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The tide begins to turn: Al-Qaeda founders, militants and sympathizers are publicly denouncing terrorism

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,576
431
126
I highly, highly recommend that anyone interested in this topic read this article in its full form over at The New Republic.

While the article goes into fascinating detail about the scores of one-time leaders of the jihadist movement turning away and publicly denouncing violence to achieve their aims, the message you come away with is one that's been repeated often: They can't win. It's an impossibility, because people in their right minds categorically reject the lifestyle Islamic terrorists wish to force on them.

The Jihadist revolt against Bin Laden

This past November, Noman Benotman went public with his own criticism of al-Qaeda in an open letter to Zawahiri, absorbed and well-received, he says, by the jihadist leaders in Tripoli.

In the letter, Benotman recalled his Kandahar warnings and called on al-Qaeda to end all operations in Arab countries and in the West. The citizens of Western countries were blameless and should not be the target of terrorist attacks, argued Benotman, his refined English accent, smart suit, trimmed beard and easygoing demeanour making it hard to imagine that he was once on the front lines in Afghanistan.

Although Benotman's public rebuke of al-Qaeda went unnoticed in the United States and Canada, it received wide attention in the Arabic press. In repudiating al-Qaeda, [ex-leader of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Noman] Benotman was adding his voice to a rising tide of anger in the Islamic world toward al-Qaeda and its affiliates, whose victims since September 11 have mostly been fellow Muslims.

Significantly, he was also joining a larger group of religious scholars, former fighters and militants who had once had great influence over Al Qaeda's leaders, and who -- alarmed by the targeting of civilians in the West, the senseless killings in Muslim countries and al-Qaeda's barbaric tactics in Iraq --have turned against the organization, many just in the past year.

Why have clerics and militants once considered allies by al-Qaeda's leaders turned against them?

To a large extent, it is because al-Qaeda and its affiliates have increasingly adopted the doctrine of takfir, by which they claim the right to decide who is a "true" Muslim. Al-Qaeda's Muslim critics know what results from this takfiri view: First, the radicals deem some Muslims apostates; after that, the radicals start killing them. This fatal progression happened in both Algeria and Egypt in the 1990s.

It is now taking place even more dramatically in Iraq, where al-Qaeda's suicide bombers have killed more than 10,000 Iraqis, most of them targeted simply for being Shia. Recently, al-Qaeda in Iraq has turned its fire on Sunnis who oppose its diktats, a fact not lost on the Islamic world's Sunni majority.

Additionally, al-Qaeda and its affiliates have killed thousands of Muslim civilians elsewhere since September 11: hundreds of ordinary Afghans killed every year by the Taliban, dozens of Saudis killed by terrorists since 2003, scores of Jordanians massacred at a wedding at a U. S. hotel in Amman in November, 2005.

Even those sympathetic to al-Qaeda have started to notice. "Excuse me Mr. Zawahiri but who is it who is killing with Your Excellency's blessing, the innocents in Baghdad, Morocco and Algeria?" one supporter asked in an online Q&A with al-Qaeda's deputy leader in April that was posted widely on jihadist Web sites. All this has created a dawning recognition among Muslims that the ideological virus that unleashed September 11 and the terrorist attacks in London and Madrid is the same virus now wreaking havoc in the Muslim world.

Two months before Benotman's letter to Zawahiri was publicized in the Arab press, al-Qaeda received a blow from one of bin Laden's erstwhile heroes, Sheikh Salman Al Oudah, a Saudi religious scholar. Around the sixth anniversary of September 11, Al Oudah addressed al-Qaeda's leader on MBC, a widely watched Middle East TV network: "My brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocent people, children, elderly and women have been killed ...in the name of al-Qaeda? Will you be happy to meet God Almighty carrying the burden of these hundreds of thousands or millions [of victims] on your back?"

