The Al Qaeda Legend : Wither The "Global War on Terrorism"?
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Throughout the post 9/11 era, Al Qaeda and the "threat of Islamic terrorism" have played a central role in defining Washington's diplomatic agenda, shaping its rhetoric at World summits as well as establishing the contours of US military doctrine.
The pre-emptive "defensive war" doctrine against Al Qaeda and its alleged "State Sponsors" constitutes the foundation of America's post 9/11 National Security Strategy (NSS), first formulated in early 2002.
In the wake of 9/11, the Al Qaeda Legend became part of the mainstay of US foreign policy. Contained in the 2002 NSS is the notion of a "global jihadist network of terrorists" and "state sponsors of terrorism". The response of the US administration is to launch "a war of global reach", a "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT):
"The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. …America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.
…Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction (…)
The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.
The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively." (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html
The underlying objective of the 2002 NSS was to present "pre-emptive military action" --meaning war as an act of "self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "Rogue States" and "Islamic terrorists", both of which were said to possess "Weapons of Mass Destruction". The "Rogue States" are also defined as "State sponsors" of terrorism.
The 2002 NSS as well as subsequent National Security documents identified a list of "Axis of Evil" countries which had been singled out for preemptive military intervention under the "Global War on Terrorism". These included Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Libya, North Korea.
While former enemies Russia and China of the Cold War era were not officially designated as part of the "Axis of Evil", they were, nonetheless, included (in several military documents) in the list of targetted countries for military intervention.
From the outset in 2001, a vast Public Relations campaign was launched by the Pentagon with a view to shaping and manipulating World public opinion. The PR stunt consisted in leaking reports on links or relations between Al Qaeda and its alleged State sponsors (e.g. How Saddam was supporting bin Laden, etc). The objective was to justify preemptive military actions against countries which were "harboring the terrorists".
There was no truth or rationale in these statements emanating from higher authority. "Going after Bin Laden" became part of an unbending consensus. Fear and insecurity prevailed over common sense. What we are dealing with is an outright and blind acceptance of the structures of power and political authority. In the wake of 9/11
In the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan was accused of harboring Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks.
Afghanistan was identified as a "state sponsor of terror". The 9/11 attacks were categorized as an act of war, an attack on America by a foreign power. The right to self-defense was put forth.
The US-NATO aggressor was portrayed as the victim.
On September 12, less than 24 hours after the attacks, NATO invoked for the first time in its history "Article 5 of the Washington Treaty - its collective defence clause" declaring the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon "to be an attack against all NATO members."
There was foreknowledge of 9/11. Military analysts will confirm that the war on Afghanistan launched on October 7, 2001, was planned well in advance of 9/11.
Public opinion was led to believe that war preparations got underway on September 12th on the spare of the moment, that it was the result of indignation and outrage.
"The Homeland" emerged as a political concept in the wake of 9/11 leading to the establishment of the US Department of Homeland Security.
The doctrine of pre-emptive war and "defense of the Homeland" are intimately related. Al Qaeda, the alleged perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks threatens "the American Homeland" with the support of the State sponsors of terrorism.
The late Osama bin Laden was defined as the Bogeyman, the "Number One enemy of America" who threatened the Homeland.
The objective was to sustain the illusion that "America is under attack" by Al Qaeda. Washington has a self-proclaimed holy mandate to extirpate Islamic fundamentalism and "spread democracy" throughout the world.
The logic of the "outside enemy" and the evildoer, allegedly responsible for American civilian deaths, prevails over common sense. In the inner consciousness of Americans, the attacks of September 11, 2001 justify acts of war and conquest, directed against the State sponsors of terrorism, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.
In this regard, the post 9/11 "American Inquisition" as an ideological construct, is, in many regards, similar to the inquisitorial social order prevailing in France and Spain during the Middle Ages. The inquisition, which started in France in the 12th century, was used as a justification for conquest and military intervention.
The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)
Terrorist acts are said to be conducted by non State jihadist organizations, which allegedly are supported and abetted by the governments of several Muslim countries, described as the "State Sponsors" of terror. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were accused by Washington of supporting Al Qaeda.
9/11 remains the pretext and justification for waging a war without borders. In the wake of the NATO sponsored "Liberation" of Libya (August 2011), Syria and Iran, both identified in US military doctrine as State Sponsors of Terror, constitute the next phase of the US-NATO military roadmap.
