Sunday, July 16, 2006

More on Abu Mus'ab al-Suri: The Reason "Why"

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
(Image from

In yesterday's post, I noted that the jihadist theoretician Abu Mus'ab al-Suri argues for a jihad of individualized terrorism against infidels, and I wondered about the purpose of such terrorism since it cannot conquer territory from the realm of war (Dar al-Harb) for the realm of Islam (Dar al-Islam).

The Norwegian scholar Dr. Brynjar Lia had noted that al-Suri writes of terrorism as a means of "resisting the occupation," to which, I had queried, "[B]ut the occupation of what? The world? Withdrawal from the world would be rather difficult." I then ended my entry by asking, "So ... what's the point of the terrorism?"

A possible answer comes from Craig Whitlock's article of May 23, 2006 in the Washington Post, "Architect of New War on the West: Writings Lay OutPost-9/11 Strategy of Isolated Cells Joined in Jihad," in which we learn:
Counterterrorism officials and analysts see Nasar's theories in action in major terrorist attacks in Casablanca in 2003, Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005. In each case, the perpetrators organized themselves into local, self-sustaining cells that acted on their own but also likely accepted guidance from visiting emissaries of the global movement.

The Madrid bombing, in particular, have been interpreted as punishment for Spain's participation in the American-led Iraq War and postwar occupation, so this might be the sort of thing that al-Suri means by "resisting the occupation." If so, then his strategic advice was successful in this particular case, for Spain's conservatives (Partido Popular) lost the election, which brought into power the Socialists, who withdrew from Iraq.

Ultimately, this won't much help the Spanish to avoid terrorism, for as we've since learned, the 'occupation' includes the Spanish occupation of Andalusia, the part of Spain once ruled by Islam.

Anyway, I now understand some of the "why" behind al-Suri's Call for a Global Islamic Resistance.

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At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or perhaps he's just a racist maniac who likes to see "infidels" blown into small pieces? I'm sure the "other side" has racist maniacs too, or will I be arrested for pointing that out in today's happy-clappy-not-terrified-honest multicultural society?

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I don't think that the motive is so much racist as religious. I would agree, however, that there's an ethnic hierarchy among Muslims, with Arabs priding themselves on their Arabic ethnicty.

But if we want to understand jihad, its motives and methods, then religion trumps ethnicity.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:40 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

I agree, John Walker Lindh was warmly welcomed into the Taliban. Not that what happens in one jihadist faction should be seen as what happens in all of them, but I've never heard of race being the key issue for jihad.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Right, race isn't the motive -- not that I would want to ignore an ethnic aspect in local Muslim insurgencies or ethnic hierarchy within an Islamist movement itself.

Jeffery Hodges

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