Al Oudah's rebuke was also significant because he is considered one of the fathers of the Sahwa, the fundamentalist awakening movement that swept through Saudi Arabia in the 1980s. Al Oudah is also one of 26 Saudi clerics who, in 2004, handed down a religious ruling urging Iraqis to fight the U. S. occupation of their country. He is, in short, not someone al-Qaeda can paint as an American sympathizer or a tool of the Saudi government.

Tellingly, al-Qaeda has not responded to Al Oudah's critique, but the research organization Political Islam Online tracked postings on six Islamist Web sites and the Web sites of al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya TV networks in the week after Al Oudah's statements; it found that more than two-thirds of respondents reacted favorably.

Al Oudah's large youth following in the Muslim world has helped his anti-al-Qaeda message resonate. In 2006, for instance, he addressed a gathering of around 20,000 young British Muslims in London's East End. "Oudah is well known by all the youth. It's almost a celebrity culture out there ? He has definitely helped to offset al-Qaeda's rhetoric," one young imam told us.

More doubt about al-Qaeda was planted in the Muslim world when Sayyid Imam Al Sharif, the ideological godfather of al-Qaeda, sensationally withdrew his support in a book written last year from his prison cell in Cairo.

Al Sharif, generally known as "Dr. Fadl," was an architect of the doctrine of takfir, arguing that Muslims who did not support armed jihad or who participated in elections were kuffar, unbelievers. Although Dr. Fadl never explicitly called for such individuals to be killed, his takfiri treatises from 1988 and 1993 gave theological cover to jihadists targeting civilians.

So it was an unwelcome surprise for al-Qaeda's leaders when Dr. Fadl's new book, Rationalization of Jihad, was serialized in an independent Egyptian newspaper in November. The incentive for writing the book, he explained, was that "jihad ...was blemished with grave shariah violations during recent years. ... Now there are those who kill hundreds, including women and children, Muslims and non-Muslims in the name of Jihad!"

Dr. Fadl ruled that al-Qaeda's bombings in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere were illegitimate and that terrorism against civilians in Western countries was wrong. He also took on al-Qaeda's leaders directly in an interview with the al-Hayat newspaper. "Zawahiri and his Emir bin Laden [are] extremely immoral," he said. "I have spoken about this in order to warn the youth against them, youth who are seduced by them, and don't know them."

Ultimately, the ideological battle against al-Qaeda in the West may be won in places such as Leyton and Walthamstow, largely Muslim enclaves in east London, whose residents included five of the eight alleged British al-Qaeda operatives currently on trial for plotting to bring down U. S.-bound passenger jets in 2006.

Over the last half-year, we have made several trips to London to interview militants who have defected from al-Qaeda, retired mujahedin, Muslim community leaders and members of the security services. Most say that when al-Qaeda's bombs went off in London in 2005, sympathy for the terrorists evaporated.

In December, al-Qaeda's campaign of violence reached new depths in the eyes of many Muslims, with a plot to launch attacks in Saudi Arabia while millions were gathered for the Hajj. Saudi security services arrested 28 al-Qaeda militants in Mecca, Medina and Riyadh, whose targets allegedly included religious leaders critical of al-Qaeda, among them the Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abd Al Aziz Al Sheikh, who responded to the plot by ruling that al-Qaeda operatives should be punished by execution, crucifixion or exile.

Plotting such attacks during the Hajj could not have been more counterproductive to al-Qaeda's cause, says Abdullah Anas, who was making the pilgrimage to Mecca himself. "People over there ...were very angry. The feeling was, how was it possible for Muslims to do that? I still can't quite believe it myself. The mood was one of shock, real shock."

Is al-Qaeda going to dissipate as a result of the criticism from its former mentors and allies? Despite the recent internal criticism, probably not in the short term. As one of us reported in The New Republic early last year, al-Qaeda, on the verge of defeat in 2002, has regrouped and is now able to launch significant terrorist operations in Europe. And, last summer, U. S. intelligence agencies judged that al-Qaeda had "regenerated its [U. S.] Homeland attack capability" in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Since then, al-Qaeda and the Taliban have only entrenched their position further, launching a record number of suicide attacks in Pakistan in the past year. Afghanistan, Algeria and Iraq also saw record numbers of suicide attacks in 2007 (though the group's capabilities have deteriorated in Iraq of late). Meanwhile, al-Qaeda is still able to find recruits in the West.

