Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
December 24, 2007
WAR: There's Still A War On. But For Now, It's Going Pretty Well.
The good guys aren't the only ones who have problems with former supporters turning on them:
One of Al Qaeda's senior theologians is calling on his followers to end their military jihad and saying the attacks of September 11, 2001, were a "catastrophe for all Muslims."
As some of those experts point out:
The author of "Inside Al Qaeda," Rohan Gunaratna said in an interview this week, "There is nothing more important than a former jihadist as important as Dr. Fadl criticizing the jihadist vanguard." Mr. Gunaratna, who acts at times as a consultant for American and Western intelligence, described the reformed theologian as "both an ideologue and operational leader, but he was primarily an ideologue."
StratFor had an analysis the other day making a similar point; I'll excerpt one key paragraph here:
It ... is clear that al Qaeda is feeling the weight of the ideological war against it -- waged largely by Muslims. Al-Zawahiri repeatedly has lamented specific fatwas by Saudi clerics declaring that the jihad in Iraq is not obligatory and forbidding young Muslims from going to Iraq. In a message broadcast in July, al-Zawahiri said, "I would like to remind everyone that the most dangerous weapons in the Saudi-American system are not buying of loyalties, spying on behalf of the Americans or providing facilities to them. No, the most dangerous weapons of that system are those who outwardly profess advice, guidance and instruction …" In other words, al Qaeda fears fatwas more than weapons. Weapons can kill people -- fatwas can kill the ideology that motivates people.