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A Patient Enemy:On 9/11, America Entered A War That The Terrorists Had Already Begun
Family Security Matters. ^ | 9/29/06 | Walid Phares

Posted on 09/30/2006 7:59:30 AM PDT by Valin

As we mark the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America, and we review the half a decade of war on terror since, the central question that comes to the minds of both experts and policymakers is this – who is winning the war and where are we in its prosecution? And to refine, is al Qaeda on the retreat, is Afghanistan working, is Iraq surviving the challenge, and is Lebanon’s Cedars Revolution on the rise or has it been defeated? Is Hezbollah’s war changing the U.S. strategy regarding Iran and Israel? And finally, is the U.S. homeland secure, or is it penetrated and threatened?

All of these are issues of great importance to Americans, Westerners and societies determined to struggle for democracy and freedom. For even though 9/11 was a benchmark in the history of the U.S., it also became a rallying date in the eyes of the Jihadists for more lethal future attacks, not just in America, but also in Europe, India, Africa and other parts of the world that have tasted the wrath of terror since 2001.

The widening of the war on terrorism and the multiplication of its battlefields has critics claiming Americans have been led in the wrong direction, and that the decision to fight the terrorists on their ground was erroneous. Are the critics right? Or are they wrong? Five years after the attacks which sparked this long war, a proper review is in order – a review not only of the enemy we face, but of the war we are engaged in and what the future holds in this regard.

The Road to 9/11 It is first important to understand that the road to 9/11 was the result of a patient and perseverant march by the Jihadists Salafists (including al Qaeda), at least since the end of the Cold War, to first test and then engage the United States head on.

In the decades after World War II, the bulk of the Sunni Islamists concentrated on the Soviet Union and communism as a prime enemy, not because they supported a free market economy and NATO, but because they perceived atheist socialism as a competitor to be eliminated first. Wahabism offered to work with the U.S.-led West against the Soviets, and Washington extended its support to the Mujahidin in Afghanistan.

But as soon as the U.S.S.R. collapsed, the Jihadists regrouped and took aim at the U.S. Their perception of the crumbling of communism in Russia was based on the idea that once they implemented their Salafi form of Sharia and Jihad, “Allah would do the rest.” The 1990s witnessed their deliberate ascendancy and repetitive attacks: the first attack on the twin towers in 1993; the attack on the Khobar towers in 1995; the rise of the Taliban in 1996; the Algerian civil war, the Chechnya Jihad, and the Sudan massacres; the 1998 U.S. embassies attacks in Africa; the penetration of the U.S. by terror cells; and finally the September 11, 2001, terror strikes, aimed initially at provoking a Madrid-like collapse in America.

Meanwhile, the other Jihadi powers, Iran and its extension Hezbollah, as well as their Baathist ally in Syria, moved on two fronts – controlling Lebanon and developing nuclear power. In parallel, Hezbollah built a network of cells within the West, while al Qaeda was building theirs.

The Road Since Then In the wake of 9/11, the U.S. led a coalition to remove the Taliban from Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda from its sole real estate. After the battles of Tora Bora, statesponsored Salafi Jihadism was gone (for the time being). A debate then took place within the U.S. government with regard to the next stages in the war against terror. A strategic choice was made to prosecute the war on the grounds of what are essentially police goals – finding terrorist cells, dismantling them, and bringing them to justice, both within the U.S. and worldwide.

This choice was based on the fundamental premise that there is, for the lack of a better term, a “mother ship” out there. It is a ship that is primarily ideological and deeply incrusted in the organizations, regimes, and networks of radical clerics. Al Qaeda is the product of a wider, deeper pool of Wahabism, Salafism and Muslim Brotherhood movements within the greater Middle East and beyond. The political culture they have produced for decades has allowed military dictatorships to espouse their final objectives, obstruct democratization and sink all attempts for peace processes in the region.

Hence, a second strategic choice was also made to intervene internationally within the sphere of influence of the Jihadists. This intervention occurred on two tracks. The first track was geared toward assisting civil societies endangered by violent regimes. The second track was geared toward delivering a war of ideas to delegitimize the ideologies promoting Jihadism and other forms of radicalism. At the same time this was being done internationally, the U.S. embarked on a course to strengthen its homeland security within its own shores.

