Editor’s Note: What you will be reading from _Trends in the Movements_ (al-Isnad) will not always follow in the same order as presented in the document. Nor will all sections be discussed. What will be offered, are various paragraphs of interest, followed by an abbreviated analysis. So let’s get started:
The basic theory of al-Qaeda is the impossibility of establishing an Islamic State in the presence of a strong and cohesive world order. In the “First Documents from Abbottabad” Sheikh Usama bin Laden speaks a lot about this view. Here are some of his words:
We must firmly establish in our minds at this time the order of work for establishing the state of Islam begins with the exhaustion of the world kufr, because he has a strong sensitivity to the establishment of any Islamic authority. And for this heightened sensitivity of the West to the establishment of any Islamic authority Sheikh Al-Khattabi, who established the state in the Maghreb before the Crusaders were exhausted so they could not dominate over the lands of Muslims. Then the Crusaders gathered strength, attacked the state of Al-Khattabi and destroyed it. Today, the head of the world Kufra has a great influence on the states of the region, it is the main support for their existence, it has the power to overthrow the Iraqi regime and the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, although with great difficulties, but it still has the strength to overthrow the government of any true Islamic state that can arise in the region at this time. Therefore, we should continue and not stop harassing and burdening it until it becomes exhausted before it will lose the opportunity to overthrow any state created by us. It is also necessary to collect and integrate all possible efforts and efforts of Muslims who are not participating in jihad for a reason or for nor reason, and then starts the establishment of an Islamic state – with the permission of Allah – even if you need to postpone it for several years. However, Al Qaeda does not object to the establishment of an Islamic state by any other group before, but its personal strategic theory is represented by the refusal to establish the state before the world regime weakens and falls. For example, Al-Qaeda does not reject the Taliban state and never said, “We are against it, because it is established with international Kafir unity”, on the contrary, Al-Qaeda supports this Muslim state even if it contradicts its vision of the creation of states.
There are two lines of thought within the passage which dovetail into Islamic concepts.
The first concept is one of a war by increments which wears the enemy down. Even the three stages of jihad find anchorage in this principle (tying of hands when weak against the enemy, taking up arms of defense, and finally, acts of aggression against the enemy.) The use of the word exhaustion is a good one. Muhammad was involved personally in nine major battles, and sent out dozens of raiding parties (Saraya) after the three years of the Secret Call. These raiding expeditions worked to wear down the resistance of the tribes to Muhammad’s demands.
In the 1998 Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders (World Islamic Front Statement) the leadership of al-Qaeda made it clear that not only would they kill us but they would exhaust us on every front, including financial. How many tens of billions of dollars has the United States spent to keep Islam at bay? Just start with the amount of money we have forked over to Pakistan in the “war on terror” since 9/11. sigh
The other Islamic concept is one of negotiating from a position of strength and not weakness. The Hudaibiyah Treaty (when fully understood) makes a clear case for biding time until the political metrics do not portend future disaster.
Usama bin Laden is also sending a signal which seeks to broaden the tent posts for the al-Qaeda camp. There is a distinct attempt at increasing market share. And this grasp for establishing a Confederacy is also part and parcel of Qur’anic lore; and there also happens to be a Surah titled “The Confederates” (Al-Azhab).
Islam does work via confederacy. And when cobbled-together political confederacy is strong enough, when the enemy is exhausted enough, Shari’ah makes inroads into the West.