Friday, July 02, 2004

The Cleaning Up Of Al Qaeda

I'm not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but with regards to Spain's socialist government's and the liberal press' handling of the March 11 attacks, I keep having this feeling that something is very wrong here. It's like they want to forget, move on, hoping -and in many cases believing- that the Madrid bombings were somehow a deserved payback for Spain's support of the liberation of Iraq, so Spain can now be considered safe from Islamist terror. These are things almost impossible to say out loud over here.

Recently, one hundred days passed since the bombings, without any official rememberance ceremony. On the contrary, on June 9, Madrid City Council revealed a replacement for the spontaneous memorials erected at the targeted stations, replacing candles, notes and flowers with a cold, sterile video wall and a website, on which pictures of the now cleaned up memorials are displayed. The reason for this? Station and railway workers were having a hard time dealing with the memorials day after day, and it kept them from recovering. These railway workers must have endured all this stress at least, say, 50 days, before asking for the removal? And knowing a bit more about organized labor here, I can very well imagine a labor union (which are all in some way linked to the socialist party) pushing for this on behalf of the government? But that's when my rational side usually stops me from endulging in more conspiring.

But I digress, although it helps introducing what I really wanted to write about, namely the 'polishing up' of Al Qaeda. Ever so softly, it seems the agenda set by the press (the US as the true enemy of peace), the government (you can't shoot your way out of any situation, you need to talk and work together) seems to evoke a reenforcing response by the other. Today it struck me for the first time, seeing references made here and in El Periódico to "Al Qaeda's military wing" I'm mentioning El Periódico specifically, because it also carries an interview with Diaa Rechuan, quoted as an 'expert on pacifist and violent Islamism', who works at the 'prestigious' Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt.

The Al-Ahram Centre is the research center of the Al-Ahram group of newspapers, state-owned and widely known for its open anti-semitism. For a good starting point on what Al-Ahram stands for, check out this MEMRI special report on the newspaper, and the anti-semitic and anti-american cartoons that grace its pages.

Because I had no link, I've pasted -and translated- the interview below. Remember, this is a respectable Spanish newspaper passing this on as an 'expert opinion'

Al Qaeda no es una red sino sólo un modelo, asegura un experto

La red terrorista Al Qaeda no existe como tal, se ha convertido en un modelo que multitud de grupos terroristas utilizan según su conveniencia, y ni siquiera en Irak está presente, según cree uno de los mayores expertos del mundo.

Diaa Rechuan, experto en islamismo pacífico y violento en el prestigioso Centro Al Ahram de Estudios Estratégicos, ha explicado a Efe que Al Qaeda se está convirtiendo "en una especie de MacDonald's, una marca o franquicia que muchos se quieren atribuir y para lo que no hace falta más que un requisito: extender el terror en nombre del islam".

Después del 11-S

Al Qaeda nació probablemente después del 11 de septiembre del 2001, no antes, y ahora está operativa solo en Afganistán, Pakistán, el centro de Asia, el este de África y algún lugar de la Península Arábiga, pero carece de mando central operativo y Osama bin Laden ya solo actúa como inspirador, pues su capacidad de reunión y reclutamiento es nula, según Rechuan.

El hombre que Estados Unidos considera jefe de Al Qaeda en Irak, el jordano Abu Musab al Zarqaui, probablemente no tiene nada que ver con Al Qaeda, pues los ataques antishiís que se le atribuyen --como los del pasado marzo en Bagdad y Kerbala, con 143 muertos-- no entran dentro del estilo de Al Qaeda, asegura el experto.

Explica que Al Qaeda sigue siempre una política constante: atacar a los que considera "infieles" y a sus aliados, pero no a una multitud de shiís en una mezquita, pese a que Bin Laden y sus hombres, todos ellos sunís, no profesen ninguna simpatía por el shiísmo.

Rechuan tiene sus dudas de que Zarqaui, por el que EEUU ofrece una recompensa de 25 millones de dólares, sea en realidad tan importante como Washington dice que es, y asegura que ha sido el secretario de Estado, Colin Powell, el que ha hecho famoso a Zarqaui.

