Via the really excellent blog All Things Counter-terrorism I came across a former senior Al-Qaeda member Abu Walid al Masri’s article for the Taliban magazine. (I ran it through Google translator and the resulting translation is pretty readable). Via the same blog I also read Ahmed Rashid’s latest article in the National Interest about the dangers to Central Asia of a Taliban victory in Afghanistan. I thought it was really interesting how similar al Masri’s goals for the region were to Ahmed Rashid’s fears. Anyway, you can read all three items – All Things Counter-terrorism’s analysis of the al Masri article, the translation of the article, and Ahmed Rashid’s article. One of the most interesting aspects of al Masri’s article to me was the way he appealed to various aspects of Asian identity rather than Islamic principles as such. For example, he brings up this Chinese proverb about patience:
Patience is a virtue in Asia and the old Chinese proverb says “If you had an enemy, you just need to sit on the shore of the river, and will come to you rough days his body.”
while talking about how defeat in Afghanistan will ultimately collapse the US system. He even brings up Indian culture:
And patience was a virtue to the old Indian was taken over by a secular minority Hindu Zionist imperialist mood
Sorry, this translation is really horrible, but it’s really interesting how Islamists appeal to better aspects of non-Islamic culture, in a way laying claim to them as Islamic or compatible with Islam. It’s a really effective rhetorical technique. The article talks about each Asian culture, one by one and how each one is poised for a new world order, led morally by the Islamist fighters in Afghanistan:
The Asian giants are willing to lead the war in Afghanistan to the depletion of American power / European point of collapse to the economic, psychological and moral, including push them back, topping “New Asia” lead the world in the international system, its features confirmed that Afghanistan will be the focus of key leadership, not in the field of finance, industry and riba-based banks, but in the field of ethical, moral and defense demonstrated by Islam’s ability to inspire little people, because the poor resist and defeat the five great military campaigns of the greatest armies of the earth
This is exactly what Ahmed Rashid’s article warns about.
It is entirely possible that the Taliban model could spread to Muslims in China and India. The Taliban’s religious ideology, its elevation of jihad above all other Islamic teachings, its effective guerrilla war, and its brutal methods of controlling and governing local populations are spreading. Moreover, all of these groups, including al-Qaeda, respect Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and consider him the regional leader of jihad against America.
and he paints a very pessimistic picture of the current situation.
By the way, youtube has a really good interview of al Masri’s second wife, an Australian convert to Islam who now lives in Australia. She comes across as extremely intelligent and articulate. I found it fascinating.