11 Years After 9/11, the Holy World War Is Over and All Jihad is Local

Al-Qaeda is in retreat and Osama bin Laden's dream lies in ruins. So what next for Washington and its struggle against extremist jihadists?

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Reuters

Pakistani Taliban fighters hold weapons as they receive training in Ladda, South Waziristan tribal region, December 2011.

On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, it is some consolation that the man most responsible for that terrible morning will not be smiling smugly to himself as satellite TV brings to the leafy boulevards of Abbottabad the somber images of New Yorkers commemorating those who perished in the Twin Towers. It provides some psychic satisfaction to all those traumatized by that ghastly day, and the wars that it wrought, that our collective remembrance will not be embittered by the nagging question, “And why is Osama bin Laden still alive and free today?”

But perhaps more important that bin Laden’s own demise is the death of his vision of a ‘global jihad,’ a holy world war pitting Muslims everywhere against infidels everywhere, especially in the West. His fervid dreams of a conflict with the U.S., the “far enemy,” were dashed long before SEAL Team Six burst into his Pakistani hideout. Psychotic mass-murderers tend not to be introspective, but it can’t have escaped bin Laden’s attention as he stared at his TV screen that angry young Muslims were not lining up to kill Americans, wealthy patrons were not pumping billions into the cause, and Westerners were not cowering in their cellars.

(PHOTOS: Osama bin Laden’s Legacy: 13 Years of Terrorist Attacks)

Don’t get me wrong: there’s still a holy war abroad. From Mali and the Maghreb through Iraq and Syria to Pakistan and Afghanistan, jihadist groups are at large and enjoying various degrees of success. Many of these groups claim affiliation to al-Qaeda, chant bin Laden’s name and parrot some of his anti-West rhetoric. But look more closely, and you’ll see that these groups — whether Boko Haram in Nigeria or Al Shabaab in Somalia, the Pakistani Taliban or Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia — are fired not by the desire to strike at the U.S. but by much more local causes. Their activities are confined to a single country; occasionally, they stray across a border. Whatever their rhetoric, the target of their rage is, for the most part, other Muslims.
The most significant exception to this trend is al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, which is based in Yemen. Alone among the al-Qaeda franchises, AQAP clings to bin Laden’s original ideas for a holy world war. AQAP has tried repeatedly to strike at the West: it has tried to send suicide bombers (wearing explosive underwear) to the U.S. and sought to send explosives to the West through courier services like DHL. It has reached out to discontented Muslims living in the West and encourages them to mount terror attacks.

(PHOTOS: Eleven Years Later, New York Reflects on the Tragedy of 9/11)

But even AQAP has recently got bogged down in domestic issues. Last year, taking advantage of the chaos of the Arab Spring revolt in Sana’a, the group took over a swath of territory in southern Yemen and ran it for over a year, pretty much along the lines of the Taliban in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. This was a huge tactical blunder. For one thing, it made enemies out of many ordinary Yemenis who had previously been agnostic about AQAP’s anti-Western activities. It’s one thing to use Yemen as a safehouse, but when you try to take over the house, its residents tend to get very prickly. And sure enough, there was a backlash against AQAP, which culminated with a military offensive this summer that brought the territory back under government control.

(PHOTOS: The End of al-Qaeda? On Patrol in Yemen by Yuri Kozyrev)

To paraphrase an old political axiom, all jihad is local. But that doesn’t mean the West can rest easy. There can be no return to the 1990s, when the world ignored Afghanistan’s civil as a local matter, allowing the Taliban to take over and turn that country into a springboard for bin Laden. That could happen to Mali, or to Somalia, or once again to Afghanistan.

But dealing with local jihad requires a very different set of strategies, political and military, than the “global war on terror” conceived by the Bush administration and refined by the Obama White House. The good news is that small holy wars require much less blood and treasure. The bad news is that they call for skills the U.S. is often found lacking: the art of making political consensus (in Washington as well as in the countries where the jihad is being fought), the ability to work with Muslim populations rather than their tyrannical rulers, and superb intelligence work.

