In recent weeks, various analysts opined that al-Qaeda, as it did in 2004, would somehow try to influence the upcoming elections. It did not. At any rate, how did al-Qaeda try to influence the elections in 2004? By issuing a video communiquÃ© of Osama bin Laden “explaining” why he masterminded 9/11, that is, due to oppressive US foreign policy towards Muslims. He also spent a considerable amount of time lambasting current president Bush, his father, and his entire party, portraying them as greedy war-mongerers.
Bush Jr was depicted as being “blinded by the black-gold [oil],” which he killed “millions of children in Iraq” for. Bin Laden even managed to mock Bush for the now infamous anecdote — thanks to Michael Moore — concerning the president reading a goat-story to children when the strikes of 9/11 commenced. As for Bush Sr, Bush he was depicted as a wanna-be “monarch,” who established his sons on “thrones,” and was responsible for “the mass slaughter of [Muslim] children.”
Not a word about Kerry, though, nor any complaints about the eight year term separating the Bushes of former president Clinton.
Even though bin Laden tried earnestly to portray Bush Jr prior to the 2004 elections as Satan””including by making some popular assertions that many on the Left also stressed””Bush won. Kerry went on to bemoan al-Qaeda’s role, saying that the communiquÃ© was intentionally meant to make Americans vote for Bush””all smear attacks on the latter aside. “Analysts” then and now concur; in recent weeks, the media has tried to read al-Qaedist strategies as favoring McCain.
The logic of this view is that al-Qaeda wanted Bush then — McCain now — to win in order to continue pursuing their “aggressive” policies in Iraq and other Muslim regions, thereby further fueling Muslim anger at the U.S. Reverse psychology, in other words.
Here, however, is an alternate reading of these events. 9/11 occurred during Bush’s watch, though it was clearly planned and organized during Clinton’s.This simple fact alone may reveal much about al-Qaeda’s strategies vis-Ã -vis American elections. For starters, it is imperative to keep in mind that preparation and planning for a terrorist attack is somewhat more fundamental than the attack itself, as the latter is predicated on the former. Thus, that one president’s term was relatively peaceful and another’s is typified by war does not say much about the policies of either president.
Another important question is, Did al-Qaeda intentionally plan the attacks during Bush’s term as opposed to Clinton’s? Many have suggested that the date 9/11 was chosen for its symbolic worth (from battle dates to Koranic verses). If that is the case, then the first instance of that date coinciding with Bush’s presidency was 2001. That Bush was already in office for nearly a year may also have been an incentive””just enough time to somehow make him culpable of the attack.
Here, then, is a theory: al-Qaeda, ever knowledgeable of Western ways, has reasoned that, based on history””from Jimmy Carter to Bill Clinton””it is always best for them to have a Democrat in office, someone who, while not taking radical Islam seriously, that is, not appreciating its “metaphysical” components, will try to appease by making “physical” concessions. And above all, someone who will not wage an offensive war against the terrorists, thereby giving al-Qaeda types worldwide that one thing they desperately need: Time. Time to regroup; time for the Western economy to falter (“We will bleed you like we did Russia”); time for Muslim nations to grow stronger, possibly acquiring nukes. Time to resurrect the caliphate.
Conversely, when a Republican takes office, the strategy may be to attack the US, as with 9/11, the logic being to convince American voters that their choice, the Republican, is the source of all woes, and make them earnest for as “open-minded” a candidate as possible.They also get to test their might and aggrandize themselves vis-a-vis the Muslim world.
It should also be borne in mind that al-Qaeda is not indestructible, that it too needs time””especially after nearly seven years of an American military assault””to regroup, to take a breather. Bin Laden’s truce offers to both Europe and the US demonstrate as much. It is therefore not logical for them to want McCain, who certainly appears more assertive in regards to radical Islam (he at least uses such terminology), in office.
All this leads to the following question: could al-Qaeda be following a cycle? When a “liberal” Democrat is in the Oval Office, they may have reasoned that it’s best to lay relatively low, simply to bide time, build strength and grow in recruits, while still, of course, maintaining the “grievance” propaganda campaign to receive more concessions.
By not staging any major attacks during the liberal president’s term, they also confirm the notion, to Americans, that Democratic presidents””not blinded by the “black gold” as their greedy Republican counterparts””are better at maintaining peace with the rest of the, especially Islamic, world.
Then, when a Republican president takes over, they launch their attacks, such as 9/11, to convince the world that the “conservative” president and his policies are the source of the conflict, as well as receive sympathy and support, from both the West and the Islamic world.
Indeed, there is reason to suspect that this sort of cycle, including the dramatic strikes of 9/11, have all culminated in the meteoric rise of Obama: not only is he a liberal Democrat (i.e., “tolerant,” “peace-minded,” even “enlightened”); he is black (i.e., understands what it means to be a minority, to be the “other”); and his name is Barack Hussein Obama (i.e., as opposed to yet another George or John — very Christian names — he has a decidedly Arab/Muslim name that, so the logic goes, will surely endear Muslims to America). Who better to make peace with the rest of the, especially Muslim, world? Who better to make “them” like “us”?
Thus if Obama wins today, al-Qaeda may increase its rhetoric but possibly decrease its activities against the US, though their original jihad against the apostates of the Middle East, including the Zionist entity, will of course proceed in full force. Americans will be lulled into thinking peace is within grasp, and will only want more of Obama or other liberal Democrats who have less-than-tough foreign policies, and who are convinced that “dialogue” and concessions are the ultimate tools for peace.
Conversely, if McCain wins, al-Qaeda will need to reassess its position: it may not be capable of a major attack to start with; and their propaganda campaign””no doubt something to the effect that McCain is simply following in Bush’s footsteps””will become moot, as McCain will have already been elected and president for at least four years.
All of this is, of course, conjectural. However, here is an anecdote that may further support these views:
Three days before Spain’s 2004 general elections, explosions in Madrid commuter trains planted by al-Qaeda operatives killed 191 people. Three days later, Jose Zapatero and his ultra-liberal Socialist party won the election. A number of analysts have suggested that the Socialist party received a big boost in votes precisely because of the Madrid bombings, as many people were convinced the attack came in response to their involvement in Iraq.
The very day after winning the elections, Zapatero promised to withdraw Spain’s 1,300 troops from Iraq, saying, “The war [in Iraq] has been a disaster [and] the occupation continues to be a disaster. It has only generated violence.” One month later the last of Spain’s troops left Iraq. Bin Laden must have been delighted, evinced by the fact that he later pointed to this Spanish response as a step in the right direction. More telling is the fact that the first question Jamal Zougam (one of the arrested suspects of the Madrid bombings) asked upon arriving at the Courthouse on 15 March 2004 was, “Who won the election?”
Were the bombings directly geared at making the Spanish vote for the anti-war Socialist party? Even so, even after pulling out of Iraq, Spain is still on al-Qaeda’s radar, as only recently (October 20) AFP declared that “Spain remains Al-Qaeda target.”
At any rate, it is hardly likely that al-Qaeda’s motive is to see McCain, as opposed to Obama, elected. If anything, the latter””often depicted as “savior–”is perfect, from al-Qaeda’s perspective, for lulling Americans into thinking peace is on the horizon, while giving Islamists worldwide that one thing they mostly need: Time.