conspiracy theory by the Divine. Be that as it may, let us look in the more mortal realm for the major guide to change:
Additionally, note that the economic weakness resulting from the burdens of war or from aiming blows of vexation (al-nikāya) directly toward the economy is the most important element of cultural annihilation since it threatens the opulence and (worldly) pleasures which those societies thirst for. Then competition for these things begins after they grow scarce due to the weakness of the economy. Likewise, social iniquities rise to the surface on account of the economic stagnation, which ignites political opposition and disunity among the (various) sectors of society [literally "social entity"] in the central country.Economics, then, is a major mover of Nations within the al Qaeda framework. Yes, attacks on economic targets are performed either by having Nations take up warfare or by using terrorism against such States against the economy of them. These attacks ae aimed to reduce the social good of economies and cause stagnation and retreat. In that case social unrest arise from those attacks and burdens and break down society. As this is the actual goal of al Qaeda, it is a foundational key they seek to use against Nations: cause economic unrest via attacks and enjoining those Nations in war with other Nations.
This was buttressed by the fact that the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc caused it to spin off many of its outlying provinces which had major ethnic differences with the heartland of Russia. The Commonwealth of Independent States headed by Russia includes many of these former Soviet Republics of the USSR. These newly independent States have sought their own paths and many have fallen sway to outside influence, beyond Russia's. In the al Qaeda view these are opportunities to gain footholds across central asia by leveraging their terrorist skills against these smaller and weaker States. This is demonstrated by the following paragraph (the 'weak force' here being the lack of respect for the Russian military):
However, this weak force acted upon a special fourth axis in the Umma. It is the reviving of dogma and jihad in the hearts of the Muslim masses – who had submitted to the (social) entity of this superpower – when they saw the example and model of these poor, Afghani people – their neighbors – in jihad. They were able to remain steadfast in the face of the strongest military arsenal and the most vicious army (in the world) with respect to the nature of its members at that time. Thus, we saw that the jihad brought forth many Muslims from unknown lands, like Chechnya and Tajikistan.And this paragraph, also:
In Chechnya and Afghanistan (Afghanistan was not one of the Soviet republics), the administrations of savagery succeeded in establishing what can be called states, but they have collapsed now. They have returned to a stage before the administration of savagery, which is the stage of the power of vexation and exhaustion. We (also) note that the course of events in the two countries is not due to the events in Daghistan or the momentous events of September (11), even if they perhaps hastened it. A detailed explanation of this would take a long time and we have previously referred to that which concerns Afghanistan.Looking to those States with a high percentage of Muslims as an opportunity for expansion of the al Qaeda dream is something that is envisioned by al Qaeda as weak successor States will prove incapable of fighting this rogue, outside force. What this does not address is that these new States *also* saw the tyrannical rule of the Taliban and, after centuries of Czar and Commissar, want little to do with yet *another* tyrannical government that was harsher than even the Czar ever was. So while influence could be spread to local Islamic radical groups, the population as a whole saw the vector of influence from the outside. That interplay is still going on and the fate of the freedom of those peoples is still up for grabs so long as al Qaeda and others see terrorism and the destruction of States to minor warlord kingdoms as their goal.
Following this is a long paragraph on those in the Islamic world that predicted the downfall of the USSR because of its adventurism in Afghanistan. In this case they were far more in tune with the actual capabilities and limits of the USSR than the CIA was and come forward with a correct analysis, although the doctrinal basis is skewed. The fact that the outlying Asian Republics of the USSR had a vastly different demographic profile than Russia was always known as was their Moslem leanings. What was expected, however, was an internally caused collapse within the USSR itself based upon these things, but offered no methodology or insight as to how or when that would happen. Abu Naji points out with great satisfaction how it all came to pass like a 'cinematic film' just as it was foretold. What was NOT foretold was that it was NOT the Islamic communities in these Asian Republics which started the entire process of collapse. That bit of gumption was left to a more plain-spoken folk in the Western portions of the Soviet Bloc and started with Poland.