Just as bin Laden’s body was buried at sea, it’s time for the U.S. to cast off its old strategies and find new ways to fight a global war on local terror.

PHOTOS: A Jihadist’s Journey

48 comments
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bashy
bashy

Americans all over the country are paying

homage to the memory of over 3000 innocent persons, who lost their lives in

terrible and senseless terror attacks on USA soil. Only callous people would

not be moved by this visible show of solidarity, noble wishes and resolve. As a

peace loving soul, I wish that such incidents would never take place. I also

share the USA grief and condemn such terrorism.

My mind wondered to another part of the

globe, we call the Islamic world. Since 11th September 2001, they

have also suffered tremendously. First the USA invasion and occupation of

Afghanistan, then illegal war on Iraq. These two American initiated wars have

cost nearly a trillion dollars and over 1 million causalities. Add to this the

USA supported killing spree in Libya and now in Syria. Between these visible

slaughters, USA have conducted covert operations by Drone bombings, secret

military runs in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan, causing thousands of deaths of

innocent men, women and children. What is common here? The enemy is; Islam and

Muslims.

Is there anyone today who is mourning those

thousands upon thousands victims of USA State terrorism? Is Muslim blood

cheaper than the rest of the humanity? Where are the protests, flag hoisting

ceremonies and statements of solidarity with Muslim victims? Obama recently

said; USA is not at war with Islam.

If we have to take this statement at face

value, then Obama should also stop butchering innocent Muslims; otherwise this rhetoric

is plain BS.

Jezebel08
Jezebel08

Whatever your viewpoint is we are clearly missing the bigger picture, that is thousands of people have died as a result of this which includes our troops. It is easy to be opinionated via computer be brave and go out there and do what you beleive!

sofi81
sofi81

I am 100% in agreement with xexon. If you do the research you will see that false flag terror attacks are not only probable, they are very common historically and it´s not enough to say ´our government would never be that evil´, because emotional responses are not valid here- they are the reason governments get away with it.  The vast majority of us Brits and Europeans don´t believe a word of the official story (full of holes and inconsistencies) because it just doesn´t stand up scientifically or logically, and when you look at how desperate the Bush administration was to invade oil rich countries, you realise the plot is thick. They needed huge public anger and shock in order to get consent for their (yes, evil) plan. The problem is- no offence- most Americans are dumbed down to such an extent that they don´t ever read books or watch documentaries to educate themselves. Please guys...when you DO, you will invariably realise you have been lied to. Just like us in 2007 with the London bombings.

Sad world. Let´s create a new one :)

ps See Naomi Klein´s ´The Shock Doctrine´or a new, factual documentary called The Power Principle, which is streamed free on documentarystorm.com. It´s not about 9/11 but will ease any newbies to this stuff into the horrendous atrocities the US has been part of in the past, from Chile to Grenada, Guatemala to Vietnam, and shows how and why the American Empire started and where it´s still heading. Shocking yes, but as I say all factual with original footage and quotes etc, very educational in comparison to the propaganda box.

ATrigueiro
ATrigueiro

Not a single plane was stopped by the government or the military or the police despite having no fly lists already extant, not to mention the warrantless wiretapping that began in earnest by Jan 2001.  One plane was stopped and it was stopped by the people. Why did we decide to give more power to the failed bureaucracy?  Perhaps some answers can be found here-> How Individual Liberty Defeated the Terrorists  http://www.theprogressiveresto...

jatindershoon
jatindershoon

You do not believe Muslim Islamists will stop reading Koran and stop going to Mosques controlled and infiltrated by mad hate mongering Mullahs.As long as the world has infidels the Jahadhi war will go on, local or international.Never again peace loving people of the world should put blinder. If history teaches us one thing then remember The Hitlers, Stalins or Osama's of the world never die they go UNDERGROUND.

