Syndicated News from Afghanistan
Fri, 13 Dec 2013 11:34:57 GMT
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IEDs won't die after Afghanistan, top general saysUSA TODAYWASHINGTON ? The Pentagon's multibillion dollar effort to combat makeshift bombs will continue even after the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan ends next year. The bureaucracy that sprung up at the height of fighting in Iraq will be needed for "the ...and more »
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Fri, 13 Dec 2013 11:38:22 GMT
Marine From Fairhaven Is Killed In AfghanistanWBURBOSTON ? A U.S. Marine from the southeastern Massachusetts town of Fairhaven has died in Afghanistan. Lance Cpl. Matthew Rodriguez was killed while conducting combat operations in the nation's Helmand Province on Wednesday, the U.S. Department ...
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Results 1 - 10 of Headlines for Afghanistan
Wednesday, November 24th, 2004
: RCN Administrator
KABUL (Reuters) - Three U.N. workers held hostage for almost a month in Afghanistan (news - web sites) thanked President Hamid Karzai and the Afghan people on Wednesday and said the thought of reunion with family and friends kept them going during an awful ordeal.
Officials said a hunt was on for members of the gang that abducted Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, Kosovan Shqipe Hebibi and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan off a Kabul street and freed them on Tuesday after 27 days in captivity.
The U.N. workers, who helped to run a presidential election won last month by U.S.-backed incumbent Karzai, discussed theirordeal with him at his presidential palace in the morning.
"I hope that a thing like this will never happen in Afghanistan again," Karzai said afterwards. "This goes against the very nature of Afghan hospitality."
After embracing colleagues at the U.N. headquarters in Kabul, Flanigan read a joint statement of thanks, but gave no details of their captivity.
"The awful experience we went through does not change our feelings for the Afghan people," she said.
"The solidarity they have shown during the 27 days of our captivity just strengthens our commitment to support Afghanistan in its transition to peace and democracy."
Her voice at times breaking with emotion, the 43-year-old lawyer said she and her co-workers had learned since their release of many statements of support from Afghans, including some who had offered to take their place as hostages.
"We are humbled and very, very grateful for this," she said, while also thanking their families and friends. "The hope of getting back together with them kept us going."
The government said the three were held in or near Kabul by a gang of criminals who could have been hired by a Taliban splinter faction that threatened to kill them unless a number of Taliban prisoners were freed.
The government and the U.S. military have insisted the three were freed unconditionally, but the leader of the Taliban faction, the Jaish-e Muslimeen (Army of Muslims), has continued to say a deal was done.
Wednesday, November 24th, 2004
: RCN Administrator
Three U.N. workers kidnapped in Afghanistan four weeks ago were released unharmed Tuesday, a day after a string of raids by U.S. and Afghan security forces.The release was a relief to foreign aid workers and U.N. staffers among Kabul's 2,000-strong expatriate community, under virtual lockdown since the kidnapping. Large tracts of the country are already off-limits to relief workers because of a stubborn Taliban-led insurgency.
Philippine diplomat Angelito Nayan, British-Irish citizen Annetta Flanigan and Shqipe Hebibi of Kosovo were seized at gunpoint from a U.N. vehicle on Oct. 28 in Kabul.
They were first foreigners abducted in the Afghan capital since the Taliban fell three years ago, and their abductions raised fears that the Afghan capital could become prey to the kind of deadly kidnappings by insurgents that have plagued Iraq (news - web sites).
"They are out," U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said. "I'm told they are in good spirits and they seem to be fine."
Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said the trio were "abandoned in one location inside Kabul" at around 6 a.m. Tuesday.
Jalali said discussions had been held with the kidnappers, whom he declined to identify, but insisted no deal was done and that the releases were unconditional.
"None of the hostage-takers conditions have been met," he told a news conference. "All those people who had a hand in this — directly or indirectly — will be brought to justice."
Afghan officials have said they believe a criminal gang carried out the abductions, and have said that negotiations centered on a ransom demand.
Jalali said it was "possible" that a Taliban-linked group which has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings had hired some criminals to abduct the three, who helped organize the country's Oct. 9 presidential elections.
The group, Jaish-al Muslimeen, or Army of Muslims, had demanded that Afghan and U.S. authorities free jailed comrades.
"I cannot say they were not involved," Jalali said.
The foreigners were freed a day after U.S. and Afghan forces raided two houses in downtown Kabul on Monday and detained 10 people in connection with the abductions.
Most of the detainees were released after being questioned, an Afghan intelligence official said, and it was not clear if the arrest of a doctor who worked at a U.N. clinic in the city had hastened the hostages' release.
Jalali also said one person was killed and four injured in another police operation linked to the kidnapping north of Kabul on Monday. He declined to give details, saying it could endanger efforts to round up more suspects.
Officials said the three U.N. workers underwent medical examinations at a NATO (news - web sites) base in Kabul that showed all were well and were then given time to call relatives and friends and to relax.
"It's a very happy moment, but also a very private moment," said Almeida e Silva, the U.N. spokesman. He said all three would travel home to their families "very soon."
Philippine Foreign Undersecretary Jose Brillantes told Manila radio DZMM from Kabul that he talked with Nayan.
He said Nayan spoke by phone to his sister in Manila and had an "emotional telephone conversation" with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (news - web sites). He "was a bit apologetic" that everyone had to go through so much trouble, Brillantes said.
The British government released a statement by Flanigan's family expressing their joy at the peaceful end to the crisis and their thanks to the authorities.
"After all the terrible anxiety of the last 27 days it is an incredible relief to know that Annetta is safe and well."
In Flanigan's native Richhill in Northern Ireland where her mother and siblings live, the Rev. David Coe said "the entire village has been praying for her release, and thank God it's happened. It will be a happy Christmas for the family after all."
The news united Northern Ireland's usually divided British Protestant and Irish Catholic politicians with joy. And political and religious leaders throughout the United Kingdom, which includes Northern Ireland, and the neighboring Republic of Ireland also welcomed her release.
"I know that this will be a tremendous relief to the family, who have been to hell and back. Let us thank God they have been released," British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik where he was attending a conference on Iraq.
Syed Khalid, a spokesman for Jaish-al Muslimeen, told The Associated Press on Tuesday it had freed the hostages overnight against an "assurance that the release of our 24 people would begin today."
His claims could not be verified. Silvestre Afable, a Philippine government spokesman, also insisted there was no prisoner-for-hostage exchange.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad hailed the releases as a "major defeat to terrorists who wanted to export an Iraq-style of hostage-taking in Afghanistan."
Khalilzad said the Afghan government, people, the United Nations (news - web sites), as well as NATO peacekeepers and U.S.-led coalition forces had worked together to bring about the releases, sending "an important message to those who wish to disrupt the new Afghan democracy."
Jalali appealed to Afghanistan's international backers not to lose their nerve in the face of the kidnapping which "must not be repeated and will never be tolerated."
"We hope it will not discourage the resolve of the international community to continue their work to assist the Afghan people in the pursuit of lasting peace and security," he said.
