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The latest Zawahiri tape continues al Qaeda's attempt to divide the West

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Al Qaeda's False Offer of Truce

The latest Zawahiri tape continues al Qaeda's attempt to divide the West.

by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross

08/10/2005 12:00:00 AM

AFTER AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI released a new videotape on August 4, the media focused on how he placed the blame for the last month's terrorist attacks in London on Tony Blair's shoulders and threatened even greater carnage in the future. Less noticed but no less important is al Qaeda's changed tactical approach to the West: They are now attempting to convince Westerners that they are worth negotiating with and can be appeased.

Zawahiri put forth this idea in a section of the tape where he speaks directly to Americans. In it, he mentions the hudna, or truce, that Osama bin Laden offered last year in exchange for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the Muslim world. Zawahiri asks, "Didn't Osama bin Laden tell you that you would never dream of peace until we actually live it in Palestine and before all foreign forces withdraw from the Land of Muhammad?"

In arguing that Westerners can buy peace through accession to al Qaeda's demands, the group's leaders emphasize three issues that they believe will have traction in the West: withdrawal from Iraq, ending support for Israel, and military disengagement from the Middle East.

The notion that al Qaeda can be appeased is, of course, false. By emphasizing its political grievances, the group attempts to obscure its long-term goal: reestablishment of the caliphate, which in al Qaeda's mind is an Islamic super-state primed for perpetual war with the West. The 9/11 Commission Report discusses al Qaeda's desire to reestablish the caliphate and both bin Laden and Zawahiri have written about this goal.

But a marked shift in al Qaeda's rhetoric came in April 2004 following the Madrid train bombings, after which the group seemed to decide that its divide-and-conquer strategy could succeed. After all, those attacks apparently swung the Spanish election to the Socialist Party, which subsequently withdrew the country's troops from Iraq.

Bin Laden's previous communications to the West had been characterized by long strings of unrealistic demands. For example, in his November 2002 "Letter to America," bin Laden demanded that the United States disallow interest-bearing loans, ban the production and consumption of alcohol, punish sex out of wedlock, ban gambling, and sign the anti-global warming Kyoto Accords.

But after Spain announced its troop withdrawal, bin Laden offered a truce to countries that similarly withdrew their forces from Iraq. This was his first peace offer designed to appeal to an appeasement-minded Westerner.

The tactic continued with bin Laden's "October surprise," the video released just before the 2004 election. In it, bin Laden painted al Qaeda as "free men who don't sleep under oppression," and suggested that America could find peace by addressing the alleged root causes of the conflict--which by then had morphed into U.S. support for Israel and America's military presence in the Middle East.

Bin Laden's October tape was also slicker in its appeal to Westerners. It was, in fact, such a blatant endorsement of the arguments in Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 that the filmmaker gloated shortly thereafter, "Did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie?"

Al Qaeda continued to speak to a Western audience in Zawahiri videos released in November 2004 and February 2005, which envisioned the West dealing with al-Qaeda "on the basis of respect and mutual interests," and of "mutual cooperation with the Islamic nation."

Zawahiri's new video proceeds similarly. Not only does it remind Americans of bin Laden's offered truce, but it also hits such talking points as blaming the London attacks on Blair's cooperation with George Bush, criticism of Israel, calling for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, and comparing the Iraq war to Vietnam.

By and large, Westerners have thus far not been fooled by al Qaeda's shift in rhetoric. After the September 11 attacks vividly demonstrated the carnage that al-Qaeda seeks, it's difficult to take their more conciliatory rhetoric seriously. However, even prior to bin Laden's October 2004 video, some Westerners were interested in negotiating with al Qaeda. (Britain's former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam argued that if the West didn't open up talks with al Qaeda, "you condemn large parts of the world to war forever.")

Thus it is important to see al Qaeda's new approach for what it is: a simple tactic designed to oppose the liberal West.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is an international counterterrorism consultant and an attorney with Boies, Schiller & Flexner. He is a 2002 graduate of the New York University School of Law, and clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit following law school.

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AL QAEDA'S WOES

By AMIR TAHERI

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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August 11, 2005 -- 'OH, no! Not him again!" This is how several Arab friends reacted as we watched a re-run of Ayman al-Zawahiri's latest "message" on al-Jazeera the other day in a café in Edgware Road, London's Arab quarter.

A fugitive terrorist of Egyptian origin, al-Zawahiri is often identified as al Qaeda's chief theoretician and No. 2 to its paymaster, the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden. In his message he endorsed the 7/7 attacks in London and threatened more such operations against both Britain and the United States.

The message merits attention for a number of reasons.

To begin with, al-Zawahiri shows that although al Qaeda — with its leaders dead, captured or hiding in caves in remote regions — no longer exists as an organization, the ideology (or brand name) it represents is still a threat not only to several Muslim countries but also to the major Western democracies.

Then, too, al-Zawahiri acknowledges that those responsible for almost daily killings in Iraq are al Qaeda-style Arab terrorists, rather than Iraqi nationalists supposedly fighting against foreign occupation.

Al-Zawahiri spells out their strategy in Iraq with chilling simplicity. He brushes aside the fact that Iraq now has a free elected government that represents the will of its people. He demands that the United States and its allies abandon the Iraqi people so that the terrorists can seize control in Baghdad and continue their massacre on a grander scale.

This shows that the Arab terrorist movement associated with the al Qaeda brand knows that it has absolutely no chance of winning power in Iraq or any other Muslim country through normal political means.

