An Interview with Bin Ladin's former bodyguard
August 7, 2004 4:26 AM   Subscribe

Bin Ladin's Former 'Bodyguard' Interviewed on Al-Qa'ida Strategies. An interview taken by the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper in London with one of Bin Ladin's former bodyguards brings out many interesting things, such as him admitting that Al Qaida is no longer an entity, but an ideology. Another strong point of the interview is his summary of Al Qaida tactics: Al-Qa'ida pursues a method or principle that calls for "centralization of decision and decentralization of execution.".
posted by Masi (13 comments total)
link is dead
posted by sic at 4:37 AM on August 7, 2004

Works for me, but a mirror just in case.
posted by Masi at 5:23 AM on August 7, 2004

One thing that rings false to me. "Cole Operation One" -- was the U.S.S. Cole there that long? Did they deliberately target exactly that vessel? It seems that they'd aim for whatever medium sized U.S. warship happened to be in port at the time, rather that a specific warship -- unless it was something like the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan or (not yet commissioned) the U.S.S. George Bush.

(I can see naming an CVN after Bush the elder and JFK -- both who served, quite well, as a (respectively) Navy combat pilot and Torpedo Boat commander in WWII. I can see naming a submarine after Jimmy Carter, who served in the Submarine Forces. But the Reagan still bothers me. Hmm. Sorry about the derail, it's early, I'm in airport, it's distraction city.)
posted by eriko at 6:37 AM on August 7, 2004

" it is very likely for the United States to come to the whole region -- and it is coming -- in order to control the entire Middle East."

Whether or not that is the plan, I guess time will tell, but apparently some people--a lot of people---believe it to be.
posted by jaronson at 7:43 AM on August 7, 2004

I just finished reading Imperial Hubris. That is pretty much one of the central points the author makes. We might not think we are at war with Islam, but an ever-increasing number of Muslims (not just Islamic radicals) thinks we are. Therefore, are at war with Islam. To use his words:

We have sent U.S. forces to Yemen, East Africa, the Philippines, and the Caucuses, forces small enough to have little or no impact on the Islamist insurgencies there but large and attention-getting enough to convince more of the Islamic world that Washington will use its military wherever Muslims fight what they see as tyranny. Worse, we have officially backed Russia, China, and India in their wars on "terrorism" in, respectively, Chechnya, Xinjiang, and Kasmir. In each case, God help us, America stands by governments determined to exterminate Islamist fighters struggling not just for independence but against institutionalized barbarism.
posted by psmealey at 8:49 AM on August 7, 2004

I meant to say: therefore we are at war with Islam, and all of our attempts to deny it will fall on deaf ears, as due to the reasons above in addition to our unquestioning support of Israel, our support for the "apostate" governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, etc., we no longer have credibility Muslims. So, Anonymous's conclusion? We are at war with Islam, get used to it.

Either that or they hate us because they hate freedom.
posted by psmealey at 9:06 AM on August 7, 2004

I think it's because they hate us for our freedom fries.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 9:17 AM on August 7, 2004

On the other hand, the US saves Muslims in Kuwait and norther Iraq for 10 years and Bosnia, in Saudi Arabia and probably elsewhere but I have a hangover, and gets no credit, nobody says "oh, the US put its citizens on the line to help Muslims" instead it's "The great satan is stopping our freedom fighters fighting for their freedom from their oppressors." Mind you - the methodologies of "freedom fighting" - suicide bombing, kidnapping/beheadings, ethnic cleansing (c.f. Sudan), doesn't sound like fighting for freedom, it sounds far more like standard warfare for territory.

Yes, the US (and the West) is at war with Militant Islam. Not at war with the Sufis, not at war with the Kurds, at war with that strain of Islam that sees itself as racially superior. The one that calls for an Islamic caliphate. The one perpetrating the atrocities in the Sudan, the one that spawned the Taliban, and the one that refers to Jews as Apes and Pigs. And those who support it, either openly, or tacitly.