Monday, April 28th, 2003
: RCN Administrator
By Dipo Ola
The saying ‘Timing is everything’ is a cliché that has gained universal acceptance, and in no place is it more relevant today, than in Iraq.
Specifically, the citizens of Iraq now have an opportunity to take charge of their country and prevent the rise of the sort of unrepresentative, brutal, fundamentalist Taliban government that took control of Afghanistan in 1994, following the five years of bloody fighting that the Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan triggered. The United States also has a sacred duty to ensure that they do not leave the sort of power vacuum in Iraq that eventually spawned the Taliban regime.
Essentially, the United States made a huge mistake in the 1990’s after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. It did not realize that the saying: ‘Your enemy is my enemy’ is a saying that has a profoundly finite term, and often does not last long beyond the vanquishing of the common enemy. In the case of Afghanistan, the U.S. backed the miscellany of Islamic forces that cooperated to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan, but once the Soviets had gone, the Taliban and its supporters like Osama Bin Laden, ceased to see the U.S. as an ally, and
in due course, began to see the U.S. as their hated enemy. This is not surprising, considering the staggering difference in values between the U.S. constitution and the Taliban/Bin Laden brand of fundamentalism. The U.S. probably realized that things were going badly wrong in Afghanistan at some point, but by then, it had lost interest in the region, since its (at the time) most implacable adversary, the Soviet Union had left.
Unfortunately, as history has shown, the Taliban and Bin Laden, proved to be the most devastating enemy of the U.S., in the history of the American Homeland, penetrating the hearts and lives of every American, a way that would have been unimaginable, only months before September 11, 2001. The U.S. most ensure that it never again overlooks the brevity of the saying: ‘Your enemy is my enemy’, particularly today, when the Shiites of Iraq (now that Saddam their greatest oppressor has left) are showing frightening signs of anti-Americanism,
anti-Semitism, and a general leaning towards the intolerant ruling fundamentalism that prevails in their neighbor, Iran. This is no time to lose interest in Iraq, or to adopt the laid-back perception that the anti-American Shiites constitute a minority of the Shiite population, or a passing phase. Kate O’Beirne, the National Review Washington Editor, and a woman whose views I respect tremendously, has pointed out, while on Capital Gang, that just as the anti-war demonstrators on American streets, constituted a vocalminority of thought (less than 30% of the American public opposed the war in Iraq), the anti-American Shiites on Iraq streets are not necessarily representative of majority Iraq Shiite opinion. I agree with this assessment, but I will add as an addendum, that vocal minorities are no less dangerous,
because they are a minority. The Taliban did not represent a majority of Afghans in their extremist views, yet they were able to take over Afghanistan through war, and sustain their regime through financial and military assistance from countries like Pakistan, and by importing hordes of fundamentalist fighters from Muslim nations all over the world, to support them militarily and socially. The conservative clerics in Iran do not represent the majority of Iranians in their thinking, but they hold the reigns of power, and will continue to do so, until the roots of democracy take complete hold in that country. Herein, though, lies the central difference of the Iraq situation, from these examples. Democracy has a better chance to take root in Iraq, than any of these other examples, because the American Military is still on Iraqi soil, and the Bush Administration does not appear inclined to abandon Iraq to the fundamentalists. If the Bush Administration actually commits itself to Iraq, then the fundamentalists will not have a chance to thwart democracy, and impose their own brand of theocratic dictatorship on the long-suffering citizens of Iraq. The coalition of Iraqi political groups that recently met in Madrid underlined the more general views of Iraqis, when it jointly called for a pluralist, federalist, democratic government that protects the rights of all Iraqi people, including those of minority religious and ethnic persuasions.
Only the backing of the U.S. administration and the U.S. military (for now) can provide teeth to such calls for democracy in Iraq. Before Saddam took that country down the path of near ruin, Iraq was among the most sophisticated, civilized and secularized nations in the Middle East, and there is no reason to believe that the suffering, poverty and fear brought on by the Saddam years, would have completely and forever changed Iraq into a nation of anti-U.S. fundamentalists. But those Iraqis who want peace and democracy, must be
supported now, and their freedoms enshrined into a constitution. Strong, secular and democratic institutions which cannot be susceptible to the whims and caprices of tyrannical politicians, must be established. The fundamentalists must understand that they can only achieve political goals through totally free and fair elections, and any violent or oppressive methods by the anti-Americans/fundamentalists, must be put down decisively, and the agitators treated like the criminals they are. Any attempts to erode or destroy the Democratic institutions being set up, should be treated just as harshly.
As for the secular/moderate Iraqis, they must understand that they have a duty to fight for their freedoms through the ballot. Apathy must be eschewed at all costs, as the very existence of some Iraqi religious or ethnic groups, cultures and traditions might be at stake. The U.S. cannot turn Iraq into a democracy if Iraqis themselves do not take an interest in the political process, and actively express themselves through the ballot. In this matter, Iraq women must play a critical role. If they want to retain a hope of humanity, equality and freedom
in their lives, they must stand up for themselves in the political process, in the same way that women in Iran are trying to. As far as numbers go, the female population of Iraq is virtually equal to the male population, and they must resist the efforts of those who try to strip them of their dignity and rights under the guise of religion and Iraqi nationalism. If they do not fight now, at the critical moment and assert their right s, the eventual departure of the U.S. military will be at the same time as the departure of Iraqi hope. In other words, Iraqi freedom is now or never.
Wednesday, December 11th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
A bomb exploded Dec. 10 on a major natural gas pipeline in Pakistan, interrupting supplies to the southern city of Karachi. Over the past two years, there have been other attacks on pipelines, primarily in Balochistan province, where an undercurrent of discontent with the government exists. For Islamabad, the timing of the attack is particularly troubling: It comes as the government is trying to position the nation as key to any regional pipeline projects.
A bomb on Dec. 10 destroyed a section of the 310-mile (500-km) Indus Right Bank Pipeline, which transports natural gas from the Sui Gas Plant in central Pakistan to the port city of Karachi. The explosion interrupted the flow of gas to the city, causing a shortfall of 100 million cubic feet per day, a spokesman for the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) said. Repairs were expected to take 24 hours to 36 hours.
The attack was not the first against one of SSGC’s pipelines, which also supply gas to Quetta and several other cities along the Indus River. In 2001, at least two other pipeline bombings interrupted gas supplies to Quetta. Those attacks were linked unofficially to ethnic Balochis angry with the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Several attacks have been launched against gas fields as well.
The latest strike, however comes at a particularly troublesome time for the Pakistani government. Over the past few weeks, Islamabad has accelerated international discussions about potential gas lines through the region -- particularly the long-delayed Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline and the proposed Iran-India pipeline. The former links the natural gas fields in Turkmenistan with end users in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it could tie into a potential export terminal in Pakistan as well. The latter would transport Iranian gas to India via Pakistan.