Al Qaeda portrayed as a Sunni fundamentalist network is increasingly upheld as a global jihadists organization, a base, a decentralized network comprised of affiliated national and regional organizations.
The "Global War on Terrorism" is established with a view to defending the American Homeland as well as the "Western Way of Life". It requires "going after" the terrorists, using advanced weapons systems including nuclear warheads. It upholds a pre-emptive religious-like crusade against evil, which serves to obscure the real objectives of military action.
The American people's acceptance of this crusade against evil is not based on any rational understanding or analysis of the facts. The lies underlying 9/11 are known and documented. The evidence amply confirms that Al Qaeda was established with the support of the CIA in liaison with Pakistan's Military Intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
From the Soviet-Afghan war to the present, Al Qaeda and its affiliate organizations constitute US sponsored "intelligence assets" used in the implementation of CIA covert operations.
America's inquisition is used to extend America's sphere of influence and justify military intervention, as part of an international campaign against "Islamic terrorists". Its ultimate objective, which is never mentioned in press reports, is territorial conquest and control over strategic resources.
Ten Years Later: Continuity of the 9/11- Al Qaeda Presidential Discourse
The GWOT dogma was initially enunciated and formulated by Washington's neoconservative think tanks. It was embodied into US military doctrine. It remains part of a bipartisan consensus. From George W. Bush to Barack Obama it has become a central theme in presidential speeches and White House press conferences:
[George W. Bush, Septmeber 2001] "We've been warned there are evil people in this world. We've been warned so vividly. ... And we'll be alert. Your government is alert. The governors and mayors are alert that evil folks still lurk out there. As I said yesterday, people have declared war on America and they have made a terrible mistake. ... My administration has a job to do and we're going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers," (George W. Bush, CNN, September 16, 2001, emphasis added)
[Barack obama, September 2011] "Make no mistake, they will keep trying to hit us again, but as we are showing again this weekend we remain vigilant. We are doing everything in our power to protect our people... They [the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq] want to draw us into endless wars, sapping our strength and confidence as a nation. But even as we put relentless pressure on al-Qaeda we are ending the war in Iraq and beginning to bring our troops home from Afghanistan. After a hard decade of war it is time for nation building here at home," (Barack Obama, September 2011, Free Internet Press :: President Obama: Al-Qaeda Threat Still Remains :: Uncensored News For Real People, September 11, 2001)
The objective of the "Global War on Terrorism" launched in September 2001 was to galvanize public support for a Worldwide campaign against heresy. For the last ten years, an understanding of fundamental social and political events is replaced by a World of sheer fantasy, where "evil folks" are lurking.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Al Qaeda has established numerous affiliate organizations throughout the Muslim world.
Al Qaeda has mushroomed. Wherever the CIA is conducting counterinsurgency operations, there are Al Qaeda affiliated organizations including:
Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI),
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),
The Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG),
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, (which comprises
Al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, and Islamic Jihad of Yemen),
Al-Shabaab (Mujahideen Youth Movement) in Somalia,
Egyptian Islamic Jihad,
East Turkestan Islamic Movement in Xinjiang, China,
Wherever Al Qaeda has set up shop, the US has waged counterinsurgency operations under the banner of the "Global War on Terrorism". There are indications that many of these Al Qaeda affiliates were set up with the support of the CIA, using Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) as a go-between.
Wherever Al Qaeda is present, where "bad guys are lurking", America has an obligation to intervene on behalf of "the international community". The terrorist threat is used as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries, including the sending in of special forces and the conduct of drone attacks, without an actual declaration of war. These types of operations are described in the Project of New American Century (PNAC) as constabulary functions.
In turn, large scale military campaigns have been waged in several countries as part of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq were conducted under the banner of the Global War on Terrorism. Both the Afghan and Iraqi governments were identified as "state sponsors of terrorism".
The Islamic Republic of Iran is also said to support Al Qaeda. The Administration's pre-emptive war doctrine hinges upon this alleged relationship between non state terrorist organizations and their terrorist State sponsors. It is understood, pari passu, that the state sponsors of terrorism, whoever they be, are also responsible for the 9/11 attacks, namely for having supported and abetted Al Qaeda.