17 September 2006

The First Cut Overview on "The Management of Savagery"

I have been performing and ongoing overview of the translated al Qaeda doctrine document The Management of Savagery and while only 36 pages into it as of the start of this overview, feel it is time to bring a few summations of the wider scope of that work into view. My thanks to 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, for making this translation freely available.

Taking into account that this is a document made by a committed al Qaeda individual looking for a doctrine to incorporate beliefs, means, methods and abilities of terrorism to reach an Empire, some of the foundations of the actual writing by Abu Naji are counter-factual or clearly made up of fantasy so as to fit belief into a real-world perspective. This can lead to actual conclusions that are valid, although the supporting schema of thought is invalid. Yes, a stopped clock is still right twice a day, if it be analog. Digital ones just *stop* all function. So Abu Naji does achieve some extremely pointed insights of that nature, but then veers off into fantastic outcomes.

And in all of the modes of thought the most deadly being presented by this paper is an answer to Gwynn Dyer's analysis of terrorism in the 1970's. His review of terrorism them was that, unlike guerrilla warfare to form a Nation State, terrorism has no valid 'end-game'. It works towards nothing and achieves nothing save death and terror. Abu Naji now gives the first light onto an end-state as promulgated by al Qaeda, and while simple in its conception it does have hard basis in reality for all the fantastical trappings of the belief surrounding it.

Terrorism has always been the 'poor man's oppression upon his oppressors' but has never had good structure or accountability that a more Nationalist movement seeking to make government would have. Throughout the 1970's and all the way to the late 1980's, terrorism was non-State actors attacking Nation States as they had no means via legitimate Nations to attack those States. Israel has been a main bone of contention in the Middle East, but the IRA, ETA, FARC, Shining Path and other terrorist groups have had separate outlooks upon who, exactly, is oppressing whom, and that they did not like the fact that they were of such a small minority that *no one* would listen to them. Hijack a few planes, plant some bombs and you got *instant* media coverage! Suddenly you go from *nobody* that is ranting to a *freedom fighting group with legitimate grievances*. Yes, a small minority could suddenly change the entire sphere of understanding so that a slight fraction of individuals in a territory could enforce fear of them and horror upon the populace and GET RESPECT.

Iran started to change that by adding its weight directly via terrorism, in the formation and funding of Hezbollah. Many Middle Eastern dictators used Islamic groups to distract their populations towards Israel and justify brutality at home as keeping *foreign, colonialist, imperialist, expansionist groups* at bay. Link that with the *freedom fighting* of terrorists and throw a conspiracy on top of it to explain why Muslims kill Muslims and you had an instant distraction from tyranny and justification for *any* form of brutality. Iran, however, started reshuffling that deck with pointed religious extremism *against* secular Nations. Using this formulation to gain credibility, pestering Israel gave Hezbollah 'street cred' but allowed it to expand into secular States and become a more potent and distributed threat.

Afghanistan offered a sectarian countervailing influence to the Shia Iranian fundamentalist dream by bringing together the Sunni fundamentalists, particularly Wahabbi extremists from Saudi Arabia. While many new terrorist organizations formed, the majority of them were of the older 'use violence to get validity' model. al Qaeda, however, seeing the influence of Iran and the capabilities of Iraq at coordinating terrorist organizations, determined that a different path through terrorism could be formulated. To do *that* required a *goal* and that was provided by the concept of an Islamic Empire of global expanse known as the Caliphate. Iran was already promulgating *its* version of the Caliphate and now al Qaeda would give *its* version voice.

al Qaeda, however, only had funding by rich individuals, mostly from Saudi Arabia, but from other Wahabbi or Sunni extremists across the globe. In conception, then, it is a distributed funding setup that needs to gather funds piecemeal to survive. Without State backing al Qaeda is 'the rich man's terrorist group'. As individuals they have high levels of education, understanding of most of the modern forms of business and some scientific and engineering background. Osama bin Laden is a trained civil engineer and mostly considered a financier of terrorism in his early days. He changed that conception by showing up on the Afghani scene personally, ill-health and all. Leading from the front always gets admiration from the troops of those leaders, even when they realize it is a damn fool hearty thing to do.