The Iraq Campaign The debate about the Iraq campaign has signaled a lack of national consensus in the U.S. and the West as to what the danger we face actually is and how we should confront it. While many elites, still unengaged in the war on terror and still swayed by the oil influenced political culture of the 1990s, looked at the invasion of Iraq as a strategic mistake because of what they perceived as a lack of legitimate claims (regarding the widely reported presence of weapons of mass destruction and the possible link of the Hussein regime to al Qaeda), the real aim of the campaign was the liberation of a segment of Arab and Middle Eastern society ruled by a ruthless dictator.

As I argued in my book Future Jihad, the U.S. intervention – which should have taken place a decade earlier – intercepted the rise of a giant Jihadi bloc stretching from Afghanistan to Lebanon equipped with non-conventional arms. Historians will see it clearly. The prosecution of the liberation could have been much better, but the freeing of the Kurds, Shiites and non pro-Saddam Sunnis opened the path for a dynamic to bear fruits to be understood and seen years from now.

Elections and Democracy Al Qaeda has been stopped as a geographically-based regime, but it has still been able to wage terrorist attacks from Indonesia to London. The measurement of its success and its failures is not through the numbers of strikes, but by analyzing the global and future growth of the movement. The arrests of terrorists and break-up of terror cells in the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere over the past years and recent months indicate that a second generation of Jihadists is spreading and readying to target American stability.

Let there be no doubt -- the Jihadists are a patient enemy. They are recruiting wider in their indoctrinated pool. However, let there also be no doubt that as a result of U.S. actions abroad, the pool’s future is now in doubt. If one observes the far reaching effects of the Afghanistan elections and the three Iraqi votes, the sociological consequences are revolutionary. In short, there is no return backward.

Despite all the bloody and barbaric slaughter by Zarqawi and his equivalents across the region, the younger generations and women who were given the opportunity to taste and test the democratic process have leaped into their future. It will take time before the culture of democracy takes root in the civil societies liberated so far, and in those hoping to be later.

But it is now proven through al Qaeda and other totalitarian movements and regimes that the lethal enemy of Jihadism is democracy.

On another front, and after 32 years of Syrian occupation and Hezbollah terror, Lebanon’s Cedars Revolution in 2005 demonstrated that in previously democratic societies, the roots of freedom can redevelop.

Thanks to the U.S.-introduced United Nations Security Council Resolution 1559, which was approved in 2004 and called on Syria to withdraw and Hezbollah to disarm, Lebanese masses from various communities showed the world and their occupiers that popular democracy movements can face off with military power, if backed by the international community.

But the semi-success of Lebanon’s revolt triggered a counter attack by the “axis” of the Syrian and Iranian regimes this year. After a series of assassinations of Lebanese politicians, the axis is provoking a war with Israel, in an attempt to take back the small country and bring back Iranian power onto the Mediterranean.

Iran and Syria

Concerned with the regime changes in Afghanistan and in Iraq and with the Cedars Revolution in Beirut, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmedinijad decided to counter these developments in two ways.

First, he announced his intention to acquire nuclear capabilities, thereby signaling that Tehran would use nuclear weapons as a shield against future international support to domestic democratic uprisings. Secondly, Ahmedinijad ordered Hamas to sink the peace process among Palestinians and Israelis and instructed Hezbollah wreak havoc in Lebanon by attacking Israel.

Forced from Lebanon and threatened by the Hariri assassination investigation, the Assad regime converged with Tehran and Hezbollah on a regional terror plan. But both regimes in Iran and Syria and their allied organizations in Gaza and Lebanon have disclosed their plans early in the process, just as Bin Laden did on September 11. They’ve attacked civil societies while democratic movements are on the rise. In Damascus and Tehran, youth, women and reformists have understood the message of the war of ideas. Despite terror and bloodshed, the future is for them to struggle for.

War of Ideas To experts and historians alike, it is clear that the war on terror is centering on the war of ideas. The ability of societies ruled by terror regimes and ideologies to realize the essence of the war and what it means to them is critical. But just as critical is the ability of the members of these societies to understand that when the U.S. and its allies intervene in a post 9/11 era, it is not to rule over them and govern their way of life. Rather, it is to free them so that they can make the choices they deem appropriate.