I think gesamtkunstwerk is wrong. They don't hate us for our freedom fries. They hate us for stopping them from committing whatever atrocity du jour they want to commit, and denying the primacy of the Muslim faith.
posted by swerdloff at 9:57 AM on August 7, 2004

Might as well mention the Al Queda agent that provided the latest panic alert turns out to have been an embedded spy, now outed. Way to go, Georgie!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:01 AM on August 7, 2004

Yes, the Radical Islamists are at war with the US. Not at war with the French, not at war with the Germans, at war with that strain of the US that sees itself as racially/religiously superior (crusade, anyone?). The one that calls for an Christian-influenced democracy. The one perpetrating the atrocities in Abu Ghraib, the one that funded the Taliban, and the one that refers to Muslims as Apes and Pigs, to be forcibly converted to Christianity. And those who support it, either openly, or tacitly.
posted by amberglow at 10:02 AM on August 7, 2004

If only we had gone ahead and attacked South America, that would have really surprised bin Laden.
posted by homunculus at 12:29 PM on August 7, 2004

Not at war with the French, not at war with the Germans...

Amberglow, I know you're trying to go for the cheap-n'-funny analogy here, but it really doesn't hold water. Radical Islam is at war with France and Germany and many other countries. Bombs under French railbeds, French oil tankers blown up by terrorists? Al Qaeda cells arrested in Hamburg and other German cities? A huge increase in politically motivated vicious attacks on Frenchmen (who happen to be Jewish and therefore more vulnerable)? How about Madrid, 3/11, 191 people dead? Plots to blow up Manchester/Liverpool soccer games in Britain, biotoxins planned to be used against the London Underground? The latest threats against Italy? Or how about quite a few non-European countries--the Philippines (hello, hostages? and targeted killings of Christians), Indonesia (remember Bali? how many hundreds of people incinerated there?), Turkey, Morocco? And I'm purposely leaving out trickier situations like Israel or India and the murders against American interests that happened to be in other countries (the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole in Yemen, etc.) The combined death toll from radical Islam against non-US interests is already in the thousands, and could skyrocket to the hundreds of thousands if you include the situation in the Sudan, which you should.

No, amberglow, the rest of the world is at war with Radical Islam too. The question is whether or not they'd like to admit it. The US may provide a nice figleaf for them in this regard--it's just about the US! it's just about Bush! it's just about Iraq! it has nothing to do with us! la-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you--but not for much longer. Our few horrible lapses in decency and civility are nothing like what is happening worldwide: the individual murders, the mass murders, the state-sanctioned incitement to murder, the dancing in the streets and passing out candy to kids when murder is committed. Just to pick one example, your analogy above compares one Ann Coulter column, which got her fired from an independent magazine, to the daily non-repudiated speeches by state-paid imams and mullahs and politicians reprinted/re-aired by state-run media. They're both reprehensible, but they're worlds apart, in motive and end-results, and your linking them is comparing apples and oranges, one thin blonde cruel woman and several beheading videos on the Internet where the killers joyfully shout "God is great!"

swerdloff has it exactly right in his comment above. Or, one could quote psmealey: "We might not think we are at war with Islam, but an ever-increasing number of Muslims (not just Islamic radicals) thinks we are. Therefore, [we] are at war with Islam" and turn it into its corollary: "We might not think Islam is at war with the whole liberal/secular/tolerant/democratic/infidel Western world, and prefer to believe it's just at war with the US, but an ever-increasing number of Muslims (not just Islamic radicals) thinks they are. Therefore, they are at war with the West, not just the US."

It's depressing, yeah. But it's far more depressing that otherwise smart people choose not to see this, or dismiss discussion of it with a too-cute analogy or a flip remark or charges of paranoia or over-theatricality against those who do mention it. Sorry for being such a bummer.
posted by Asparagirl at 2:14 PM on August 7, 2004

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