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The Afghan-Arabs Part Two - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Afghan-Arabs Part Two

The Afghan-Arabs Part Two

The author of the book which is based on the Afghan-Arabs, from their

arrival in Afghanistan until their departure after the collapse of the Taliban regime, reveals secrets and mysteries of Al-Qaeda Shura Council meetings and exposes the ways in which its hawks and doves were looking to acquire weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The Muslim fundamentalist leader, who wrote the book based on the activities of the Al-Qaeda leadership, reported that during Tora Bora meetings, it was said that &#34the USA is a dishonest ruthless rival, who will only retreat when facing a strong rival. The USA will show no compassion towards its rival if it starts to collapse but will simply finish this rival off completely.&#34

Discussions about WMD focused on the necessity of balancing power in the face of the American superpower, which has invaded Muslim lands. Al-Qaeda leaders asserted within that meeting that the rebalance should come through acquiring WMD. There was considerable debate about their use in the &#34enemy”s lands&#34 as some of them preferred using them on the &#34enemy”s lands&#34 and claimed that the battle, or at least part of it, against this enemy should take place on its lands. The author says that Al-Qaeda leaders discussed the issue of civilian victims by using WMD and that this has become inevitable since the Second World War. They concluded that civilians have become a major target because they represent an integral part of the overall scene, further adding that most of the victims of the Second World War (60 million dead) were civilians who were deliberately targeted by the warring armies and that the USA nuclear bombs that hit Japan were directed towards cities and not military build-ups.

The author, who is a prominent theoretician of the Afghan-Arabs, talked about the protests of the &#34doves&#34 in the Bin Ladin majlis (council) against this viewpoint. They said that they called for placing every battle in its particular geographical domain. The Palestine battle, for instance, should be fought in Palestine and the Afghanistan battle should be fought within the Afghan lands. Those who supported this viewpoint came up with the justification that confining a battle to its particular geographical domain would help them gain international sympathy including the sympathy of those nations whose governments work against Al-Qaeda. They also stated that striking the lands of these nations would make them more radical and inclined to radical military procedures that might be adopted by their governments.

&#34Doves&#34 versus &#34hawks&#34 in Al-Qaeda

The author said, &#34The hawks protested against the doves” view on this matter. They concluded that public opinion in the world or the US is useless because these nations essentially are opposed to Islam and Muslims, the proof of which is the rise of the popularity of the American president every time he threatens or orders an air strike. Every time Israel launches against the Palestinians, Israel gets more popular and attains more financial support. However, when there is a Western minority looking at things in a rational way, this is an exception that no one should rely upon.&#34

According to the author, the doves of Al-Qaeda Shura council would ask, &#34What if the enemy responds to the Mujahideen artificial WMD strikes by using real WMD against civilians?&#34 To this the hawks answered with another question, &#34Who says they don”t do that now?&#34 They went on to say, &#34Look at the impact of WMD. It causes nothing but destruction to the people and environment. Let”s look at what happened in Iraq. The number of Iraqis killed by the US and Britain so far is over 2 million. This number of victims exceeds what could have been caused by four of the types of bombs used against Hiroshima. Areas contaminated with radioactive materials in Iraq are double that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We are facing a process of change in the way genocide is carried out by the US, Israel and the West, against Muslims. There was a consensus among the majority of Al-Qaeda leaders on the gravity and sensitivity of the issue of WMD. They believe that the US wants

Muslims in particular to understand that this issue is sensitive and extremely dangerous in order for them to develop a self-deterrence sense that prevents them from even thinking about, let alone reading or writing about it.

The US says that the most serious danger facing the world today is that &#34terrorists&#34 acquire WMD. Al-Qaeda leadership says that the US exaggerates and confuses the public by using misleading and damaging terms. For instance, the Mujahideen are not terrorists in any way and they have neither acquired nor developed these types of weapons.

Moreover, the techniques and knowledge that is available to the Mujahideen only allows them to produce primitive things. As for the West”s WMD, they are incomparable in terms of efficiency and superiority. The overall picture resembles a shepherd who uses whichever materials are available to him, such as stones and branches, to imitate a skyscraper like the World Trade Centre in New York. However, our shepherds neither like imitating by using insufficient materials, nor do they seek to acquire these building

equipments.

The US invasion of Afghanistan and the swift collapse of the Taliban regime proved that the required confrontation in the face of America (and Israel) is much bigger than the capability of the present Islamic force in the entire Muslim arena.

It maybe that the Islamic movement has already suffered from an intellectual as well as an organizational defeat before it even started its battle against America otherwise known as the Great Satan).

