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Old 08-24-2007, 04:07 PM   #1
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Default Bin Laden wanted US to invade Iraq, author says

Bin Laden wanted US to invade Iraq, author says

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...24/2013753.htm

As coalition troops continue to die on Iraqi soil and the US Government's military spending on the war bleeds into billions of dollars, a new book says that not only could this have been avoided, but it was all predictable, as long as you had read the Al Qaeda manual.

Abdul Bari Atwan is one of the only Western journalists to have interviewed Osama bin Laden, spending three days with him in the mountains of Afghanistan in 1996.

He is the editor-in-chief of the London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabia, and the author of The secret history of Al Qaeda.

ABC TV's Lateline presenter Tony Jones interviewed Mr Bari Atwan on the program last night.

TONY JONES: When you met bin Laden, he told you that his long-term plan was to "bring the Americans into a fight on Muslim soil". That must have sounded like madness at the time, but now we have Iraq.

ABDUL BARI ATWAN: It seems Osama bin Laden had a long-term strategy. He told me personally that he can't go and fight the Americans and their country. But if he manages to provoke them and bring them to the Middle East and to their Muslim worlds, where he can find them or fight them on his own turf, he will actually teach them a lesson. It seems the invasion of Iraq fulfilled Osama bin Laden's wish. That's why the Americans are losing in Iraq, financially and on a human basis, and even their allies, including Australia, are really losing patience, losing money, losing personnel, losing reputation in that part of the world.

TONY JONES: When bin Laden told you this back in 1996, the only thing he had that was close to what he was talking about was [former US president] Bill Clinton's intervention in Somalia. Bin Laden was evidently extremely disappointed the Americans had pulled out?

ABDUL BARI ATWAN: Yes. He told me, again, that he expected the Americans to send troops to Somalia and he sent his people to that country to wait for them in order to fight them. They managed actually to shoot down an American helicopter where 19 soldiers were killed and he regretted that the Clinton Administration decided to pull out their troops from Somalia and run away. He was so saddened by this. He thought they would stay there so he could fight them there. But for his bad luck, according to his definition, they left, and he was planning another provocation in order to drag them to Muslim soil.

And it seems President Bush did not actually give him a lot of hard work to plan for this. Immediately after the bombardment of Afghanistan - which actually destroyed 85 per cent of Al Qaeda infrastructure, personnel, deprived them of a safe haven - after that huge success against Al Qaeda, President Bush made terrible mistakes when he sent his troop to invade Iraq, one of the most difficult countries to be invaded, to be occupied, the worst land for democracy, human rights. And we can see the outcome.


The Iraq invasion

TONY JONES: As you say, the September 11, 2001 attacks were to draw America to the Middle East. It appears that Al Qaeda's strategists actually anticipated the invasion of Iraq, and you write that they contacted bin Laden and actually got hundreds of Al Qaeda operatives onto the ground before the invasion to start preparing for the insurgency.

ABDUL BARI ATWAN: I believe Al Qaeda had no [previous] connection at all with Iraq. Because they considered Saddam Hussein a non-believer, atheist, he was secular. So they would not dare to go to Iraq because Saddam Hussein was against Islamic radicals. He considered them a threat to his presidency, to his country.

But after the Americans invaded Iraq, Al Qaeda was prepared for that. Immediately, they sent hundreds of people through the Syrian border, through the Turkish border, Iranian border, to go and set up bases in Iraq. Iraq is a safe haven for Al Qaeda because it has about 50 million pieces of arms. It has about five million tonnes of ammunition left by Saddam Hussein regimes and also the Sunni community, which was deposed from power by the American invasion, and they were actually very, very frustrated, very humiliated. So it was the best environment for Al Qaeda to set up its bases there.

That's what we are seeing now. Al Qaeda is very strong, Al Qaeda is now expanding. We used to have one Al Qaeda in Tora Bora and Afghanistan, now it is like a monster, it is like Kentucky Fried Chickens, actually, opening branches everywhere in the world. We have Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, which is regrouping again; Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is very active; Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, which managed to destabilise the country there; Al Qaeda in Europe, and we saw what happened in Madrid in London; Al Qaeda in North Africa now, which is very, very active. I think this war against Iraq gave Al Qaeda a huge opportunity to expand, to recruit more people under its fold.


'Handsome, soft-spoken, modest'

TONY JONES: I want to take you back now if I can to 1996 when you were spirited into the caves at Tora Bora into the Al Qaeda headquarters in Afghanistan. I want to know how bin Laden appeared to you. This was before the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, but he was responsible for a number of serious terrorist attacks at this time, including in Somalia. Did he appear to you as a sort of menacing figure?