Islamabad is touting establishment of both pipelines as potentially significant steps toward regional peace and cooperation. Construction of the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline alone would create 12,000 jobs in Afghanistan, according to Pakistani officials, not to mention supplying needed energy resources to spur social and economic development. And Pakistan would stand to gain access to the gas as well as $300 million a year in transit fees.
As for the Iran-India pipeline, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri said Dec. 9 that the project would significantly reduce tensions between Pakistan and India, contributing to regional peace and stability.
But the bombing a day later is a reminder of the tenuous security situation within Pakistan -- complicating matters for Islamabad as it tries to convince other parties that Pakistan is a good location for pipeline routes. New Delhi already has expressed skepticism concerning an overland pipeline route from Iran; it prefers an undersea route that would bypass Pakistan altogether. And foreign investors or lending agencies that Pakistan hopes to attract to assist in construction of the gas lines will insist on greater security assurances before putting money into the projects.
Thursday, December 5th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The end of Ramadan has stirred renewed concerns over the threat of a terrorist attack against U.S. citizens and the nation’s allies. Earlier this week, an al Qaeda statement posted to the Internet threatened a strike to coincide with the end of the Muslim holy season -- which is December 5 and 6. The statement said, "You have not learned your lesson."
"You did not understand the reasons for the raids of Washington and New York," said the al Qaeda statement, according to a translation of the message, which was posted on several Web sites that have carried al Qaeda messages in the past.
"Oh American people, you are the victim of your leaders, but you are also a partner in the war on us. The gift for the holiday is on its way," the statement continued. The translation was provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based service that translates and distributes articles from Arabic newspapers. U.S. intelligence officials said they were "mindful" of such threats and "not dismissive" of them. But, as one source said, "A heightened state of alert has been there for some time," including threats of attacks immediately before Ramadan, during it and immediately following the holiday. Al Qaeda’s mode of operation has changed since the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan put its leaders on the run. The group now is apparently choosing "softer" targets that are easy to hit.
One example was last Thursday’s twin attacks in Kenya -- a suicide bombing that killed 13 people at an Israeli-owned hotel and an unsuccessful missile firing at an Israeli airliner. Another was the October 12 bombing of a tourist hotel in usually serene Bali, Indonesia, that killed nearly 200 people. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for all three attacks. The organization claimed responsibility for the Kenya attacks in the same statement threatening new strikes at the end of Ramadan.
In another development Wednesday, the Arab news network Al-Jazeera said it received a fax purportedly from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, one of the most wanted men in the world. Titled an "end of Ramadan statement," the letter said America and its allies were spreading destruction and would face more "hostility, chaos and destruction." The letter has not been authenticated. One U.S. official could not vouch for its authenticity but said it is credible in the sense that is similar to what Omar has said in the past.
The United States believes Omar is alive but it is not known where he is hiding, the official said. Al-Jazeera would not tell CNN from what country it received the fax.
With the threats swirling, British officials closed their embassy in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on Wednesday after officials received a "specific threat." They would not identify the nature of the threat. In Washington, President Bush said he believes al Qaeda was behind the Kenya attacks and that bin Laden’s group "hates freedom."
"I believe al Qaeda will strike anywhere they can in order to disrupt a civil society and that’s why we’re on the hunt," he said. The United States and its allies, Bush said, are "slowly but surely" dismantling al Qaeda and he promised to "bring them to justice." In the al Qaeda statement, the group warned Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Africa and Asia: "Otherwise, you will reap death because of your stupidity in ignoring our warnings to you."
Saturday, November 23rd, 2002
: RCN Administrator
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful,"Permission to fight (against disbelievers) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged and surely, Allah is Able to give them (believers) victory" [Quran 22:39]
"Those who believe, fight in the Cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve, fight in the cause of Taghut (anything worshipped other than Allah e.g. Satan). So fight you against the friends of Satan; ever feeble is indeed the plot of Satan."[Quran 4:76]
Some American writers have published articles under the title ’On what basis are we fighting?’ These articles have generated a number of responses, some of which adhered to the truth and were based on Islamic Law, and others which have not. Here we wanted to outline the truth - as an explanation and warning - hoping for Allah’s reward, seeking success and support from Him.
While seeking Allah’s help, we form our reply based on two questions directed at the Americans:
(Q1) Why are we fighting and opposing you?
Q2)What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?
As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:
(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.
a) You attacked us in Palestine:
(i) Palestine, which has sunk under military occupation for more than 80 years. The British handed over Palestine, with your help and your support, to the Jews, who have occupied it for more than 50 years; years overflowing with oppression, tyranny, crimes, killing, expulsion, destruction and devastation. The creation and continuation of Israel is one of the greatest crimes, and you are the leaders of its criminals. And of course there is no need to explain and prove the degree of American support for Israel. The creation of Israel is a crime which must be erased. Each and every person whose hands have become polluted in the contribution towards this crime must pay its*price, and pay for it heavily.
(ii) It brings us both laughter and tears to see that you have not yet tired of repeating your fabricated lies that the Jews have a historical right to Palestine, as it was promised to them in the Torah. Anyone who disputes with them on this alleged fact is accused of anti-semitism. This is one of the most fallacious, widely-circulated fabrications in history. The people of Palestine are pure Arabs and original Semites. It is the Muslims who are the inheritors of Moses (peace be upon him) and the inheritors of the real Torah that has not been changed. Muslims believe in all of the Prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all. If the followers of Moses have been promised a right to Palestine in the Torah, then the Muslims are the most worthy nation of this.
When the Muslims conquered Palestine and drove out the Romans, Palestine and Jerusalem returned to Islaam, the religion of all the Prophets peace be upon them. Therefore, the call to a historical right to Palestine cannot be raised against the Islamic Ummah that believes in all the Prophets of Allah (peace and blessings be upon them) - and we make no distinction between them.
(iii) The blood pouring out of Palestine must be equally revenged. You must know that the Palestinians do not cry alone; their women are not widowed alone; their sons are not orphaned alone.
(b) You attacked us in Somalia; you supported the Russian atrocities against us in Chechnya, the Indian oppression against us in Kashmir, and the Jewish aggression against us in Lebanon.
(c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;
(i) These governments prevent our people from establishing the Islamic Shariah, using violence and lies to do so.
(ii) These governments give us a taste of humiliation, and places us in a large prison of fear and subdual.
(iii) These governments steal our Ummah’s wealth and sell them to you at a paltry price.
(iv) These governments have surrendered to the Jews, and handed them most of Palestine, acknowledging the existence of their state over the dismembered limbs of their own people.
(v) The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Ummah, to make the Shariah the supreme law and to regain Palestine. And our fight against these governments is not separate from out fight against you.
(d) You steal our wealth and oil at paltry prices because of you international influence and military threats. This theft is indeed the biggest theft ever witnessed by mankind in the history of the world.
(e) Your forces occupy our countries; you spread your military bases throughout them; you corrupt our lands, and you besiege our sanctities, to protect the security of the Jews and to ensure the continuity of your pillage of our treasures.