Jihad is a bigger and a more serious issue that should not be left to the Jihadist groups alone. Jihad is more than just an armed battle. Narrow-minded mentalities towards issues such as religion and politics are incapable of developing their conflict with America, which represents the general picture of &#34devils&#34 intellectually and militarily.

Bin Ladin”s proof

The author says that radicalism pushed Bin Ladin to believe that the US is much weaker than what some of the hawks around him believed. He reiterated his belief in several meetings referring to the &#34fleeing&#34 of the Marines from Beirut following the bombing of their headquarters there in 1983, as well as what he described as the humiliating escape of the Marines from Somalia. He also cited the less well known incident of the hotel bombing in Aden, which forced the US to change its plans of using this place as a supply base for &#34Operation Restore Hope&#34 in Somalia. The author said that Bin Ladin heard from witnesses that the Yemeni president, Ali Abdalla Salih, said had it not been for the Aden bombing, his government would not have been able to do anything to prevent the US from establishing that base in Aden. It seems that some of his Saudi followers, who visited America, confirmed to Bin Ladin his illusions that the US is collapsing and that all that is required is a few strong blows for it to withdraw from the Arab peninsula.

You are the Emir, do as you please!

Such an opinion is not only wrong but is also dangerous. It encourages recklessness and causes disorganization, characteristics which are unsuitable for this battle of existence in which we confront the greatest force in the world, USA. It is therefore necessary to consider the real nature and the size of this battle as well as preparing it in a way that takes into account its danger and, consequently, mobilizing the Mujahideen and the Muslim masses for an extended and a long-term battle that requires great sacrifices. It was necessary to prepare for the worst scenarios that could come of this battle rather than dreaming of an easy victory.

This shortcoming definitely led to our defeat as we were prepared materially and psychologically only for an easy short-term battle, this is exactly what happened.

Some of Bin Ladin”s young Saudi supporters would frequently tell him that if anyone should be king, it would be him. His followers came to the conclusion that following a path contrary to his would be pointless. After heated debates, they would tell him &#34he is the Emir&#34 and they would say this and obey his orders, even though they knew that his decisions would have are catastrophic effects. The last months in the life of Al-Qaeda (in Afghanistan at least) represented a tragic example of an authoritarian-ruled Islamic movement.

As for the WMD, Bin Ladin disagreed with the issue, as he would repeat his theory that the US will not be able to endure two or three strikes from him. However, Bin Ladin could not publicly declare his rejection to the idea, probably out of his extreme respect for those who were working with him. Another reason was that Bin Ladin”s right hand man, Abu Hafs Al-Masri, the second man of Al-Qaeda was a prominent hawk and a staunch supporter of the idea of acquiring new abilities, especially WMD. However he was unsure about the &#34strategy&#34 of using these types of weapons so he decided to postpone his thoughts on the matter until they actually acquire the weapons themselves, as he believed that talking about WMD before acquiring them was &#34pointless&#34.

Abu Hafs was in charge of the WMD plan and worked very hard to make advances on this front, but Bin Ladin”s opinion dominated in the end. Abu Hafs’ project had then come to a halt. Neither he, nor Bin Ladin achieved anything but they never either stopped trying to acquire WMD. US investigations in Afghanistan proved that such weapons were non-existent, as it was American propaganda that inflated this matter in the first place. Despite the importance of the issue, the bubble eventually burst.

Chechnya on the way of WMD:

A manual written in English was found in Al-Qaeda private library in Khartoum, Sudan, about how to produce a dirty bomb. When it became known that the necessary radioactive materials to produce the bomb were available in Kabul, the book in question disappeared. It was likely that those who took the manual attempted to monopolize this kind of knowledge in order to outdo their competitors.

In Kabul, there was some radioactive materials confiscated from smugglers who brought them from Tajikistan as well as other quantities left by the Soviets in Afghanistan; some of these were used for medical purposes, but the use of others was unknown.

Taliban officials were very cautious and strict about their nuclear

secrets. They often preferred to deal with and confide in Pakistanis rather than Arabs. Pakistanis paid little money, but in turn, they received many radioactive materials of which they knew the real value of. These materials might have helped Pakistan in its nuclear enterprise, which appeared several years after following those developments. The remainder of the Taliban’s radioactive materials, which they allowed Arabs to check, was in fact counterfeit. It was then that the Taliban authorities started to cooperate with Arabs in seeking radioactive materials, but this happened only after Kabul”s markets dried up completely.