Afghanistan was a choice of last resort after being ejected from Sudan. bin Laden preferred the more centralized nature of Africa for his plans and framework, and the ready availability of aircraft, ships, supplies and logistics. Afghanistan had *none* of that and was deeply impoverished with the opium trade as a major source of funding available via black market means. From that fighting experience and its environs comes The Management of Savagery and its outlook on exactly *how* to create a Caliphate while *not* being a State.

As a whole al Qaeda realizes that it cannot deal with operational and integrated Nations. Functioning Nations with the backing of the majority of its citizens are difficult to deal with, and al Qaeda recognizes that as a foundational problem. Further, although it has rich backers, al Qaeda is a distributed operation that works on a shoestring budget for nearly everything, and thus needs to leverage a few individuals to gain the greatest impact of their terrorist acts. al Qaeda method of operation is that which was seen by Aum Shinrikyo: the concentrated near simultaneous assault on a critical or multiple critical targets via a few operatives. Aum Shinrikyo, being a fatalist death cult, actually wanted its operatives to come *back* to rest, recover and then stage more operations so that they could spread death more quickly. al Qaeda, wanting to build an Empire, was more than ready to expend lives to gain its ends.

With these two things, minimal operational budget and distributed means using low cost but highly effective attack targets, al Qaeda would be known for the *spectacular* attacks. Their fantasy viewpoint is that this will gain favor with Allah and then allow for Divine Intervention to take place in support of al Qaeda by collapsing the will of its enemies. It is that collapsing that The Management of Savagery addresses, as it seeks to give formulational basis to that resulting chaos and then turn it into something of use and value in its rebuilding. The primary place for the *spectacular* attacks is against the West and large non-Islamic Nations such as India, but also Australia. Japan by having a nearly homogeneous population has a built-in immune system to such attacks, but other Asian Nations do not and there is hard play in places like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia for al Qaeda to gain roots amongst the large populations of Muslims in those lands.

In its simplest conception al Qaeda is performing 'divide and conquer' strategy against Nation States. By being unable to attack large Nations, al Qaeda seeks to destabilize them so that internal rebellion can be fomented and the Nation itself dissolve into smaller pieces. al Qaeda analyzes this with the USSR, fall of European Empires and with smaller Nations that also have separatist movements. One of the main problems that al Qaeda identifies is that new Nations spring up from the old, but they are less able and less strong than the original, larger established Nation. Even then al Qaeda realizes that they have little opportunity in that realm as even small Nations that have good interior definition are resistant to their influence.

To counter this al Qaeda proposed 'the rich man's road to Global Empire': set groundwork during the pre-chaos, encourage it through some actions, and then, when the larger Nation falls into disarray, send money, fighters, supplies and everything necessary to gain control and be seen as a way to rebuild a Nation along the al Qaeda tenets of operation. By gaining trust in sending fighters and setting up hospitals, al Qaeda wishes to use the dissolution of the people inside of a Nation in tumult and 'guide' those people to the 'true path' given by the Divine. Once that trust is gained, then a framework for a strict, authoritarian Islamic based State can be developed and put in-place and the new territory exploited for its goods, people and money, to spread influence.

This conceptual outlook, of conquering Nations for booty, is one that is as ancient as Empires. al Qaeda wishes to overlook the entire age of Industrialization and return to that basic conception of conquering Nations so that more Nations can be destabilized and conquered Once you get the ball rolling, terrorism becomes more frequent, more nasty, more oppressive and Nations fail faster. Soon al Qaeda is seen as leading the world to a glorious age of an Islamic Caliphate, never mind the absolute and abysmal poverty of those conquered or the chillingly and appallingly high body count of the non-believers of the al Qaeda vision as they are eliminated.