(f) You have starved the Muslims of Iraq, where children die every day. It is a wonder that more than 1.5 million Iraqi children have died as a result of your sanctions, and you did not show concern. Yet when 3000 of your people died, the entire world rises and has not yet sat down.
(g) You have supported the Jews in their idea that Jerusalem is their eternal capital, and agreed to move your embassy there. With your help and under your protection, the Israelis are planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque. Under the protection of your weapons, Sharon entered the Al-Aqsa mosque, to pollute it as a preparation to capture and destroy it.
(2) These tragedies and calamities are only a few examples of your oppression and aggression against us. It is commanded by our religion and intellect that the oppressed have a right to return the aggression. Do not await anything from us but Jihad, resistance and revenge. Is it in any way rational to expect that after America has attacked us for more than half a century, that we will then leave her to live in security and peace?!!
(3) You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offenses in which they did not partake:
(a) This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. Thus the American people have chosen, consented to, and affirmed their support for the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians, the occupation and usurpation of their land, and its continuous killing, torture, punishment and expulsion of the Palestinians. The American people have the ability and choice to refuse the policies of their Government and even to change it if they want.
(b) The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, the armies which occupy our lands in the Arabian Gulf, and the fleets which ensure the blockade of Iraq. These tax dollars are given to Israel for it to continue to attack us and penetrate our lands. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.
(c) Also the American army is part of the American people. It is this very same people who are shamelessly helping the Jews fight against us.
(d) The American people are the ones who employ both their men and their women in the American Forces which attack us.
(e) This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.
(f) Allah, the Almighty, legislated the permission and the option to take revenge. Thus, if we are attacked, then we have the right to attack back. Whoever has destroyed our villages and towns, then we have the right to destroy their villages and towns. Whoever has stolen our wealth, then we have the right to destroy their economy. And whoever has killed our civilians, then we have the right to kill theirs.
The American Government and press still refuses to answer the question:
Why did they attack us in New York and Washington?
If Sharon is a man of peace in the eyes of Bush, then we are also men of peace!!! America does not understand the language of manners and principles, so we are addressing it using the language it understands.
(Q2) As for the second question that we want to answer: What are we calling you to, and what do we want from you?
(1) The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.
(a) The religion of the Unification of God; of freedom from associating partners with Him, and rejection of this; of complete love of Him, the Exalted; of complete submission to His Laws; and of the discarding of all the opinions, orders, theories and religions which contradict with the religion He sent down to His Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam is the religion of all the prophets, and makes no distinction between them - peace be upon them all.
It is to this religion that we call you; the seal of all the previous religions. It is the religion of Unification of God, sincerity, the best of manners, righteousness, mercy, honour, purity, and piety. It is the religion of showing kindness to others, establishing justice between them, granting them their rights, and defending the oppressed and the persecuted. It is the religion of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil with the hand, tongue and heart. It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah’s Word and religion reign Supreme. And it is the religion of unity and agreement on the obedience to Allah, and total equality between all people, without regarding their colour, sex, or language.
(b) It is the religion whose book - the Quran - will remained preserved and unchanged, after the other Divine books and messages have been changed. The Quran is the miracle until the Day of Judgment. Allah has challenged anyone to bring a book like the Quran or even ten verses like it.
(2) The second thing we call you to, is to stop your oppression, lies, immorality and debauchery that has spread among you.
(a) We call you to be a people of manners, principles, honour, and purity; to reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling’s, and trading with interest.
We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation, that your leaders spread amongst you to conceal from you the despicable state to which you have reached.
(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:
(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?
(ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.
(iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.
(iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.
Who can forget your President Clinton’s immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he ’made a mistake’, after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?
(v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.
(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.
(vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.
(viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.
(xi) You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and*industries.
(x) Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.
(xi) That which you are singled out for in the history of mankind, is that you have used your force to destroy mankind more than any other nation in history; not to defend principles and values, but to hasten to secure your interests and profits. You who dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan, even though Japan was ready to negotiate an end to the war. How many acts of oppression, tyranny and injustice have you carried out, O callers to freedom?
(xii) Let us not forget one of your major characteristics: your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All*manners, principles and values have two scales: one for you and one for the others.
(a)The freedom and democracy that you call to is for yourselves and for white race only; as for the rest of the world, you impose upon them your monstrous, destructive policies and Governments, which you call the ’American friends’. Yet you prevent them from establishing democracies. When the Islamic party in Algeria wanted to practice democracy and they won the election, you unleashed your agents in the Algerian army onto them, and to attack them with tanks and guns, to imprison them and torture them - a new lesson from the ’American book of democracy’!!!
(b)Your policy on prohibiting and forcibly removing weapons of mass destruction to ensure world peace: it only applies to those countries which you do not permit to possess such weapons. As for the countries you consent to, such as Israel, then they are allowed to keep and use such weapons to defend their security. Anyone else who you suspect might be manufacturing or keeping these kinds of weapons, you call them criminals and you take military action against them.
(c)You are the last ones to respect the resolutions and policies of International Law, yet you claim to want to selectively punish anyone else who does the same. Israel has for more than 50 years been pushing UN resolutions and rules against the wall with the full support of America.
(d)As for the war criminals which you censure and form criminal courts for - you shamelessly ask that your own are granted immunity!! However, history will not forget the war crimes that you committed against the Muslims and the rest of the world; those you have killed in Japan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon and Iraq will remain a shame that you will never be able to escape. It will suffice to remind you of your latest war crimes in Afghanistan, in which densely populated innocent civilian villages were destroyed, bombs were dropped on mosques causing the roof of the mosque to come crashing down on the heads of the Muslims praying inside. You are the ones who broke the agreement with the Mujahideen when they left Qunduz, bombing them in Jangi fort, and killing more than 1,000 of your prisoners through suffocation and thirst. Allah alone knows how many people have died by torture at the hands of you and your agents. Your planes remain in the Afghan skies, looking for anyone remotely suspicious.
(e)You have claimed to be the vanguards of Human Rights, and your Ministry of Foreign affairs issues annual reports containing statistics of those countries that violate any Human Rights. However, all these things vanished when the Mujahideen hit you, and you then implemented the methods of the same documented governments that you used to curse. In America, you captured thousands the Muslims and Arabs, took them into custody with neither reason, court trial, nor even disclosing their names. You issued newer, harsher laws.
What happens in Guatanamo is a historical embarrassment to America and its values, and it screams into your faces - you hypocrites, "What is the value of your signature on any agreement or treaty?"
(3) What we call you to thirdly is to take an honest stance with yourselves - and I doubt you will do so - to discover that you are a nation without principles or manners, and that the values and principles to you are something which you merely demand from others, not that which you yourself must adhere to.
(4) We also advise you to stop supporting Israel, and to end your support of the Indians in Kashmir, the Russians against the Chechens and to also cease supporting the Manila Government against the Muslims in Southern Philippines.
