03 April, 2006

Training the Al-Qaida soldier

The jamestown Foundation (reprinted by ISN) has a very interesting piece on the training of the al-Qaida operative and what it tells us about motives and assumptions. For example:


When training each mujahid, al-Qaida's doctrine declares that the first priority must be "spiritual preparation […] because it is necessary to attain victory". The key to this preparation is two-fold, al-Qaida's Ma'adh al-Mansur explained. First, each fighter must completely accept the fact that God has promised victory to the Muslims if they obey His word. Second, the fighter must recognize that victory has not yet come because most Muslims love life and hate death, and thus have strayed from God's path, most specifically from the path of jihad. As a result, al-Mansur directs that each trainee be taught that "God has set the infidel nations against them [the Muslims] to inflict on them humiliation and lowly status. This is an inevitable and ordained punishment that befalls those who abandon jihad". For this degraded status, each Muslim man should be deeply ashamed, and should "die of grief if he does not ward off the calamities inflicted on his fellow Muslims and Kinsmen".

In other words, al-Qaida doctrine does not argue that the current predicament of Muslims is the fault of what Al-Faruq al-Amiri calls "the campaign and reality of the crusader enemy". Rather, that predicament flows from the refusal of Muslims to resist the infidels' attack. The commonly held Western view that al-Qaida and its followers blame the West for all of Islam's woes - an understanding most stridently advocated by Bernard Lewis - thus falls by the wayside. Al-Qaida trainees are taught that the humiliation God has inflicted on Muslims for their failure to obey Him can only be lifted by Muslims accepting God's word and "returning to jihad". If they do so, they will win victories like those the Prophet Muhammad and his companions won in the battles of Badr and The Trench in Islam's first years of existence. "Although the Muslims [with Muhammad] were few and had scanty military means, and the infidels were many and well-equipped," al-Mansur reminds today's mujahedin, "victory was in the hands of God."

Well worth a look.

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