While their examination of the European trade Empires suffers from faulty foundations, al Qaeda is removing the negatives of those Empires, namely needing a literate and skilled population to help better run the local economy so that everyone benefits, and putting in its place a removal of support structures and the dismantling of manufacturing and trade so that it may gain the booty of those under them. As al Qaeda is *not* seeking a technology based Empire and has no conception of human rights separate from the few granted by the Divine, the only overhead it has is basic teaching of the Koran, religion and whatever minimal ministrations are needed to keep the populace *alive* so that it can be extorted for more money. al Qaeda is more than willing to use the fruits of a technological civilization but, in the end, wants no part of that civilization.

These conceptions are put forward in the place where two Empires reached and found that this reach exceeded their grasp and were forced to retreat from it due to logistics and the different style of warfare necessary in that region. Mountain based warfare is a small-unit affair with a few men being able to hold of thousands for days, weeks and months. Modern air cover is a help, but only if it is all-weather and capable of dealing with the terrain. The British Empire had armies designed for more open spaces warfare and were dealth a harsh bit of reality in the mountains of Afghanistan, with only the more local and adapted to mountain fighting troops proving to be of great utility.

The Soviet forces were doing very well at maintaining their occupation until the US supplied training, supplies and Stinger missiles to remove the air cover advantage of the Soviet forces. With new means and methods to attack and deny air support, the Soviets were similarly pressed back and found that even the most brutal of means they had only gained harsher resistance. Their final retreat would bring the collapse of their puppet government and the Taliban moved in to further destabilize things. al Qaeda finally came in to help solidify the Taliban's hold on all but the northeast sector of the Nation, and together they worked to start a goal of removing the age of technology from the population and exploit it.

al Qaeda sees this as a winning methodology as many Nations are composed of multiple ethnic groups and already have factionation within them. These weak States are targeted for further destabilization by al Qaeda and its affiliates, so as to further undermine those governments. So that they are not seen as purely attacking Muslims, al Qaeda must *also* attack large Western and non-Islamic Nations to show how weak those Nations are in dealing with terrorism. One of the great fantasies that al Qaeda has is about the Cold War being something administered by the UN in which the two superpowers were supplicants to it. The UN is seen as a great and evil organizational force that gives its 'ok' to the two superpowers to keep order.

Be that as it may, al Qaeda has looked to its attacks as a means of "exhaustion and vexation" to continually weaken Western and non-Islamic Nations until they retreat and, finally, succumb to the ever growing al Qaeda backed sphere of influence. And al Qaeda has examined history and dediced that this is a winning plan by examining all of the Imperial roll-backs of the 20th century of the European Empires and the problems faced in the post-WWII era. Here al Qaeda integrates the lesson that the Soviet Union learned from its support of North Vietnam against the US-backed South Viet Nam: the United States in particular has no stomach for multiyear proxy warfare.

This is a correct assessment made from direct review of the evidence of the post-WWII era and the Cold War. Do remember that the Cold War is seen as a UN-allowed and moderated affair, not a competition between different ideologies in the view of al Qaeda. A quick overview of US Wars can be found here and added to by the terrorist attack list in my previous article, but let me give some of the highlights so that we can see the trend lines that al Qaeda sees:

The Korean War: 36,000 US Military killed
The Vietnam War: 58,209 US casualties
Evacuation of South Viet Nam
Evacuation of Cambodia
US Hostage taking in Iran and failed military expedition
Bombing of the Lebanon Embassy by Hezbollah
Bombing of the Marine Barracks in Lebanon by Hezbollah
Bombing of the Lebanon Embassy by Hezbollah
1985 Hijacking of Panam flight 847
1986 Bombing of TWA flight 840
1986 Berlin Disco bombing by Libya and minor reprisals from same handed out
1986 Hijacking of Panam flight 73
US involvement in counter-narcotics operations throughout South America
1988 Bombing of Panam flight 103 by Libya
1991 Persian Gulf War, not taking out Saddam
Involvement in the Balkans and predominant use of airpower
1993 killings of CIA employees at a stoplight on their way to work
1993 WTC bombing
Somalia and 'Blackhawk Down'
Unable to stop Rwandan Genocide
1996 Khobar towers bombing by Hezbollah
1998 al Qaeda African Embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya
2000 USS Cole bombing by al Qaeda

