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By Jacques Amalric
July 14, 2005
Liberation - Original Article (French)
It has long been suspected, but the attacks
on London, after those of Madrid, confirm it: al-Qaeda is not a pyramid-shaped edifice,
but a banner under which a fanatical group of ideologues sell their strategy.
A strategy whose top priorities are the overthrow of Arab regimes (and, incidentally,
Muslim regimes) judged as corrupt, and the establishment of the mythical caliphate.
Hence the necessity of putting an end -- by all means -- to the support that
This strategy is clearly and cynically exposed
in an internal al-Qaeda instructional document, discovered at the end of 2003
by the Norwegian intelligence services. Notably, it reads: "It is necessary
to make the best use of the Spanish legislative elections in March 2004. We
think that the Spanish authorities will not be able to withstand more than two
or three blows, after which they will have to withdraw from
The al-Qaeda text does not discuss arrangements
for the attacks against London, but estimates that, "a withdrawal of Spanish
or Italian forces from
We are also aware, today, that the British
services foiled several attempted attacks against
The innovation of the London attacks, if it is confirmed by investigators, would be the entry into action of kamikazes. A paradoxically terrible innovation and at the same time, relatively reassuring; terrible because it is practically unstoppable, in accord with this remark by an antiterrorism expert: "We must prevent every attempt, whereas the terrorists need to succeed only once"; reassuring because suicide assassins certainly show their need to circumvent security measures which have prevented, up to now, massive attacks like September 11.
Before and even after the attacks on Madrid, George W. Bush had the habit of learnedly explaining, to justify the Iraqi operation, that it was better to fight Islamism terrorism “over there than here." One recalls how the Spaniards, outraged by the maneuvering of Aznar, responded to [Bush] indirectly. One certainly need not fear the same reaction from the British, who are ready to take up the terrorist challenge and to support, no matter what they thought of sending their 10,000 soldiers – still stationed in Iraq, although stationed in the Shiite south, and therefore relatively safe from attack.—C-SPAN VIDEO: What Motivates Suicide Terrorists? Interview With Robert Pape, Author of, Dying to Win: The Secret Logic of Suicide Terrorism', July 17, 00:59:11
There will, however, come a day when a majority of Americans understand that the fight against terrorism is not a war, and that it will not be won upon some unknown field of battle. It is a long-term affair, mixing police cooperation, a respect for the basic rights of suspects (which have been trodden under foot, in Guantanamo and Baghdad, when certain prisoners, for the purposes of torture, have been passed on to "friendly" dictatorships that Washington trusts) and policy. It implies patience, resolution and courage, because we will live a long time with Islamist terrorists, even those who today think themselves well-protected.
It will not be carried out without sacrifice; social (if one wants to drain the tanks of potential terrorists from all Western countries), territorial (such as the necessity for a Palestinian State, and a solution to the Kashmir problem), but also commercial.