The Seven Phases Of The Base By Bill Roggio

With the fourth anniversay of the hot war between al Qaeda and the West approaching, it is interesting to see how al Qaeda’s strategy and objectives have evolved since the United States committed to engaging in open warfare.

The Word Unheard points us to an article in Spiegel Online by a Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, who is believed to be a reliable source of information on al Qaeda. His main source for this article on al Qaeda strategy is none other than Saif al-Adel, al Qaeda’s military commander who is currently operating from Iran.

al Qaeda’s purported strategy can be broken down into seven “phases” which span from 2000 until 2020, at which time they believe the global Islamist Caliphate will be established and they will acheive “definitive victory.” Here are the phases, which are followed by commentary when appropriate.

The First Phase Known as “the awakening” — this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby “awakening” Muslims. “The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful,” writes Hussein. “The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target.” The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard “everywhere.”

al Qaeda can claim some success in the First Phase, as the organization is now the preeminent terrorist organization on the planet. The attacks of September 11 were cheered throughout the Islamic world. The global media disseminates Al Qaeda commander’s speeches. Each and every terrorist attack is followed by suspicious of al Qaeda involvement. And the US did indeed bring the war to the Islamic world in Afghanistan and Iraq, however not against Islam itself. But this came at a price, as Islamist Afghanistan and friendly Saddam-governed Iraq were lost.

The Second Phase “Opening Eyes” is, according to Hussein’s definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the “Islamic community.” Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an “army” set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.

So far, the Second Phase has been a failure. The Arab and greater Islamic Street has been essentially silent in its support of al Qaeda. The perception that al Qaeda’s cause is popular as hundreds of Islamists enter Iraq monthly is overshadowed by the tens of thousands of Islamic fighters who enter Afghanistan during the war with the Soviet Union. al Qaeda has generated new recruits, but not nearly enough to replace the experienced operators and managers that have been lost under the American onslaught in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Winning the Second Phase is important from a ideological standpoint. Defeat in Iraq would seriously harm the credibility of al Qaeda and weaken their mystique. They would possess a losing ideology that could not stand up to the Great Satan. Allah would have abandoned them to the privations of the infidel.

The Third Phase This is described as “Arising and Standing Up” and should last from 2007 to 2010. “There will be a focus on Syria,” prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and — even more explosive — in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida’s masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.

The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that “the creeping loss of the regimes’ power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida.” At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.
The Third and Fourth Phases can essentially be condensed. The potential spread of jihad and instability to Iraq’s neighbors of Turkey, Syria, (and while not mentioned, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait) as well as Israel highlights the importance of an American victory in Iraq. Iraq, as a failed state, would provide al Qaeda a base to create instability in bordering countries, setting the stage for overthrow by the Islamists.

It should be noted that Syria is playing a dangerous game by allowing al Qaeda to use its soil to conduct operations in Iraq. The jihadis are developing contacts, networks and obtaining recruits, which can eventually by turned against the Asad regime.

For the record, it seems al Qaeda has already laid the groundwork for the Third and Fourth Phases. There are reports al Qaeda seeks to establish itself in Gaza to strike Israel, and Turkish vacation spots, including cruise ships are believed to have been the target of a just-foiled al Qaeda plot. Islamic countries have been the target of numerous al Qaeda attacks {see flash presentation, 2M download), and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have been in open war with al Qaeda for several years. Saudi oil facilities have been a target throughout.

The United States will not allow another Islamic state to fall to al Qaeda’s ideologues. The lesson of September 11 serves as a reminder of what happened when Afghanistan became a sanctuary and de facto al Qaeda state.

The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.

The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of “total confrontation.” As soon as the caliphate has been declared the “Islamic army” it will instigate the “fight between the believers and the non-believers” which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.

The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as “definitive victory.” Hussein writes that in the terrorists’ eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the “one-and-a-half million Muslims,” the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn’t last longer than two years.

Phases Five, Six and Seven are merely the dreams of al Qaeda, as the prospects for al Qaeda’s success in phases One thru Fourth are looking grim at the moment. Despite media portrayal of defeat in Iraq, the Iraqi people are fighting the insurgency and the Anbar region is set to be reduced as an al Qaeda rear area. The jewel of al Qaeda, Afghanistan, fell almost four years ago, and al Qaeda and its Taliban allies have not come even close to retaining control. There are rumors of a rumors of a serious rift between al Qaeda and the Taliban, as the Taliban believes its woes were created by closely allying themselves with Osama’s cause.

However, in the event of the United State loses its political will and pursues a policy of isolation from the Muslim world, an inevitable showdown with al Qaeda would ensue. Open confrontation with the West, as well as the possibility of a nuclear armed Caliphate, would bring the full military might of the Western World (those who value their freedom). The current operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Southeast and Central Asia and within the borders of Western nations would be tame in comparison to what would come. The Japanese, Germans and Italians discovered in World War II the price of wakening the American military psyche.

The West would basically have two options: (1) blitzkrieg 21st Century style – the full mobilization of its military and an accompanying sweep of the Islamic crescent, without regards for Politically Correct warfare; (2) nuclear war. Both campaigns would be designed to fully eliminate the Islamist threat, and the Muslim infrastructure, which allowed for the rise of al Qaeda’s ideology.

This content was used with the permission of The Fourth Rail.

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