ABDUL BARI ATWAN: To be honest, I was shocked to see him for the first time. I expected him to be more radical, fiery, arguments, a very radical, ugly character. But to be honest, when I said I was shocked, I found a very handsome man, very tall, soft-spoken and trying to be very modest. He was very modest, eating very little food and very basic things, wearing very basic clothes. Not significant at all. I thought, maybe I will have a very big meal, very luxurious dinner with one of the most wealthy men in the Arab worlds or the Arabian Peninsula, in particular. But actually the dinner was rotten cheese and fried eggs and fried potato and very sweet tea.

So when I said I was shocked, [it was] because he wasn't the Osama bin Laden I expected, he wasn't the man who was supposed to be a new phenomena which will revive the Islamic caliphate. Just a basic, ordinary person and he is not even charismatic. I met a lot of people, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat, Colonel Gaddafi and other Arabs, radical Palestinians, but Osama bin Laden was a different breed, as I said - very soft-spoken, very modest, very humble and even his education wasn't great at that time.

TONY JONES: This austerity, this simplicity, this is one of the things that draws his followers close to him. You write it was like stepping into the past, that most of his commanders had taken the names of obviously long-dead historical conquerors or commanders of the Islamic conquests.

ABDUL BARI ATWAN: Yes. Arab or Muslim people are really feeling humiliated, because of this dictatorship all over the Muslim world - corruption, defeats, domination by those in power. So some of the Muslims go back to the glory days of early Islam, or the early Islamic era. That's why Osama bin Laden and his people are always glorifying that Muslim past, early Islamic history. That's why they have the names of those great conquerors in that part of the world.

He wanted to imitate the Prophet Mohammed. They were humble, simple, and living a basic, austere way of life. Maybe this is the origin of his charisma. That's why the people around him, they adore him, they consider him something different. He can be a Buddha or a violent Buddha, the one who actually gave up everything, wealth and money, to live this basic life. Who could be also Ghandi, but again a violent Ghandi, who actually distributed his wealth to the poor people. That's why they actually like him. That's why they believe in him.

And he rejected a lot of offers from his country, Saudi Arabia, to go back. He told me, he rejected more than $450 million in order to go back and live there and continue his business activities. When his followers hear these kind of stories, they consider him as a saint, as somebody, a monk, a pope or someone like that. So that's why he's actually very influential among certain frustrated young people in the Muslim world.
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Old 08-24-2007, 04:54 PM   #2
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Hmm intersting... makes sense kinda...
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Old 08-24-2007, 05:21 PM   #3
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article still seems biased
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Old 08-24-2007, 05:22 PM   #4
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I hear he also wanted us to get into WWII and sent al qaeda planes dressed as Japanese bombers to Pearl Harbor.
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Old 08-24-2007, 05:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u2sarajevo
I hear he also wanted us to get into WWII and sent al qaeda planes dressed as Japanese bombers to Pearl Harbor.
Ko si ti??
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Old 08-24-2007, 08:03 PM   #6
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Another posting on Al Queda's strategies. What's quite interesting in this (if true) is how Al Queda uses the home political side as a formidable weapon.

http://engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/...culations.html
Quote:
Are you unimpressed with al Qaeda? Then consider this, which I came across when a reader alerted me to Robert Pape:

In September 2003 al-Qaida published a 42 page strategy document on radical web sites about how to deal with the United States given Iraq. The document says directly that with Iraq, al-Qaida should not seek to attack the American homeland in the short term, but instead should focus on stripping the United States of its military allies, especially in Iraq.

Then the document goes on, this is in the fall of ’03, the length of 42 pages, to assess whether they should hit Spain, Britain, or Poland. They conclude they should hit Spain in Madrid just before the March 2004 elections because that would be the attack most likely to knock Spanish forces out of Iraq and put pressure on the British in Iraq.


I disagree with Pape's overall analysis, which is that we are causing the suicide bomber epidemic because of the presence of American forces in Muslim countries (I agree with this part, and so do Islamic radicals), so all we need to do is withdraw our forces from those countries and the suicide bombers will dry up (this strikes me as wishful thinking in the extreme). But my main point concerns al Qaeda's insight into the Spanish people. If this 42-page document really exists, then it seems that the Spanish people really were puppets on the strings of al Qaeda. It would be undeniable.

