01 april 2005
Al Qaeda's grand strategy
Today I bumped into this summary of a public lecture by professor Michael Doran of Princeton on Al Qaeda's grand strategy.
Here are just a few interesting points that the professor made:
- "Even without a well-developed command and control network, it is possible to say that Al Qaeda has a grand strategy."
- "Al Qaeda assumed from the beginning that their organization would be very fragmented."
- "Al Qaeda's intellectuals consider themselves in the middle of a very long term struggle."
- "Al Qaeda is saying, in general, that we’re living through a transitional period in history."
- "The goal of al Qaeda, therefore, is to force the contraction of that American/'puppet state' power. This contraction will open up spaces for radical Islam to grow in power unmolested."
- "They recognized that public opinion matters. With the right public face, the radicals believed that they could divide the "bad guys."."
- "According to al Qaeda, the current stage of revolution is the stage of “vexation and exhaustion” of the enemy. They have a notion of how to do this to the Americans and to their 'puppets'."
- "So al Qaeda claims it represents all of Islam, the true Islam, but "if you actually look at what they are doing on the ground, they play to the interests and perceptions of different groups."
Check out the complete story. In the end, Doran "is optimistic that al Qaeda will lose this struggle within Islam, even if it takes a generation for the victory of al Qaeda's enemies to become clear". Let's hope he is right. Personally, I believe that much will depend of how much we in the West take proud in our system of free markets and democracy and, in my opinion even more importantly, of our will to defend it.