Khattab versus Bin Ladin:

The Russian military campaign in Chechnya ended in a clear Russian defeat. An ambiguous agreement was signed between the two parties, however the Chechens lost their spectacular leader Jawhar Dodaiev, who was then succeeded by a weak leadership. Many conflicts and disputes emerged after the death of Dodaiev. Unfortunately, the Saudi national Khattab, who was supported by a number of field commanders, was involved in these conflicts and disputes. Khattab, who was killed in March 2002, was strongly supported by a group which was loyal to one of the Saudi religious scholars who also provided him with money and fighters.

Khattab succeeded in forming an investment and economic force in the

Gulf States. He also succeeded to a large extent, in controlling the

movements of Arabs in Chechnya; moreover, he used to have his own media apparatus that linked him with the outside world.

In short, Khattab”s position and status in Chechnya until the second

Russian military campaign in 1999 were stronger than that of Bin Ladin”s in Afghanistan.

Contact started between Bin Ladin and Khattab, each trying to recruit the other to his own plan. Bin Ladin believed that Khattab joining his Jihad against the Americans was a religious obligation, because Khattab is from Hijaz. Moreover, Bin Ladin also believed that Khattab was a newcomer Mujahid until 1989 in Jalalabad, whereas Bin Ladin was commander in chief of the Arab forces in Afghanistan. Khattab emerged only after Bin Ladin left Jalalabad and was arrested in Saudi Arabia.

Khattab believed that he was about to liberate another country from the Russians. He also believed that he had a comprehensive program to

liberate central Asia as well as some parts of Chechnya, especially the Republic of Daghistan, where Salafists and puritans reinforced their position. With them, Khatteb planned to seize control quickly of Daghistan. Discussions were continuous between the two Saudi wings in Chechnya and Afghanistan, but there was little progress.

A warning from the hawks to Khattab:

Al-Qaeda hawks in Afghanistan warned Khattab saying that previous experiences with the Russians in Chechnya indicate that they organize successive military campaigns. They informed him that if the Russians are defeated, they quickly organize another military campaign relying on Russia”s adequate material and human resources. They also warned him that it is necessary that he and his fighters prepare themselves for a new Russian military campaign, in which Moscow will try to learn from its mistakes in the previous campaign. The warning was concluded by asking Khattab and his men to pay attention to the fact that Chechens are geographically isolated from the other Muslim nations, especially those who can help; the hawks also warned that «verbal assistance» of the Arab nations is plain «nonsense».

The Al-Qaeda hawks also warned that the Arab volunteers” movement was temporary and under the vigilant eye of the US especially in Azerbaijan. Khattab and his men have also been warned by the hawks that the US has an interest in embarrassing Russia and mounting pressures on Moscow by the Arab volunteers so that the Americans can control oil of the Caucasus.

Another issue that the Al-Qaeda hawks highlighted in their warning is that if the Russians win the coming session in Chechnya, Chechens will face genocide similar to that carried out by the Serbs against Muslims in the former Yugoslavia.

The hawks concluded this issue by saying that the Chechen population

(750,000) cannot face the Russian killings and the forcing of Chechens to flee. The only way to protect the Chechens against this danger is to obtain WMD. The hawks indicated in their warning letter that it is the Chechen Mujahideen who were able to obtain these weapons ready-made from the scattered arsenal of the former Soviet Union, or by seeking the help of former experts, who worked during the Soviet era and are now suffering from unemployment. They also drew attention to the point that Chechnya Mujahideen are by law Russian citizens and that the Chechen-Chechen mafia is able to obtain anything in Russia.

Khattab paid no attention to the warning letter from the hawks, as his plans were ready to be acted upon within the region, which he believed would eventually fall into his hands. He also replied with little attention to Bin Ladin”s call to join Jihad against the Americans. The Russians launched a huge and well-prepared military campaign as a response to the failed Khattab-led campaign against Daghistan with a limited number of Chechen military commanders. As a result, the Mujahideen government in Grozny fell and the fighters were assertively chased into the surrounding mountains. Russian troops drove the majority of local people to flee to neighboring countries, especially Georgia.

A Chechen Mujahideen delegation arrived in Afghanistan seeking assistance from the Afghan government and the Arabs there. The delegation members asked if there were any WMD available in Afghanistan so that they could use it in Chechnya against the Russians in order to stop the mass killing of the Chechens.

The Arab leadership in Afghanistan had a program similar to that of

Khattab that is defeating the US in a quick and easy battle that does not need WMD. Two years later, Afghanistan was lost and so was Chechnya. As for the ambitious plans of Saudi jihadist leadership, they too failed.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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