By responding as it did, the US has put forth NO effort towards securing itself, its allies or its partners and, in point of fact, responds so feebly to its citizens being attacked that al Qaeda, prior to 9/11, saw that there was *nothing* that the US would stand for and support anywhere. al Qaeda has made the apparently correct assessment that its use of 'vexation and exhaustion' will work on the US, the West and possibly even on non-Muslim but sectarian States. In the viewpoint of al Qaeda, and remember they do discount the effort of the Cold War as mostly static and unwilling to use force, democracies cannot stand up to long term threats and will decay, degenerate and dissolve because of them. They look at the post-Cold War break up of the USSR as typical of this and the further breakdowns in Yugoslavia and the post-Soviet Republics as wholly indicative of a world degenerating into feuding small entities. They further add in to this the long period of European colonial withdrawal and see that time is on their side as the world breaks down into smaller and smaller ever squabbling Nations ripe for takeover.

Here their analysis is one that a small, ideologically driven organization with strong backing can change the fates of these smaller Nations, take them over, indoctrinate them, reduce them to subservience and use the spoils of those Nations to go after their neighbors or remaining larger States that will also succumb to 'vexation and exhaustion'. A wonderful and grand scheme with many foundations in fact and reality but with some flaws of human nature unaccounted for.

Of the prime outlooks that such organizations have is that their struggle will continue past their deaths as they gain new adherents. By forcing harsh indoctrination and weeding out the *impure* or using those of lesser character to achieve their ends, al Qaeda is trying to set up a system for a multi-generational assault on the Nation State system. If not countered and harshly, wherever it shows up, this will succeed in continuation of their fight. And each act of violence perpetrated by *any* force against these Nations are seen in aiding al Qaeda in its long-term goals. This is true on both the National and International scale, and the less responsive Nations are to threats, the closer they are to being turned into a state of chaos and fracturing into smaller and more amenable pieces. Nothing gets build *until* pure religious indoctrination and adherence is gained, and enemies deserve to be destroyed and have chaos visited upon them.

This is an end-game proposal that al Qaeda is using for their terrorism.

Even though their multi-generational assessments have some serious drawbacks, the main one being the Theory and Practice Conundrum, it can serve as a foundational structure for *other* transnational terrorist organizations to take up and build-upon. As al Qaeda is only 'the Base' of a network, that is now a problem that is faced as the entire network now has this concept within its ideology. As this concept spreads it will take root in other terrorist organizations that operate on international and transnational scales, be it in the capitalist drug underworld or in the Maoist or more general Communist conceptions of social structure, once constructed this concept moves into the entirety of the entire web of transnational terrorist organizations.

Because multiple organizations of different foundational and structural viewpoints can carry this idea and spread it over time, new organizations that spin-up will *also* take this on as a structural component. Here is the major problem of transnational terrorism: it is not delimited by ideology or religion. Multiple different groups with similar goals but differing end-states now have a continuous and valid way to keep unending pressure upon the world as a whole and diminish into feudal, warlord States or slowly roll over those into Empire on a global scale. At this point destroying al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Saudi Arabia will do *nothing* to stop Lashkar-e-Toiba, Abbu Sayyef, Moro Islamic Front or, really, any of the organizations that work, support or cooperate together on international scales.