sofi81
sofi81

What about Bush and Blair? They seem to be enjoying public life still after murdering millions of innocent people for some oil and building contracts. I say get them in the Hague for war crimes, since that´s exactly what they are. Even the honorable Desmond Tutu is calling for Blair to be tried like the Nazis were, and he has the backing of the vast majority of British people. We don´t forget the lies about WMD, even if you guys do.

the_chemist_of_discord
the_chemist_of_discord

Mosques infiltrated by Mullahs? Churches infiltrated by Priests/Pastors. Synagogues infiltrated by Rabbis. As long as the world has religions, war will go on.

xbj
xbj

"On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, it is some consolation that the man most responsible for that terrible morning will not be smiling smugly to himself..."

What in the hell are you talking about? Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice are still alive and STILL making money off 9-11. 

Conspiracy nuts: those who refuse to believe that those who profited the most perpetrated the crime.

monosean
monosean

What's this about "

 allowing the Taliban to take over ".  Who trained, funded and armed them? An arrogant American administration who thought to use a group to enhance its standing and power in the region without understanding what was happening.  Much as the US media and public throw around the terms, Islam, Muslim and Jihad without understanding them.

sgtbilko
sgtbilko

"There has been irritation,  anger, doubt, accusations, denials, misinterpretations, mistakes, cowardice, inability and lack of talent for this work.

"All this has been and will be again.  To be counterbalanced

"By firmness, steadiness, courage, quick understanding and the ability to both manuever and fight."

--Ernest Hemingway, "Poem to Mary (Second Poem)"

SRSwain
SRSwain

Well, you have to give Osama bin Laden credit for being a visionary:  "Hell of a vision", as Captain Call said.  Now that Semtex is as commonly acquired as baking powder we can expect how many generations of these kinds of multi-local wars of attrition?  Nobody knows.  Maybe when blowing yourself and others up for the sake of gaining 72 virgins' favor is proven to be an entirely false and empty myth, these sincerely foolish murderers will give it up.  I wish they would.  But they have been weaned on this arid, hellish, apocalyptic madness.  And they won't give it up willingly.  Happy 9/11 world.

xexon
xexon

I've got a far different view of 9/11 than most Americans do.

I propose to you that 9/11 was an inside job. That the attack by Muslims was "allowed" to happen. With the intention of driving the US population into the arms of a compromised government for protection.

There is something at work in the world that needs to be discussed. This "New World Order" you keep hearing about is not some urban myth. It's quite real and the US is being used as the muscle for it. All under the guise of this fake war on terror.

Our "enemies" have been carefully cultivated. You don't really think they hate us for our freedoms, do you? They hate us because of what we've done to them. We've raped their natural resources. We've kept them pushed down to 3rd world status so as not to challenge us. We've supplied weapons and technology to rogue states such as Israel, or the Shah of Iran or Mubarak or Saddam. We've  made sure people hate us.

And while the zionist operatives in our government and media have you busy looking for Muslims in your underwear, they've slipped in a New World Order beneath your feet. One that they will control. You already use their financial system. All your wealth is stored in their banks.  Someday, you're going to wake up, and none of your credit cards or ATMs will work. You'll meet your new masters soon after. You want to pay your bills and feed your children, you'll take their number and do as you're told.

The first element of control is financial. The second element is force.

They're going to make you bend a knee to them one way or the other. And guess what? They're not dressed as Arabs. They look like you do. 9/11 wasn't hatched in some camel hair tent in the desert. But by men in nice offices and wearing suits.

But I see you. And I'm not alone.

x

Kid of Street
Kid of Street

It's disgusting the amount of likes this anti-semitic hit piece has.

xexon
xexon

 Most modern Jews are no longer semites. Semites are related to Arabs. Not white people from Europe and Russia.

Zionists are almost entirely white and from Europe and Russia. The same zionists who collaborated with the nazis in WWII. The same zionists who went on to found modern Israel as a ZIONIST state.

