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dweller Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-05 11:16 AM
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Time to Talk to Al Qaeda?
Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou

AS THE WAR between the United States and Al Qaeda enters its fifth year, the nature of the armed, transnational Islamist group's
campaign remains misunderstood. With the conflict viewed largely as an open-and-shut matter of good versus evil, nonmilitary
engagement with Al Qaeda is depicted as improper and unnecessary.

Yet developing a strategy for the next phase of the global response to Al Qaeda requires understanding the enemy -- something
Western analysts have systematically failed to do. Sept. 11 was not an unprovoked, gratuitous act. It was a military operation
researched and planned since at least 1996 and conducted by a trained commando in the context of a war that had twice been
declared officially and publicly. The operation targeted two military locations and a civilian facility regarded as the symbol of US
economic and financial power. The assault was the culmination of a larger campaign, which forecast impact, planned for the
enemy's reaction, and was designed to gain the tactical upper hand.

Overwhelmingly centered on the martial aspects of the conflict, scholars and policymakers have been too focused on Al Qaeda's
''irrationality," ''fundamentalism," and ''hatred" -- and these conceptions continue to color key analyses. The sway of such
explanations is particularly surprising in the face of nonambiguous statements made by Al Qaeda as to the main reasons for its war
on the United States. These have been offered consistently since 1996, notably in the August 1996 and February 1998 declarations
of war and the November 2002 and October 2004 justifications for its continuation.

Since the attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri have delivered, respectively, 18 and 15
messages via audio or videotape making a three-part case: The United States must end its military presence in the Middle East, its
uncritical political support and military aid of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories, and its support of corrupt and coercive
regimes in the Arab and Muslim world.

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Pewlett Hackard Donating Member (59 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-05 11:41 AM
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1. thanks for posting this
This article is a great basis for a discussion.

A key point: "How can the war be brought to an end? Neither side can defeat the other."

I can recall not too long ago this same problem being discussed regarding the so-called "Cold War" between the USA and USSR. I'm not making any comparison between the USSR and Al Qaeda; the point is: don't be so sure that it isn't possible for the USA to ultimately prevail.
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mwwittin Donating Member (24 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-15-05 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. USA did not win Cold War
The USA just did not lose for long enough. Though this is what all war is, if the USSR had been a little bit less corrupt then it would not have fallen. If less corrupt, then maybe the good ideals behind foundation of the USSR that bad people broke would have come through.

In Germany, we had more fear and hate for the USSR than for anything else. Some people think that it was a case of "good idea, bad execution"...much like German national football team... :)
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