Al Awlaki is gone but his Jihadists are multiplying

by DR. WALID PHARES September 30, 2011

Imam Anwar al Awlaki held two important positions in the cobweb of international Jihadi terror. First, he was one of the emerging younger leaders of al Qaeda after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. Out of Yemen, from which his family originates, he had built a network of recruits capable of performing missions in the Arabian Peninsula, but also communicating with the Shabab of Somalia and many cells inside the West. His reach in recruitment was as far as Jihadists have been indoctrinated. The Nigerian Abdelmutalib, known as the Christmas day bomber in the US, was also connected to the Yemeni-based cleric. In a sense, al Awlaki was one of the most effective al Qaeda international officers. His loss will undoubtedly be felt –at least for a while - within the ranks of the network.
 
But his other position is even more important to Americans. The New Mexico-born Jihadist had established a web of American citizens, indoctrinated and incited to strike against US national security. Shazad, the terrorist who tried to blow up a car in Times Square, and Major Nidal Hassan, who massacred more than a dozen military in Ft Hood, are just two sinister examples of the American Jihadi network linked to al Awlaki. His writings in American English, his speeches and his savvy knowledge of American culture and politics made him in reality the “emir” of US citizens who followed the Jihadi ideology. Thus, his killing is in fact a strike at the head of the most dangerous network operating inside American borders, not just internationally. From that perspective, the “coalition against terror” has scored a point in its war with al Qaeda. But, although this could be coined as a major tactical victory, it is not a strategic one.
 
As I made the case with Osama Bin Laden’s elimination, the US is not at war with a mafia of criminals who would be impressed with the elimination of the capo. The Jihadists who have already been indoctrinated won’t be deterred by the missiles or bullets that took the lives of their emirs or commanders. In fact, just the opposite will occur. The “martyrdom” (al Istishaad) of these al Qaeda leaders will be viewed from the prism of the ideology that transformed their universe. Osama and Anwar are now seen as floating in the Jenna (heaven) while the Jihadi mission will rest upon the shoulders of the next wave, and on and on. Western-minded people, or non-Jihadi individuals in the Arab world, understand the concept of deterrence. The Jihadists, Salafists or Khomeinists, are brought up to feed from the martyrdom of their leaders and brothers in arms and take strength from that, so that they don't react in fear.
 
The reason behind this clone-like phenomenon is ideology, which is in fact the center of al Qaeda, not its leaders. The ideology was created by Jihadism, not the other way around. When a product of this ideologic doctrine is eliminated, this doesn’t affect the factory; it will keep producing more, and will use their eliminations to mobilize further.
 
There is not now, and won’t be, any victory in the War on Terror (or the war with the Jihadists) unless there is a victory in the War of Ideas, which means that the ideology producing and inspiring the terrorists and would-be terrorists has to be identified and responded to. Naturally, the best parties to engage in this counter campaign are the societies where it has been breeding, in the Greater Middle East where there are the anti-Jihadists, civil societies and secular forces.
 
Unfortunately the current Administration and the bureaucracy of the past Administration did just the opposite. Instead of identifying the Jihadi ideology, they covered up for it. And instead of partnering with the secular and democratic forces in the Arab Spring, Washington today is flirting with the Muslim Brotherhood. Hence, while our intelligence and military are successful in their part of the war by eliminating the war lords of Jihadism, our foreign policy and domestic policies are allowing the Jihadists, with their Islamist ideological roots, to grow. Therefore the killing of al Awlaki is a small victory in an ocean of defeat.
 
The immediate question in mind is: who is next. Remember that al Awlaki operated within the US openly, as he even was invited to lecture at the Pentagon. Major Hassan, too, delivered lectures within our defense establishment. Also, In the past decade, a prominent member of an Islamist lobby group, Ismael Royer, was part of a terror training network in Virginia. The list is long. So the undeniable outlook for the future is quantitative: al Awlaki is gone but his Jihadists have been multiplying.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dr Walid Phares is the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War Against Future Jihad and The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East. He is a Professor of Global Strategies in Washington DC. He advises members of the US Congress and the European Parliament.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Who's right: Donald Trump or Macy's?

 

mexico trump_macys_2015

Macy's has removed Donald Trump's products from their shelves because, while he stated that some of the Mexican people crossing our borders illegally are good people, some are murderers and rapists. While a true statement, it is not a "politically correct" statement, so Macy's has decided to pull his products from their shelves.

As a result of this, will you shop less - or not at all - in Macy's stores in the future?






10 year FSM Anniversary

'Stop the spin doctoring': William Shatner defends George Takei

July 03, 2015  10:17 AM

Spin to end the spin?

Oregon's Minister of Thoughtcrime orders bakery to pay $135,000 to 'mentally raped' lesbian couple, stay silent about beliefs

July 02, 2015  11:53 PM

Bakery owners ordered not to talk about their reasons for refusing to make a cake for a lesbian wedding.

Rep. Alan Grayson declares it's time to stop fiddling while black churches (accidentally) burn

July 02, 2015  09:51 PM

When is the government going to get serious about racist lightning strikes?

Government assigns Independence Day homework: Hassle your Uncle Ted about Obamacare

July 02, 2015  07:02 PM

Great advice from the federal government: "You should be prepared when Aunt Janine says something like, 'Obamacare hasn't helped anyone!'"

Lie of the Year winner cautions: Candidates 'are going to be making a lot of stuff up'

July 02, 2015  05:19 PM

This bit of advice brought to you by the winner of PolitiFact's Lie of the Year award.

FSM Archives

More in PUBLICATIONS ( 1 OF 25 ARTICLES )