Al Qada’s oral comments against Obama have been quite frequent and shrill.
They have responded assertively such as announcing that Jamal al-Badawi has been appointed second in command of the al Qaeda of Yemen, immediately after Obama announced the closing of Guantanamo. Al-Badawi had been years ago turned over by the US to Yemen, to face execution for his part in the bombing a US ship, the Cole, but escaped, then later turned himself in as part of an, at first, successful amnesty program where terrorists would admit that bin Laden’s interpretation of the Koran was far too harsh, and agree to be more nonviolent and along with the others who agreed, then released. Many US hawks are using Al-Badawi to claim that Guantanamo needs to stay open, even though he was never there. This is obviously partly what al Qaeda wanted to happen.
Several terror experts were very worried about a massive al Qaeda terror attack during the transition period between Presidents. James Lewis, a security expert with the Centre of Strategic and International Studies expressed fear that al Qaeda would attack after Obama began serving as President to make Obama look bad.
To back up a moment if Obama lashed out at the frequent al Qaeda insults against him, and warned of an immanent terror attack, just doing so, might make it more likely to happen. But keeping quiet means people will lash out against Obama for at least not warning us. Something al Qaeda would want.
A link to James Lewis’s warning in the London Times then other background reference follows,
Before Pearl Harbor there was last minute negotiations where Japan sent its ambassador to Washington to negotiate and end the blockage of Japan, clearly indicating that war would result if the negotiations failed, but the American troops were sleeping peaceably during the early morning Pearl Harbor was about to be attacked despite clear indications that war was at the most weeks away. Before 9/11, Gary Hart, once a Presidential candidate, crisscrossed the country warning that giant jet liners filled with fuel were potentially very effective bombs, but well over 99% of the public was totally shocked.
Many wonder about 9/11, if administration officials followed up Richard Perle’s call to allow a wake up call to happen. And with World War II, wonder whether Roosevelt had time to alert the commanders in the Pacific, that the Japanese ambassador received a secret communique that the war was starting early. During World War II, the Axis secret code had been broken. Had Germany and Japan figured this out, a lot more Americans would have died during World War II, possibly even the West would have been occupied territory for a while.
We shouldn’t keep quiet about the fact that Obama is threatening the bin Laden wing of al Qaeda’s dreams of a permanent Muslim warring class, and of the possibility of Islam, due to war, again becoming a united nation like in the 12th century. If Obama makes breakthroughs with some Muslims it will only increase al Qaeda’s fear of being isolated, such as before 9/11 when Muslims en-mass were disgusted with Taliban extremism. Living the next four years with hope under Obama and at the same time ignoring the fact that al Qaeda, and some other groups have their livelihoods and way of life threatened by peace won’t work. People can be afraid of losing their job or their government contracts, or even US foreign aid which they partially depend on. Not noting this (in my mind) very severely limits the reason for hope.
In Northern Ireland, just before peace broke out, both Protestants and Catholics became very worried that militants on their side would sponsor a terror attack to disrupt the peace process. This fear that fellow Catholics or Protestants might get angry at them, not the enemy, if there was a terror attack during peace negotiations allowed peace to occur. This unlike between India and Pakistan when peace negotiations looked promising, extremists managed to disrupt them. When a peace train was set up to allow long separated relatives to finally be able to visit each other, the first train was bombed and attacked. And a more recently an attack in India on tourist hotels etc, when the peace process looked like it was going to go further.
There is a common theory that when one side shows weakness the other side attacks. What is actually happening more likely is that when one side takes steps toward peace, militants on both sides fear that their livelihood and prestige are about to end, they take steps to preserve their way of life.
Bin Laden likes economic targets. The world trade center was supposedly the center hub for US business. Destroying it caused far less economic damage than bin Laden expected. The doctor’s plot critically warned by a cryptic al Qaeda message, "Those who heal you will kill you" (had it succeeded) would have stopped England and the US from allowing professionals such as doctors to get visas to stay and work. Earlier German business interests were crying because particularly foreign computer professionals weren’t allowed to work in Germany, putting German business at a disadvantage. Sending super skilled engineers home could disrupt our economy.