In November, Jonathan Evans, the head of Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI5, said that record numbers of U. K. residents are now supportive of al-Qaeda, with around 2,000 posing a "direct threat to national security and public safety." That means that al-Qaeda will threaten the United States and its allies for many years to come.

However, encoded in the DNA of apocalyptic jihadist groups like al-Qaeda are the seeds of their own long-term destruction: Their victims are often Muslim civilians; they don't offer a positive vision of the future (but rather the prospect of Taliban-style regimes from Morocco to Indonesia); they keep expanding their list of enemies, including any Muslim who doesn't precisely share their world view; and they seem incapable of becoming politically successful movements because their ideology prevents them from making the real-world compromises that would allow them to engage in genuine politics.

Which means that the repudiation of al-Qaeda's leaders by its former religious, military and political guides will help hasten the implosion of the jihadist terrorist movement. As Churchill remarked after the battle of El Alamein in 1942, which he saw as turning the tide in the Second World War, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Unsurprisingly, Al Qaeda's leaders have been thrown on the defensive. In December, bin Laden released a tape that stressed that "the Muslim victims who fall during the operations against the infidel Crusaders ... are not the intended targets." Bin Laden warned the former mujahedin now turning on Al Qaeda that, whatever their track records as jihadists, they had now committed one of the "nullifiers of Islam," which is helping the "infidels against the Muslims."
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,386
2
81
They can't win. It's an impossibility, because people in their right minds categorically reject the lifestyle Islamic terrorists wish to force on them.
Of course they can't win, inshalla and total explanation of the universe by a 1400 yr old book prevents that - the problem is the perpetual bloodshed throughout the world.
 

NeoV

Diamond Member
Apr 18, 2000
9,529
0
0
so can we say that islamic terrorist are in their 'final throes'?
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,576
431
126
Originally posted by: NeoV
so can we say that islamic terrorist are in their 'final throes'?
Way too early. "End of the beginning" is definitely appropriate. Like the British 'problem' with the IRA, this will take years to resolve.

Edit: Er wait, I just realized you were probably mocking some speech made by President Bush. I don't really pay attention to what he says. :p
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
1
61
Originally posted by: palehorse
:thumbsup:

need more of this... baby steps...
But it's nothing new really. The main reason they chose to attack the USA is because their attempts to take out nations in the Middle East failed miserably. Qutb and Al-Zawahiri failed in Egypt long before AQ became AQ. The only "victory" they've ever had was in Afghanistan, with a big help from the USA.
 

BMW540I6speed

Golden Member
Aug 26, 2005
1,055
0
0
Nice link...

Two major failings in Al Qaida's version of the "clash of civilisations" theory is that it glosses over or ignores the very real conflicts and potential conflicts within individual civilisations, and it overlooks the fact that political alliances are multiple, shifting, and often cut across civilisational boundaries. The Muslim world, one of the main theatres of the supposed confrontation. There seems to be no civilisational rhyme or reason to its geopolitical realities.

If "Islam" were a single civilisation capable of posing some sort of threat, should it not be capable of presenting some sort of united front, rather than its divided reality? Islam is less unified than any other civilisation. If it is so disunited and none of its countries have declared war on the west, who exactly will lead the charge: Al-Qaida? Can a few thousand extremists be classed as the main protagonists in a civilisational clash, without the notion being met with derisive laughter from fellow Muslims?

Muslims have been at war with one another perhaps more than with Christians. The Shia-Sunni schism appeared early on. In addition, Islam quickly acquired two caliphates as the Umayyads fled west when they were ousted by the Abbasids.

Civilisational identifications have actually been injected into political and cultural life, even in places far from the civilisational border. But at the same time seems to challenge the assumption that civilisations are culturally speaking just given things from which political conflicts unfold, instead of things with roles that change through political change and conflict.



