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September 11th: What's Next? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Five political, military, and security charged years have passed since the 11 September attacks to the extent that it seemed to many that most of the evil was over except for a few new cells and limited terrorist operations.

But, in my view, the worst is still to come. The second chapter of the confrontation will not be less violent than the first one, not because Al-Qaeda itself is capable of carrying out attacks similar to 9/11 but because the grounds that gave birth to Al-Qaeda and dozens like it in the Arab region is back at work and stronger and in the end it will result in additional international terrorist acts, which will bring us all back to square one.

It is surprising how societies do not learn from the mistakes that led to this catastrophe and involved the international forces in our situations and how to manage our affairs?

The mistakes were in the places, means, and the messages and here they are returning as they were in the past that preceded 9/11. Though some want to believe they are innocent, and they definitely look innocent, but the lesson is in the endings. The September events came from the years of ideas that led to the recruitment, preparation, financing, and the dive deep into almost all the Arab societies.

While appreciating the viewpoints of those who sum up the crisis by linking it to what is happening regionally, they are forgetting the roots of the problem are a destructive call that will find many justifications. The Westerners see it as a problem linked to the loss of the means of expression and the peaceful civilian rejection, that is, the democratic approach. The region’s governments say it is the offspring of the missing justice in the Middle East, such as the Palestinian cause. The truth is that all of them are avoiding their direct responsibility by blaming the political climate, which is true as a whole but is not the core of the problem. There is a contagious and dangerous disease in the region called extremism and it cannot be blamed on the lack of democracy or the Palestine cause alone. Bin Laden, the head of the extremist movement, considers elections unbelief and did not include the Palestine cause in his messages except in his later years. History is a witness that he did not prepare a single battle against an Israeli target over 10 years.

I reiterate that Al-Qaeda as an ideology is stronger today than it was in the past and the reason is that while the security services hunted down its cells and destroyed many of them, very little was done to contain its ideology and its civilian organizations that are operating in broad daylight. The reason is that there are two parties that accept this dangerous situation. One believes it is a temporary surge that will abate with time and therefore avoiding the confrontation is the best solution. The second party thinks that the overt ideological and financial support establishments have no connection with the dangerous extremism. In both cases, I can say definitely that the result will be one, the return of violence in a bigger way and with it the return of the major countries to interfere in the details of our affairs and forcibly insist on changing the curricula, closing the establishments sponsoring extremism, and sealing the door of terrorism.

The groups themselves will ignite the fire in the world again and this world will come to us announcing that this is harming its security and is inside its borders and that will not accept the assurances as it did in the past.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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