Nov 13, 2009

Good sense from down under

"A withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan would undoubtedly hand al-Qa'ida and the Taliban a propaganda victory. However, a victory would deny al-Qa'ida its most potent source of power, influence, funding and recruits -- the armed jihad. Without a jihad to fight, al-Qa'ida would be left with only its franchises -- all of which are involved in deeply unpopular confrontations with government regimes in the Islamic world. Their indiscriminate acts of violence as well as hostility towards other Muslims not sharing their views have badly damaged al-Qa'ida's brand. This has driven al-Qa'ida to refocus on Afghanistan because jihad against an occupying force attracts a level of support and legitimacy that attacking Muslim governments does not. It provides additional justification for al-Qa'ida and those supporting it to continue striking US targets. A reorientation of US strategy away from counterinsurgency or a full or partial withdrawal of US troops is therefore not in al-Qa'ida's strategic interest. To keep the US engaged in Afghanistan, it will use a strategy it knows will work: terrorist attacks against the homeland. The recently uncovered al-Qa'ida plot in New York City (where the city's subway system was reportedly the target) suggests it may have already adopted this strategy. More plots and attacks are likely to follow" — Leah Farrall, The Australian

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