 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: palehorse
:thumbsup:

need more of this... baby steps...
But it's nothing new really. The main reason they chose to attack the USA is because their attempts to take out nations in the Middle East failed miserably. Qutb and Al-Zawahiri failed in Egypt long before AQ became AQ. The only "victory" they've ever had was in Afghanistan, with a big help from the USA.
please dont try to lecture me on the history of AQ or the various jihads and jihadists... it's STILL a step in the right direction when Dr. Fadl, Al Oudah, and Al Sharif take OBL and AQ to task publicly.

Their doing so has had a very direct effect on AQ's popularity in places like Iraq. The surge isn't the reason the sunnis turned on AQ there...
 

Jaskalas

Lifer
Jun 23, 2004
30,054
3,600
126
Originally posted by: yllus
I highly, highly recommend that anyone interested in this topic read this article in its full form over at The New Republic.

While the article goes into fascinating detail about the scores of one-time leaders of the jihadist movement turning away and publicly denouncing violence to achieve their aims, the message you come away with is one that's been repeated often: They can't win. It's an impossibility, because people in their right minds categorically reject the lifestyle Islamic terrorists wish to force on them.

The Jihadist revolt against Bin Laden
Islamic terrorism is nothing but a symptom of Islamic Supremacism. That is very much alive and well, and spread by violence. Until you stifle it at the source, only idiots will believe the terrorism (acts of war against us) will end.

Topic Summary: Warning: Long but extremely fascinating article about the looming end of Islamic terrorism.
It appears the premise of the OP is regarding al-Qaeda as both the beginning and end of Islamic terrorism on this planet and that is just not the case. Any attempts to reflect that distortion are attempts to sweep under the radar and thus empower the rest of the Supremacists.

Thousands die every year in the name of Allah, and it is not al-Qaeda who does the majority of it. They merely happened to pull off the single greatest act of war ? you do us infidels a huge disservice to discount all the others.

When there are Islamic Supremacists in our own nation who are allowed to have separatist militant camps like Islamberg, New York, the source of Islamic terrorism is only continuing to grow and is in no threat of being endangered in our lifetimes, if ever.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,386
2
81
Originally posted by: palehorse
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: palehorse
:thumbsup:

need more of this... baby steps...
But it's nothing new really. The main reason they chose to attack the USA is because their attempts to take out nations in the Middle East failed miserably. Qutb and Al-Zawahiri failed in Egypt long before AQ became AQ. The only "victory" they've ever had was in Afghanistan, with a big help from the USA.
please dont try to lecture me on the history of AQ or the various jihads and jihadists... it's STILL a step in the right direction when Dr. Fadl, Al Oudah, and Al Sharif take OBL and AQ to task publicly.

Their doing so has had a very direct effect on AQ's popularity in places like Iraq. The surge isn't the reason the sunnis turned on AQ there...
Yep but there's a endemic problem, while these few might have an impact, the Saudi funded Wahabi run madrasses all over the Muslim world will still generate solders and future generals for generations eager to join the jihadists cause. All of these madrasses indoctrinate Muslims in the ultra fundamentalist Wahabi strain of Islam who, as you know, is virulently anti-american anti-western, anti-anything not Muslim. Muslim fundamentalists totally control the educational systems and win hearts and mind from an early age with food and medical care though the Saudi funded madrasses from a early age. Very hard to combat. Then you have the marginalized and sociopaths who are attracted to some of Islams more deviant tenants/atmospherics. We are in this battle for the long haul I'm afraid.
 

