Saturday, June 30, 2012

What reforms needed for an AL Qaeda in decline Part 3

Armaments provision and nature

We cannot talk about a militant group while omitting the primary action course of it: armed confrontations. The paramilitary nature of the network imposes on it a constricted weaponry range and military tactics. Besides the early stages of Al Qaeda where thanks to the American advanced weapons the network could almost rival conventional armies, nowadays the modus operandi has been stagnating in favor of a militia warfare style which is not only outdated but undermined by the armaments of the network opponents. 

Making use of the AK 47 and mortars as standard artillery has proven to be redundant in fighting US troops in Afghanistan, with few casualties ever scored on bases storming and military compounds shelling. The suicide bombings, on the other hand have gained the bad reputation of overlooking military personnel and instead, inflicting heavy civilian losses with no value for the military equation of power in the region. A quick insight on Al Qaeda’s major weapons with actual impact on foreign troops tops IEDs as the deadliest of all. The Improvised explosive devices are inflicting major losses to coalition forces in Afghanistan, with hundreds of victims in the last years flying back to the US either in coffins or missing body parts. What makes these bombs efficient and reliable are aspects which are worth considering: non-confrontational and remote. 

Applying these features to the broad armament capabilities of Al Qaeda while getting rid of the other weapon sets will allow a concentration of expertise, logistics and finance into a weapon sector counting numerous achievements in its archives.  What else besides IEDs could Al Qaeda opt for? The popular choice is, as further confirmed by eminent militant groups around the world such as Hezbollah and Hamas, the usage of short range missiles and katyusha rockets. The shift of target allows a full usage of such technology which, besides being cheap and affordable in the black market, is of a destructive effect. Boosting the rocket launch capabilities of Hamas and collaborating with the group to carry out strikes inside Israel will spare Al Qaeda more human resources while increasing its recruitment process due to the achievements it ought to publicize and take advantage of. The possession and acquiring of these types of weapons is not demanding, especially in the recent circumstances of the chaos post Arab spring. After a flow of weapons from Pakistan and Asian neighbors, the chart of displacement of weapon stocks is now displaying a whole different picture. Libya has become the primary source of non-state regulated weapon transfer to the Middle East in the latest months, and the recent instance of seizure of weapons in Egypt declared by the prime minister as the biggest of its kind in Egypt history, is no more than a confirmation of the new reality enclosing the fruitful business of arms trade. With Syria on the edge of collapse, Al Qaeda ought to secure already strongholds in Opposition tows in order to establish the necessary contacts for future smuggling of weapons out of Syria which, it is worth remembering, is one of the major importers of Russian missiles in the region.

Besides the arms with physical reach onto the enemy, it is now becoming a fashionable trend to turn for the new warfare measures in the cyberspace, as it is an effective mean of selective destruction with no costs involved. The increasing reliance of infrastructure networks, electricity and water grids as well as military, energetic and nuclear industries on the electronic communication lines of execution makes them a perfect target for wide scale attacks with potential effects on whole regions if not the whole country. Be it through the misuse of water grids, the deflection of drones and GPS navigated rockets or through the disturbance of nuclear power facilities, Al Qaeda has all to win from investing heavily in developing operational teams specifically trained to carry cyber-attacks on governments and groups. The affordability of electronic resources for cyber training, and the the rise of skilled and qualified human resources in the domain of communications and electronics will enable Al Qaeda to exploit the fragile cyberspace defense system of major nations who came to invest in the domain of countering cyber-attacks recently with the emergence of the virus cases of Stuxnet and flame.

To be continued...
Next: Human Resources and Recruitment

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What reforms needed for an AL Qaeda in decline Part 2

Unified target: Israel

A major weakness in the Al Qaeda network is the choice of targets. It is indeed the most controversial aspect of the network as it lacks not only clarity for the intentions behind the act, but also it fails to pass the religious justification it claims it is based upon. Whether it is populated markets in Kandahar, metros in London or hotels in Baghdad, the average Muslim can easily put forward numerous criticism and condemnations to act he sees perpetrated against civilians and officials who do not fall in the case of the religion common enemy. Al Qaeda is reliant in its attacks as primary mean of advertisement and sole leverage for its credibility, yet the Al Qaeda leadership clearly lacks a decent understanding of marketing strategies.

