What’s The Plan?

9 comments January 20th, 2007at 03:28pm Posted by Eli

No, not our plan – I mean Osama’s plan. Obviously it hinges on provoking the United States into increasingly irrational and violent actions, and has the ultimate goal of turning the Middle East, and ultimately the entire world, into one giant Islamic superstate.

But what’s in between? Is it simply to use our desperate and clumsy flailing to attract new recruits and destabilize and radicalize the region, or does he expect to topple the United States to remove our military and economic power from the playing field? The Bush administration has certainly been playing into Osama’s hands beautifully in terms of destabilization and radicalization, but is the second part realistic?

The reason I ask is, I think Osama is in for a disappointment if he believes the U.S. will implode like the Soviet Union did. I’m not saying that it’s not impossible for our form of government to change, as the Soviet Union’s did – but I don’t believe it will happen in a way that is beneficial to al Qaeda. Yes, changes in government caused the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Iraq to collapse and break apart, but they started out totalitarian and moved towards, well, the general direction of democracy. These were countries were the absolute authority of the state was the only force holding them together.

Now consider the U.S. The 2006 midterm elections were a huge positive, but if the Bush Republicans are not permanently removed from power (whether through polls or criminal proceedings), there is always a chance that they could pick up where they left off, and gradually transform the country into a fascist dictatorship – or perhaps not so gradually, if they get another excuse to claim “emergency powers.” The problem with this, from an al Qaeda perspective, is that the U.S. wouldn’t actually collapse. There might be a slight possibility of revolt, but I think it would be more like Germany in the 30s, where a combination of complacency, xenophobic hysteria, and sheer disbelief allowed the Nazis to incrementally acquire absolute power.

But instead of the unifying boogeyman being Jewish, he would be Muslim. A totalitarian America would be a powerful, unhinged, and implacable enemy of Islam, unbound by any checks and balances or concern for international law. One possible scenario: All pretense of trying to turn Iraq into a democracy is abandoned, and the draft is reinstated to acquire enough troops to impose martial law there. I don’t think even the neocons would be insane enough to declare war on the entire region at once, so they use bogus provocations to pick the Middle Eastern countries off one by one (possibly even using nukes), until/unless the rest of the world finally bands together to stop us, at great cost to themselves.

I scares me that I’m pretty sure I just described every neocon’s most cherished secret wet dream, at least up until that last part. But to get back to my original question: Is that Osama’s plan? To have the U.S. lay waste to huge swaths of the Middle East and elsewhere before getting taken down, and then swoop in to pick up the pieces and take advantage of the global power vacuum? Or does he think the U.S. will just collapse under its own weight like his last nemesis did? Or does he just not care what happens to the U.S., as long as it keeps pushing the Muslim world into his arms?

Entry Filed under: Bush,Iran,Iraq,Politics,War

9 Comments

  • 1. V  |  January 20th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    I thought Osama had almost certainly died of kidney failure in a cave somewhere, several years ago…

  • 2. Eli  |  January 20th, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    It’s entirely possible, but his plan can still carry on without him.

  • 3. Drano  |  January 21st, 2007 at 11:17 am

    Maybe less of a plan than an ideal. They struggle for a thing in the expectation of achieving whatever is possible.
    It’s an interesting question, and I hope you’ll come back to it, because it deserves more consideration than this tiny comment box!

  • 4. Eli  |  January 21st, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    I’m not sure I’ll be able to come back to it unless I have additional thoughts on it, or if AQ does or says something that gives some additional insight.

    Flory raised an interesting point on my old blog, that the Shi’ites will not be on board with this plan, and making Iraq a Shi’ite ally instead of a Sunni enemy was a very good thing for Iran.

    My cut on this is that Osama either expects us to be dumb enough to attack Iran (not an unreasonable expectation as long as Republicans are in the White House), or else that once he has the entire Sunni world behind him, he can crush or absorb the Shi’ites.

  • 5. flory  |  January 21st, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I decided I better move my comment over here, since nobody will ever read it over at the old place.

    I’m reading a book called the Shia Revival. And if forcing all of Islam into his arms is Osama’s aim, then he made a monumental error in judgemet. According to the author, the end result of all the current instaability has been to re-emphasize the Sunni/Shia split and has given the Shia their first ever opportunity to win out against a Sunni government in the history of Islam.
    What Osama has accomplished has been to empower the Shia in a way Khomeini dreamed of but never quite attained. They’re not about to fall into the arms of a Sunni fanatic.

  • 6. flory  |  January 21st, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    Huh. I guess somebody did read the old comments.

    My cut on this is that Osama either expects us to be dumb enough to attack Iran (not an unreasonable expectation as long as Republicans are in the White House), or else that once he has the entire Sunni world behind him, he can crush or absorb the Shi’ites

    .That would make sense. A fanatical Sunni would love to see chaos in the heartland of Shia governance. And he would be forever opposed to a Shia-led governemnt in Iraq. And he’d be thrilled to see Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syrial aflame.

  • 7. Eli  |  January 21st, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    And he would be forever opposed to a Shia-led governemnt in Iraq.

    He *had* to know that that was inevitable, or he’s as dumb as Bush is. So I can only assume that it fits in with his plan somehow, or that he calculated that the government and/or the country would be too weak and disorganized to pose a problem.

  • 8. flory  |  January 21st, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    He *had* to know that that was inevitable, or he’s as dumb as Bush is. So I can only assume that it fits in with his plan somehow, or that he calculated that the government and/or the country would be too weak and disorganized to pose a problem.

    He may very well have assumed, given the Administrations “6 days, 6 weeks, I doubt 6 months” rhetoric that we’d be more than happy to take an excuse to leave once Saddam was gone and he’d just help us along.
    Then he’d be able to reinstate a Sunni Islamic dictatorship, with a fundamentalist bent, on the country.
    Remember — no Shia majority country before Iran had *ever* had a Shia led government in the history of Islam. So he might very well not have ever believed that the Shia would win a sectarian battle.

  • 9. Eli  |  January 21st, 2007 at 9:01 pm

    I just can’t believe he would think that was a strong possibility. Maybe al Qaeda has its own neocons.


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