More importantly, al-Zawahiri acknowledges the fact that the terrorists have no chance of winning a straight military victory over the U.S.-led Coalition in Iraq. He clearly shows that his only hope of victory lies in the belief that the terrorists could turn American and British public opinion against support for building a new and democratic Iraq. ....something useful idiots like destruction and bxbomb don't understand

Al-Zawahiri 's entire analysis on that score is based on al Qaeda's single victory so far: the changing of the Spanish government under the pressure of the March 2004 Madrid bombings.

Islamist terrorist circles have already woven quite a few myths around what they describe as their "victorious ghazva" (raid) in Madrid. "We taught the Spaniards a lesson," says Shamsul Dhoha, who runs a pro-al Qaeda Web site from Pakistan. "Our heroes struck, and the Spaniards scattered like hens. This is the way to deal with [all other] infidel [enemies]."

Yet what is perceived as Spain's surrender to al Qaeda has so far proved to be the exception rather than the rule. Other members of the coalition in Iraq — President Bush himself, plus Prime Ministers John Howard (Australia), Tony Blair (Britian) and Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Denmark) — have been re-elected, often with increased majorities. Meanwhile, almost all those who opposed the liberation of Iraq have suffered losses in all subsequent elections — most notably France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schroeder.

Al-Zawahiri's message reveals another interesting fact: Al Qaeda appears to have severed ties with the Taliban. The Egyptian makes no mention of Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban leader to whom both he and Osama bin Laden had pledged allegiance as the "Emir al-Momeneen" (Commander of the Faithful) in 2001. Instead, al-Zawahiri referred to bin Laden as the "sheik" and the sole religious authority of the remnants of al Qaeda.

It now seems that the al Qaeda-Taliban divorce is something more than mere speculation. At least a section of the Taliban leadership, possibly including Mullah Omar, now regard the partnership with al Qaeda as a strategic error. Some Taliban chiefs, notably their former No. 2, Mullah Ahmad Wakil Mutuwakkil, are negotiating a deal with the new Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai. Others, notably Mullah Muhammad Haqqani, have formed an alliance with the Pushtun warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a protégé of the Pakistani secret services.

However deep, the rift between the Taliban and al Qaeda could make it harder for bin Laden and al-Zawahiri to continue hiding in the caves of Waziristan in northeastern Pakistan.

The message reveals another interesting fact. For the past three years, al-Zawahiri had advocated a policy of focusing the terrorists' efforts on winning power in "vulnerable" Muslim countries — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt. Yet his latest message shows that he is now persuaded that such a strategy has little chance of success. All the countries targeted are doing well in their war on terror; Afghanistan and Pakistan may have already turned the tide.

With no prospect of victory in any Muslim country, al-Zawahiri now seems closer to bin Laden's strategy of organizing raids against major Western democracies in the hope of terrorizing their publics into abandoning their Islamic allies.

Al-Zawahiri's message deserved more than a mere yawn. For it was an implicit admission that the terrorists, though still dangerous and deadly, are facing grim prospects.

Iranian author and journalist Amir Taheri is a member of Benador Associates.

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More importantly, al-Zawahiri acknowledges the fact that the terrorists have no chance of winning a straight military victory over the U.S.-led Coalition in Iraq. He clearly shows that his only hope of victory lies in the belief that the terrorists could turn American and British public opinion against support for building a new and democratic Iraq. ....something useful idiots like destruction and bxbomb don't understand

EXACTLY !

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:lol3: l o s e r :lol3:

"ONE MIGHT CONCLUDE, from his conduct over the past three years that George W. Bush was put on this earth to do two things: First, to plunge this country into an unjust war . And second, to appease his far right sociopathic christian fundamentalist backers. He's succeeding brilliantly at both."

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Unfortunately, those two imbeciles could never understand that, and others like them as well

:lol3: RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED. :lol3:

Have another one of Rushie-boy's oxy-contins.

"ONE MIGHT CONCLUDE, from his conduct over the past three years that George W. Bush was put on this earth to do two things: First, to plunge this country into an unjust war . And second, to appease his far right sociopathic christian fundamentalist backers. He's succeeding brilliantly at both."

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

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:lol3: RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED. :lol3:

Have another one of Rushie-boy's oxy-contins.

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!

More importantly, al-Zawahiri acknowledges the fact that the terrorists have no chance of winning a straight military victory over the U.S.-led Coalition in Iraq. He clearly shows that his only hope of victory lies in the belief that the terrorists could turn American and British public opinion against support for building a new and democratic Iraq. ....something useful idiots like destruction and bxbomb don't understand

Case closed.

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More importantly, al-Zawahiri acknowledges the fact that the terrorists have no chance of winning a straight military victory over the U.S.-led Coalition in Iraq. He clearly shows that his only hope of victory lies in the belief that the terrorists could turn American and British public opinion against support for building a new and democratic Iraq. ....something useful idiots like destruction and bxbomb don't understand

Case closed.

The oxy-contin is taking effect on you. Hurry. Head to Rush's medicine cabinet for more before the script runs out.

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The oxy-contin is taking effect on you. Hurry. Head to Rush's medicine cabinet for more before the script runs out.

talking point #4 from the "'how to be a clueless blowhard"......son, go get medical attention or kill yourself.....

please stay off this thread......stay in the little boy room

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talking point #4 from the "'how to be a clueless blowhard"......son, go get medical attention or kill yourself.....

Since I am older than you son, address me as your daddy. SON!

please stay off this thread......stay in the little boy room

Don't like it? Close it.

SON!

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You see guys, those that hate the war... whether you believe right or wrong. These al-quaida guys don't hate you because you are right or left. They hate us because we are Americans. They don't care how peace loving, whale saving you are... they want nothing more than to see your parents, yourselves, your kids, every last one of us dead. and it's not because of the war. It's because of where we are from.

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