If you want the consumer to jump on your product, and you aspire to expand your consumer market while tapping into foreign marketplaces, you have to brand your product into a universal, widely compatible and internationally appealing merchandise. This is what Al Qaeda has not yet placed into action due to its focus on attacking targets that are too specifically linked to a narrow issue, drawing thus reluctance from a wide spectrum of the audience which expresses everything but admiration and respect.

Determining this universal target which will force Muslims worldwide to align with Al Qaeda’s vision is as clear as a full moon in an immaculate night sky: Israel.

Shifting and channeling all Al Qaeda’s attacks on Israel will first allow the network to have a greater firepower since all logistics and armaments will be directed to creating the greatest destruction of Israel’s key infrastructure and military compounds, and second will encourage those reluctant of Al Qaeda’s intentions and legitimacy side once and for all with those who fought the Zionist state for the sake of Islam’s sacred Al Quds. This comes as no surprise as most of the negative imagery of the militant network comes from its unpopular choice to indulge in political fight over power in Afghanistan rather than declaring a a true jihad in the places most deserving it.

It is worth remembering an instance which affirms what has been speculated above. The civil war in Afghanistan has made it decisive for the Arab fighters under the command of Ben Laden that their group ought not to be involved in political issues where more harm is done by getting involved in. Willing to avoid “Fitna”, Ben Laden fled away and preoccupied himself with conflicts clearly relevant to the Muslim community, yet what then was a righteous leap of faith to avoid political polarization has now turned into a fading myth, with an Al Qaeda still involved in attacks against Muslim officials in Kabul, and through its proxy networks all over the MENA region and other parts of Africa. The ideology of power, authority and strict religious rule fueled by the Taliban philosophy had annihilated the pristine religious commandments the Arab Mujahedeen of the soviet era acted upon, leaving behind a military arm preaching religious and political entanglement.

Engaging in a symbolic act of withdrawing from all conflicts which include fighting against Islamic parties, leading political crusades or fighting dubious battle will indeed blow into Al Qaeda a fresh flow of air, reviving certitude that the fight of Al Qaeda is a true jihad, not a misguided military involvement in all but religious struggles.

The moment Al Qaeda announces its intention to shift all military acts to Israel, the rebirth of the network could celebrated, especially in a world today where the political changes post Arab spring will afford several logistical, military and intelligence resources for the militants in Egypt, Syria and Gaza. The choice of Israel comes as no surprise, especially that the state personifies an all measures enemy, both politically and religiously. Suicide bombings, IEDs, rocket launches and ambushes will inflict heavy damages to Israel both on a physical level and on a psychological one given the fragile structure of Israel civilian front.  

To be continued...
Next: Armaments provision and nature

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What reforms needed for an AL Qaeda in decline Part 1

The survival of Al Qaeda is now as critical as ever, and the prospects of an eventual fortification of the network are fading each day with every single drone attack targeting its militants. The assassination of key leaders such as Ben Laden and Al Libi poses an existential threat to the fighters net due to the lack of guiding visionaries and strategists such as the aforementioned names. The terror group, which key militants drove the USSR out of Afghanistan and perpetrated the 9/11 attacks is now considered as an ephemeral threat to the United States and to the world as a whole, not only because of the low frequency attacks it masterminds, but also due to the decrease in Al Qaeda’s target profiles and attacks’ reach.
In such a matter of necessity to survive and re-emerge as a focal convergence for international security concerns, Al Qaeda has no choice but to redefine its strategies, armaments, targets and ideological input.  

Coming back to the source: the Arab Jihadists

It is necessary to look up the origins of any movement or group in order to understand its driving power, and ultimately its key weaknesses. The Al Qaeda network started as a paramilitary assembly driven by a strong religious imperative: Jihad.

The Arab mujahedeen, who gathered from places scattered throughout the Arab world to respond to the call of the Jihad and fly to the rescue of a fellow Islamic country have been the nucleus of what later came to be al Qaeda. With no intention to institutionalize the holy struggle or to prolong the fight outside the Afghani arena, the mujahedeen soon rose to an unprecedented success, glorified as national heroes and world militants against the communist tyranny. Falling prey to glory, the vision of  a timely fight upheld due to religious necessity became a philosophy of worldwide activism and international jihad, centralizing thus a religious precept into an ideological pool under the sole command of the soon to be Al Qaeda.
It is essential to remember that institutionalizing and idea, as I argued in my previous articles on the case of Kony 2012, leads ultimately to its demise, and in the case of Jihad, trying to contain all perpetrated acts against oppressing powers under the “patronage” of a single entity will expose the pristine concept to the fallacies of man-made establishment.

