17 January 2004

Osama is so 1997!!
Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah is distancing itself from Al-Qa'ida, saying that Al-Qa'ida's tactics and policies only cause trouble and are not based on proper religious understanding.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Report by Abd-al-Latif al-Minawi in Cairo: "'The Strategy and Bombings of Al-Qa'ida (Part 1)'; Al-Sharq al-Awsat publishes new book by the leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah; the book criticizes Al-Qa'ida's strategy and bombings; Al-Qa'ida's goals are Afghan in nature and its leaders did not understand the concept of jihad; the bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca revealed their flawed understanding of Islam."

In this book they have come to the conclusion that the US never did target the Muslim world on the basis of religion, and that everything that has been done to the disadvantage of Muslims can be explained by secular US interests and therefore there is no Sharia duty to defend the faith. In fact it goes so far as to point out that US interests have at times coincided with those of Muslims, and cites the US defense of Muslims against Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The authors conclude that Al-Qa'ida's strategy was one of the most important factors that hastened the formulation of this US strategy that is negative toward the Muslim world.

Hindsight is 20/20 vision.

Relevant outtakes:
Egyptian Islamist Leaders Fault Al-Qaida's Strategy
"The leaders of the Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah -- the co-authors of the book, some of whom are still in jail -- admit that the recent bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca in May 2003 revealed a flaw in the strategy adopted by Al-Qa'ida. The bombings also revealed a flaw in Al-Qa'ida's understanding of jihad and the application of Shari'ah on jihad.

The leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah Al-Islamiyah ... also assert that ... jihad is a religious duty that will remain until the Day of Judgment. But it is a duty with checks that should be available if it is to be carried out. These points contradict Al-Qa'idah's vision. Al-Qa'ida believes that jihad is the only correct response to face reality and gives precedence to the logic of defiance over the principle of calculations.

The leaders of the Al-Jama'ah Al-Islamiyah argue that the US strategy toward Afghanistan -- especially in the early 1990s -- did not justify the strategy that was adopted by Al-Qa'ida.
The co-authors suggest that the leaders of Al-Qa'ida entangled the Muslim nation in a conflict that was beyond its power to wage, a conflict that it did not want. The authors note that the consequences that resulted from Al-Qa'ida's strategy did not serve the interests of the Muslim nation, but led to many negative results: 1. It led to the collapse of the young Muslim state in Afghanistan. 2. Al-Qa'ida and the Islamic movements were hunted down as part of security globalization. 3. Al-Qa'da's strategy hurt the interests and issues of the Muslim minorities by deliberately confusing between terrorism and resistance movements against occupation. 4. It paved the way for the realization of Israel's objectives and designs.

The authors pose the question: Is it right to target and kill a person based on his nationality? The authors answer their own question by pointing to the erroneous conclusions of the Al-Qa'ida leaders that it is permissible to kill American civilians.

Al-Qa'ida's strategy strengthened the voice of those who call for all-out war against Islam. We do not believe that this crusader war actually existed. Some may say, "so what is wrong with igniting a war against America and the West on the basis of religion? This would mobilize the energies of the Muslim nation and nip these schemes in the bud". To this we say we disagree with this logic. We disagree not only because the Muslim nation is not ready for such an option. We disagree also because we believe that awakening the Muslim nation from its deep slumber and helping it to rejuvenate its civilization and bounty require us not to fall in the trap of clash of civilizations.

The book was authored by the following eight leaders of the Egyptian Al-Jama'ah Al-Islamiyah: Karam Zuhdi, Najih Ibrahim, Ali al-Sharif, Usama Hafiz, Hamdi Abd-al-Rahman, Fu'ad al-Dawalibi, Asim Abd-al-Majid, and Isam Darbalah.

Sheikh Omar Abdel al-Rahman, convicted in 1996 of conspiring to destroy New York City landmarks, including the UN headquarters, the Federal Building, and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, was the spiritual leader of Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah even back when they were making money by robbing Christian shopkeepers in southern Egypt. In the mid-70s he found Saudi financial backers for the group.
Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah joined the International Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders, an alliance formed in 1998 by al Qaeda and a number of other terrorist groups from the Muslim world.
In the wake of outrage over tourist killings in Egypt, the group unoffically split into a less violent and a more violent faction. Today there are believed to be a few cells still operating in Egypt, Sudan, the United Kingdom and Yemen that are believed by the Egyptian government to be supported by funds from bin Laden, Iran and perhaps some Islamic nongovernmental organizations, according to CDI and FAS. In March 2002, members of the group's historic leadership in Egypt declared use of violence misguided and renounced its future use, prompting denunciations by much of the leadership abroad.
Saudi-owned Al-Sharq al-Awsat is published out of London.

Although we know Saudi Arabia was funding Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyah in the 70s, we don't know if they are still funding them or have any influence over them. If we lean towards believing that SA does have some influence with the traditional leadership of the group, which is probably the faction that published this denunciation, then we might consider this as an attempt of Saudi Arabia to take some of the wind out of al-Quaida's sails now that they have become dangerous to them.
Just my opinion.
Will this act as a cluestick to the jihadis or is this a bunch of conciliatory words from a toothless organization, meant to score brownie points for Saudi Arabia?
Am I a mideast analyst now? I'm just trying to keep from having to pay jizyah. I can't afford it in this economy.