The most interesting thing about this dangerous organization is how pointless it is
I was reading the news about the Nusra Front in Syria, about its claim for the Alqaeda brand name and the jostling for which branch of Alqaeda controlls which territory in the Arabian peninsula, and I kept having this nagging thought at the back of my mind: What is the point of Alqaeda?
For all its spectacular acts of terror, for all the strong fighting spirit of its warriors and the deep devoutness of some of its followers, the organization doesn’t seem to have any realistic endgame in sight. If this were a company, shareholders would be revolting for a lack of realistic vision and selling their shares in droves.
I heard somewhere that they installed a “prince” for Tripoli. Really? A prince? Mockery aside, this is the ultimate symbol for how clueless the organization is about the nature of its influence. The real power in Tripoli is with the moneymen funding the wars of this so-called prince. But here’s what’s really funny: The “prince” really believes that he will eventually rule the city, and become the boss of his current masters, without whose funding he can’t even eat (apply same logic to Alqaeda warlords everywhere)
The little secret about “ruling with fear”, the idea that with big shows of force people will eventually fear you and follow you, is that it doesn’t work. It never worked, ever! People will always eventually kick out the suppressor. Aspiring Islamist rulers everywhere are now realizing that Shariaa alone will not feed nations, no matter how much you distract the population with matters of sex and religious irreverence.
Nations need their banks, their universities, their factories, their malls and their leisure centers to develop and live productively. It’s difficult to imagine Alqaeda men, with such an obsolete and nihilistic worldview, to ever have the wherewithal and legitimacy to run such things.
One of the biggest arguments against Alqaeda ever becoming an influential force in the region, is that they don’t really understand the notion of diversity. The Middle East is a mosaic of Shiaas, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Armenians, al of which are declared enemies for Alqaeda. What kind of logic makes them believe that blowing up swathes of “infidels” (also known as our neighbors and friends), will make us follow their cause?
The only way for an Alqaeda prince to rule is to find a small geographic pocket of extremist Sunnis, preferably illiterate. But how does that square with their plans for regional domination?
Which brings me to the point of this post: Small fighters are pawns in a game, guided by money and virgins in the sky, but what drives the leaders of the movement? What does Zawahiri want?