View Full Version : The Next Generation- Burn after Reading

09-12-2009, 04:32 PM
Jarret Brachman argues that as we're stuck in the mud tying to find grandpa (Osama Bin Laden), the next generation is evolving the ideology of AQ and spreading the "good" news. Something to seriously consider. In religious expanisions, Christianity was spread by Paul not Jesus. Mormonism was spread by Brigham Young not Joseph Smith.

The Next Osama (http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/09/10/the_next_osama)
Jarret Brachman
Foreign Policy


Much of al Qaeda's evolution over the last eight years is embodied in one man, Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi, director of al Qaeda's jurisprudence committee and a likely successor to Osama bin Laden. Young, media-savvy, ideologically extreme, and masterful at justifying savage acts of terrorism with esoteric religious arguments, Abu Yahya offers the global al Qaeda movement everything that its old guard cannot.

He was arrested by Pakistani intelligence on May 28, 2002, and was eventually transferred to Bagram prison in Afghanistan, where he passed time by intimately studying his American captors as they aimlessly surfed the Internet or complained to him about their dysfunctional childhoods. In a June 2006 interview with al Qaeda's media outlet, As-Sahab, he said that he found American soldiers to be "cowardly," "lost and alienated," and a "mix of doctrinal, behavioral, moral, and ideological deviation." He also used the time to learn the security protocols of the prison.

Almost immediately, Abu Yahya hit the media circuit, using his dramatic escape as a means to gain fame and infamy. His releases have included countless feature-length videos, multiple extended monographs, numerous articles, and even a published photo shoot. In many ways, al Qaeda "rolled out" Abu Yahya as a marketing firm might do a new product. And he has been welcomed with open arms by the global terrorist movement.



09-12-2009, 07:37 PM
I ran into this cat (al-Libi) because of his article, Guidance on the Ruling of the Muslim Spy (http://www.fas.org/irp/dni/osc/libi.pdf) (30 Jun 2009).

A 2007 analysis by Mike Scheuer, Abu Yahya al-Libi: Al-Qaeda's Theological Enforcer, is here (http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=4343&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=240&no_cache=1) and here (http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=4375&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=240&no_cache=1).

Al-Libi's 2006 prison article, The Truth About What Happens Behind the Bars, is here (http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/FeaturedDocs/nefaalsomoodlibytruthbehindbars.pdf). A very recent article, Algeria; Between the Sacrifice of Fathers and Loyalty of Children, is here (http://www.nefafoundation.org/miscellaneous/nefaalliby0709.pdf).

To date, AQ has had the handicap of integral rigidity - that is, they demand that people become saints (as they define saints); and people do not like to be required to assume sainthood. In coarser terms, they tend to be pains in the ass who wear out their welcome by asserting dogmatic beliefs and practices which can be very adverse to the norms in the area (e.g., Iraq & Astan).

Perhaps (?), al-Libi is a new voice indicating a morphing of AQ doctrines - or, perhaps (?), he is old wine in a new bottle. I tend to doubt that AQ doctrines will change very much because its systematic theology is so rigid. If it does change its theology to becoime more mainstream (but still retains its militancy), the comparison to Paul would be very much on point - and AQ, with its mamy supported groups, could become a greater unconventional warfare factor than it is.

As the man says, the "new guys" bear watching.

Question (which you can pass on if you wish): how widespread is study of Naji (e.g., 2006 Management of Savagery) and Libi among Army officers and SNCOs ? Or, is it reserved to the "few", chosen or otherwise.

I couldn't resist, Michael. :)



09-12-2009, 09:06 PM
is still a long way off. I've still got too much invested in the current fight to write anything substantial regarding policy, strategy, and the way ahead:o. I'll be happy when I can finally finish an academic paper on how my company conducted the Surge.

Question (which you can pass on if you wish): how widespread is study of Naji (e.g., 2006 Management of Savagery) and Libi among Army officers and SNCOs ? Or, is it reserved to the "few", chosen or otherwise.

Sadly, most military personnel could not describe the difference between Naji and the Ayatollah Khomeni much less read Sayyid Qutb's works.

The CTC at USMA has done a phenominal job in translating much of AQ's work, but there is little to no analysis. I'm happy that Brachman is starting to bridge that gap.