We should not be swapping spit with these people.

x

Some Psycho
Some Psycho

Do you really know who the people were that went on to found Israel? Read up on the British concentration camps that incarcerated Jews post-WW2.

18235
18235

an enormously unorigonal viewpoint, as supplied by nutcases you probably arent even aware of.

time to grow up kid; no more batman for you.

br549
br549

 " We've raped their natural resources."  I think "we" PAID them money for whateverthey were willing to sell (gas, oil, etc...) at a price they agreed upon.  Propose? Thinly veiled anti-Israeli diatribe?  Hardly; flagrant and blatant.

aleembaig
aleembaig

 from where you pay them again gas,oil,etc...??? you pay them from the Muslim world money...they trust on you amp; they fill your banks with their money ....

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

A thinly veiled anti-Israel diatribe, imo.

xexon
xexon

 How much do you know about modern Israel?

If you're like the average American, you have a bible stuck in your eye that blinds you to the truth. Being non religious, I'm not swayed by religious argument.

All I see is another white supremacist movement that promises a better day for a chosen people. Why don't you ask the Germans how well that worked out for them?

x

Some Psycho
Some Psycho

This pagan thinks you're blind if you see Israel as a white supremacist movement.

But that much was obvious from your original conspiracy-nutjob comment.

Paul Derengowski
Paul Derengowski

Apparently Mr. Ghosh has not been keeping up with the news lately, because CAIR (a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood) is every bit as much alive and vibrant in the United States, helping to bully its way into the lives of people, as it ever has been.  Add to that the ISNA, ICNA, MSA, MPAC, and a whole host of other MB militant front groups doing their dirty work to undermine western society and the Constitution, and one would have to be a complete moron to believe that Islamic jihad is taken place "over there."  Clearly the Muslim cancer from 9-1-1 has spread and to assume that be bin Laden is dead, then all is just fine is delusional thinking.  If the west does not get its figurative head out of its fanny then before long one might as well call for hospice, because the cancer will have spread to the point where it is no longer treatable.

http://derengowski.wordpress.c... 

julis123
julis123

Boy are you ever wrong. First of all there have been a number of foiled attacks on US cities by Jihadis since 9/11 second they still clearly have the US in their  sights and 3rd we now have entire countries like Egypt under the Brotherhood that are breeding grounds for Jihadis.

MVKaz
MVKaz

You have been ably tutored by the white media streams.  There are more Christianists aka Christian Fundamentalists in the US, especially in the Southern states, than Muslim Jihadists in the Islamic world. 

Some Psycho
Some Psycho

You have been ably tutored by the "brown" media streams. (Did anyone else notice how racist the original comment by MVKaz was?)

So there are a bunch of Christian fundamentalists in the US, "especially in the Southern states..." So what? They aren't doing anything about it. But Muslim Jihadists are killing people on a daily basis around the world.

SMJenkins1
SMJenkins1

Nothing at all jingoistic about this..

18235
18235

maybe now the liberal usa media will stop CENSORING any criticism of muslim radicals.

ny times, cbs, etc liberals certainly never showed the anti-radical muslim cartoon that radical muslims went all violent over.

Jeffrey Geez Glavick
Jeffrey Geez Glavick

The war on "Terror" "Bad" "Evil" is never over or can it be, that is the point of not defining an enemy or in iraq of creating false enemies, the USA is at war forever, victory cannot be won , exactly the way the MIC likes it.

iamsosure
iamsosure

Are you implying we are like Oceania constantly at war with Eastasia  or Eurasia? I think If you read 1984 and Atlas Shrugged you will have the drift and scope of where the GOP wants to take us. The Bush administration took steps to set the US on an  Oceania mindset with the global war on terror. Remember the exciting days when the the Bush needed a bump in the polls they would heighten the alert level to yellow, orange or red? Or sending everyone out to buy plastic and duct tape during the anthrax scare? Those were good times for the GOP.  The current GOP candidates Romney- Ryan provide the perfect example of doublespeak, they base their speeches, ads on doublespeak. Everyone says the GOP wants to take us back to the Gilded Age with the ruling robber barons.  Personally,  I think they want to take us back to 1984.