ElFenix

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Mar 20, 2000
101,399
5,438
126
if they stop killing muslims going about their daily lives the average mohammad on the street won't care too much about the particulars of whether they're violating the trust of their host or killing people who aren't attacking muslims. young men with no hope of advancement in life and nothing better to do are going to fight. they always have and they always will. the romans had to dedicate many more legions to subduing barbaric spain than they had to greece because the greeks knew that if they stopped fighting they live comfortably. the barbarians knew if they stopped fighting they'd just be farming rocks.
 

crisscross

Golden Member
Apr 29, 2001
1,598
0
71
Originally posted by: Zebo
Originally posted by: palehorse
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: palehorse
:thumbsup:

need more of this... baby steps...
But it's nothing new really. The main reason they chose to attack the USA is because their attempts to take out nations in the Middle East failed miserably. Qutb and Al-Zawahiri failed in Egypt long before AQ became AQ. The only "victory" they've ever had was in Afghanistan, with a big help from the USA.
please dont try to lecture me on the history of AQ or the various jihads and jihadists... it's STILL a step in the right direction when Dr. Fadl, Al Oudah, and Al Sharif take OBL and AQ to task publicly.

Their doing so has had a very direct effect on AQ's popularity in places like Iraq. The surge isn't the reason the sunnis turned on AQ there...
Yep but there's a endemic problem, while these few might have an impact, the Saudi funded Wahabi run madrasses all over the Muslim world will still generate solders and future generals for generations eager to join the jihadists cause. All of these madrasses indoctrinate Muslims in the ultra fundamentalist Wahabi strain of Islam who, as you know, is virulently anti-american anti-western, anti-anything not Muslim. Muslim fundamentalists totally control the educational systems and win hearts and mind from an early age with food and medical care though the Saudi funded madrasses from a early age. Very hard to combat. Then you have the marginalized and sociopaths who are attracted to some of Islams more deviant tenants/atmospherics. We are in this battle for the long haul I'm afraid.
Totally agree about time someone pointed out this out.
 

crisscross

Golden Member
Apr 29, 2001
1,598
0
71
Hardly anyone talks about the Saudis who fund terror schools in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of the world.
 

Zebo

Elite Member
Jul 29, 2001
39,386
2
81
Originally posted by: Jaskalas
Originally posted by: yllus
I highly, highly recommend that anyone interested in this topic read this article in its full form over at The New Republic.

While the article goes into fascinating detail about the scores of one-time leaders of the jihadist movement turning away and publicly denouncing violence to achieve their aims, the message you come away with is one that's been repeated often: They can't win. It's an impossibility, because people in their right minds categorically reject the lifestyle Islamic terrorists wish to force on them.

The Jihadist revolt against Bin Laden
Islamic terrorism is nothing but a symptom of Islamic Supremacism. That is very much alive and well, and spread by violence. Until you stifle it at the source, only idiots will believe the terrorism (acts of war against us) will end.

Topic Summary: Warning: Long but extremely fascinating article about the looming end of Islamic terrorism.
It appears the premise of the OP is regarding al-Qaeda as both the beginning and end of Islamic terrorism on this planet and that is just not the case. Any attempts to reflect that distortion are attempts to sweep under the radar and thus empower the rest of the Supremacists.

Thousands die every year in the name of Allah, and it is not al-Qaeda who does the majority of it. They merely happened to pull off the single greatest act of war ? you do us infidels a huge disservice to discount all the others.

When there are Islamic Supremacists in our own nation who are allowed to have separatist militant camps like Islamberg, New York, the source of Islamic terrorism is only continuing to grow and is in no threat of being endangered in our lifetimes, if ever.

Don't worry. After they nuke us I think the multicultural platitudes and 'winning hearts and minds of moms and dads in the middle east' bullshit will go by the wayside and we'll pull an Atatürk. Then you have their oil or lack there of in 50 years which funds all this terror and without it they are headed right back to camels and tents.
 

palehorse

Lifer
Dec 21, 2005
11,521
0
76
Originally posted by: Zebo
Originally posted by: palehorse
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: palehorse
:thumbsup:

need more of this... baby steps...
But it's nothing new really. The main reason they chose to attack the USA is because their attempts to take out nations in the Middle East failed miserably. Qutb and Al-Zawahiri failed in Egypt long before AQ became AQ. The only "victory" they've ever had was in Afghanistan, with a big help from the USA.
please dont try to lecture me on the history of AQ or the various jihads and jihadists... it's STILL a step in the right direction when Dr. Fadl, Al Oudah, and Al Sharif take OBL and AQ to task publicly.

