Sunday, August 28, 2005

Al Qaeda's Woes

Amir Taheri:

Al-Zawahiri spells out their strategy in Iraq with chilling simplicity. He brushes aside the fact that Iraq now has a free elected government that represents the will of its people. He demands that the United States and its allies abandon the Iraqi people so that the terrorists can seize control in Baghdad and continue their massacre on a grander scale.

This shows that the Arab terrorist movement associated with the al Qaeda brand knows that it has absolutely no chance of winning power in Iraq or any other Muslim country through normal political means.

More importantly, al-Zawahiri acknowledges the fact that the terrorists have no chance of winning a straight military victory over the U.S.-led Coalition in Iraq. He clearly shows that his only hope of victory lies in the belief that the terrorists could turn American and British public opinion against support for building a new and democratic Iraq.

Al-Zawahiri 's entire analysis on that score is based on al Qaeda's single victory so far: the changing of the Spanish government under the pressure of the March 2004 Madrid bombings.

Islamist terrorist circles have already woven quite a few myths around what they describe as their "victorious ghazva" (raid) in Madrid. "We taught the Spaniards a lesson," says Shamsul Dhoha, who runs a pro-al Qaeda Web site from Pakistan. "Our heroes struck, and the Spaniards scattered like hens. This is the way to deal with [all other] infidel [enemies]."

Yet what is perceived as Spain's surrender to al Qaeda has so far proved to be the exception rather than the rule. Other members of the coalition in Iraq — President Bush himself, plus Prime Ministers John Howard (Australia), Tony Blair (Britian) and Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Denmark) — have been re-elected, often with increased majorities. Meanwhile, almost all those who opposed the liberation of Iraq have suffered losses in all subsequent elections — most notably France's Jacques Chirac and Germany's Gerhard Schroeder.