Al-Qaida: A Necessity
for America and Zionism
By Abdurrahman Ghanim
Translated By Jackson Allan
12 January 2013
Edited by Laurence Bouvard.
Syria - al-Thawra - Original Article (Arabic)
In recent times, opinions assessing America’s position on al-Qaida have varied. On this topic, it is possible to say that there are three perspectives:
1. The first perspective is that al-Qaida is a subordinate of the United States and is controlled by it. The United States steers and manipulates al-Qaida as it wishes. If this weren’t the case, it would be impossible for the countries and groups that are completely controlled by the United States, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the al-Mustaqbal movement in Lebanon, to provide money, weapons and logistical services to al-Qaida.
2. The second perspective is that the United States divides al-Qaida’s terrorism into two categories: the beneficial and commendable type that is directed against those that the United States itself targets and is therefore useful, and the type that is harmful and unacceptable, which directs its strikes against the United States and its Western partners and thus must be struck at. In this way, the United States turns a blind eye to activity of the first type, or encourages it, while working to suppress the second type as it appears.
3. Proponents of the third perspective believe that the United States wants to unburden itself of al-Qaida, so it sets the greater part of the organization upon countries like Syria and Iraq, in order to annihilate it, while it chases the remnants in other places in order to kill and weaken them.
There is no doubt that each of these three perspectives has evidence supporting it, making it difficult for us to neutralize one in favor of another. However, understanding the American position completely demands a more comprehensive analysis.
Any complete and serious analysis must begin from the question of the nature of the United States’ strategic goals and the nature of the measures that it can resort to in order to realize these goals.
No one can debate the fact that America’s short-term goal is to create what is called the “New Middle East,” and targeting Syria and Iran is a part of this goal, while its long-term strategic goal is to strike at the rising economic, military and political power of both Russia and China. Succeeding in the first goal is a step along the path of achieving the second goal. Let’s limit our thinking at the moment to the first goal, the New Middle East, which is openly declared and publicly known.
Indeed, just talking about a “New Middle East” means a reformation. The reformation can take two forms:
1. Changing the systems of government in the region while the geographical borders of the countries remain unchanged.
2. Redrawing the map of the region on a religious, sectarian, confessional and ethnic basis.
In relation to the first, it may suffice to point to the attempts that we have seen to enable political Islam, represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and those like it, to take control of systems of government on the background of what is known as the “Arab Spring,” in which political Islam is taking the place of the nationalist and semi-nationalist approaches to politics, government and so on. But these enabling efforts do incite wonder, especially when some of the regimes that have been deposed were originally supporters of the United States. We must wonder about America’s interest in deposing Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his party, Hosni Mubarak and his party and Ali Abdullah Saleh and some of his party’s power, in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood or any other group. Even when we look at the attempt targeting the Syrian system of government in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls the Istanbul Council and the Doha Coalition*, we must wonder about what America’s interest is in a move of that kind.
Some may say that the “accords” and “agreements” concluded between the American administration and the Muslim Brotherhood leaderships explain why America has adopted these groups. However, rational considerations say that having any group, whether nationalist, Islamic or internationalist, take power over the region, is not beneficial to the United States or Israel, whose interests, security and expansionist plans are seen as an element of American policy. This is because it is logical, if that happens, for such a group to strive to unite the region under its leadership. The unification of the region, regardless of the identity of the party or parties that achieve it, is a mortal danger to Israel and its plan. Thus, Israel’s strategy is based on “strategic fragmentation” of the region and obstructing its unity in any form. The reason for that is simple: If Washington guarantees the loyalty of one leadership elite or another in a specific period, this guarantee won’t be permanent. The Angel of Death may intervene and claim the souls of some people; a coup may occur within the party in which a new leadership group replaces the other; or a change may occur, through democratic means or violence, in which an elite that is more compliant with the people’s demands replaces the elite with which the Americans had become friends and the Israelis had felt at ease. Politics, when connected to strategic considerations, is not a game of poker based upon gambling.
This understanding of the issue makes us positively believe that America’s sanctioning and use of the Muslim Brotherhood, or “moderate Islam,” as they call it, at this current stage is just a phase. This phase has two objectives:
The first is to exploit political Islam as a means of removing and weakening the nationalist approach, and any similar approach, in exchange for strengthening the fundamentalist trends.
The second is to make political Islam a gateway to sectarian, confessional and ethnic conflicts, which lead to the fragmentation of the territorial bodies which currently exist and their reformation as smaller, mutually antagonistic entities.
With such a plan, the role of al-Qaida, and similar groups of religious transgressors claiming to be Salafists, becomes a necessity. This is because it is illogical to assume that the Muslim Brotherhood, when it takes power in some countries, will act like a headless chicken. Logic denotes that they will try, at the very least, to consolidate the foundations of their power and preserve the unity of the country in which they have taken control, contrary to America and Israel’s plan. This kind of behavior is antagonistic to the goal towards which Washington is striving. However, we must think, in this context, about how the issue of southern Sudan was dealt with, which ended with the division of Sudan into north and south and the continuation of attempts to further divide North Sudan, and consider that to be one model of strategic fragmentation.