Their doing so has had a very direct effect on AQ's popularity in places like Iraq. The surge isn't the reason the sunnis turned on AQ there...
Yep but there's a endemic problem, while these few might have an impact, the Saudi funded Wahabi run madrasses all over the Muslim world will still generate solders and future generals for generations eager to join the jihadists cause. All of these madrasses indoctrinate Muslims in the ultra fundamentalist Wahabi strain of Islam who, as you know, is virulently anti-american anti-western, anti-anything not Muslim. Muslim fundamentalists totally control the educational systems and win hearts and mind from an early age with food and medical care though the Saudi funded madrasses from a early age. Very hard to combat. Then you have the marginalized and sociopaths who are attracted to some of Islams more deviant tenants/atmospherics. We are in this battle for the long haul I'm afraid.
That's why I described it as "baby steps" in my first post. ;)

One of my fatal flaws is my eternal optimism... without it, I don't think I could keep fighting.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
2
0
Excuse me, I don't think this is anything new in a longer history of the world. Terrorism by itself never succeeds as a tactic. But Al-Quida may learn from its mistakes which is the scary part. But as it is, the main mistake Al-Quida made in Iraq is to bring down misery on the very target population they need to find shelter in. And in Lebanon, the dumb MF's find themselves supporting the same factions as Israel. And when a terrorist organization's tactic's tend to maximize the misery of the general population and they are seen as being the bringer of the misery, their support wicks away, not just in this specific case, but historically almost always. But there is still a fine line we should not now be emboldened to cross, because when the government the terrorists fight are seen as bringing the misery, the popular support for terrorism increases. And a classic case of that was seen in Lebanon where Hezbollah support went from 25% to 75% when Israel bombed Lebanon.

So in one sense palehorse is correct------it's STILL a step in the right direction when Dr. Fadl, Al Oudah, and Al Sharif take OBL and AQ to task publicly.

But the government has the power to take advantage of it, or in the case of the efforts of GWB&co, can have the power to push those baby steps back with heavy handed stupidity.

But in another sense, Al-Quida represents something totally new in the world, namely a terrorists organization that seeks to have an international agenda. So they aid and train terrorists all over the world and co-ordinate efforts almost like a crime syndicate. And sadly, according to our own National Intelligence Estimate, our own war on terror has had the net counterproductive effect of increasing the number of terrorists.

So maybe tide is exactly the wrong implication word to use, because the tide comes in and goes back out more than once per day.

 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
345
126
Originally posted by: Zebo
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: crisscross
Hardly anyone talks about the Saudis who fund terror schools in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of the world.
Or the former School of the Americas.
Not enough. We need about 10,000 of those to counter the madrasses.
We need zero of those to counter the madrasses, who feed off our wrongs.

If I shoot one of your children and it creates conflict, is the solution to shoot another?

Sure, if the policy is for me to dominate you to the point that you are unable to resist my shooting your children, and your total subservience is the only way to stop it.

But how long are you going to resist that situation, how much more is peace going to come when the end to shooting your children is the policy?
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
2
0
Originally posted by: Zebo
Originally posted by: Craig234
Originally posted by: crisscross
Hardly anyone talks about the Saudis who fund terror schools in Pakistan, Bangladesh and other parts of the world.
Or the former School of the Americas.
Not enough. We need about 10,000 of those to counter the madrasses.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No, 110,000 would not be enough and one is more than needed.

When we bring total anarchy to Afghanistan the taliban message of a glorious islamic Afghanistan before the West came and that never was is an extremely easy sell.

When it comes time to deal with a myth, it should not be driven underground where it will thrive, it should be brought out to compete in the free market of ideas. When myths have to compete with reality, they die.
 

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