The book introduction is based on the letter written by Osama’s accomplice and mentor dr. Zawahiri claiming responsibility for the September 11 attacks in the united states whereby dr. Zawahiri claims that the success of the twin booming will attract Muslims who had doubted the strength of violence struggle and also show that western powers like America that was interfering with the Islamic state both foundation and internal affairs was weak. Chapter one concentrates on the failure of the Oslo peace that happened on the 28th September, 2000 when the arab-israeli peace agreements and process suddenly collapsed turning into death throes which marked the resurgence of violence in the Middle East region (kepels, 7).
Ariel Sharon had decided to visit Jerusalem a holy ground disputed by both Muslims and Jews which was known to Jews as temple mount and to Muslim Haram Sharif or the noble sanctuary that proclaimed the ascend of Islam. His gesture showed support of the Jews and threatened the Muslims hence undermining the 1993 Oslo peace accords. Yasir Arafat, president of Palestine called for a protest which the Israeli responded by killing the Palestine on September the 29th. The al aqsa intifada was triggered by Arafat against the Israelis in 1989 and so he and Sharon were not in good terms. In the year 2001 both opposing side were piling up in pressure and with U.S president Clinton due to leave office for George w. bush both parties were strategizing on how to woe bush’s support. Arafat went for outright aggressiveness by reviving the al-aqsa intifada while Sharon pretended to be in support for peaceful negotiation hence branding Arafat a terrorist.
The hostility between Arafat and Sharon rose after Sharon was elected the prime minister of Israeli and with his election pledges of securing Israel from any external aggression. The majority Palestinian youth in the name of Shabab and others in the camps saw this as a very opportune time to be repatriated to there home land while Sharon was to prove that withdraw of the Israeli’s army from the west bank was not a show of weakness. On the other side bush was elected with support of most American Muslim because of his father pro- Palestine relation compared to his rival al gore who enjoyed most backing of Jews living in America and also his running mate was a conservative and devoted Jew, Joe Lieberman. In 1991 bush senior had pressurized Yitzhak Sharmir to meet Palestine leaders in Madrid. The Arabs thought the bush junior will renew his father pro-Arab policies. But some neoconservative had risen and was strong in Washington from as early as 1996 when a memorandum sympathizing with Netanyahu was written which distasted the logic behind the Oslo agreements. (Kepel, 17).
George bush had showed his deep seated hostility to nation building, he contrasted Clinton who had intervened in civil wars like the case of Yugoslavia. Bush was skeptical about funding American troops to rescue failed states or even creating new states out of religious or ethnic chaos. He even distanced his personal involvement from the Arab-Israeli talks prior to the September 11 attack. He sided with Collin Powel his secretary of state that America was ready to assist and not force or insists anything.
Bush admiration had founded a new isolationism policy (kepel, 47) but faction in the administration emerged with one consisting of the CIA and others allied to Powell who insisted on U.S’s traditional international diplomacy approach which was more cautious. This group relied heavily on multi lateral instruments example being the united nation. The other group wanted America to take advantage of it being a super power and radically restore the new world order which composed of the pentagon’s civilian directors (kepel, 48). This second group formed the neoconservatives that included Paul wolfowitz assistant secretary of defense, Richard Cheney who was the vice president and Richard Perle, chairman of the defense policy board advisory committee. The neocons had existed from the 1960s but had more influence during this time that bush faced external treat. The neoconservatives called for America to disseminate its model of democracy all over the world and this was done by whatever means they thought appropriate. The means in question did not have to rely on bodies such as the united nation and did not exclude military force. This neoconservative won after the September 11 attack when bush committed the U.S to military interventionism courses.
The U.S endorsed the war on terror. The U.S was to conduct an operation in Afghanistan aimed at destroying Taliban’s and Osama bin laden the mastermind of the September 11 attacks. Though the neocons had started earlier they received more support and were much involved in higher decision making by president bush after the deadly attacks. Neoconservatives had played a major role in the ending of the communism and the fall of the USSR like in the reigns of Ronald Regan and jimmy carter. Regan inherited the financial commitment of fighting a jihad against the red army in Afghanistan by the mujahedeen while carter was combating communism and spreading capitalism (kepel, 60).
Fundamental jihadists on their side were organizing themselves in readiness to defend their territories from what they considered as external influence and aggression. Muslims who were in constant struggles like the Shiite and the Sunni were struggling to take control of Islamic states like Iraq and Iran. With Saddam Hussein helped into power by the United States and who had fallen out with his supports and masters the united state because of want the U.S termed as dictatorship and so were committed to free the people of Iraq. Al Qaeda became the code of Muslim struggle against western influence.
All Muslims from all over the world were to be coordinated to fight for jihad under the umbrella of the new network that had resurface and the September 11 attack in the U.S and august 7th 1998, its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were targeted. The success of their attacks propelled al Qaeda into a world wide radical organization and showed that it had a proper understanding of the global communication networks with Osama and other top ranking leaders of the organization issuing out statements to news channels all over the world though denying direct involvement in the attacks.
America then endorsed the war on terror on October 7 by launching its military operation in Afghanistan and Osama with Zawahiri counter reacted by praising the suicide bomber for a worthy and successful jihads that they had accomplished.bin laden sort to gain more support from stout Muslims like when he received sheikh khaled al-Harbi from Saudi Arabia who asserted that the news about the attacks were welcomed with joy in Saudi Arabia (kepel, 109). Americans concentrated on hunting down the terrorist and this involved military involved where troops were sent to hunt for Osama bin laden and even camps were formed like the now infamous Guantanamo bay which turned out to be a torture chamber for terrorist suspected while al Qaeda intensified in their attempts to attack the U.S and its allies.
Importance of Europe
Both the American foreign policies and approach and the al Qaeda ideologies have failed in the endeavor in that the united state committed it self into expensive ventures like the war in Iraq with no success in modernizing the Arab world while al Qaeda has failed in terms of attacking its targets. Europe had proven to be the best ground were al Qaeda could plan and coordinate their activities before the September 11 attacks like in German where the laws were friendly to suspects its believed that Mohammed Atta and Ramzi bin al-Shibh formed the Hamburg cell the operational base for the 9/11 attacks.
On the part of the U.S European countries such Belgium the CIA established cells in the 1990s which were immune to intelligence services of France and after the September 11 attacks many suspects especially originating from north Africa have been arrested. Europe has witnessed a massive growth in terms of Muslim converts and so both the U.S and al Qaeda have to fully utilize this situation to their success. The al Qaeda can indoctrinate the converts into radical jihadist like the case Richard Reid, a Briton who attempted to blow up his sneakers in a flight to U.S from France. Converts can easily hide their identities and hence escape the authorities. The united state can work with the European countries to combat these acts of terrorism like the lobbying behind the French government to ensure that it is committed in fighting terrorism (kepel, 244).
Kepel, Gilles. The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West. Harvard. HUP, 2004.