From this angle, we can be certain that America and Israel do have an interest in seeing the survival of al-Qaida and other extremist organizations of religious transgressors. This is because these organizations are some of the tools used in the second phase in the implementation of the New Middle East plan. This interest has no connection whatsoever with the issue of regulating the nature of the relationship between al-Qaida, on the one hand, and America and the Zionist entity on the other.
It may be logical to say that the United States has worked to lure a not-insignificant portion of al-Qaida’s personnel from Afghanistan and Pakistan itself in order to transport them to Syria, which removes them from the Afghan theater and, therefore, relieves the Americans of some of the reasons behind the predicament that their forces face there. Perhaps America and Saudi Arabia worked together to attract a portion of al-Qaida’s personnel from Yemen and transport them to Syria, in order to reduce al-Qaida’s capabilities in Yemen and lessen the danger that they pose to Saudi influence in that country—an issue exposed in the agreement to move al-Qaida fighters from Abyan in the Zinjibar governorate to Syria.** Tactical goals like these, which include getting rid of as large a number of al-Qaida personnel as possible in some theaters of combat, are possible even though al-Qaida will remain one of the tools which is indispensable in the second stage of America’s “New Middle East” plan, whether this role comes to the organization by chance or because the player allocating roles—which is, of course, America—allocates them as such.
What has actually happened in Syria is that America has been forced to skip some phases. The original plan assumed that the conspiracy would accomplish its goal of changing the governmental system by enlisting, in the beginning, the support of what is known as the “Free Army,” which is made up of the Muslim Brotherhood and local, irregular militants from within the group that it was able to mobilize. Al-Qaida, or the organizations linked to it, played a limited supportive role in the beginning. But the “Free Army,” as it is called, was unable to accomplish the goal or even come closer to it. This led to the influx of al-Qaida personnel, so that the group known as the “al-Nusra Front” has now become stronger than the group known as the “Free Army.” In some areas, the state of affairs has evolved to the point where the al-Nusra Front has begun cleansing the group known as the “Free Army” for the benefit of their private project.
A development like this constitutes an embarrassment for the Americans for a number of reasons, which are summarized below.
1. America, which claims that its role is to adopt what it calls “moderate Islam” and which sees the Muslim Brotherhood as representing this strain, has found itself facing the tyranny of the al-Nusra Front, a subsidiary of al-Qaida, and the fact that its subordinates in the region are funding, arming and providing services to the group. Thus, it has fallen into the trap of being a state that sponsors terrorism, and this has embarrassed the American administration in front of its own people and all other peoples around the world, especially given that this adoption of the terrorism which al-Qaida practices will likely mean that all the subsequent roles that al-Qaida may play will be seen as occurring with Washington’s praise and approval.
2. The role of the al-Nusra Front in Syria, if this role and its effect on Syria’s unity become entrenched, will probably reveal the final goal of the New Middle East plan prematurely, which will hinder the implementation of this plan in other countries.
3. If the al-Nusra Front’s role in Syria grows larger and more serious, whether the group succeeds or fails to achieve its goals, its role will probably be exacerbated in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan. The New Middle East plan does not aim, fundamentally, to enable al-Qaida or other groups to take control over the region. Rather, its goal is to fragment the region. Thus, the role intended for al-Qaida—to act as a fuse or detonator—means that its power must not exceed a certain limit. If that happens, then America’s meddling has backfired. It is natural to assume that if al-Qaida’s role in Syria broadens, the group will boomerang back at the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Generally speaking, what applies to the Muslim Brotherhood or any nationalist movements also applies to al-Qaida: The aggressing powers*** see the unification of the region, under any group, as an obstacle to the Zionist project.
There are now indications that the core of Hilary Clinton’s problem with the American administration**** is the fact that al-Qaida has grown beyond a certain level and become a problem that the Americans cannot control. There is also evidence suggesting that the Saudi family have begun to feel frightened by the rising number of their kingdom’s citizens who are members of al-Qaida, which has spurred the family to sabotage Syria in the hope of avoiding the return of those citizens to the kingdom and their potential to aggravate the problems within it. This can be understood from the latest fatwas released by a Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh. This means that attempts are occurring to contain the chaos which they are creating in Syria within certain limits, so that the chaos benefits themselves and the damage is inflicted upon others. This is a delicate matter that, we believe, is not easy to control precisely. At the end of the day, all that remains to be said is that the course of events have confirmed and continue to confirm that, to America and Zionism, al-Qaida is a necessary tool—just as long as its activities are subject to the greatest degree of control and to the possibility of an intervention, in some circumstances, to weaken the organization or destroy its cells.
*Translator’s note: The author is referring to the Syrian National Council and the Syrian National Coalition.
**Translator’s note: The author is referring to reports that circulated in September 2012 about a deal struck between al-Qaida in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, which emanated from a Yemeni newspaper’s interview with Sheikh Tariq al-Fadli.
***Translator’s note: The United States and its allies.
****Translator’s note: The author is probably referring to speculation about an Obama-Clinton rift that arose in the wake of questions over responsibility for the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi, September 2012.
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