Counter-Terrorism: Al Qaeda Wins Some, and Loses Some


September 11, 2007: While al Qaeda still appeals to young Moslem men, most Moslems are put off by the increasingly radical practices, and ideology, of the terrorist organization. This keeps showing up in opinion surveys. The major problem has is the large number of Moslems it has killed, mainly in Iraq. This was justified by the radical doctrine of considering a Moslem who does not agree with you, a heretic. This means that person is worse than a non-believer, and can be attacked with the utmost savagery. That means you can kill the traitors entire family if you wish. This doctrine has been around for about eight centuries, and it has never worked. But it's where Islamic radicals tend to end up when they are losing.

Not all of al Qaedas leaders appear to agree with the "heretic" approach. This caused some rather public arguments, especially when al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, insisted that any Moslem who did not follow al Qaeda was a traitor, and could be killed. Zarqawis continued use of suicide bomb attacks against Iraqi Moslems turned many of his core supporters (Sunni Arabs) against him, and is believed to have contributed to Zarqawis death in June, 2006.

A similar "kill 'em all" strategy led to the destruction of the Islamic radical groups in Algeria. This violence began in the early 1990s, as did a somewhat smaller insurrection in Egypt. Both of these terror campaigns were largely ignored in the West, even though Algerian and Egyptian Islamic terrorists began to show up in other parts of the world. The 1993 bombing of New York City's World Trade Center involved an Egyptian Islamic radical leader, who had gotten into the U.S. as a political refugee (from Egypt, where he was being "persecuted" for his religious beliefs.)

After September 11, 2001, the United States and Europe looked around and found that they have given sanctuary to a large number of Islamic radicals, who used their new safe havens as bases for planning new terror campaigns. Young Moslems in non-Moslem nations are becoming the most enthusiastic supporters of al Qaeda, partly because they are farthest from the reality of Islamic terrorism. Al Qaeda is trying to mobilize these new recruits for terror missions. That is complicated by the increasing efficiency of intelligence efforts in the West, and anti-al Qaeda attitudes by many older Moslems there.


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