It is the ability to make choices that will defeat terrorism, be it Jihadi or Baathist. The struggles in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon today are about new democracies, freed by the U.S. and its coalition, attempting to grow, while forces of fascism and Jihadism are attempting to keep them down.

The debate in Washington needs to grasp and aggressively emphasize that dimension of the conflict, for without this understanding, U.S. support for the real war on terror will fade.

And then we would be playing into the hands of an enemy that is not only extremely patient, but ideologically deadly, as well.

FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr. Walid Phares is the author of Future Jihad and a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC.


TOPICS: Editorial; Front Page News; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: gwot; terrorism; walidphares; wot

1 posted on 09/30/2006 7:59:31 AM PDT by Valin
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To: Valin

"But it is now proven through al Qaeda and other totalitarian movements and regimes that the lethal enemy of Jihadism is democracy"

And those last 4 paragraphs are right-on!


2 posted on 09/30/2006 8:10:49 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business] (...and his head is so tiny...))
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To: Valin
It started back in the 600's

Quran-4:89— Take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah. But if they turn renegades, seize them and kill them wherever ye find them; and take no friends or helpers from their ranks.

Sura 9:5 of the “Koranus,” “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush.”

"Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God." Sura 9:29

"Strike off their heads then, and strike off from them every finger tip." - Sura 8:12

Reaaalll peacefull like.


Aap aap ahh dap dap!!!!!
It's a religion of peace
It's a religion of peace



3 posted on 09/30/2006 8:16:53 AM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Never hurl the letter Q into a privet bush)
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To: Valin
"In the decades after World War II, the bulk of the Sunni Islamists concentrated on the Soviet Union and communism as a prime enemy, not because they supported a free market economy and NATO, but because they perceived atheist socialism as a competitor to be eliminated first. Wahabism offered to work with the U.S.-led West against the Soviets, and Washington extended its support to the Mujahidin in Afghanistan."
The U.S. Left--including its Political Machine, i.e. the Democrat Party, and its Propaganda Machine, i.e. the "Mainstream Newsmedia"--are working under a similar pact today: It has allied itself with terrorists, tyrants, anti-American movements, and anything that will help eliminate U.S. hegemony and establish the Leftists' Marxist agenda, not because they support Islam or any other religion, but because they perceive liberty, capitalism (which is liberty), and a powerful, free, liberal, capitalist United States as the competitor to be eliminated first.
4 posted on 09/30/2006 8:18:12 AM PDT by Savage Beast ( 9/11 was never repeated thanks to President George W. Bush.)
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To: Valin
But just as critical is the ability of the members of these societies to understand that when the U.S. and its allies intervene in a post 9/11 era, it is not to rule over them and govern their way of life. Rather, it is to free them so that they can make the choices they deem appropriate.

It is the ability to make choices that will defeat terrorism, be it Jihadi or Baathist. The struggles in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon today are about new democracies, freed by the U.S. and its coalition, attempting to grow, while forces of fascism and Jihadism are attempting to keep them down.

The debate in Washington needs to grasp and aggressively emphasize that dimension of the conflict, for without this understanding, U.S. support for the real war on terror will fade.

Dead-on commentary. I hope that Dr. Phares' words of wisdom are being heard by those with the power to implement them in this war on terror.

5 posted on 09/30/2006 8:22:54 AM PDT by cgk (I don't see myself as a conservative. I see myself as a religious, right-wing, wacko extremist.)
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To: rawcatslyentist

Yes. And what does this have to do with the way most Muslims live their life?


6 posted on 09/30/2006 8:23:19 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin
No No No No. Its just Afghanistan and OBL. thats were the real war on terror is. Once Obl is captured we can all go back to peace in our times
7 posted on 09/30/2006 8:31:34 AM PDT by sachem longrifle (proud member of the fond Du lac band of the Ojibwa people)
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To: sachem longrifle

You do of course know the the Cheney/Rove/Bush/Rumsfeld/Halliburton war machine has OBL. Yes he's "living the sweet life out in Southern California's beautiful San Fernando Valley!"