Now, if I were an Islamic scholar or analyst for jihad on these events, I would be damned worried about *that* little bit. That and the lands of Vlad Tepes *also* going free. While minor games with Islam are played out in the Balkans, it is these two ancient bulwarks against Islam that have re-arisen in Europe. Yes, such hope arising in those parts of Asia... and such ancient enemies arising back in Europe. And then raising a ruckus against the Danes, who had ancestors that actually *fought* Islam for the Byzantines and Rome. Yes, quite painful and no wonder that placid Europe is a major target lest it throw off the shackles of Socialism and finally look around and *realize* that Christian ideals of peace and brotherhood have placed it in mortal danger... perhaps those old ways *were* better.... To those that have fantastic conceptions about the world and how it is run, a final showdown with these enemies needs take place. Best do it when they are placid and *civilized*.
But what does come across is 'the administration of savagery' in the former Republics of the USSR is something we call secular government. This must fail for al Qaeda to succeed and the chaos of that disorder and disunity of government is seen as the pathway to success for al Qaeda. And *now* they must deal with the sole remaining superpower and their outlook upon it and the West in general is quite interesting, and I am sure that some would take offense to the depiction due to its accuracy:
Some others among the people of truthfulness and jihad used to set forth what God had showed them and the notion was established in their minds that the enemy was weak and insignificant – if God decreed something, it could be done. This group says to the remainder of the people of religion and the masses: “O people! The viciousness of the Russian soldier is double that of the American (soldier). If the number of Americans killed is one tenth of the number of Russians killed in Afghanistan and Chechnya, they will flee, heedless of all else. That is because the current structure of the American and Western military is not the same as the structure of their military in the era of colonialism. They reached a stage of effeminacy which made them unable to sustain battles for a long period of time and they compensate for this with a deceptive media halo. O people! The center in the Soviet Union was, to a certain extent, close to the countries in which there was opposition to it. They even shared borders with areas that opposed it, so supplies, motorized units, and armored vehicles used to pour in with ease and without much cost. The matter is different with regard to America—the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries should help the Americans understand the difficulty of our continued submission to them, their control over us, and their pillaging of our resources if we decide to refuse; but only if we refuse and enflame opposition to its materialization.”Yes, you have read that correctly. The United States is expected to flee from battles due to the media and due to isolationism. This is because we have become 'effeminant' in our view of the world. This is a highly accurate reading of the will of the West and the US in particular, with regards to foreign conflict in the post-WWII era: it seeks to retreat to isolationism and the media hastens that by degrading the will to fight. And the West will act like a bunch of cowardly old women because al Qaeda will tell us that any work that is done to stop them is an attempt to 'pillage resources' and gain 'control over us' if they don't want to play along and be Nations in the Western sense. And they will refuse to be cowed and 'enflame opposition' to any attempts of the West to bring any sort of Western conception to Islamic territories.
That is the reason that this is the al Qaeda playbook: it offers insight into the views of al Qaeda and their analysis of the world. They have properly formulated the Viet Nam experience of the United States and how to defeat the US and the West which was learned by the USSR and which I will repeat here. This was done examining the aftermath of leaving Viet Nam:
First, the US lost honor and prestige in the world by not supporting and backing a Friend and Ally. Our trustworthiness as a Friend and Ally was diminished. We had decided to feed a friend to the wolves so the bleeding from the scratches we were getting with a PEACE TIME ECONOMY would end. That gave enemies of the United States time to rework their concepts and now implement a fully VALID method of defeating the US: long war by proxy.Emphasis added. Yes, al Qaeda has learned that lesson and very well, indeed. Lovely to know that their low opinion of us is valid, given the current atmosphere of running from a fight in which civilians are being killed and the US is *not* to blame for that killing. Yes, that way is VICTORY for al Qaeda and for ANY opponent of the United States. Make us lose heart through ANY continued bloodshed, even if it is NOT directed at the military of the US and we will lose heart in the fight and seek means to leave.
