International Forecaster Weekly

War on Terror Redux or The More Things Change

Critics have long said that the war on terror, being a war on an abstract noun, has no end by definition. After all, what conceivable set of conditions could meet the criteria for a declaration of victory over “terror.” The end of groups trying to use fear or bloodshed to achieve their political ends? The end of fear itself? Whatever the case, this is something that is scarcely conceivable, let alone realistically achievable in our lifetime.

James Corbett | October 12, 2013

There were likely those who thought that the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was going to be the end of the war on terror. Once Team America had rounded up those dastardly Al Qaeda evildoers and sent them all off to Guantanamo, the West's collective post-9/11 nightmare could finally come to an end. Others must have thought that the 2003 invasion of Iraq would be the end. Surely those terrorists would have waved the white flag after Saddam was de-throned and his weapons of mass destruction seized. Others still might have seen the end point as Iraq's 2005 elections, or the election of Obama in 2008, or the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2010, or the announcement of the death of Osama in May 2011, or Obama's speech earlier this year declaring that the war on terror “must end.” Of course, in each and every case, such people would have been wrong.

            Critics have long said that the war on terror, being a war on an abstract noun, has no end by definition. After all, what conceivable set of conditions could meet the criteria for a declaration of victory over “terror.” The end of groups trying to use fear or bloodshed to achieve their political ends? The end of fear itself? Whatever the case, this is something that is scarcely conceivable, let alone realistically achievable in our lifetime. Sadly, recent events have proven once again that the war on terror is just too convenient a boogeyman for any administration to ever fully abandon it.

            In retrospect, the latest round of terror hysteria seems to have been touched off by fears about the messages and activities of Osama bin Laden's former right hand man and now nominal head of Al CIA-da, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

            For those unaware of Zawahiri's checkered past, he was born into an upper-middle class family in Cairo in 1951, emerged as a star student in school (where he eschewed violent sports as “inhumane”), attended Cairo University and became a surgeon, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, created an underground Islamist cell aimed at overthrowing the Egyptian government and forming an Islamist state, gained national notoriety as a spokesperson for the hundreds of Muslims arrested in the wake of Anwar Sadat's assassination, served a three-year sentence for arms dealing, traveled from place to place around the globe with impunity thanks to a series of passports from European countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands, spent five months in prison in Russia without being properly questioned or identified, became involved with Osama bin Laden and served as the brains of Al CIA-da before the announcement of Osama's death in 2011, when he took over formal control of the organization. In other words, he has led the life of a typical Western intelligence operative.

            And so it is that this past August the US terror-industrial complex kicked into overdrive over alleged communications between Zawahiri and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, leader of Al CIA-da in the Arabian Peninsula. We were asked to believe that this “rare” and “ominous” act of coordination between the Al-CIAda mothership and its Yemeni offshoot represented some clear and imminent danger to...something or other. As a result, 19 US Embassies across Africa and the Middle East were closed for days, generating endless opportunities for the lamestream media to wring their hands about the new and rejuvenated terror threat.

            Less publicized in those same MSM outlets was Zawahiri's September 11 anniversary speech in which he called for a more unified jihad effort amongst Muslims. Or, at least, the MSM didn't talk so much about his specific call for jihadis in Syria to stop cooperating with the more secular rebel groups operating there. That, of course, would be embarrassing for the warmongers and chickenhawks in Washington who are desperate to maintain the long-since shattered illusion that the Syrian “civil war” is actually a civil war, or that it is being fought by peace-loving democratic reformers. As anyone who follows the alternative media has known for some time, the majority of the on-the-ground fighting in Syria has been done by the foreign jihadis, including the Al CIA-da affiliated al-Nusra Front. And almost as if a light had been switched, suddenly reports began surfacing of more direct in-fighting taking place between the more secularist anti-Assad terrorists and the openly jihadi anti-Assad terrorists.