8 posted on 09/30/2006 8:49:16 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Savage Beast

BUMP!


9 posted on 09/30/2006 8:57:46 AM PDT by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: Valin

bump


10 posted on 09/30/2006 9:02:54 AM PDT by Christian4Bush ("Ma'am, you don't have to thank us. You just go beat him for us." Soldier to Irey re: Murtha)
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To: Valin
Put simply..world terrorism is the result of secular/democratic growing pains in the ME.

History shows that these things don't happen without bloodshed...sadly.

11 posted on 09/30/2006 9:10:14 AM PDT by Earthdweller (All reality is based on faith in something.)
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To: Valin

Great article. Thanks for posting it.


12 posted on 09/30/2006 9:19:38 AM PDT by MSSC6644
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To: Earthdweller

Well put!


13 posted on 09/30/2006 9:23:36 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin

Excellent post.

Thanks.

Exceedingly true.

Wake up world!

DOH!


14 posted on 09/30/2006 9:24:18 AM PDT by Quix (LET GOD ARISE AND HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED. LET ISRAEL CALL ON GOD AS THEIRS! & ISLAM FLUSH ITSELF)
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To: Valin
This was exactly the point of Bush's decision to invade Iraq, and why this strategy is not only a significant factor in the WOT (more correctly, the war against Islamist Jihadism) it is in fact THE MOST significant factor.

Bush's gamble -- and it was a gamble with completely unpredictable outcome -- was that freedom to pursue constructive life would wean these people from their violent impulses, and bring about the internal reforms which are absolutely critical to a long-lasting stability and peace in this region -- and by extension, the rest of the civilized world.

Like President Bush, I am an optimist, and I believe this was a good gamble to take.

It's too bad his administration has not been more effective in communicating the benefits of this effort to the USA and the world, and it has been borderline criminal that the Democrats and partisan media have gone all out to deceive everyone about this great challenge, merely for their own political gain.

15 posted on 09/30/2006 9:40:48 AM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Democrats. French, but more cowardly.)
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To: Mad_Tom_Rackham

This was exactly the point of Bush's decision to invade Iraq, and why this strategy is not only a significant factor in the WOT (more correctly, the war against Islamist Jihadism) it is in fact THE MOST significant factor.

Amazing how many people don't seem to understand this.
Remember right after 9-11 there were people scream Root Causes, Root Causes, Root Causes! We need to adress the Root Causes!
Well that's exactly what we are doing in Iraq. Until people remember this they are doomed to be disappointed and frustrated with what's going on there.


16 posted on 09/30/2006 9:47:48 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin
Great article. Thanks for posting.

I would venture that this war has been going on for 1300 years (hence the tagline) and the U.S first became involved when THOMAS JEFFERSON was president, not Dubya. Barbary Pirates, "Shores of Tripoli", etc...Just don't try and tell the left that.

While one could argue that the U.S is involved because of Wilsonian dabbling circa WWI and the drawing of artificial lines in the sand, the truth is they would have come after us sooner or later. Europe is mostly done. We are all that's left to stop them.

17 posted on 09/30/2006 9:55:37 AM PDT by MattinNJ (The West has been fighting the war on terror for 1300 years.)
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To: Valin
"...and THEY (jihadist) will stop at NOTHING until YOU are dead!" - Terminator

5.56mm

18 posted on 09/30/2006 10:04:25 AM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: MattinNJ

"Remember right after 9-11 there were people scream Root Causes, Root Causes, Root Causes! We need to adress the Root Causes!
Well that's exactly what we are doing in Iraq. Until people remember this they are doomed to be disappointed and frustrated with what's going on there."
Reply 16

After 9-11 we had 3 choices
1 Ignore what happened or treat it like a law enforcement problem. (not gonna happen! OBL and the radicals finally got our attention)
2 Start throwing bombs around the Islamic world. (Give OBL what we wanted and thought we would do)
3 Start addressing the real root caues of the problem (Lack of free open governments and a prosperous population)

Option #3 is why we went into Iraq, and why we are fighting the way we are.


19 posted on 09/30/2006 10:06:53 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: M Kehoe

Hope they packed a lunch.


