Friday, November 04, 2005

Future of Al Qaeda? 

According to the Asia Times, Al Qaeda is having an internal struggle.
Many among Islamic groups, scholars and educated masses in the Islamic world are sympathetic with al-Qaeda's struggle against US imperialism, but they have serious reservations over its shadowy nature and its methods of operation, many of which, they believe, go against the tenets of Islam.

From the days of the Prophet Mohammed it has been established that neither the message of Islam nor its struggle is a secret. Therefore, Muslim scholars are agreed that an Islamic state is a prerequisite before - and from which - jihad can be waged.

This places al-Qaeda in something of a spot, as nowadays it has no "home base" from which to wage jihad. In discussions in the past several months with prominent scholars and a top leader of an Islamic group (followed by Asia Times Online contacts), al-Qaeda leaders argued that they were fighting a defensive jihad as Afghanistan had been attacked and occupied, followed by Iraq. Since they don't have a piece of land in their possession, al-Qaeda has had to conduct irregular and guerrilla warfare.

However, the contacts maintain that the al-Qaeda leadership is optimistic that by the start of summer next year they will be in control of significant "space" in Iraq and in Afghanistan, which would legitimize their jihad in the eyes of scholars.

This would include appointing an ameer (commander) whose name would be announced, and al-Qaeda's irregular fighting would be organized under one command. The existing setup of small, virtually independent cells would be subsumed under the single command, and no one would operate on their own, as has been the trend since al-Qaeda lost their base in Afghanistan following the ouster of the Taliban in late 2001, and the intense pressure of the US-led "war on terror", which saw many communication and financial links severed.

The cells would fall under single commands in Iraq and Afghanistan, from where they would be directed for external operations, such as launching attacks on the US.

If al-Qaeda prevails over its internal conflicts and adopts the strategy as outlined above, it would be a major turning point not only for the organization, but for the whole of the Muslim world and beyond.

Dawa (Islamic message), hijra (evolution from an enemy state into an Islamic state) and jihad are the three stages based on the life of the Prophet Mohammed to bring about revolution in society.

In essence, al-Qaeda, which means means "the base" in Arabic, is in search of a physical base, like the mujahideen had during the Soviet resistance period in Afghanistan in the 1980s, when they grabbed all rural Afghanistan, or like the one al-Qaeda had two years ago when it moved into the Shawal and Shakai areas near South and North Waziristan on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, before being driven out by combined US and Pakistan efforts.

Once new bases are found - al-Qaeda confidently believes this will be done in Iraq and Afghanistan - the process of dawa, hijra and jihad will begin, and many presently peripheral Islamic groups across the world will pour into these two countries for a reinvigorated campaign against US forces.


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