The first recommendation thus I issue to the network is the introduction of a paradigm shift in the working of the ideological preachers of Al Qaeda. Stressing the importance on Jihad rather than Al Qaeda the institution itself is necessary, and the creation of an illusion that Al Qaeda is not an employer in need of militants but rather a facilitator for volunteers to reach their goal of embarking in the holy voyage of Jihad. A clear distinction between Al Qaeda and Jihad ought to be implemented thoroughly in the wordings of messages, TV appearances and written material, this way, the mujahedeen eager on fighting against specific troops can easily approach the network with no regards to the establishment itself (with what that brings along of ideological and political disagreements), but with the sole interest of benefitting from the means and resources of the militant group.

The Arab mujahedeen who fled to the rescue of Afghanistan did so on the basis of a moral and religious compelling imperative, and as this fight was in the name of god, they believed in the righteousness of their struggle due to its non-attachment to any physical entity. Bridging an institution in the divine link between the mujahedeen and God is tantamount to the mistake committed by the Church which aspired to becoming the representative of God on Earth. Al Qaeda is no more than a conglomeration of people, drawing its force not from its divine status but from the achievements of its members. Failing to remain so is a clear exposition of the intention of the network to rush to its demise.

To be continued...
Part 2: The shift of targets

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why a war on Iran profits everyone Part 3

An attack on Iran will send the stock markets on a joyful ride!

Many are those who fear a financial frenzy if an attack has to occur against Iran, and without doubt the physical destruction which Iran would endure is nothing faced by the economic cataclysm a war would engender, mainly due to the speculations surrounding oil supply through the Hormuz Strait. Well, a quick glimpse at the 1929 economic crisis can give us a simple lesson in the politics of economy: the best way to go about standing out from a recession is to go for critical conditions and social alert suitable for the justification of austerity measures and fruitful for the emergence of the dirty business of war profiteering.

A war on Iran will include the deployment of tremendous amounts of weapons, ammunitions and war vehicles necessary to match the might and endurance of the endless stocks of missiles the Ayatollahs hold. It goes without saying that such intensive usage of military arsenal will lead to an increase in demand and thus revival of war supplies. Who manufactures weapons and manages the networks of supply chains: The same industries who are suffering a downfall in their host country’s economic performance. One should not underestimate the assets such market holds, and multi-billions contracts are a common trend in the military-industrial complex in times of war and post-destruction.

The mighty 1.5 trillion $ weapon and arms market, pioneered by some corporations such as Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems, can indeed pull a whole state economy out of recession with a couple of successful contracts. Reconstruction projects follow the same path as privileged reconstruction tycoons always end up sealing multi-billion contracts with countries affected by war, and in a Iranian military conflict, several are those who’ll end up receiving a couple of Shehab missiles in their backyard.

Finally, what matters most is not only the dirty business of war, but the state of fear a military conflict engenders. Politicians are usually clever in exploiting these critical conditions, finding as they always do an opportunity in every issue, an opportunity both marketable and prosperous for immoral practice. A war on Iran would lay the foundations for a world state of fear which will give ample excuses for world economies to impose austerity measures and other mechanisms violating civic rights for the sake of pumping life back into state industries and financial establishment. Now imagine how easy it would be to increase gas prices in your neighboring station with the justification of a shortage in oil supplies due to the Iranian conflict. Would the public opinion protest in difficult times where the citizen ought to be obedient and patriotic? The only piece of the puzzle state officials won’t provide you with is the nature of the benefactors of the war expenditures. 

While the state could propagate for the official story of justified increase in gasoline and the implementation of austerity measures due to war costs, the identity of those who paid the bill would remain a matter of national security.

