A Mind Infinite

Infinity: The Views of a Dreamer

The Stages of al-Qaeda Revisted

The Stages of al-Qaeda Revisted

Written by Aaron Peterson

The current strategy of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) as of 2014 with the vast taking of towns in Northern Iraq which began with Mosul represents more than anything a new phase of the organization’s strategy. It is part of al-Qaeda’s lesser known 20 year strategy being fully put into place in the sense of concrete land gains [1]. Up until the present, three key phases have been accomplished by the jihadist organization, with phase three being the most recently accomplished phase… “The third phase from 2007 to 2010 is dubbed “rising up and standing on the feet,” a phase of proactive al-Qaeda activities. During this stage, important changes would be introduced in the region surrounding Iraq.”This was seen fully with the re-building of the Islamic State in Iraq which had been destroyed as a result of various Iraqi militant factions joining forces together and engaging in total war with it and it being marginalized from the Sunni community [2].

The plan of al-Qaeda as an organization has succeeded in ways unimaginable, it has managed to lure the United States into open warfare against it’s enemies and financially drain it and cause a cultural clash[3]. That was in fact, the reasoning behind September 11th, a first-strike esque attack on the heart of the United States financial and political sectors in order to draw it into a long war in Afghanistan that would become a quagmire, just as it was years before for the USSR.  Which marked the beginning of the first stage of al-Qaeda.

From the “first stage”, the goals were clear and the United States government fell into every single pit with a trap in it along the way. It played into the cards of al-Qaeda by destabilizing Iraq and causing the state to fall into sectarian divisions. Which would fuel it’s campaign and solidify it’s base as a microstate. This was furthered by the “Arab Spring”, which allowed for the rise in sectarian tensions in Syria and the ultimate destruction of peace and civility in Syria solidifying through chaos, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as a microstate which controlled a key amount of grounds. It was through this chaos sparked by the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that has allowed the current crisis. To understand the military strategy of the Salafi militancy of ISIL, one has to have a basic understanding of guerilla warfare, particularly that of the Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. Mao’s key revolutionary theory was that the cities could be captured from the rural areas using the peasantry as a base [4]. While al-Qaeda under no circumstances have any relation to Maoism or any form of Marxism, it is clear that the strategy is similar to use the discontent of the people beginning in rural areas to capture larger areas and to solidify their control beginning with the microstate and ending with the larger state. In Iraq, this was made especially clear with the 2014 Offensive in which vast amounts of urban areas have been gained.

With the politics and understanding of the military method of ISIL understood in this respect, the hard question of who ISIL serves needs to be asked. ISIL have received large amounts of funding from Persian Gulf States such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. ISIL needs to be examined more so than simple religious fundamentalism. It needs to be focused on as a proxy war within a proxy war. It is almost metaphysical in this sense with ISIL serving as a forward group for the interests of the Persian Gulf States against Iranian and Syrian influence[5], while at the same time, the United States backs other militant groups to further it’s own interests. The interests of the Persian Gulf States of course, is to expand it’s own capital and hegemony in Iraq and to counter the growing influence of Iran… If a sectarian state is to be built in Iraq, the Persian Gulf States can remain stronger than the emerging influence of Iran and can seize through a grouping such as ISIL key economic interests such as oil refineries and create a political buffer zone on the grounds of Shi’ite – Sunni sectarianism, in order to secure the future of the Saudi monarchy, the same can be said for the monarchy of Qatar.

In full this crisis represents the differing interests of US foreign policy with Saudi Arabia and Qatar being key vessels. It shows the urgency of Saudi Arabia and Qatar seemingly against the tide of US hegemony to secure their own hegemonies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.  While the outcome has not been seen yet, it is key to see the emergence of ISIL as perhaps, the final evolution of the al-Qaeda brand and to look beyond the religious fundamentalism to see the material basis which ISIL hope to capture in Iraq and Syria.




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