October 22, 2010

by Dr. Ashraf Ezzat  

The plot of al Qaida story was so simple, few Muslim mujahideen with a militant edge targeting any western object. In that way we lately began to hear of al Qaida’s affiliates

By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat

al Qaida`s affiliates; the myth lingers 

Bin Laden`s character in a comedy film

I believe the discussions and debates about 9/11 is unlikely to cease in the near future. The horrific attacks of 9/11 did not only target the towers of WTC, it also managed to hit our sensibility and considerably damaged our objectivity and sense of judgment. 9/11 left us not only scared but also confused and bewildered. 9/11 left us not only victims to militant terrorists but also victims and preys to deception and exploitation that is still taking place till this moment.

On 9/11 the American nation had been deeply traumatized and nothing would have worked for the grieving nation except revenge. It was time for the might of a superpower to be on display. But revenge needed an enemy – a villain- who should be proved guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.

Al Qaida and the 9/11 official story

 The American administration wasted no time on tedious investigations; it had already pointed the finger at Osama Bin Laden- the one and only – suspect of carrying out 9/11.  They didn’t even bother with technicalities like considering more than one suspect especially for a major operation such as 9/11.

Few Arab passports that miraculously escaped the explosives inferno of the controlled demolition of the WTC towers were conspicuously placed to be easily detected and kept as damning evidence. Few hours, that’s all it took to come up with astonishing list of suspected perpetrators, denoting the work of a high caliber intelligence and detective work. But why the American counter terrorism apparatus- with all the abundance of data and surveillance- failed to predict and pre-emptively abort the 9/11 attacks …this quickly swelled into the shape of a gigantic question mark that filled the void once occupied by the towers. But the masses of Americans couldn’t see through the clouds of dust and agony left behind the collapse of towers except the face of Osama bin Laden.

Shortly after 9/11, the mainstream media were franticly engaged in the terrific job of letting the people out of their bewilderment and suspense. A terrorist group had been finally held responsible for the attacks, namely al Quaida. The media machine was ready to go.

Al Qaida- an Arabic name for “base” – out of obscurity began to hit the mainstream media. People inside and outside the United States never heard of it before. Even in the Arabic and Muslim world the name failed to ring any bell.    So, the American administration and intelligence embarked on the task of acquainting the people with al Qaida.

Al Qaida’s high-tech underground lair

We were led to believe that it was an international terrorist network of organizations and individuals dedicated to jihad -”struggle” or “holy war”- for the cause of Islam. According to various estimates, there were somewhere near 15,000 individuals active in al-Qaida cells in as many as 60 countries across the globe in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, North America, and South America led by the new world media star Osama Bin Laden.

Bin Laden was making the news on daily basis, he was everywhere, stories were being told of his orchestration of 9/11 and of his network legendary capabilities of carrying out large scale operations using weapons of mass destruction. The press even went so far as to describe bin laden’s headquarter as an unassailable fortress buried deep under a mountain in Afghanistan and exactly at a place called Tora Bora. 

al Qaida`s affiliates; the myth lingers

On November 27th, 2001 the London-based Independent newspaper came out with this headline: “Al-Qa’ida almost immune to attack inside its hi-tech underground lair.” In the story, its correspondent Richard Lloyd Parry, in Jalalabad, described a vast redoubt burrowed deep under a mountain, with labyrinthian tunnels sealed by with iron doors. “It has its own ventilation system and its own power, created by a hydro-electric generator.

Its walls and floors in the rooms are smooth and finished and it extends 350 yards beneath a solid mountain.” It was therefore tunneled almost as deep as the World Trade Center was high. It was also “so well defended and concealed that – short of poison gas or a tactical nuclear weapon – it is immune to outside attack. And it is filled with around 2000 heavily armed followers of Osama bin Laden, with a suicidal commitment to their cause and with nothing left to lose.”

The idea that Osama and his followers had entombed themselves in an unassailable fortress under a mountain immediately embedded itself into the imagination of the American press especially after the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld verified the story and even certified that there was more than one of these fortified lairs for al Qaida in other countries.

In December 2001, US Special Forces and their allies occupied Tora Bora. They painstakingly searched Gree Khil mountain and the surrounding area. They found no underground fortress, no hydro-electric power plant, no 2000-room hotel, no iron doors, and no ventilating shafts. The unassailable Lair of Bin Laden turned out to be mythic.

Most of you have probably heard this story before.  It is history now. But we should learn from history. We tell the stories of yesterday so we won’t fall into the same trap nor repeat the same mistakes again.

Al Qaida is a fabricated name made in USA

 Tora bora legendary fortress of bin Laden was not the only myth connected to al Qaida. Others and more imaginary tales have been linked to al Qaida.

First of all the name of Bin Laden,s group which we all came to know as “ al Qaida” is fabricated, it was made in U.S.A during the FBI  investigations of 1998 bombings of U.S. embassy in Kenya and Tanzania that relied solely on the misleading information given by a key prosecution witness by the name of Jamal al-Fadl, a Sudanese militant who -the FBI gave witness protection in America and hundreds of thousands of dollars -claimed to be with bin Laden in the early 90s. al-Fadl`s fabricated elaboration and FBI`s eagerness to buy into whatever fit the American previewed picture of an international terrorist organization built the myth of al Qaeda that never really existed. 

