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From owner-imap@chumbly.math.missouri.edu Wed Nov 13 10:30:08 2002
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2002 10:50:23 -0600 (CST)
From: MichaelP <papadop@peak.org>
Article: 147037
To: undisclosed-recipients:;


Al-Qaeda: What are they doing?

By Charles Heyman, Editor, Janes World Armies, 12 November 2002

With the current wave of terrorist attacks affecting confidence across the world it is probably wise to look at the possible longer term aims of the organisation and the operational 'game plan' designed to achieve those aims.

First, it is almost certain that there is a comprehensive Al-Qaeda strategy for a long-term campaign against the United States because in the final analysis it is the US that is the major obstacle to their eventual triumph. This long-term strategy probably revolves around forcing the US into an isolationist Fortress America policy.

To achieve this type of long-game result it is likely that the Al-Qaeda planners have been thinking along the following lines: The business of America is business. Therefore, the way to force the political change that Al-Qaeda requires is to have an impact upon American business.

It is almost impossible to destroy the US. However, it is almost certainly possible to cause significant economic damage to the US across a number of sectors.

This has to be a 20-year policy and there are no quick fixes. Al-Qaeda cannot destroy the aircraft carriers that project US airpower across the world but jihadis can destroy the money that builds them and keeps them afloat. The US military requires US$378 billion during 2003 and over US$400 billion in 2005. The strategy therefore must be to concentrate on the destruction of value in the major economic indicators and make it more and more difficult for the US to fund defence at this level.

Time to reassess Al-Qaeda

It is unlikely that Al-Qaeda is the replica of a Western corporation, with Osama Bin Laden (if he is still alive) acting as the CEO with a board of directors issuing orders to its international managers. Such a chain of command would play straight into the hands of the Western intelligence agencies and this would make Al-Qaeda extremely vulnerable. Passing instructions up and down the chain of command would produce a mass of electronic fingerprints and other signals that would betray the organisation.

Better now to look at Al-Qaeda as a cross between a merchant bank, providing venture capital for terrorist operations and a terrorist consultancy. Possibly 5,000 trained terrorists from Afghanistan are at large, and it is likely that they are infiltrating Muslim groups (many of these groups totally innocent) in a number of countries worldwide. These Al-Qaeda terrorists are almost certainly identifying the radical individuals who are likely candidates for future operations and adding terrorist expertise and operational value to these local groups.

The thread that links all of the Al-Qaeda attacks from the Twin Towers on 11 September 2001 to the bombing of Bali on the 12 October is the destruction of economic value.

Forcing the Dow Jones down and reducing US per capita income might lead to domestic pressure that could force a dramatic rethink of US policy.

You need three things to win a war, Money, money and more money - Trivulzio (1441-1518) 491 of 1280 words extracted from the latest foreword to Janes World Armies.