(5) We also advise you to pack your luggage and get out of our lands. We desire for your goodness, guidance, and righteousness, so do not force us to send you back as cargo in coffins.
(6) Sixthly, we call upon you to end your support of the corrupt leaders in our countries. Do not interfere in our politics and method of education. Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.
(7) We also call you to deal with us and interact with us on the basis of mutual interests and benefits, rather than the policies of sub dual, theft and occupation, and not to continue your policy of supporting the Jews because this will result in more disasters for you.
If you fail to respond to all these conditions, then prepare for fight with the Islamic Nation. The Nation of Monotheism, that puts complete trust on Allah and fears none other than Him. The Nation which is addressed by its Quran with the words: "Do you fear them? Allah has more right that you should fear Him if you are believers. Fight against them so that Allah will punish them by your hands and disgrace them and give you victory over them and heal the breasts of believing people. And remove the anger of their (believers’) hearts. Allah accepts the repentance of whom He wills. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise." [Quran9:13-1]
The Nation of honour and respect:
"But honour, power and glory belong to Allah, and to His Messenger (Muhammad- peace be upon him) and to the believers." [Quran 63:8]
"So do not become weak (against your enemy), nor be sad, and you will be*superior ( in victory )if you are indeed (true) believers" [Quran 3:139]
The Nation of Martyrdom; the Nation that desires death more than you desire life:
"Think not of those who are killed in the way of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive with their Lord, and they are being provided for. They rejoice in what Allah has bestowed upon them from His bounty and rejoice for the sake of those who have not yet joined them, but are left behind (not yet martyred) that on them no fear shall come, nor shall they grieve. They rejoice in a grace and a bounty from Allah, and that Allah will not waste the reward of the believers." [Quran 3:169-171]
The Nation of victory and success that Allah has promised:
"It is He Who has sent His Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) with guidance and the religion of truth (Islam), to make it victorious over all other religions even though the Polytheists hate it." [Quran 61:9]
"Allah has decreed that ’Verily it is I and My Messengers who shall be victorious.’ Verily Allah is All-Powerful, All-Mighty." [Quran 58:21]
The Islamic Nation that was able to dismiss and destroy the previous evil Empires like yourself; the Nation that rejects your attacks, wishes to remove your evils, and is prepared to fight you. You are well aware that the Islamic Nation, from the very core of its soul, despises your haughtiness and arrogance.
If the Americans refuse to listen to our advice and the goodness, guidance and righteousness that we call them to, then be aware that you will lose this Crusade Bush began, just like the other previous Crusades in which you were humiliated by the hands of the Mujahideen, fleeing to your home in great silence and disgrace. If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.
This is our message to the Americans, as an answer to theirs. Do they now know why we fight them and over which form of ignorance, by the permission of Allah, we shall be victorious?
Wednesday, November 6th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
“NIW entrusts the Senate to denounce CEDAW and ensure the freedom of American Women to be Women,” reads the first line of NIW’s June 7, 2002 statement regarding the United Nations treaty on "The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" (CEDAW).
Twenty three years ago CEDAW was adopted as an international treaty when the requisite number of countries signed it. Many considered it the “International bill of rights for women.” Even President Carter signed the treaty in 1980. However, the treaty goes into effect only if ratified by the Senate, which has yet to happen. This makes the United States the only industrialized Democracy that is not a party to CEDAW.
On June 13th Senator Barbara Boxer of California held a hearing and called for the Senate to ratify CEDAW. The Justice Department is currently investigating how the CEDAW treaty would affect existing US legislation. In expectation of the CEDAW hearing, NIW issued a statement praising the United States "for daring to stand alone amongst industrialized democracies in choosing to advocate for the human rights of women without the encumbrance of CEDAW." Two decades of CEDAW implementation reveal the wisdom of this choice.
CEDAW DISCRIMINATES AGAINST WOMEN
On the one hand, most of the convention reads like a classic human rights document with which few take issue. On the other hand, the inclusion of new ambiguous language reads like a gender-engineering policy kit. The implementation of CEDAW has clarified the meaning of this gender-engineering language. Record demonstrates that this treaty has been interpreted to modify, prevent and eliminate a gender identity that is uniquely woman’s.
Beginning with the definition of discrimination in Art. 1 as, “any distinction… made on the basis of sex....” in the “political, economic, social, cultural, civil and any other field,” the object of the convention becomes null. What distinguishes woman becomes the object of suppression. In order to eliminate distinction between the sexes difference must be suppressed or ignored. This results in harm and discrimination against woman, because she is no longer allowed to develop distinctly from man.
This androgynous concept of the person, which allows no distinction between man and woman, ultimately results in the oppression of women and societal control of women’s fertility, since her fertility is one of her key distinctions from man. CEDAW is gradually eroding the freedom of women to be women.
WHY DO COUNTRIES SIGN ON TO CEDAW?
CEDAW does include the protection and fostering of many rights which are fundamental to all human persons. These include rights such as the right to marry, to found a family, to be educated, to own property and to work for a just wage. However, it is important to note that the articulation and protection of these rights is not novel to CEDAW. All of the aforementioned rights were first articulated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which was promulgated in 1948. For example, Art. 16 of the 1948 document states, “(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have a right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights in marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”
This same right is stated in CEDAW in Art. 16, “1. State Parties shall take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women: (a) The same right to enter into marriage (b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent (c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and at its dissolution…:”
The rights found in CEDAW are merely a restatement of those that have already been recognized in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which the United States, along with most other countries, ratified. Thus, the signatory country’s net gain for women is that which is unique to CEDAW: (1) the “right” to information and means to family planning and (2) the goal of the elimination of “any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at all levels and in all forms of education”(Art.10 c.). CEDAW calls on State parties in Art. 5 to, “modify the social and cultural patterns and conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.”
These two seemingly positive ordinances have been consistently used by the CEDAW Committee as tools for androgynous gender engineering and consequent oppression of women in signatory countries. A CEDAW Committee made up of 23 “experts” was established by the Convention to yearly review the implementation of the treaty by signatory countries. The Committee has the task to review reports submitted by countries and then make recommendation. The recommendations, and often reprimands, the CEDAW committee have given over the past years have, in large part, focused on the need for further rooting out of “stereotyped” gender roles through, in part, a push for more exposure of women to “reproductive health services.” In doing so, the committee has given clear meaning to these two ambiguous additions in the treaty.
A prime example is their reprimand of Armenia, for “traditional stereotyping of women in ‘the noble role of mother.’” Belarus was also chastised by the Committee for, “the continuing prevalence of sex-role stereotypes and by the reintroduction of such symbols as a Mother’s Day…which encourages women’s traditional roles.” The Committee stated, “It is also concerned whether introduction of human rights and gender education aimed at countering such stereotyping is being effectively implemented.” These reprimands by the Committee make it clear that motherhood is the role that is considered to be the harmful social and cultural “stereotype.” The nobility of motherhood is what signatory nations must take measures to “modify.” Countries that have ratified or acceded to CEDAW are legally bound to implement the Convention in its entirety. The Committee’s “recommendations” are not mere words or advice a country can easily choose to accept or not.
Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis rightly stated in her testimony at the recent CEDAW hearing, “these recommendations exert a great deal of informal pressure upon countries that depend upon United Nations funding of human aid programs.” The amount of authority and influence this 32 person Committee has over sovereign signatory countries is astounding! The CEDAW committee in its final report actually congratulated Algeria for allowing the UN treaty to take precedence over their domestic law.
If the United States signs this treaty American women would become instant targets for gender engineering. The development of our gender identity would be subject to “modification” by the government, which would be under the influence of the CEDAW committee. Our daughters would be taught that motherhood is demeaning and a discrimination against women.
At the Senate hearing several Senators suggested that the United States could ratify CEDAW for the rights the treaty does uphold while making reservations against the notion that motherhood is a “stereotype.” But, this is both unnecessary since we signed the Declaration of Human Rights and risky since the treaty specifically says that no reservations will be permitted that are, “incompatible with the object and purpose of the …Convention” (Art. 28.2.). Since gender engineering is the key component of CEDAW any reservations against such activity would be thrown out. This has been reiterated by the CEDAW committee in its General Recommendations no.4 (sixth session, 1987):
“Expressing concern in relation to the number of reservations that appeared to be incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention, [The Committee]…suggests that all State parties concerned reconsider such reservations with a view to withdrawing them.”
The good news is that not every US Senator is fully convinced about the ratification of CEDAW and neither is the White House. This gives us time to act. NIW is committed to informing Senators and the public of the dangers of CEDAW to the freedom of women. For women to enjoy human rights they must not only have the freedom to be persons but also the freedom to be mothers. Without this freedom it cannot be said that she is free to be a woman! CEDAW not only fails to eliminate discrimination against women who may want to be mothers but, on the contrary, it foments it.
Monday, November 4th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AK) took a massive win in Nov. 3 general elections, carrying 34.2 percent of the vote. Since only one other party crossed Turkey’s 10 percent threshold for parliamentary representation, the AK will command 363 of the 550 seats in parliament, four short of the number needed to amend the constitution.
But the AK is a party rooted in an Islamic past. If its leaders fail to play their cards carefully, that fact could cut the new government short. Turkey’s secular-minded military has intervened no fewer than four times since 1960 to oust Islamic-flavored governments, the last time in 1998. In fact, the military already has struck a pre-emptive blow against the AK: Its leader and prospective prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, has been barred by court order from holding public office.
Just because AK has Islamic roots, however, does not mean that any government it leads will be rife with radicals -- far from it. In fact, the as-yet-unformed AK government likely will embark on a broadly pro-Western agenda that will include acceptance of U.S. war aims concerning Iraq.
Erdogan and other party leaders went to great lengths in the weeks before and hours after the election to assure Europe and the United States that their victory would not disrupt relations. Equally soothing statements about commitments to secular principles were directed at Turkish generals. Moreover, the party has promised to stick to the International Monetary Fund’s strict regimen. Leaders also have made explicit pledges to continue the efforts of previous governments to join the European Union. Underscoring the desire to attain acceptance and calm nervous Westerners, Erdogan’s first foreign trip will be to Greece, Turkey’s traditional rival.
This is a relief to Brussels and Washington, neither of which has any interest in seeing Turkey spin away in a financial maelstrom. Ankara is critical to peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan and the Balkans, and it is the United States’ most reliable regional ally. But it would be wrong to conclude that the AK is being so friendly simply because it wants to -- in many ways, the new government will have little choice.
The AK inherits a wrecked economy, and its room for political and economic maneuvering is worryingly small. The political instability of past governments has done much to intensify the country’s current economic difficulties, and preliminary figures suggest Turkey’s GDP will contract this year in a manner similar to last year’s 6.5 percent decline. Only strong support from the IMF has staved off catastrophe: Turkey so far has swallowed $28 billion in IMF assistance, and if that were to cease, the economy probably would collapse outright.
Two things are needed to ensure a meltdown doesn’t occur. The first -- which the AK’s victory will provide -- is a majority government capable of ruling decisively. The second -- and more difficult to achieve -- is a set of domestic economic and foreign policies that will keep IMF aid flowing until Turkey can get back on its feet.
Hemmed In on All Sides
Despite its parliamentary majority, the AK-led government must maneuver carefully or risk imploding.
First and most obvious, the party must keep Turkey’s generals convinced that the state’s secular nature will not be threatened. Not only does the military retain the will and capability necessary to oust the AK, it also has a clear replacement in the wings: the Republican People’s Party (CHP), founded by Kemal Ataturk. The CHP, the only other party now represented in parliament, is equally pro-Western and secular.
Second, the AK must keep the United States happy or risk losing IMF funding. That means party leaders must find common ground with the United States on Iraq, despite their own misgivings about the possibility that a Kurdish state could be formed. The Kurdish issue tops the list of concerns for both the outgoing and incoming governments: No Turkish leader wants to see an independent Kurdistan on the state’s southeastern border, for fear that an only recently ended civil war -- which claimed more than 30,000 lives -- could reignite. If anything, an Islamic government likely would feel more strongly than its predecessor about keeping a Kurdish state from forming; it was during the last Islamic government that Turkey’s military campaign against Kurdish rebels turned most brutal.
If Ankara wants a say in Iraq’s post-war settlement, then it must play a part -- however tangential -- in the U.S. war effort. That means the new government likely will allow the United States to use Turkish airspace for strikes, without letting its own forces become embroiled in the war. The coming weeks should witness furious interplay as Ankara and Washington hammer out an agreement. Should relations begin to sour, the U.S. reaction will be loud and clear: Ankara need look no further than debt-ridden Buenos Aires to see how that would turn out.
The AK indeed appears different and more secular than any previous "Islamic" party in Turkey, but if history is any guide, its tenure ultimately will be cut short. At the end of the day, the party simply will have very little room to maneuver. If it adopts a practical foreign policy, then it can count on firm support from the military, the EU, the United States, the IMF and even the opposition CHP. But should leaders push the political envelope too far -- for example, by vacillating on Iraq or promoting traditional Islamic causes -- any number of hazards easily could cause the government’s downfall. In fact, the military even might step in if it suspects an AK action would trigger Washington’s hand.
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2002
: RCN Administrator
A fresh outbreak of fighting between Northern Alliance factions ighlights the continued ineffectiveness of Afghanistan’s central government. Warlords who have a stake in the government are only behaving long enough to receive international aid while those outside the government are motivated to cause its collapse.
Fighting has broken out between rival factions of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. The Afghan Islamic Press reported that clashes occurred Jan. 20 and 21 between forces belonging to ethnic Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum and ethnic Tajik fighters in the northern Kunduz province.
The violence is further evidence that Afghanistan is rapidly devolving into the factionalism and warlordism that gripped the country a decade ago. Those groups that are represented in the new interim Afghan government will attempt to keep a lid on ethnic infighting only long enough to receive Western aid while those factions left out will encourage the use of violence to expose the government’s frailty.