 JASON BURKE  the AUTHOR of “AL QAEDA” wrote in his book “There is no evidence that bin Laden used the term “Al Qaeda” to refer to the name of a group until after September the 11th, when he realized that this was the term the Americans have given it”?

and in The BBC documentary “The Power of Nightmares” Burke reveals more about the al Qaida myth and says “The idea—which is critical to the FBI’s prosecution—that bin Laden ran a coherent organization with operatives and cells all around the world of which you could be a member is a myth.

There is no Al Qaeda organization. There is no international network with a leader, with cadres who will unquestioningly obey orders, with tentacles that stretch out to sleeper cells in America, in Africa, in Europe. That idea of a coherent, structured terrorist network with an organized capability simply does not exist”

 I myself remember that All Muslims and Arabs used to refer to the Muslim warriors in Afghanistan who fought the Russians back in the late 1980s as “Mujahideen” and amongst them was Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and others whom the Arab media looked upon as a group of dissidents and disillusioned Islamist militants who clustered around Bin Laden for funding and assistance. Bin Laden was not a leader; rather he was seen as a wealthy brother Muslim amongst others of mujahideen.

As a matter of fact, Jamal al-Fadl was on the run from bin Laden for having stolen money from him, a thing that would compromise his testimony.

History is not only about when and where things happened in the near or remote past. It is also about why and who was behind them.  

Al Qaida`s myth is not so hard to discover

A tale of al Qaida organization has been neatly tailored to fit into the prosecution procedures of 1998 bombings in Africa and later served as the prime suspect of 9/11 attacks.

You don’t have to be one of the liberal intelligentsia to discern the absurdity of buying into this myth of al Qaida international organization. You can do that just by looking back at what Bin Laden had to say after 9/11 and apply some critical thinking to it. Terrorists don’t commit atrocities for fun. They don’t kill and get killed for free. They do it because they seriously mean it and because they have demands to be met. No professional terrorist could have pulled a major operation like 9/11 without having prior and predetermined major demands but that was not the case with al Qaida. Whoever carried out 9/11 got what he wanted and doesn’t need to videotape himself rejoicing over it, this he has left for the Arab fools to temporarily enjoy and forever suffer.

In the wake of 9/11 and after pointing the finger at al Qaida, and when bin laden finally got the chance to speak, he- as the leader of the terrorist group- was expected to capitalize on the unparalleled success of the planes operation and make extravagant demands that would somehow justify the costly 9/11.

 Bin Laden has not made specific demands to the United States or to any other country, but instead has issued accusations and complaints. Bin Laden had no demands, he only saw 9/11 as his -once in a lifetime- opportunity to publicly criticize U.S diplomacy like the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia; U.S. sanctions against Iraq; and U.S. assistance to Israel.

A leader of a terrorist group would have utilized his position to bargain and would have threatened to carry out another similar attack if his demands were not promptly met. But all Bin Laden did was to air out another video tape then another and another…with nothing in it except endless political grievances and accusations.

9/11 is a mere act of God

In one of bin laden`s post-9/11 Aljazeera videos, he and his fellows were rejoicing at the news of 9/11 and they were all ears as bin Laden explained how Allah caused the WTC towers to crumble into its basements like a house of cards.

A mere act of God, this was Bin Laden’s idea of why the towers came down at free fall speed. This is how much he knew, this how much he was allowed to know. He never heard of using Nano-thermite or knew of preplanned controlled demolition. His role in 9/11- if any- was so little, so it is no wonder he only knew this much. All the rest that he couldn’t make sense of, he attributed to Allah’s will.

The fabricated name and identity of that terrorist group along with the nonsense grievances that Bin Laden has been feeding us with since 9/11 should let us make no mistake in recognizing the myth of al Qaida.

Al Qaida myth- to be continued

But unraveled mysteries and myths tend to turn into beliefs and facts over time especially that there is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. That’s why most people find comfort in buying- without thinking for themselves- into the al Qaida story. And this consequently gave way to the myth to be continued. The plot of al Qaida story was so simple, few Muslim mujahideen with a militant edge targeting any western object. a theme that has lately been the funniest plot for talented filmmakers throughout the world from England cinema to Bollywood India.

 In that way we lately began to hear of al Qaida’s affiliates. They don’t have to do much to prove it, all they have to do is to be Muslim, dress like Bin Laden and kill or kidnap or engage in fighting against any western or west-supported regimes and let the media do the rest.

 So the sectarian war in Yemen between the government forces and the Houthis- separatist Shia group- has turned into a fight against terrorism represented by al Qaida’s affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula. And this time CIA analysts -having learned their lesson- have warned, for the first time since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, that one of the offshoots of al-Qaeda in Yemen has become the most urgent threat to U. S. security. Unfortunately those analysts have failed to issue any warning of a tangible and imminent threat coming not so far from Yemen or may be the offshoots of the Israeli aggression and expansion on Palestinian land is looked upon by CIA as collateral damage that has nothing to do with yet another possible 9/11.

 And similarly the violence by al- shabab sufi movement in Somalia has been seen as al Qaida’s affiliate in the African horn. And recently we are confronted with Hostage-taking by a militant Islamist group which likes to be called Al-Qaeda in The Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). it is on the rise in the Sahel region which spans across several countries in the north of Africa from Chad and Algeria to Mauritania.

Now, the myth breeds more myths. We have a new situation where many parties claim affiliation to al Qaida. it proved a profitable buisness with media coverage-and exaggeration guaranteed. Meanwhile al Qaida doesn’t react to this situation, not because it doesn’t care to comment but simply because al Qaida doesn’t exist, What a comedy.


YouTube – Veterans Today -Al Qaida`s plot in a Bollywood comedy


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