As in the case of the Iraqi war, a similar story can be unearthed. Those who bear the expenditures of the gulf war are not the valorous navy seals who run for the rescue of an Arab state, nor the US treasury and the Federal reserve, all expenses have been generously covered by the wealthy sheikhs of Arabia who didn’t mind over pumping oil for the sake of stabilizing oil prices and paying adequately the US efforts to push Saddam back. Moreover, the generous hospitality of the sheiks goes as far as providing money for the rescuers beyond what the war has cost.  Everyone is happy, the oil reserves are secured, the bills have been paid and the corporations are making the necessary contracts arrangement: a business where everyone finds his joy.

Now that the Sunni population of the gulf is endangered by a far more terrible Shia threat than the squads of Baghdad, imagine how much petro-dollars the emirs and kings of the Arab peninsula are ready to dig into their pockets in order to end up once and for all with the intimidating ayatollahs stronghold influence in the Arab and Muslim world, and with the remaining territorial disputes which involve Iran and its Emirati neighbor.


Not that a war on Iran needs much of a justification as the US media and Co already vilified the nation as the 21st century Nazi Germany , yet looking at a more objective outlook of the benefits of striking Teheran, it becomes certain that the benefit of the world, besides the counter-proliferation and international security aspects it would enjoy, is confronted with the inevitable choice of making the move, a move dictated by the financial establishment, as well as by the prerogatives of the geopolitical Realpolitik. 

Mohamed Amine Belarbi

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why a war on Iran profits everyone Part 2

The sufferings of some are valuable enjoyments for others!

A discussion on a topic such as Iran cannot flow without ultimately mentioning a key country in the balance of power equation: Turkey! Not only is the nucleus of the Ottoman Empire a nation of strong influence and weight as its NATO memberships testifies for, but the birth country of the fallen Atatürk is enjoying a myriad of financial and economic prosperity and advance as of now though the rest of the world is crumbling under austerity measures and economic recession. The recent events in the Arab world indeed boosted the leadership position of Turkey, placing it in the forefront of the struggle and aspirations of the Arab and Muslim oppressed people who ended up glorifying Erdogan and describing him as a Muslim model leader the decision makers in Arabia should follow. This little introduction to present Turkey is not a mere fill-up of words and sentences to make this article look long enough to be professional,  but is a key factor to contemplate in order to understand what Turkey has to win if Iran falls under western strikes.

Turkey is nowadays contending with Iran and Qatar for regional supremacy and international influence. Sending a blow to Iranian defiance and pride against the western world, and which is the primary weapon used by the Ayatollah to draw admiration and support from the Arab and Muslim public opinion, would inevitably shatter the untouchable reputation the nation kept on fueling since the Islamic Revolution. A defeated Persia would ultimately push away any sentiments of admiration and glorification, yet these deceived audiences in the Arab world would necessary search to fill the gap by shifting their support to a country with similar leadership vision to the Khomeini administration. Speculations and projections put Turkey and Qatar as the biggest winners, enabling both nations to increase their radius of influence and mobilization. This is a great asset not only to Turkey who will turn the affinity of the Arab and Muslim street towards the charismatic Erdogan into beneficial political and economic investments, but also to the Arab World who’ll be far more rewarded by a close partnership with Turkey rather than with Iran. A clear example of such scenario is the latest exponential improvements in Turkish-Tunisian relationships where Turkish has been adopted as foreign language taught in schools (a precedent which made Ankara clap hands and feet), and Turkish investments have poured into Tunisia, a country robbed from its financial resources by the crook Ben Ali and his entourage.

This educational and economic rapprochement is dwarfed by the potential political and diplomatic collaboration and support Turkey will draw from its new ally in North Africa.  Now, how tremendous are the benefits for Turkey if all Iranian allies and sympathetic audiences turn towards a new big bro who is willing to spend money and efforts in developing strong partners regionally. Less competition indeed is more than welcome in Ankara, especially when the stick hits hard an important shareholder in the international arena such as Iran.

Same story goes for Qatar, and the biggest winner is the Arab World who’ll enjoy the wonders of Qatari investments and development programs through its many branches such as the Qatar foundation. 

Next: An attack on Iran will send the stock markets on a joyful ride!
Stay tuned!

