April 1 2004
In the Bangkok Post of March 17 2004 Salah Nasrawi wrote: "Islamic militants rally under Al Qaeda banner".
The Egyptian Abdel Rahim Ali, author of "Alliance of terror, Al Qaeda
organisation" states that "Al Qaeda is now separate and loose groups
bound only by an ideology but working independently. If you believe in their
ideas, you are one of them. You are Al Qaeda".
This description reminisces the former Dutch Provo or Squatters Movements. Also
the early socialist, anarchist or communist Movements, the anti-colonial and
anti-nuclear Movements could be defined as a loose combination of independent
groups bound together by a vague idea of a better society.
All these Movements built on the dormant hatred for self-appointed leaders who
have a better life than the average massperson. Thinkers as Marx and Bakoenin or
the unknown philosophers in contemporary Movements have hardly any direct
influence on what happens in the field. They only inspire Movements. The men in
the field "read between the lines and conclude where Bin Laden might like
them to act ... They know the general guidelines and they know what is required
to do ...... It is recruiting by remote control."
Saad al-Faqih, the Saudi head of the Islamic Reform Movement, even said that
"there is no organisation as such you can call Al Qaeda now, but rather
followers who believe in the ideas of Bin Laden and can organise themselves in
small cells and carry out attacks."
Leaders of Al Qaeda can no longer work in the open to lead followers but the
Movement thrives on a growing anti-American sentiment. It is becoming less
dependent on the old combatants that were trained (with the help of the American
CIA) in the Afghan War against the Russians.
To suppress Movements governments often use a surplus of violence. This hardly
influences the wish for change. Most movements dissolve after political
changes. The ETA and the IRA started to wither away when some of their demands
The American military approach must fail. It tries to neutralise humans while
leaving ideas, the basic reason for resistance, untouched. The imprisonment
(Guantanamo) and the killing (Iraq and Afghan War) of innocent
citizens strengthens the wish to resist.
Even when Al Qaeda leaves people with real power virtually untouched its actions
do not weaken the Movement because Moslem masses from which the followers are
recruited are hardly attacked. Actions affirm the idea that
all First World people agree with their own elite. The First World elite
reinforces this idea ("We Americans want Saddam out!") because a
foreign enemy as Al Qaeda gives more possibilities to increase control over the
In the past leftist politicians supported some of the above mentioned Movements
to improve their own position. When they won elections the sympathetic words
from before were replaced by deeds that resembled the
ideas of the old leaders. The interest of the elite remains in first place but
the chance that the own masses will support foreign Mass Movement decreases. The
present American leaders are not interested in the well-being
of Moslem masses. Therefore the Al Qaeda mass Movement will still grow.
The next American government will pursue another policy. It will promote the
disappearance of some bad Arab regimes so the growing power of Al Qaeda will be
undermined. But the situation in the world will not change. The all-mighty and
rich Western elite will remain on top. The poor Arab (and other Third World
masses) will remain under.
The Al Qaeda Movement is not on the right track. They will for some time be
loved by the Arab masses but because the situation of these masses does not
improve and because the power of the Western elite does not weaken , the
movement will wither away. Unless the American elite perseveres its present
For real improvement a world-wide mass movement must win support of First World
masses by only attacking the power position of the highest elite. Both
conditions are not met by the Al Qaeda Movement.
Yours truly, Joost van Steenis