Make no mistake about it, The Management of Savagery is the prime threat to civilization and human rights of the modern age. It is not only wholly directed to remove rights from individuals, but gives outlook on means and methods to bring down Nations and use the destabilized chaos that results to advantage. This advantage will belong to ANY group that uses it and utilizes it. This doctrine is one that is custom made to the post-WWII and post-Cold War era as it seeks to exploit 'weak Nations', abolish them and then use the fact that they were NOT supported as good cause to continue attacking OTHER States. And because this is done by distributed organizations that have NO State foundation and are NOT Nations and only become one once they have a large portion of chaotic warlord areas under control, there is no legitimate means for Nation State military organizations to respond on a global scale.

This is a brand new formulation of World War without Nations being able to respond with their traditional National organs of military and police effectively on a global scale. So long as there is weakness in Nation States and people look to Nations as their only means of defense, this is a harsh, cold and effective means to destroy the civilized world. Destroy one group and others of different stripes and locales continue to fight. Even stopping the descent of a Nation into chaos is merely a *holding pattern* until the attacks resume elsewhere or start up again in a different region of a Nation trying to restore or create internal order.

The mighty Nation State that has been created to protect liberty and freedom of its people and have some sort of National agreement is at peril. A response to totalitarianism will, in point of fact, play into this conception by removing rights and making such Nations ever *more* susceptible to intrigue and destruction. Highly despotic rulers and multigenerational kingdoms have proven ineffective against the previous wave that decayed their structures and removed their validity.

That was the first wave of human liberty enshrined as being protected BY Nations for their People.

It is a wave against Empires that has now ebbed to the point where everything built upon it is at peril.

The Nation State system will succumb to this if it does *not* respond. But its response cannot be, because of the way Nations are designed and structured, a world, global military conflict. There is NO large military battles to be fought, although those regimes supporting terrorism must be brought to an end, those are purely localized conflicts. Any military given the broad means to actually combat this is a threat, in and of itself, to liberty and freedom and of going rogue once it understands that all of the keys to power have been handed to it.

Those civilized Nations that seek peace must let a different kind of war take place.

It is a war in which Nations cannot protect their citizens, but *can* allow their citizens to take up arms and join the fight to protect themselves. The United States was formulated on just that thing and the recognition that limited government MUST allow individuals to fight when they are threatened and protect those individuals from actually taking on the enemies of the People when such actions are sanctioned and justified by the Nation. The idea of removing arms to ensure peace will be the destruction of liberty and freedom globally and not only must be countered, but the legal and sanctified means of self-protection and willingness of citizens to take up the fight for SURVIVAL must be ensured.

The responsibilities for those things for which a Nation is not created to do must, finally, fall squarely and directly upon the People of that Nation.

Civilized people across the globe who have enjoyed liberty have seen the fruits of tyranny and reject it. Yet pacifistic concepts of States are now and will continue to be threatened forevermore by small groups wishing to bring such States down so as to feast on the carcass of it, gain strength, enslave the people of that State and then grow bolder and stronger to bring down another state... even while the first is left in a mostly chaotic state of being and no good way to bring civilized order is seen for it.

Despots and tyrants the world over will howl at this conception of armed citizens roaming the globe to ensure their freedom and that of their Nation. Terrorists will try to subvert *that* too, but face the unpleasant fact that the more awful they become, the more hunted they become in direct proportion to their actions. There is and always will be a place for Nation State militaries to protect from the threats of rogue Nations seeking domination and Empire, some of which will use terrorism as a means to that foul end.

But terrorists are not States, although they flow amongst them.

Terrorists are not companies or syndicates, although they may take on such guise as needed.

Terrorists are criminals, but can escape from Justice due to their Nature of abiding by no Law save their will to Empire.

In short terrorists are individuals.

Law enforcement plays its part, as does diplomacy and every other thing that Nations provide to fight crime.

International drug and crime operations *still* flourish, although they are mere criminals, not seeking the end to the order of Nations.

Terrorists that use crime are seeking just that thing.

And the only effective means to fight such, is by those who would seek them out to protect themselves and their Nations from them.

And given Just Reward for doing so.

If we dare to trust ourselves.

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