Why a war on Iran profits everyone

Part 1: What have the Syrians to gain from an attack on Iran

Whether in the stormy streets of Lebanon or behind the closed doors of the Mossad, words and words again have been spilled on Iran’s nuclear program, and most importantly on an imminent attack on Khomeini’s’ stronghold as a pre-emptive option to avoid the emergence of a nuclear mushroom over Tel Aviv. The controversy is fierce, and the implications are far reaching both regionally and internationally. Taking the decision to fire a couple of Tomahawks over Natanz facility or wiping out the Bushehr nuclear reactor is easy for some officials in the Knesset, but the real nature of such decision is no different than the ‘halted’ decision to fire nukes on Havana at the time of the Kennedy administration in the 60s. Only difference: this time we don’t have brilliant decision makers of Kennedy’s caliber.
In this article, I will not spend chapters elaborating on the chaos an attack on Iran would engender, but rather I wish to draw a positive picture of what everyone has to gain from a military action against the Islamic Republic.

First focal point I’ll build on is ultimately related to another tragedy ongoing right now, a tragedy which victims amount to more than 10 000 and whose audience overpassed the 6 billion viewers. Lots of troubles yet no one is making bald moves, all what is being actively used are expired excuses copied from the encyclopedia RealPolitika at the detriment of the civilians massacred in AlHoula, Edlib and Dir Ezzour by the Assad mercenaries.

What have we to gain from a potential attack on Iran in regards to the Syrian Crisis? An individual with decent understanding of world alliances and regional features of the Middle East can pinpoint to the answer: An inevitable fall of the regime in Syria, and a long awaited victory of the Syrian revolution!
Well, what if I’m not that knowledgeable in world politics and international relations; could you enlighten me Mr. Belarbi on how an attack on Iran could speed up the collapse of the Assad regime? Sure. A key ally to the regime in Syria is, as most of us know, Iran whose unconditional support to the Allaouite center of power made it possible for Assad to survive so far the revolution, along of course with the strategic back up of Moscow and Beijing.

Teheran has been indulging in tremendous efforts to secure logistical and military support to the Syrian regime, let alone a fierce supply of advisors and defense strategists summoned by the Ayatollah and either flown or put on the line with Assad security chiefs and police. Giving lessons on ‘how to end dissidence and shut down rebellion’ is nothing new for Teheran, and sharing this invaluable knowledge with a key partner in the region is no more than a duty friends owe to each other. This is far from being the product of speculations and hypothetical scenarios as the UN and several western powers have condemned the shipping of arms and weapons from Iran and Russia to Syria over the past months, weapons which this time are not conventional missiles and rifles, but gear specially used by police forces to storm demonstrations and fight dissidents and rebels.

This being said, a potential military action in Iran could divert the Khomeini administration from Syria, and instead give it enough troubles to focus solely on the internal crisis and divert its entire logistical and military arsenal to fight back the Zionist coordinated assault on the nation. The Assad regime deprived from the flow of weapons coming from Persia, it will be impossible to sustain the level of operations against the rebels, giving thus the revolution the opportunity to revitalize across the country.

But Mr. Belarbi, if the Syrian regime doesn’t get weapons from Iran, they could just as well turn to someone else; they got a couple of friends ready to send in supplies and ammunitions, don’t they?

Well indeed, Syria has several key allies, but the business Syria does with Iran is different in nature from the one it could conduct with Russia and China. Syria was not in need of cash in order to receive weapons from Iran as the incentive of Khomeini and Ahmadi Nejad was both sectarian and political, yet when it is business with Moscow, the primary currency is money, not good will, and that’s something Bachar Al Assad doesn’t have at the moment given the fact that the country doesn’t have fountains of oil to lean on nor operating industries to finance its purchases with. As Farid Zakaria repeated once and again, Assad is running out of cash!

The other good news for Syrian rebels in case an attack is undertook against Iran is that the F-16 and drones used in an attack on Teheran could just as well gather intelligence data on Assad troops and then send the intel to the rebels who could operate more efficiently against the regimes’ squads. The air force deployed against Iran nuclear facilities and the ground troops sent on the ground if the conflict escalates will be of great resource to the revolutionaries, both supplying them with weapons and with intelligence reports. The story then would advance as it did in Libya: as the localisation of Assad troops becomes easy, and as the Qatari weapons are supplied to the rebels by the ground troops operating in Iran, the days of the Syrian regime would be numbered, and the victory certain for the Syrian opposition. Voilà!

Next: the beneficial implications on world crippled economy and on regional emerging power... Stay tuned!

To be continued...