And now some of the long-term goals of al Qaeda for this fight:
In summary, the contemporary renewal movement was purified after momentous events and battles severely damaged it and it accumulated experience during more than thirty years. It must (now) undertake some of the specific operations arranged systematically [nizām mu`ayyan] and (carry out) what began with the operation of Nairobi and Dar al-Salam for the achievement of the following goals (by the grace of God):Actually this is a rational summary of the problems a distributed, non-National organization aiming for the destruction of States will have in using martial means to gain their ends. Well destroying respect for America is pretty damn easy when a vocal MINORITY is disdaining ANYTHING that the US does. Further, instead of revealing the media to be deceptive, al Qaeda has ENLISTED it in the fight! Then al Qaeda wants the US to oppose Islam directly, to which we have done, and then force the US to run away because it has no will to fight a proxy war at a distance and for more than a year or two. If they can do *that* then despotism will follow and al Qaeda will ensure that it is either a despotism headed for the Caliphate or they will attack *that* until it breaks down into something small enough for them to handle and take over.
A – The first goal: Destroy a large part of the respect for America and spread confidence in the souls of Muslims by means of:
(1) Reveal the deceptive media to be a power without force.
(2) Force America to abandon its war against Islam by proxy and force it to attack directly so that the noble ones among the masses and a few of the noble ones among the armies of apostasy will see that their fear of deposing the regimes because America is their protector is misplaced and that when they depose the regimes, they are capable of opposing America if it interferes.
B – The second goal: Replace the human casualties sustained by the renewal movement during the past thirty years by means of the human aid that will probably come for two reasons:
(1) Being dazzled by the operations which will be undertaken in opposition to America.
(2) Anger over the obvious, direct American interference in the Islamic world, such that that anger compounds the previous anger against America's support for the Zionist entity. It also transforms the suppressed anger toward the regimes of apostasy and tyranny into a positive anger. Human aid for the renewal movement will not dry up, especially when heedless people among the masses – and they are the majority – discover the truth of the collaboration of these regimes with the enemies of the Umma to such an extent that no deceptive veil will be of use and no pretext will remain for any claimant to the Islam of these regimes and their like.
C – The third goal: Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it to abandon the media psychological war and the war by proxy until it fights directly. As a result, the apostates among all of the sects and groups and even Americans themselves will see that the remoteness of the primary center from the peripheries is a major factor contributing to the possible outbreak of chaos and savagery.
al Qaeda, however, has a problem with Point B - They are having a major problem getting adherants. Their 'dazzling operations' against America and the West in general are appearing to be more and more thug-like rather than Islamically driven. Islamic thugdom does not engender itself to Moslems over much, it appears, and so al Qaeda must spend MONEY to pay people to fight in its name. The reports coming in from Iraq point to just this thing: al Qaeda from Saudi Arabia is using money to buy bomb makers and pay off local criminals to stage attacks for it. And getting people really to hate America requires that America do hateful acts upon those masses of the Umma. Strange as it may seem, all of those attacks upon women and children, upon folks queuing up for work in the military and police, kidnappings, and wanton sectarian violence is bringing home the point that this is not something the US is *causing*. The locals compare the actual deaths of soldiers to the actual deaths of unarmed civilians and see that this 'anti-American' jihad is eating up a large number of unarmed civilians and very few of this supposedn 'enemy'.
The media portion, however, is a key to their long term victory strategy. If they can convince a majority of the US population to 'pack up and go home' then those areas left will decend into chaos. And then al Qaeda will look to manage that savagery until it becomes properly oriented towards it. They made the US run now, didn't they?
Made the US run by killing lots of civilians that were NOT Americans.
I will leave off for the moment with that. Again, problems of concentration and energy.
And my absolute DISGUST for Americans who can mouth fine words about 'supporting the troops' and then wanting to throw people We are helping stand up from despotic rule to those who will use that defeat to no good end of the United States.
Liberty and freedom is America's to lose.
It is sad that so many no longer see other people as worth the effort of helping them in that cause.
When does America stop running?
[UPDATE 16 SEP 2006]
Well, the Senate brouhaha over the rights of captured terrorists is interesting in that they are according barbarians the same rights as civilized Nations. Worse is that these barbarians see us as savages for doing so. Pity those lofty Aristocrats upon the Hill do not understand that nicitie.
Continuing from page 26 of the document.