Al Qaeda knows that if the US keeps spending a fortune on drone aircraft to prevent a pilot from being killed and other incredibly expensive smart weapons, US bankruptcy would eventually result, and hopefully for al Qaeda a total collapse of the monetary banking system. A dark ages with incredible starvation and crime such as the one following the collapse of Ancient Rome, in bin Laden’s eyes would be the sweetest victory he could imagine. It doesn’t matter if the bin Laden wing is deluded in its belief that it is winning, only that it knew it was losing right before 9/11 and again fears losing the hearts and minds of even the Muslims who lukewarmly supports al Qaeda, if Obama makes peace breakthroughs.
Most al Qaeda actions and statements seem to involve careful planning. I wonder whether the sloppy attack in Kenya where an Israeli plane was fired on by an old non heat-seeking missile, and three Israeli tourists were killed was actually al Qaeda. I also wonder whether the attack on the former Prime Minister of Lebanon was actually al Qaeda rather than sponsored by Syria, which most people blame. The truck in that truck bombing had been stolen in Japan a year earlier, then shipped to Lebanon, where its serial number couldn’t lead in the direction of the purchaser. Too complicated for a simple assassination, www.consortiumnews.com/2006/022206.html
Iran at one point expressed anger at al Qaeda secretly baiting Iran and the US to fight with each other, maybe others should note that al Qaeda makes people fear each other – in the US even fear Hispanics who may look like Muslims.
I take the concept of resisting al Qaeda broadly such as the interfaith peace concerts and seminars organized by the Daniel Pearl Foundation. He was a Wall Street Journal correspondent that was lured to Pakistan, forced to state his captive’s version of a Jewish conspiracy then beheaded, http://www.danielpearl.org Also, Spanish Muslim clerics on the anniversary of the Madrid commuter train bombing who called al Qaeda a traitor to Islam, http://www.int-review.org/terr42a.html
a Muslim educator in Canada who urged his Muslim constituents to get as upset if their children were playing around with militancy as they would be if they were playing around with drugs and alcohol. Queen Noor of Jordan organized such massive anti-al Qaeda demonstrations after the attack on a wedding party that al Qaeda agreed to leave Jordan alone.
I am very happy that Obama has the background to take the al Qaeda danger seriously, and not confuse al Qaeda with non-suicide oriented revolutionary groups. But I think slipping into a war with Pakistan by sending drone missiles is a mistake. Churchill, during World War II, promised blood, sweet, and tears. Obama should, I think, let Pakistan know that we are coming into Pakistan to get al Qaeda, letting the American people know that al Qaeda may have terrorist sleeper-cells posed for the occasion. And not have the next 9/11 experience catch the public by surprise. If someone like Tom Fox, a Quaker activist, who went to Iraq to declare peace and got beheaded instead, wants to go to Pakistan and try to negotiate a truce with al Qaeda they I think should be given a chance. I have a creative idea that perhaps Obama or allied group including the US should only demand before coming into Pakistan that al Qaeda agree to Prophet Mohammad’s call to avoid killing the innocent, and also no children and women combatants. Remember Joan of arc was a Christian with no traditional similar Muslim precedents. Perhaps if the bin Laden wing doesn’t agree others would actually turn in their exact whereabouts for attack or capture to be tried by a Muslim group perhaps headed by Saudi Arabia.
Maybe much of this essay is all wet, but at any rate spending the next four years blissfully thinking that the al Qaeda danger has passed doesn’t make sense. Everyone, whether you agree with my slant or not, get moving on trying to create the kind of change you want instead of sitting around and cheering Obama.
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To risk changing the subject: Does anyone remember Malcolm X’s love-hate relationship with Martin Luther King? Malcolm X constantly made militant demands, but didn’t condemn King, unlike several other militants, claiming he was giving King the space to appear moderate, that by constantly pushing militancy he gave King the space to appear to be a healer. Maybe the problem today is not that Obama isn’t King-like enough, but that there are today no Malcolm X types screaming their heads off for their favorite cause. Perhaps Obama would actually appreciate it is they were doing so.
As I said near the begining of this essay if the Obama administration was constantly answering al Qaeda’s insults and was warning of a terror attack, it might help escalate toward it actually happening, but outsiders like me doing it instead might be what is desperately needed.
Richard’s mother took part in sit-ins to integrate Woolworth’s 5 & 10, lunch counter, in Washington DC and in challenging her church, and his father had trouble explaining how someone Jewish could be a pacifist against Hitler. He remembers when back when being for peace made others consider one to an isolationist right-winger. Slightly like going around in a circle, being for peace is beginning to tend to be again to be interpreted as tending toward, if not isolationism, conservative libertarian more likely than radical left.