Toby Harnden, in The Australian, 26 April 2013, courtesy of The Sunday Times
IT is nearly a quarter of a century since the Berlin Wall fell, bringing the Cold War to a close. The triumph of liberal democracy briefly seemed to herald “the end of history” before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, triggered what the Pentagon called the global war on terrorism and a clash between the West and militant Islam. Just over a decade later, this conflict is drawing to a close. Much of al-Qa’ida has been dismantled; US President Barack Obama has declared “the tide of war is receding” and it is time to conduct nation-building at home. America’s imperial ambitions are over, for the foreseeable future at least. The world is no longer uni-polar. Continue reading
Gwynne Dyer, courtesy of the Island, 7 May 2012
I wanted you to be the first to know. It has just been revealed by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Military Academy in the United States that I am on a very short list of journalists (eight in Western countries, and seven others in India, Pakistan and Arab countries) to whom Osama bin Laden wanted to send “special media material” on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. To what do I owe this honour? Continue reading
Gwynne Dwyer, in the Island, 7 September 2011 — also in http://arabnews.com/opinion/columns/article497944.ece
Writing recently in The Washington Post, Brian Michael Jenkins, a senior adviser at the Rand Corporation think tank, claimed that the 9/11 attacks ten years ago were not a strategic success for al-Qaeda. He’s right. Osama bin Laden’s strategy did fail, in the end – but not for the reason that Jenkins thinks.
Jenkins argues that Osama bin Laden believed the US was a paper tiger because it had no stomach for casualties. Kill enough Americans, and the United States would pull out of theMiddle East, leaving the field free for al-Qaeda’s project of overthrowing all the secular Arab regimes and imposing Islamist rule on everybody.
In bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa declaring war onAmerica, Jenkins pointed out, he claimed that theUSwould flee the region if attacked seriously. Indeed, bin Laden gave the rapid US military withdrawal from Lebanon after the bombing of the Marine barracks inBeirutin 1983, and the equally rapid retreat of American forces from Somalia in 1993 after 18 US soldiers were killed inMogadishu, as examples of American cowardice. Continue reading
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, american imperialism, arab regimes, historical interpretation, military strategy, propaganda, Taliban, terrorism, truth as casualty of war, world events & processes