Afghanistan is breaking apart faster than the new government is coming together. It is becoming increasingly unlikely that leaders in Kabul will be able to establish any degree of authority in the country. This puts extended reconstruction plans at risk and will encourage the industrialized world to step away from its involvement in Afghanistan.
Details about the fighting in Kunduz are sketchy. All sources agree that Dostum’s Uzbek forces were engaged in the battle, but the affiliation of the Tajiks is unconfirmed. Media reports suggest that they may either be under the command of interim Defense Minister Mohammed Fahim, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani or Rabbani loyalist Mohammed Daoud.
All three are Tajiks with strong support bases in the area. Fahim was allied with Rabbani until recently, when he and other younger Tajiks excluded the former president from the new government.
The clashes broke out around the Qala Zaal area, about 40 miles west of Kunduz. The fighting was fierce by Afghan standards: Some 11 men were killed and more than a dozen injured, Afghan Islamic Press reported. The battle appeared to be aimed at taking command of the Zaal district in order to control access to the Tajikistan border.
The fighting occurred at the same time that international donor states met in Tokyo to put together an aid package for Afghanistan. By the end of the conference on Jan. 22, the various participants had pledged $1.8 billion for Afghanistan’s reconstruction this year and $4.5 billion over the longer term. Most of the money will be funneled to the interim Afghan government headed by Hamid Karzai.
The recent battle itself is relatively unimportant in regard to Afghanistan’s future. But the cast of characters in the fight highlights important trends in the country’s internal politics. If the Tajik fighters are under the command of Defense Minister Fahim, the fight will likely be an isolated incident -- although it is probable that similar limited skirmishes will break out from time to time. Both Dostum and Fahim managed to get positions in the new government and are awaiting the aid money. Neither has any affection for the other, but both likely realize the benefits of keeping open warfare to a minimum in the coming months in order to squeeze more financial assistance out of the international community.
They also know that international donors will tolerate, and probably expect, a low level of violence between the country’s various competing factions. But outright warfare will quickly turn off the financial taps. Once it appears that the international aid well has finally run dry, Dostum and Fahim will fall back into their old habits.
However, if former Rabbani or his ally Daoud is controlling the Tajiks, there will be much more ethnic infighting with greater intensity. Rabbani held the Northern Alliance presidency for most of the last decade but was rather unceremoniously dumped when a new regime was installed after the Taliban’s collapse. As such, he and others who are not included in the new government have a vested interest in making the interim administration look as inept as possible. Slowing the aid inflows, or sowing dissent between the Uzbeks and the Tajiks, may render the new government ineffective and allow Rabbani to return to power. No matter what the case, it is clear that Afghanistan is rapidly returning to the state it was in when the Soviet army left over a decade ago. The authority of Karzai’s central government does not extend much past Kabul, and a recent bombing outside the U.S. Embassy there shows that the leader does not even have full control of his capital city. Afghanistan is being divvied up between the same ethnic groups and strongmen that controlled it in the 1990s.
Iranian-backed Ismail Khan controls the west, Dostum controls the north, Tajiks loyal to Rabbani or Fahim control the northeast, Durrani Pushtuns under tribal chief Gul Agha control the southern provinces by Kandahar and a number of Ghilzai Pushtuns control the southeast. Ethnic Hazaras control several central provinces, and warlords control the area around Jalalabad. The only lever Karzai’s interim government has is its ability to distribute aid money. But Karzai is in a difficult position. If he gives out money too freely, the warlords will not need him. If he holds the aid close, the warlords will figure that they’ll never get the cash, so there is no use behaving. Either way, he faces an increasingly volatile situation.
Monday, September 9th, 2002
: RCN Administrator
Osama is dead.
Osama is alive, leading a reconstituted al Qaeda from somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistani border.
Al Qaeda is being led by bin Laden’s son.
Al Qaeda is fragmenting into smaller mega-cells, coordinated from Iran by third-tier commanders.
Trying to discern the viability of al Qaeda and the status of its war with the United States through such sparse and conflicting allegations and tactical details is doomed to failure. There is simply insufficient information available about this elusive and dynamic foe to craft a coherent picture of al Qaeda one year after Sept. 11.
This is the core intelligence problem that faces the United States and its allies. Al Qaeda is a globally distributed irregular army waging a low-grade, unconventional war. Washington has no clear initial order of battle for al Qaeda, no measure of the disruption caused by U.S. countermeasures since Sept. 11, no gauge of the group’s regeneration rate and no reliable count of its casualties.
If we are to make any sense of the war to date from al Qaeda’s perspective, we must pull back to the 30,000-foot level and focus on the simple and irreducible facts. We must juxtapose al Qaeda’s war aims and capabilities with Washington’s war aims and countermeasures if we are to have any hope of narrowing our understanding of al Qaeda’s status.
The U.S. war aim is simple: don’t get bombed again. Another attack at any time would be a failure for Washington. But it is impossible to achieve this goal with a strictly defensive strategy, so Washington has been forced to charge, half blind, into a battlefield spanning the globe, with the clock ticking.
Al Qaeda’s war aim is far more complex: re-establish an Islamic empire stretching from Morocco to Mindanao. This goal is no less difficult to achieve than that of the United States in the long run. But the key freedom of time and multiple available avenues gives al Qaeda much more flexibility in crafting its strategy.
The group has no delusion that its 3,000 or so members will be able to drive the United States from the oil-rich Middle East on their own. Al Qaeda always positioned itself as a vanguard, leading a jihad that it fully expected to unite individuals and groups from across the Islamic world. Its goal was to inspire popular uprisings against the secular and pro-Western regimes of the Middle East, gradually increasing its havens and sources of support while denying the same to U.S. forces.
To achieve this goal, al Qaeda set out to undermine U.S. credibility by demonstrating its ability to strike the continental United States and survive the ensuing retaliation. It would then attempt to shape the war, pitting the United States against Islam, illustrating the collaborationist nature of local regimes and drawing the United States ever deeper into conflicts across the region.
A great part of this strategy involves manipulating Washington into doing al Qaeda’s work for it. The group does not need to maintain a high tempo of attacks if it can control U.S. perceptions of the state of the war and control and constrain U.S. actions. In the meantime, al Qaeda can husband its limited resources to attack only when and where necessary to achieve maximum results and maintain the war’s momentum.
Al Qaeda has had very mixed results over the past year. The Sept. 11 attacks vividly demonstrated al Qaeda’s ability to hurt the United States. It destroyed highly symbolic buildings and inflicted a substantial loss of life. It temporarily shut down the financial and transportation sectors, refocused U.S. foreign policy around the globe and instigated a full-scale attack on Afghanistan and a smaller U.S. foray into the Philippines.
