The Zawahiri Era

The Zawahiri Era

Mini Teaser: Meet Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian doctor-turned-jihadist-mastermind—and the new head of al-Qaeda. He will out-terrorize his predecessor. Prepare for the new age of jihad.

by Author(s): Michael Scheuer

Now, President Obama has allowed the testing of bin Laden’s theory by surrendering in Afghanistan and Iraq without accomplishing any of the original objectives Washington set. And today, moreover, Obama and his fellow interventionists in both parties and NATO have been unable to win a four-month-and-counting war against Libyan forces, which in the past were manhandled by Chad’s mighty military legions. If bin Laden turns out to be right in his contention that multiple defeats of the United States at the hands of inferior Islamist forces armed with Korean War–era weapons would end Muslim defeatism, al-Zawahiri will in two years be standing in sweet, high clover too tall for even his purported personal failings to cock up.

Then there is the Hillary Clinton–devised cultural war on Islam, now championed by Obama and Cameron as the proper response to the so-called Arab Spring. After the fall of the tyrannical Arab regimes in Tunis and Cairo, and the now ongoing slipping-away of those in Yemen, Libya and Syria, Secretary of State Clinton decided the time had come not only to out-Bush George but to by far out-Wilson the lamentable, bloody-handed Woodrow. Not only would she and her State Department bring freedom and democracy to the Arabs, but she would through decree—and with force if necessary—install Western-style women’s rights, freedom of religion, and the separation of church and state (which in Democratic doctrine means driving religion from both governance and the public square). In other words, Professor Huntington’s clash of civilizations is ready to be started and then driven not by caliphate-obsessed Islamist fanatics—as promised by the (usually) neocon reactionaries Walid Phares, Bernard Lewis, David Horowitz, Robert Spencer, and the Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard and National Review—but by naive, well-meaning, ahistorical, antireligious, arrogant and largely Ivy League–trained ne’er-do-wells like Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, George W. Bush, and the editors and reporters of the New York Times and Washington Post.

By declaring this cultural war on Islam, Barack Obama effectively applied a tourniquet to the wound inflicted on al-Qaeda and the Islamist movement by the SEALs’ killing of bin Laden. In the midst of uncertainties about the impact of that death, Obama told young Muslims worldwide that he was George W. Bush vis-à-vis U.S. policy in the Islamic world, even paraphrasing his predecessor’s zany ideas with such words as “we know that our own future [America’s] is bound to this region [the Arab world] by the forces of economics and security, by history and by faith.” The young-Muslim translation: U.S. and Western military, economic and political interventionism is here to stay, words that merely back up the signal sent by the U.S.-NATO war of whim on Libya, continuing drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, and Mrs. Clinton’s thinly veiled military threats against Syria.

But they also heard much more. They heard Obama pledge the U.S. government to the task of making Muslims into good, secular Westerners. In the speech, Obama left no room to doubt that he foolishly believes democracy is on the march in the Arab world and that he will use U.S. power to intervene and transform Islamic culture. This latest war on Islam was a gift to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda and its Islamist allies, second in magnitude only to Bush’s jihad-justifying invasion and occupation of Iraq.

A EULOGY for bin Laden published by Abu Basir Naser al-Wayhashi, formerly bin Laden’s secretary and now commander of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, suggests far worse is due for America. It not only expresses determination to carry the war forward but also offers a concise summary of the motivating power al-Zawahiri, his lieutenants and other Islamist leaders can draw on from the example of the life bin Laden led and the manner in which he matched words and deeds.

May Allah reward you on behalf of Islam O’ pious mujahid, you served the religion the best of service and you didn’t delay a second, and never apologized, and not one time backed off. Brave and bold, pious and devout, strong, motivated, courageous, spoken with honesty . . . and every time you talked you also did, and we knew about you that you did not submit to the accuses of the accusers, and you didn’t fear anyone but Allah, and everywhere you stepped you disturbed the kuffar [infidels] and every time you offered your hand it was to fight or for [a] good deed, and you revived in the ummah the plant of jihad and Jama’a [Islamic groups] and Hijra [emigration from one place to another to better fight Islam’s foes], and you brought up the pillar of loyalty and enmity, and you divided people into two parties, faith and Kufr.

But wars are never won by dead martyrs, rather by living and intelligent fighters who demonstrate courage, piety, prudence, patience, a reliable eye for the main chance, and—if God smiles on the warriors—an enemy who plays the part of a willing and effective foil, at times even that of a patsy. Al-Zawahiri takes charge in difficult and dangerous circumstances, but he faces a situation more promising than any al-Qaeda has encountered since its founding. All Americans should pray al-Zawahiri squanders his opportunity, as that may be the only way to avoid the military defeat and economic ruin the U.S. political elite seem eager to impose on their countrymen by refusing to face and combat the true sources of the Islamists’ motivation.

Image: Pullquote: The motivation for al-Qaeda to fight the United States is the same as when bin Laden declared war in 1996—Israel, oil, intervention, occupation and support for tyranny.Essay Types: Essay