Written for and pinched from this CiF thread.
It's true that while Al Quaeda may not be able to be defeated militarily, neither can they - at present - win militarily. Their hope is that we fall from within - a process in which the Guardian is their ally - that we simply no longer have the will, the stomach for the fight. "We love death while you love life", as someone said - and the calculation is that encouraging Westerners who think they can opt out - who think that getting rid of Bush'n'Blair and bringing home the troops is a recipe for a quiet life - is one half of the PR strategy.
The other half is of course the appeal to the faithful. The first Bin Laden communiques, aimed at a Muslim audience, made no sense at all to a secular Westerner. The tragedy of Al-Andalus ? Who does he play for ? Eighty years of humility ? What happened in 1921, someone ?
But somewhere along the way, after the fall of the Taleban, the destruction of the secure Afghan bases and the fall of Saddam, AQ realised that it was as easy, if not easier, to fight US troops in Washington than in Kandahar - and more to the point, that he had (objective) allies there whose influence could perhaps be leveraged. The 2004 Bin Laden 'election address' hit all the right buttons for the Daily Kos/Guardian audience. Bush stole the election. Sweden doesn't get bombed. America starts wars to keep its corporations busy. It's all about oil. Halliburton. Robert Fisk is neutral (I didn't say Bin Laden wasn't sometimes correct).
The latest communique is even more polished in terms of its targeting. So much so that lefty Michael Dickinson at 'alternative' site Counterpunch writes
"it's unlikely that many, if any, American TV channels or popular newspapers will present their listeners and readers with the most urgent part of Bin Laden's message. God forbid! It might make sense to them. It might make even them think.
After examining the transcribed text of Osama's address, I found much of what he said made sense to me."
Somewhere in London, in Germany, maybe in an ISI office in Pakistan, people are reading that and shouting 'Yay ! He broke the code !'
So we have military action and the appeal to the faithful via jihadi video etc - designed to galvanise the young men.
We have the appeal to the 'it's all our/America's fault' crowd - designed to weaken resolve with all that implies for military action or lack of.
And there's a third leg, not so dangerous to the States but of great importance to us. The Muslim population of England is rising fast, while the natives who aren't emigrating are having children at below replacement rates. The figures as of 2001 are as follows :
For example, the Muslim population of Bradford, a town which wasn't exactly short of Muslims in 1981, will have tripled between then and 2011. The tripling is a result of a high birth rate, chain migration and a severe shortage of radical feminists.
"Following initial migration and settlement in the 1960's, Bradford has, over the last three decades, established a significant Pakistani population: in 1981 this community numbered 34,116 persons, in 1991, 38,059 persons and it is estimated that in the year 2011 this population will number 104,000 persons or approximately a quarter of the city's population."
As the minarets and domes rise above our cities, so will the political self-confidence of British Muslims. I can't see Blair's new Muslim faith schools doing anything other than accelerating this trend.
At the same time Islam is attracting increasing numbers of native converts. Traditionally the convert is more zealous than one born to the faith and are over-represented in the exploding or wannabe exploding ranks. I imagine the appearance at the Old Bailey of one Nicholas Roddis of Rotherham, a white Muslim convert, on a charge of preparing acts of terrorism, may have passed by most Guardian readers - especially as his religion was something the BBC report failed to mention. The recent arrests in Germany were of native German converts.
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