Skip to comments.Islamists shift focus to Europe as jihad enters third phase
Posted on 11/17/2004 7:00:49 PM PST by Pikamax
Islamists shift focus to Europe as jihad enters third phase
Simon Tisdall Thursday November 18, 2004 The Guardian
Osama bin Laden's latest videotape, released before the US presidential election, was denounced by many as a crude attempt to scare voters and damage George Bush. But, beyond the US, interpretations differed. Some analysts said the tape showed America was winning the "war on terror" and al-Qaida was in retreat. "The tape is one of capitulation and bankruptcy," wrote Mamoun Fandy in Egypt's al-Ahram. "This tape tells George Bush: 'Leave us alone and we will leave you alone.'" According to the French academic Gilles Kepel Bin Laden's holy war, as originally conceived, is failing. Far from vanquishing the west, it has created a crisis in the heart of Islam, setting Muslim against Muslim.
"The principal goal of terrorism - to seize power in Muslim countries through mobilisation of populations galvanised by jihad's sheer audacity - has not been realised," Mr Kepel writes in a new book, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West. Rather, the jihadis have suffered a string of reverses, in Afghanistan, Egypt, Algeria, Bosnia and Libya.
Palestine's plight has only worsened. And terrorism gave the US a pretext to invade Iraq, Mr Kepel says.
Yet the age of jihad is far from over, he suggests. Instead, the battleground may be shifting to Europe. Understanding the true level of menace posed by al-Qaida and likeminded groups is crucial to informed debate about anti-terror strategy. It has direct bearing on everything from post-Arafat peacemaking to tougher EU immigration laws to the home secretary David Blunkett's new security measures.
If al-Qaida's power is waning, that is cause for celebration. Claims that governments are overreacting or cultivating a climate of fear will grow. But if Michael Scheuer, formerly the CIA's chief Bin Laden expert, is correct, the threat is still being underestimated.
The west had to understand, Mr Scheuer said recently, that al-Qaida, far from being a conventional terrorist group, was the still largely hidden face of a spreading, global Islamist insurgency. Mr Bush's claim to have killed or captured two-thirds of its leadership was "fantasy". "The difference between fighting a terrorist group and fighting an insurgency is one of size. Yet we still don't know how big it is," he told the New York Times. "We still, today, don't know al-Qaida's order of battle."
Mr Kepel argues that jihad may be entering a new phase. The first was characterised by insurgencies in Muslim countries aimed at overthrowing pro-western "apostate" regimes - what al-Qaida's chief ideologue, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called the "nearby enemy".
Then, in the 90s, "Islamist militants turned to global terrorism to advance their agenda" - targeting the "faraway enemy". The Islamists' new focus in a third phase, Mr Kepel claims, is the Muslim minority populations of European countries.
"The most important battle in the war for Muslim minds during the next decade will be fought not in Palestine or Iraq but in communities of believers on the outskirts of London, Paris and other European cities," he writes.
The challenge for Europe is thus how best to integrate these Muslim populations. The terrorists' challenge is to find fresh converts to jihad. The Madrid bombings and the assassination of the Dutch film-maker, Theo van Gogh, fit this analysis. Radicalised longtime Muslim residents allegedly helped both attacks. In Spain, the bombings brought the government down. In the Netherlands, the reaction to Van Gogh's murder was all Bin Laden could have wished: retaliatory violence that has shaken liberal traditions of tolerance.
The fear now is that what happened there could happen almost anywhere in western Europe. The so-called "clash of civilisations" is moving closer to home.
The terrorists in Holland woke up the sleeping Euros, who are joining increasing numbers of Arabs and Muslims to question the calls for jihad.
Yet the age of jihad is far from over, he suggests. Instead, the battleground may be shifting to Europe.
Well, of course. The colloquial term is "Duh"
We stood up to the terrorists. GWB showed backbone. The terrorists backed down.
By contrast, Europe tried appeasement. Throughout history that has failed.
From a simple military standpoint, the terrorists are going after the soft target and are leaving the hard target alone, at least comparatively.
The technical term for this in the military is maneuver warfare.
Too bad for the Euroweasels. Pity.
Quote: Yet we still don't know how big it is," "We still, today, don't know al-Qaida's order of battle."
I think that is largely false. Whe have a significant portions of the leadership in custody, and It seems highly unlikely that all of them are stone-walling. Given the general level of cowardice exhibited by these so called "masterminds" and the fact that they have been kept out of range of the US courts and in undisclosed locations in countries where torture and drug use are allowed, I suspect they are singing like birds.
I do agree with much of the article which suggests that the battle will be moved to Europe where they have a much better chance of success.
US muslims, by and large chose to remain silent, neither condemming nor overtly supporting al-Qaida.
I don't think the same will be true in Europe, where half of Paris is Muslim and becoming quite radicalized.
Old Europe's 9/11 is yet to come.
Alternatively, Europe is a temptingly weak target, and the U.S. has proved a hard nut.
Gay Paris, here they come!
P.S. Nobody's coming to help you, Jacques.
That is good news for us - terrible news for Europe. Their politically correct societies can't comprehend pure evil, and they will appease their way to their own destruction. Their sell-out of Israel assures their fate. On another note, I heard on FOX that Egypt has been invaded by millions and millions of locusts. Wasn't Egypt the place where 16 Israelis were murdered several weeks ago?
I wish we would build a wall around america, just like Israel. Our open borders are just begging to be violated.
Phase One: Lose your ass.
Phase Two: Lose your ass.
Phase Three Euro Version: See phase One.
Simple: reduce them through evangelization and immigration restrictions, while having more Christian babies as a counterweight to Islamic fecundity. Deny any concession to Sharia.
And what did George Bush say?
"According to the French academic Gilles Kepel Bin Laden's holy war, as originally conceived, is failing."
Yes. Kepel's right. And the reason it's failing it this: The expert, brialliant, and resolute leadership of one man--George Bush.
"The principal goal of terrorism - to seize power in Muslim countries through mobilisation of populations galvanised by jihad's sheer audacity - has not been realised."
Right. Because George Bush has more audacity, is smarter, and is on the side of God.
"The battleground may be shifting to Europe."
It is. Because President Bush and the American people have shown the jihidis that they cannot succeed in the U.S.--though they have never stopped trying.
9/11 has never been repeated--dispite the jihidis best efforts--despite the Super Bowl and the 2004 elections and everything else. The reason--George Bush and his supurb leadership!
Europe, on the other hand, led by confused, corrupt appeasers, lost, uncertain, and bogged down in a quagmire of decadence, is an easy mark.
"The most important battle in the war for Muslim minds during the next decade will be fought not in Palestine or Iraq but in communities of believers on the outskirts of London, Paris and other European cities."
They won't be fought in American cities. That's for sure! Thanks to President Bush and the people of the American Heartland!
"The challenge for Europe is thus how best to integrate these Muslim populations."
What if they don't want to be integrated?
"The so-called 'clash of civilisations' is moving closer to home."
Yes. It is. And so far, many European leaders are still in denial that it even exists. Lotsa luck!
Al Qaeda aimed to knock us to our knees on 9-11, and they did. What they didn't expect is that we would stay on our knees only long enough to ask God's blessing for what we had to do and then we rose back up, as a nation, and struck them with the sword of justice. THAT they didn't expect. That, they won't find in europe.
Excellent observations and well said.
Islam is Nazism. I say give them what they want and unleash hell.
Europe does little until it's too late for them and then they yell UNCLE HELP US
Paris will yell "uncle" and the rest of Europe will yell "help us!"
I wouldn't want my son to be sacrificed to save them. Sorry France, but you're on your own in this one.