Monday, December 5, 2005 at 11:22 AM

Please, spare us the al-Qaeda obituaries!

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

When it is over, if it is over, this war [in Iraq] will have horrible consequences….Terrorism will be aggravated….Instead of one bin Laden there will be one hundred bin Ladens. Terrorist organizations will be united. Everything will be insecure.

[Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – March 2003]

Yesterday, news anchors across America stumbled over the name of Abu Hamza Rabia as they reported, triumphantly, a “successful hit” on yet another al-Qaeda chief of operations. Frankly, why this still rates as “BREAKING NEWS” escapes me. After all, we hear reports every other week now about the assassination or capture of some obscure Muslim – who was allegedly a top al-Qaeda terrorist or the No.1 assistant to Osama bin Laden’s no. 3 lieutenant.

More to the point, I doubt Americans feel any safer today knowing that the name of Abu Hamza Rabia or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Abu Faraj Farj al-Liby ( has been eliminated from the most wanted list of al-Qaeda terrorists.

Of course, the visionary Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned that it would be thus. He was ridiculed, however, for sounding like a chastened Cassandra when he said the war in Iraq would produce 100 bin Ladens, after claiming that the war in Afghanistan would produce 1000 bin Ladens.

But the joke is clearly on anyone who thinks these high profile hits on al-Qaeda suspects are indications of success in America’s war against Muslim terrorists. Moreover, Mubarak may have been more prophetic than even he realised. Because 1000 bin Ladens today would amount to nothing more than a gaggle of cloistered or caved clerics: notorious for their incendiary rhetoric but who could never organise or carry-out a terror attack, and have no desire to die for their religious cause.

Instead, these wars have converted multitudes of peaceful Muslims into Jihadists who welcome the opportunity to sacrifice their lives in bin Laden’s holy war. Moreover, they have demonstrated that they are just as committed to and capable of killing Americans (in Iraq and Afghanistan) as President Bush is to “routing them out – one by one”. And, it doesn’t take a genius in military war strategy to figure out who will win this asymmetrical war – especially on their turf.

Indeed, it is precisely this realisation that American troops are caught in a no-win death dance with suicidal fanatics that is causing support for the global “war on terror” to plummet. And, if Pentagon officials hope that trumpeting the assassination or capture of one al-Qaeda deputy after another will reverse this trend, they are hopelessly misguided.

After all, the most notable success in this war to date is the rapidity and seamlessness with which al-Qaeda replaces its assassinated or captured deputies. And, this stands in stark contrast to anxiety and foreboding amongst Americans every time there’s a report about yet more American troops being blown up by these holy warriors.

Note: President Bush has decided to deliver a series of cheerleading speeches to counter increasingly defiant calls to bring the troops home…now! But his PR initiative cannot be helped by revelations like the recent escape of 4 al-Qaeda detainees from a high security prison guarded by top America military police; or the fact that in 2003 news anchors reported, triumphantly, the capture of the man who remains the most wanted terrorist in Iraq today, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.


  1. Anonymous December 5, 2005 at 4:18 pm

    OMG! This is soooooo true. The more of those people we kill the more they multiply. Enough already!

  2. Becker December 5, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    Right you are. It was our incessant killing of them that caused the growth of AQ in the ’90’s.

    With respect to the idea that you don’t seem to like the “rankings” of the people killed so far, if you would be so kind as to supply a better organization chart I’m sure the CIA and US military would be happy to kill them too.

    Until the “moderate” Arab states and moderate Islamic factions stand up and condemn terrorists like Rabia and friends (the PA for one), killing the bastards is the best option we’ve got.

    With respect to your thought that we are caught in some sort of quagmire, you spend too much time reading the NYT and too little time listening to Joe Lieberman.

  3. Anonymous December 5, 2005 at 8:49 pm

    but a quagmire is exactly what we have gotten ourselves involved in with the war in iraq. contrary to what state republican TV (FNC) claims, iraq was never the true front line in the war on terror. that dubious link is one of a batch of half truths told to the world by the bush administration. in a few years time we have managed to make it a magnet for jihadists.

    however, i am not in favor of immediate troop withdrawal at this time because i feel we could actually make more of a mess by doing so. but let’s be honest. it will be years before the iraqis are capable of standing up to the insurgents on their own. this will cost us billions more and ultimately will do little to increase the security of the USA.

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