But the United States did not take the hit to its credibility that al Qaeda had hoped. Yes, Americans were hit at home, but they pounded back, unseating the one regime that did provide safe harbor for al Qaeda. And Washington continues to pursue its offensive strategy, demanding and receiving support as often as it asks diplomatically for assistance. Washington not only increased its existing military presence in the Islamic world, it established new bases around the Middle East.
The United States certainly has been drawn deeper into conflict. Washington’s war aim necessitates a proactive defense, and al Qaeda’s dispersal requires an offensive campaign to reach deeper into the social fabric of many countries. But at the same time, the perception that the United States is at war with Islam does not appear to have gained ground in the Islamic world.
Yes, the war has generated friction between Washington and Islamic regimes, as well as with secular regimes in the Islamic world and erstwhile allies outside the region. But neither the U.S. offensive nor al Qaeda’s fatwas appear to have triggered a broad answer to the call for jihad in defense of Islam. The war has driven Middle East regimes to ally with each other in the interest of national sovereignty and regional stability, but not in terms of a broad Islamic front.
Most significantly, there have been no popular uprisings in support of al Qaeda. U.S.-allied regimes in the Middle East have at best faced only sporadic and ephemeral demonstrations. Judging from al Qaeda videos, documents and its own doctrine, this muted response must have come as a major surprise and disappointment.
After all, Sept. 11 was not the first strike in a strategic bombing campaign. It was a recruiting ad. And if that couldn’t bring in the recruits, what would? Al Qaeda appears to be preaching to the choir thus far, inspiring only fellow militants.
As for demonstrating its ability to strike and survive, the group has been pummeled by U.S. countermeasures, which shattered its haven in Afghanistan and dispersed its forces. Broad sweeps in the United States and by allied intelligence services shut down logistical and communications networks, froze bank accounts and netted hundreds of people who may or may not be al Qaeda operatives.
But for all that, nobody claims al Qaeda has been destroyed. Quite the contrary, the United States continuously asserts that the organization survived, is reforming and that even its senior leaders escaped destruction. In the run-up to the anniversary of the attacks, Washington has closed embassies abroad and raised the alert level at home.
Still, since Sept. 11 there have been no major follow-on attacks, and minor ones have been thwarted or have occurred outside the United States in countries like Tunisia. This raises the question of why? Should more attacks be expected, and if so when?
STRATFOR continues to debate two views on this. The first argues that al Qaeda never intended to strike again so soon after Sept. 11. The group has an extremely patient and conservative pattern of operations. It husbands its scarce and, in the case of suicide bombers, irreplaceable resources to achieve the maximum "bang for the buck."
Given its need to carry out major, complex, inspirational attacks with minimal resources, in areas far from its home base, al Qaeda puts the highest priority on security. Blown operations require starting from scratch, a costly prospect if they took years of planning and preparation. Al Qaeda does not act rashly or unnecessarily but picks the time and place of its attacks to maximize the chances of success, relying on sympathizers to fill in the gaps between major operations with smaller strikes. It is in no hurry. The Islamic empire was not built in a day.
Al Qaeda saw no reason to change its modus operandi or tempo of operations simply because of the magnitude of the Sept. 11 attacks. Actually, judging by the multiple redundancies it built into the attack plan and the response of al Qaeda leaders after Sept. 11, it appears the group was surprised by the magnitude of the success it achieved. At the same time, al Qaeda clearly expected a much greater popular response to the attacks, with sympathizers launching strikes of their own.
Whatever it expected to achieve on Sept. 11, al Qaeda knew the United States would strike back hard, but beyond Afghanistan it could not anticipate how hard or where the retaliation would come. A security conscious organization would not expend resources on a series of partially prepared operations, given the risk that some or all of them would be struck in the U.S. retaliation.
Rather it would wait, first dispersing to avoid the main thrust of the U.S. response, then evaluating the damage it sustained, then regrouping and restructuring to compensate for the new battlefield situation. Only then would it begin to plan for the next major attack.
This appears to be the pattern the group followed, with damage evaluation underway by late spring, and regrouping and restructuring underway over the past month or two. It appears that uncertainty over the degree to which their networks have been compromised has led al Qaeda’s leaders to disaggregate command and control and spawn several smaller "baby al Qaedas" throughout the region.
This will limit damage to al Qaeda as a whole -- should one or more of these groups be compromised -- and could even increase the tempo of attacks. But with fewer resources and increased isolation, attacks by these groups likely will be smaller and more subject to failure than those carried out by the former organization. Also, evidence suggests that al Qaeda is falling back on an even older strategy and is reviving the guerrilla war it knew well in 1980s Afghanistan and prepared to wage in Somalia until U.S. forces pulled out of there in 1993.
The alternative argument is that al Qaeda planned follow-on strikes to Sept. 11 but for some reason did not carry them out. The argument is that the change in magnitude represented by the attacks reflected a new al Qaeda doctrine and marked the beginning of a new phase of the war, to be matched by a change in tempo of operations as well. That attacks did not occur represented one of two possible developments.
The first is that al Qaeda grossly miscalculated the effectiveness of U.S. countermeasures, and when it came up for air, it was confronted both by substantial damage to its networks and by the intelligence problem of uncertainty over what was compromised but not yet eliminated. This would have sent al Qaeda into the same cycle of damage evaluation, regrouping, restructuring and operational planning described above.
The alternative is that al Qaeda’s leaders had to know what was going to hit them, given what they hoped to achieve on Sept. 11. They must have anticipated at least a temporary isolation of al Qaeda’s high command and therefore planned for semi-autonomous follow-on strikes.
But events surprised them. First, they did not have to fight for survival and credibility. They were surprised by the ineffectiveness of U.S. military and intelligence operations against al Qaeda. Moreover, Washington did not declare victory but instead continued to trumpet the ongoing threat posed by al Qaeda.
As long as the United States acted as al Qaeda’s public relations department, the group did not have to strike again to prove itself viable. Al Qaeda was under no pressure to "use it or lose it." Second, there were no popular Islamic uprisings, suggesting al Qaeda needed to rethink the deployment of its forces and the focus of its attacks.
Whether follow-on attacks were planned or not, the result is largely the same.
One year later, al Qaeda is still alive, though it has yet to show that it survived with the functionality to strike again. The structure of the organization was damaged, but the individuals and the ideology continue to exist. It can re-form to fit circumstances. Al Qaeda is popular in the Middle East, but its attack was not particularly inspirational.
Al Qaeda retains the initiative. It is still forcing the United States to react to shadows in the night, while Washington is slowly becoming bogged down in Afghanistan and is still struggling with coalition games on its proactive strategy toward Iraq.
Neither al Qaeda nor the United States seems to have much traction, nor does either have a real grip on the tempo of operations.
Al Qaeda has flexibility that allows its survival, but if it is to bolster its own credibility and gain control of the tempo of the war, it needs to move into the next phase and resume strikes. It must demonstrate that the lack of follow-on strikes has been its choice, not the result of the effectiveness of U.S. countermeasures.
And so, a year later, the focus turns to the United States. Has it constructed the defensive perimeters necessary to thwart the next serious attempt by al Qaeda?