This section is giving further overview to 'managing savagery' especially in light of the fall of the various Empires in the 20th Century. A quick excerpt from the first paragraph:
Therefore, the management of savagery is defined very succinctly as the management of savage chaos!!And savagery results from the loss of control in a region by an Empire or State. Thus the point of terrorism is to induce the dissolution of the Nation State into unmanaged chaos and 'savagery'. The follow-on is classical in how to win in such a chaotic environment:
As for a detailed definition, it differs according to the goals and nature of the individuals in the administration. If we picture its initial form, we find that it consists of the management of peoples’ needs with regard to the provision of food and medical treatment, preservation of security and justice among the people who live in the regions of savagery, securing the boarders by means of groups that deter anyone who tries to assault the regions of savagery, as well as setting up defensive fortifications.Which is something known as 'Nation Building'. These are absolutely clasical goals in building States and should need no further explaining. Here, however, is the problem: resources. al Qaeda does not have a Nation State basis and cannot have one until the Caliphate is properly brought into being. Turning a large Nation into savage chaos would require large amounts of funds and working capital to actually build a Nation. Even a *small* but highly competent Nation would look to something pretty sophisticated for these things, beyond the monetary scope of al Qaeda. Thus the tactical necessity of division of Nations to their smallest sub-units and then moving in to take those over. Once a real foothold is gained, income can be garnished once that sub-unit is stood up as a functioning organization. It must be an organization as it is too small to be the center of the Caliphate.
al Qaeda is proposing a 'rich man's path to Empire': abolish National control via terrorism, break down territorial integrity, sow distrust and coercion through terror, and then move into a disunified sub-unit of the prior Nation and take over. Once that is done and control established a viable income flow can be garnered and expansion then reviewed. A bit further on we see a necessary insight into this formulation that must be addressed by al Qaeda and is:
Why do we call it “management of savagery” or “management of savage chaos” and not “management of chaos”? That is because it is not the management of a commercial company, or of an institution suffering from chaos, or of a group of neighbors in a district or residential region, or even of a peaceful society suffering from chaos. Rather, it is more nebulous than chaos, in view of its corresponding historical precedents and the modern world and in light of wealth, greed, various forces, and human nature, and its form which we will discuss in this study. Before its submission to the administration, the region of savagery will be in a situation resembling the situation of Afghanistan before the control of the Taliban, a region submitting to the law of the jungle in its primitive form, whose good people and even the wise among the evildoers yearn for someone to manage this savagery. They even accept any organization, regardless of whether it is made up of good or evil people. However, if the evil people manage this savagery, it is possible that this region will become even more barbarous!Here they recognize the problematical place in which they must start and that it is a very, very basic pre-State conception of human affairs. A keen and telling insight that the nature of the thing they are trying to induce is the destruction of all Western norms of Nation State concepts and that even such things as regional cooperation must be severed. The objective is to put a region into a state of being so absolutely primitive that *any* directional order is grasped on to as a means of lifting the people of that region out of 'savagery'. al Qaeda recognizes that opportunists of all stripes will seek to step into such a situation to exploit it and that, under such guidance, regions will become even more barbarous in their actions.... note that 'barbaric' to al Qaeda is 'not following sharia/universal law of the Divine as we define it as al Qaeda'. So a good group of Christians or Buddists or Hindus seeking to bring some order to a region, even if it is for the purposes of re-integration into a stable State, are making things 'more barbarous'.
From there, pre-supposing that al Qaeda is successful in the beginning, then the following list of actions becomes necessary in the movement of this region and people to follow the will of the Divine as al Qaeda sees it:
- Spreading internal securityThis is the al Qaeda 'Empire Building To Do list'. Empires are *not* reasonable States or places and al Qaeda is setting up to make an expansionistic attack upon the world starting at the small scale and working up via step-wise processes. Beyond the statement for naked coercion for those within an area being 'properly administered', and the concaminate destruction of freedom of thought and speech, al Qaeda looks to BUY its way to Empire when it has the money to do so. Yes, using monetary means is beyond that of 'spreading the word': it is buying OFF members of ruling governments or entire governments. Further, if they cannot be bought off, they will be continually attacked until they succumb and then 'plundered' for their National treasury once they do.
- Providing food and medical treatment
- Securing the region of savagery from the invasions of enemies
- Establishing Sharia justice among the people who live in the regions of savagery
- Raising the level of belief and combat efficiency during the training of the youth of the region of savagery and establishing a fighting society at all levels and among all individuals by making them aware of its importance.
- Working for the spread of Sharia science (putting the most important aspects before those of lesser importance) and worldly science (putting the most important aspects before those of lesser importance).
