Every time I analyze Al-Qa’ida strategic behaviour I am left just amazed and at time with a true admiration, as a defence-security analyst, in recognition of how the group’s military strategy is, and has been, without a doubt an absolute model of a military excellence. However, when also examined one thing that comes out fairly obvious and perhaps being the group’s most critical weakness is their lack of a unified and primary not secondary to military strategy, political strategy; which when combined can produce the usual politico-military grand strategy.
So I was thinking, what I would do if in there position, I know it’s controversial but here I am going to outline very briefly and not ”beyond acceptable academic discussion” what Al-Qa’ida might need to do; intended for game simulations and debates only.
For one thing one must admire or fear, dependent on which pole your are at, is the amazing ability of these groups, the core and affiliates, in breaking down the most significant contradiction within the Islamic world, which has for generations made the possibility of another true union a mere distant dream, that is Inter-Islamic Racism and Hatred, two elements fed and abused, as appropriate, by both external and internal interest groups/actors who seek to rule over the Islamic lands and People. Thus amongst Al-Qa’ida truly remarkable achievements is the fact that these divisions based on racism and hatred appear almost non-existent, minus within the theological arena, which is their equivalent political strategic weakness. This is where, if I was a commander of one of these movements, I will institute a political policy not a theological policy for unity; for people not gods, should be the buzzword. As unless people can be embraced and adapted to with political freedom, to be free to do whatever in private but to respect Islamic moralities and ethics in public (for common good and welfare), then these group will never truly win the war, even though they will never lose it as well.
In short, Al-Qa’ida Military Strategy is truly a model of military excellence, spreading their enemies across the Islamic lands/world, geographically and materially, even when the west claim successes on operational reach denial to these groups, locally and tactically, alas, not strategically, has the group has proven well adaptable and shrewd, popping-up in Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Libya, Chad, Mauritania, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Philippines, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Yemen, Indonesia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, etc etc etc…even within western world. This is an amazing military feat of success, whether we like to acknowledge it or not here in the west, and if complimented with an even strong and ”first before military” political strategy, that can be adapted to the macro and micro societal levels, then the west would really need to start, like really start to, get worried, as in a decade time, it will be a Chinese-Victory, a la Mao Guerillas of China in 1940s (that set a path to China rise to power).
Before I leave, let mention one final thing, whether we like to credit them or not, the Al-Qa’ida ”First Violence or Armed Struggle” model is a real strategic masterpiece in accordance to local strategic environment or contradictions; in other words, in the Arabia, Middle East, The Maghreb/North Africa, and most of Islamic world regional politics, only violence can really, and truly, rid off the old powers, but as we argued here, and seemed pervading the Al-Qa’ida strategists thinking is not on it’s own, it needs a strong and commanding grand strategy held up by an equally strong and first-among-all political strategy to respond and cover the macro-micro grievances of such a, Islamic, world; from ”land, butter and jobs”. to ”equality and modernity”, and so forth; these fighters can not shy away for long from these critical political philosophical debates; they need to engage and adapt to these in accordance with modern times (social, cultural, political and economic), to be able to win hearts and minds, as well as the total control of power, legitimacy and authority to rule over the rest, as such;
- They will have to rid of ”suicide bombings” tactics, it is a waste of fighting assets;
- or attacking in the west, that ”far enemies” operations, which should be completely phased-out, and only deal with Islamic world theatres of operations; as it unites and legitimizes western ”over-there wars”; not separating the public and their government/military as the Vietcongs did excellently against the Americans.
- They will need to ”keep a lid on god”, and emphasis the people;
- Avoid civilians, and the innocents, and only operate against military and security targets with to-absolute zero-collateral on civilians and their private properties;
- They will need to start thinking like a real Islamic Insurgency, not a mere small local mixed in hybridity (at a times unable to separate the two lines) with the global actors and goals;
- There strategic goal should be ”Operations limited to Islamic World Theatres and Legitimate Security and Military Targets, within These Theatres Only”, no civilians, no terrorism, no confusions and no mixing of local-global.
I would love to hear more from readers. I am trying to write a paper, on a game simulation, in essence hence this little exercise.