            Not only that, since that message we have also seen an increase in the scale and scope of terrorist violence in Iraq, the disintegration of Libya amidst sectarian strife and terrorist mayhem, and the emergence of a scary new name in the pantheon of shadowy terror groups: al-Shabaab. This is the group that we are being asked to believe coordinated the September 21st siege of the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya that ended in the death of 72 people. For those who are struggling to keep up with the bewildering array of terror groups swirling around in the War on Terror universe, al-Shabaab is the Somalia-based cell of Al CIA-da, and so far it is unclear whether this will be a mere bit player in the GWoT melodrama like the Haqqani Network, a convenient excuse to wage drone warfare and exercise military cooperation on greater portions of the African continent like AQAP, a convenient tool for Western intelligence to use as a sword against an unfriendly regime like the LIFG, an organization that the West will do its best to ignore as long as its working for their interests like the al-Nusra Front, or the new face of terror like Al CIA-da itself.

            One thing that is certain is that the usual suspects in the presstitute corporate media are wasting no time in milking this new al-Shabaab threat for everything its worth. The latest headline from Sky News: “'White Widow' Lewthwaite 'Key' in Al Shabaab.” For those who don't know, the “white widow” Samantha Lewthwaite was the wife of supposed 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsay, the daughter of a British army counter-terrorism operative who served in Ireland in the 1970s. She supposedly became a convert to radical Islam who is now hell-bent on killing as many people as possible in the name of jihad. And to top it all off, we are expected to believe that this white woman is traipsing across North Africa using false passports and money that she received “somehow or other” with three of her children in tow, coordinating spectacular terror events and somehow managing to avoid all detection by the authorities. As researcher Tom Secker concludes, she is almost certainly working for British intelligence, assuming at this point that “Sam Lewthwaite” refers to an actual person and not simply an identity or alias that British intelligence operatives can use while working in the region.

            Better yet, the Al Shabaab shenanigans in Kenya allowed for not one but two large-scale headline-grabbing retaliatory strikes by the Obama regime that manage to evoke the bad old days of the Bush Jr. regime all over again. The first was a botched raid on al-Shabaab chief Abdukadir Mohamed Abdukadi in Somalia by Seal Team Six, the suddenly uber-present commando team that has become the sine qua non of Obama's War on Terror mythology. The second was the capture of dastardly Al CIA-da operative Anas al-Liby on the streets of Tripoli by US (or perhaps Libyan) forces.

            The al-Liby raid ended up in accusations that the Libyan government had coordinated with the US government to allow the seizure to take place, and in retaliation gunmen raided the hotel of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, kidnapping him and holding him for hours. This simultaneously allowed us to learn that:

            1) Libya is only a functioning country in name only, and is now pretty much officially a loose collection of independent tribal areas governed in large part by bands of roving gunmen.

            2) Obama has just switched out the old CIA black sites of the Bush era with ships at sea, where he can hold people indefinitely and engage in whatever types of interrogations he wants.

            and 3) al-Liby is another one of these characters with the amazing ability to be on the FBI Most Wanted list for his part in the 1998 African embassy bombings even as he lives openly in London, be reported captured in at least 3 different times and places by 3 different sources in 2002, be reaffirmed to be in custody in 2006, and be suddenly once again on the streets of Tripoli where he is once again being arrested. That is, another intelligence agent.

            If all of this is beginning to sound like a broken record, that's because that is exactly what the war on terror is. The same few bars of the same tired old song playing over and over indefinitely as the needle continues to skip along in the same groove: Shadowy terror boogeyman issues scary new statement. Scary new terror group arrives on the scene to frighten us all with another terrifying attack. Valiant US forces arrive on the scene to respond to the threat. And somehow or other Cobra, I mean, the “dastardly terrorist mastermind” manages to get away. After all, if it's worked over and over again since 9/11, why bother changing the tune?

            And so here we are, stuck in yet another revolution of this same groove of the War on Terror. The same corporate stooges in the military-industrial complex (now the terror-industrial complex) cash in on the scare, the same Saudi royals and oil barons continue to profit off the uncertainty created by the terrorist actions of their minions, the same bankster overlords continue to tighten their grip on the peoples of the world by plunging their governments into greater and greater debt in the name of waging this war, and here we are, Joe Q. Public, being told to be afraid of the turbaned boogeyman du jour while ignoring the real financial and governmental terrorists who are busy destroying the roots of our economic system and tearing apart the fabric of our political and social reality.

            And, just like any other broken record, this War on Terror song isn't going to get any better until we all agree to stop listening to it.