- Dissemination of spies and seeking to complete the construction of a minimal intelligence agency.
- Uniting the hearts of the world's people by means of money and uniting the world through Sharia governance and (compliance with) rules which are publicly observed, at least by those in the administration.
- Deterring the hypocrites with proof and other means and forcing them to repress and conceal their hypocrisy, to hide their discouraged opinions, and to comply with those in authority until their evil is put in check.
- Progressing until it is possible to expand and attack the enemies in order to repel them, plunder their money, and place them in a constant state of apprehension and (make them) desire reconciliation.
- Establishing coalitions with those with whom coalitions are permitted, those who have not given complete allegiance to the administration.
In this way al Qaeda joins into the pre-industrial conception of Imperialism: that fighting wars of EXPANSION are profitable. And indeed they WERE in the era before industrialization as there was little in the way of being able to increase productivity save by those minimal and incremental means that were available in areas of workflow effeciency. Industrialization changed the entire nature of Imperial outlook: First to colonial Empires and looking to gain cheap raw materials and process them in the home Nation for re-export as finished goods, and then the recognition that further efficient production could be done closer to the actual source of goods and remove the time lag to market of those goods. Further, to do *this* required more than basic education amongst the colonies that were being administered so that some basis of industrialized infrastructure could be maintained by the locals. Soon the locals learned things like personal liberty, freedom, equality of rights.... and the entire conception of Empires was viciously attacked from the INSIDE, both in the colonies and in the home ruling organizations and governments.
Imperial expansion in the industrial age became a heavy drag on economic efficiency due to the need of training and educating the locals, getting them involved in oversight and control, and then finding that the reprobates wanted nothing to do with you! Then sending troops to garrison colonies beyond mere 'constabulary forces' was a necessity. Suddenly a 'trade empire' was deucedly expensive and not seen as worth the cost. When an Empire took over a new territory they had to administer it, raise it up to a basic level of industrial support capability, deal with natives that had been properly schooled, send in real counter-insurgent forces beyond police forces and *still* try and maintain industrial supply and production. Adding ON to Empires gave them disproportionate burden as compared to economic return. Plus the locals usually were, at best, somewhat passively resisting foreign rule and, at worst, in open rebellion to it.
What sort of Empire does al Qaeda envision? Not an industrial nor post-industrial age one, that is for sure.
Abu Naji examinse Muslim history with a viewpoint towards support of local bands fighting together to repel invaders and defeat Empires. What I find lacking from that analysis, however, is the generally unified portions of some Islamic areas, particularly North Africa, which al Qaeda would most likely view as apostate, and the Umayyad which, while having many outlying regions, were able to bring together resisting forces under a commonality of control, and the Abbasid, which had a strong foundational conception and relative open-ness before its fall in 1258.
In fact, by glossing over the fundamental schismatic nature of Islam and trying to make out that it was always a form of governance that looked entirely to small groups, both in formation and expansion, Abu Naji wishes to 'write out' the centralized control conceptions that were in actual place that gave rise to coherent States. Saladin, under the rule of the Fatamids waged war on the North African Islamic ruling order which was seen as a break-away area needed to be brought under control. In this and re-uniting the fractured provincial areas and towns he was successful to the point of driving the Crusaders out of Jerusalem. What he was *not* however, was Emperor nor was he forming an Empire, but bringing one back under control. It is very difficult to describe such things as the Battle of Hattin as 'small force movements'.
So, where fantasy meets history, fantasy prevails. This is not to belittle small force tactics, and Abu Naji even recognizes that there are areas where they can stymie huge armies: mountainous terrain. Unfortunately not all lands are mountainous and small unit tactics for harassment can often unseat small opposition forces, but then must melt away and hope to reform against larger forces in combat. Mehmet II faced that with Vlad Tepes of Wallachia and was horrified at the prospect of actually trying to incorporate a land that could produce a Vlad Tepes under Islamic control. Small units used ruthlessly and that are united across a region can make that region ungovernable for a time and even dissuade invaders. Fighting a larger force that intends to root out such things is a much more difficult prospect and requires time, energy, resources and commitment beyond the mere glory for a battle here and there. Of course al Qaeda, by taking the terrorist path to Empire, is seeking to do just that thing.