Dudas de su relación con el 11-M

También duda de que Al Qaeda haya tenido algo que ver en el atentado del pasado 11 de marzo en Madrid, pues significaría un fallo estrepitoso de los servicios de seguridad españoles, fallo que sería más comprensible si se tratara de un grupo que actuaba por su cuenta y riesgo.

Advierte este experto de que Al Qaeda no desmiente su participación en atentados que se le atribuyen siempre que éstos cumplan con "un patrón común": golpear a los infieles o a sus aliados, pues así se va engrosando el mito del "terror global".

Sin embargo, sí ha desmentido su vinculación con los atentados antishiís, recuerda.

Al Qaeda is no network but just a model, assures an expert

The terrorist network Al Qaeda doesn't exist as such, it has converted into a model which multiple terrorist groups use it to fit its purposes, and isn't even present in Iraq, so thinks one of the biggest experts in the world.

Diaa Rechuan, expert in pacifist and violent islamism at the prestigious Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, explained to Efe [Spanish news agency -VM] that Al Qaeda is changing itself in "a type of McDonald's, a brand or franchise to which much is attributed, and for which the only prerequisite is to spread terror in the name of Islam".

After 9/11

Al Qaeda was probably conceived after September 11, 2001, not before, and now it operates only in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the center of Asia, the east of Africa and someplace on the Arabian peninsula, but lacks a central operational command and Osama Bin Laden now just acts as inspiration, since his capacity to meet and recruit are zero, according to Rechuan.

The man the United States consider the head of Al Qaeda in Irak, the Jordan Abu Musab al Zarqawi, probably has nothing to do with Al Qaeda, since the anti-Shi'a attacks they attribute to him --like the ones last March in Baghdad and Kerbala, with 143 dead-- have nothing to do with the style of Al Qaeda, assures the expert.

He explains that Al Qaeda always follows a constant policy: attack those they consider "infidels" and their allies, but not a congregation of Shi'a in a mosque, in spite that Bin Laden and his men, all of them Sunnis, hold no sympathy whatsoever towards Shi'a muslims.

Rechuan has his doubst that Zarqawi, for whom the US offers a reward of 25 million dollars, in reality is as important as Washington makes him to be, and assures that it was Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made Zarqawi famous.

Doubts over his relation to March 11

He also doubts that Al Qaeda had anything to do with the attack on March 11 in Madrid, since it would mean an enormous failure on part of the Spanish security services, a failure which would be more understandable if it were dealing with a group which operated on its own.

The expert notes that Al Qaeda will not deny its involvement in attacks they attribute to them, and that these attacks are always carried out with a "similar pattern": hit the infidels or their allies, since this is how the myth of "global terror" grows.

However, remember that they have denied their involvement in the anti-shi'a attacks.
So what you have read either puts the whole world on its head, because Al Qaeda doesn't really exist, and is just being used as an excuse to go after Islam, or this is Revisionism in its more refined form, with El Periódico helping to erase the image of an Al Qaeda plotting attacks and planning the downfall of the Western world, and replacing it with individual groups claiming to be Al Qaeda but really not having any link whatsoever. Which might lead to someone claiming that all these 'separate' groups, once stripped of the Al Qaeda brand, have legitimate worries and can at least be heard out. And that we should look beyond Al Qaeda, the terrorist 'cry for help' and address their root causes.

The idiocy of stating that Al Qaeda was formed after 9/11 is just beyond words, look here for an accurate overview of its history, which you'll appreciate starts around 1988.

Rechuan then jumps on Al-Zarqawi's non-relation with Al Qaeda as proof that Al Qaeda doesn't exist. As we've explained before here, in the intercepted memo from Al-Zarqawi to Bin Laden he clearly speaks of his own organization Al Tawhid (which is widely known to be intent of the overthrow of the Jordan house of Hussein, and not as Rechuan states 'made famous by Colin Powell').

Finally, but most importantly perhaps to the interview's aims, Rechuan states that Al Qaeda could not have been involved in the Madrid attacks, because it would mean an enormous intelligence failure. El Periódico's printing this blatant nonsense just makes me wonder where the Spanish are heading for. Its use of a 'military wing of Al Qaeda' when threats are made, and then stripping Al Qaeda of its threat by letting Al-Ahram's revisionists explain to us 'what really happened', it all just leaves me wondering if there somehow could be some concerted action going on, designed to make us all think that we're safe.

Which of course, we are not.