20 posted on 09/30/2006 10:08:21 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin
Hope they packed a lunch.

Methinks we're goin' to eat their lunch.

5.56mm

21 posted on 09/30/2006 10:13:14 AM PDT by M Kehoe
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To: nuconvert

When is the left gonna get "liberal" on the Jihadis' asses?
When are they gonna protest the "inequalities" in an Islamic societies and stand up for their sisters? etc. Let them engage radical with radical and see who wins.
Until they are able to focus their attention on the real enemy, we must hold the line until they come to their senses. Seems this is the classic 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' scenerio.


22 posted on 09/30/2006 10:18:05 AM PDT by griswold3 (Ken Blackwell, Ohio Governor in 2006- No!! You cannot have my governor in 2008.)
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To: M Kehoe

They lost after....2 months. Why do I say this? OBL really expected the Islamic world to raide up and join his banner. Now I could be wrong and I might've missed it but I didn't see hat happen. In fact I see the exact opposite'

Shameless plug
The radical loser (Long Read)
Der Spiegel ^ | 1/12/05 | Hans Magnus Enzensberger

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1694568/posts
Posted on 09/02/2006 5:55:01 PM CDT by Valin


Hans Magnus Enzensberger looks at the kind of ideological trigger required to ignite the radical loser - whether amok killer, murderer or terrorist - and make him explode
(snip)

Contrary to what the West appears to believe, the destructive energy of Islamist actions is directed mainly against Muslims. This is not a tactical error, not a case of "collateral damage". In Algeria alone, Islamist terror has cost the lives of at least 50,000 fellow Algerians. Other sources speak of as many as 150,000 murders, although the military and the secret services were also involved. In Iraq and Afghanistan, too, the number of Muslim victims far outstrips the death toll among foreigners. Furthermore, terrorism has been highly detrimental not only to the image of Islam but also to the living conditions of Muslims around the world.

The Islamists are as unconcerned about this as the Nazis were about the downfall of Germany. As the avant-garde of death, they have no regard for the lives of their fellow believers. In the eyes of the Islamists, the fact that most Muslims have no desire to blow themselves and others sky high only goes to show that they deserve no better than to be liquidated themselves. After all, the aim of the radical loser is to make as many other people into losers as possible. As the Islamists see it, the fact that they are in the minority can only be because they are the chosen few.
(snip)
/Shameless Plug


23 posted on 09/30/2006 10:22:11 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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To: Valin

From the Islamist's point of view, they have had a string of unbroken success since Afghanistan because a nightmare for the Soviets. Given that track record, recruitment is easy, and the continued growth of the terrorist movement is assured.

They must be handed some defeats. We are in the process of doing so, but if we stop too soon, Iraq and the US war in Afghanistan will also fall into their Win column, at least in their view.

I hate to sound dramatic, but on the success or failure of the Iraq War turns the prospects for peace in the World for the next 50 years. If the Islamists can be put back in their box, they will be managable. If they are not, things are going to get worse and worse for the forseeable future.


24 posted on 09/30/2006 10:26:22 AM PDT by gridlock (The 'Pubbies will pick up at least TWO seats in the Senate and FOUR seats in the House in 2006)
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To: Savage Beast
Exactly! You comments bear repeating to everyone who can vote against the weasels and for the defenders of freedom, in 2006 and beyond:

"The U.S. Left--including its Political Machine, i.e. the Democrat Party, and its Propaganda Machine, i.e. the "Mainstream Newsmedia"--are working under a similar pact today: It has allied itself with terrorists, tyrants, anti-American movements, and anything that will help eliminate U.S. hegemony and establish the Leftists' Marxist agenda, not because they support Islam or any other religion, but because they perceive liberty, capitalism (which is liberty), and a powerful, free, liberal, capitalist United States as the competitor to be eliminated first."
25 posted on 09/30/2006 4:04:08 PM PDT by Enchante (There are 3 kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Drive-By Media)
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To: gridlock

They must be handed some defeats. We are in the process of doing so, but if we stop too soon, Iraq and the US war in Afghanistan will also fall into their Win column, at least in their view.


Well said!


26 posted on 10/01/2006 11:31:40 AM PDT by Valin (http://www.irey.com/)
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