Looking further on we see references to the uprisings against the British and all sorts of factional fighting during the 19th Century, which have some good basis for demonstrating that small unit tactics in Afghanistan and elsewhere can be effectively employed against Imperial States and local Nations. Referential roots and dileneation are given and then observing modern jihadi organizations that follow in the same path as al Qaeda: Abu Sayyaf, Moro Liberation Front, jihadi movement in Algeria, Somalia under Siyad Bare, groups in former Soviet Republics and Chechnya.
Groups and States that are in the stages preceding the 'administration of savagery': Hamas, Islamic Jihad of Palestine, Islamic Group in Egypt, and those fighting in Libya. These groups are in the 'vexation and exhaustion' phase of things, trying to undermine those areas and Nations by using means to destroy order and control in which another State may step in to administer remedies to savagery. In the whole al Qaeda views the entire world to be in this stage of pre-'administration of savagery'. Thus the outlook will return after further looks at current areas that are in the successor stage of 'administering of savagery'. Definitionally these are places where National conceptions have failed, fallen into disorder and now groups will be administering the savagery:
We will now return to contemporary examples of administrations of savagery and we will concentrate here on non-Islamic movements, among which (are the following):Remember that 'adminstering of savagery' is a generalized concept and that others may do administration of savagery, also. al Qaeda seeks to impose Islamic conceptions, but others may impose their own.
- The Janjaweed movement in southern Sudan, named “the Popular Front for the Liberation of Sudan”
- Leftist movements in Central and South America. Although the Leftists may have achieved amazing results in some operational aspects in the managing of the regions of savagery there and some of them established states, they manage these regions according to their filthy principles which the surrounding regions do not usually accept. This makes their regions unacceptable for expansion on account of the refusal of the citizens (of those regions) to turn away form the central government and unite for the administration of savagery or for the establishment of a state upon the rubble of the central state. It is enough to know that after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the cutting off of the financing that these movements depended on, the majority of these movements began to depend on obtaining money to finance them in exchange for creating sanctuaries that protected foreigners from the laws of the countries there, or the major drug dealers themselves grew the drugs and sold them. Likewise, they took the local inhabitants by force, kidnapped them, and extracted a ransom in exchange for their release, or they kept them as hostages and human shields. Although the society of savagery which they manage is under control, it is filled with the moral corruption that results from the anarchist principles they adopt. Nevertheless, their regimes are well-protected and even America has been driven mad due to its inability to destroy these pockets (of resistance) and control them and join them to the regimes of the states which revolve in the orbit of America or (in the orbit of) what is falsely called the United Nations. Regardless, we record that we believe that the two systems which are at war are both characterized by unbelief and tyranny.
I will leave off for the day on page 36.
A thought or two.... first there is an elephant in the room that is noticeable due to its lack of mention: Iran. Both in the run-up to the revolution and their post-revolutionary State, al Qaeda makes zero mention of them. Even Leftists and Capitalists and all sorts of other 'tyrannies' get mentioned, but *not* Iran.
I do have to smile when people put forth the conception that al Qaeda would not work with a secular government, like Saddam Hussein's. They do not realize that the worse thing in religious doctrinal conflicts is that the inter-sect and intra-sect fighting is far more vehement, nasty and hateful than mere work with unbelievers. Unbelievers can be *saved*. Believers in a mere variation are *beyond redemption* and to be hated for the wrong-headed religion they support.
That I find absolutely fascinating: al Qaeda is willing to use *anything* else as a touchstone for their methods... EXCEPT the Shia version of their beliefs.
Secondly the conception of 'savagery' appears to be fluid, although that may just be my disjointed reading of it. Savagery, in one instance and most common in this work, is the condition of a region that has fallen from control of a State. But it is also a confluence of disbelief or unbelief or non-education or the wrong education. This is usually referred to as 'barbarity' in the text, but there have been a few times when I can make no sense of 'savagery' in the first definitional sense and only 'barbarity' or similar fits. Most likely either my reading or a slight difficulty on the author's part at differentiating how a barbarous tyranny cannot also be savage, while an Islamic savage region cannot be barbarous.
So, all you non-believers, how does it feel to be barbaric savages that are tyrannical?