I went searching for information on the authenticity of this document, and I found a further analysis of it here. It seems likely that it really exists and that it really did foreshadow subsequent events:

The document then analyses three countries (Britain, Spain and Poland) in depth, with a view to identifying the weakest link or the domino piece most likely to fall first. The author provides a surprisingly informed and nuanced analysis of the domestic political map in each country. He argues that each country will react differently to violent attacks against its forces because of domestic political factors:

Poland, for example, is unlikely to withdraw from the coalition because there is political consensus on foreign policy, and the country has a very high tolerance for human casualties.

Britain is easier to force out of Iraq, because the popular opposition to the war and the occupation is so high. However, the author estimates that Britain will only withdraw from Iraq in one of two cases: either if Britain suffers significant human casualties in Iraq or if Spain and Italy withdraws first.

Spain on the other hand is very vulnerable to attacks on its forces, primarily because public opposition to the war is almost total, and the government is virtually on its own on this issue. The author therefore identifies Spain as the weakest link in the coalition....

The author devotes 6 out of 42 pages to a review of the domestic political situation in Spain. In the process he displays a knowledge of and interest in Spanish society which is striking. We do not know whether the author himself has intimate knowledge of Spanish politics or whether he is plagiarising good secondary sources. However, the very fact that he deems such a high level of detail necessary for his argument indicates that we are dealing with a politically very developed mind. It must also be noted that of the three case studies, the chapter on Spain is by far the best in terms of analytical clarity.


And here is an interesting translation of a critical part of the document:

Therefore we say that in order to force the Spanish government to withdraw from Iraq the resistance should deal painful blows to its forces. This should be accompanied by an information campaign clarifying the truth of the matter inside Iraq. It is necessary to make utmost use of the upcoming general election in Spain in March next year.

We think that the Spanish government could not tolerate more than two, maximum three blows, after which it will have to withdraw as a result of popular pressure. If its troops still remain in Iraq after these blows, then the victory of the Socialist Party is almost secured, and the withdrawal of the Spanish forces will be on its electoral programme.

Lastly, we are emphasise that a withdrawal of the Spanish or Italian forces from Iraq would put huge pressure on the British presence (in Iraq), a pressure that Toni Blair might not be able to withstand, and hence the domino tiles would fall quickly. Yet, the basic problem of making the first tile fall still remains."


Al Qaeda killed nearly 200 Spanish commuters on 3/11 2004, and Spanish voters immediately behaved in exact accordance with al Qaeda's predictions. Shortly after the attack, al Qaeda released a videotape that said this:

We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid exactly two-and-a-half years after the attacks on New York and Washington.

It is a response to your collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies.


Al Qaeda's strategic planning is undeniably impressive. All of this calls to mind another letter, this one from Zarqawi, in which he accurately predicted that striking out at the Shiites and their mosques would bring the Shiite militias into the battle:

As for the Shi'a, we will undertake suicide operations and use car bombs to harm them...

So I say again, the only solution is to strike the religious, military, and other cadres of the Shi'a so that they revolt against the Sunnis. Some people will say, that this will be a reckless and irresponsible action that will bring the Islamic nation to a battle for which the Islamic nation is unprepared. Souls will perish and blood will be spilled.

This is, however, exactly what we want...


And, of course, al Qaeda made good on their promise to attack Shiites, and the Shiites -- like the Spanish -- cooperated fully with al Qaeda's devious plans. Again, if you are not impressed by al Qaeda, then you are not easily impressed.

What is al Qaeda saying about America in its internal communiques today? I don't really know, but I wish I did. Their earlier claims about America being a "paper tiger" in light of its withdrawal under fire from Somalia have not yet been vindicated by our reaction to the strategy they have adopted in Iraq. The campaign there was supposed to force the Sunnis to turn to al Qaeda for help while rendering American forces simply irrelevant. The Shiite militias joined the battle (just as they were supposed to do), but the Sunnis, with help from the troop surge, have now turned hard against al Qaeda in Iraq (not towards them). That was not part of the plan. And the troop surge probably wasn't either, though it is hard to tell for sure. Al Qaeda's public bravado welcomes the troop surge, but in light of the changes that have taken place over the last few months, al Qaeda cannot really be celebrating. They have successfully turned American public opinion against the war, but it seems less and less likely that Harry Reid is going to dictate what comes next. That cannot be good news for al Qaeda, and I wish I knew what they were saying about it. Someday, a captured document may let us know.
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