18235
18235

orwell's 1984 was all about...communism, with american liberals never ever bad mouthing communism, until communism was over with.

big brother = uncle joe, which is what american liberals actually called joseph stalin.

right now, in north korea there is the very orwellian business of each home having a speaker that for 24 hours a day only reports north korean propaganda---the sound can be lowered but it cant be turned off.

go to youtube and check out vice's trip to north korea, which even shows such stuff.

comparing orwell to usa is soooo typically  liberal; orwell was even on the side of the fascists during the spanish civil war.

AND LIBERALS ARE THE BIGGEST CENSORS ON INTERNET SITES; LIBERALS ARE ADDICTED TO FLAGGING STUFF THEY DONT AGREE WITH.

Sophocles5
Sophocles5

 Where did you read that the American left never bad mouthed communism? Did you skip over the parts where the American left sort of led the way against communist expansion? Ever heard of Korea or Vietnam? Both wars were either started or highly escalated by some pretty liberal presidents. The American left isn't really that left and if anything played the bigger part in stopping communism. You need to understand that left =/= communist just as right =/= fascist. Seriously, figure that out and your world view will greatly improve.

William Sexton
William Sexton

hey 18235, i didn't realize i called out conservatives, what it seems to me is and what u fail to understand is just bc someone doesn't agree with your point of views or u don't agree with mine, u 18235 label whomever a "liberal" (as if we're supposed to take offense, kinda like when black folks call white people crackers its hilarious) but the truth is I have my conservative views and my liberal views, but that doesn't matter bc u already came to your conclusion way back when, and now what ur doing is trying to cloud one point with ur rant about illegals and liberals, both points have nothing to do with the subject at hand, and if you read what I and iamsosure wrote then u would understand that we to are concerned with the way things are headed, especially when people u are representing are trying to legalize discrimination, church law and whatever other fucked up and backwards ideologies you wanna use to control the masses, kinda like 1984 but i'm not here to trash u, i'm sure ur a descent person but don't try and throw mud on a discussion between 2 strangers bc u need to throw in ur 2 cents,  your annoying and u hide behind a number and not ur name, and u have the balls to call me out on false ramblings...

Moniker7
Moniker7

Great rant. I liked it.

"1984" was primarily about abject totalitarianism and what it would be like to exist in a world where every fundamental aspect of life -  social, political or economic - was oveseen and controlled by the government. It's a great book, you should actually read it instead of just looking at the plot details on wikipedia.

In terms of censorship, I think its safe to say that whether you're conservative or liberal, if you lean towards the more extreme ends of the spectrum you're probably ok with censoring anything and everything that you and your ilk perceive as "immoral". Which probably amounts to stuff that the rest of us consider to be fun and cool.

bsaggie
bsaggie

 And the socialist world of the current democrats taking us back to be like the failed USSR is better?

William Sexton
William Sexton

I agree completely and well said, I've believed for a while now that we are the generation that is allowing the Orwellian Period to take shape, a quick example is apple computers, not only do they basically do everything for us, so you have no reason for deductive thought, they have brought cameras into our most intimate of places, (bedroom, living room etc) the  but their symbol is the bitten apple, a mark of the beast and i'm not even religious, anyways i hope for our sake we toughen up and don't allow the future to be determined by certain groups with archaic ideologies....

18235
18235

liberals  on the internet hypocritically censor everything they dont agree with....liberals are the biggest censors; go post something anti-liberal on the daily beast, the atlantic, new yorker---and see how quick you get banned.

it's very orwellian for liberals to think they are morally or intellectually superior----while bad mouthing every conservative they disagree with.

archaic ideologies = liberals, and illegal aliens from 3rd world countries. 

 you probably arent aware that big brother was taken from uncle joe----the american  nickname of communist joseph stalin.  that's the type of info the liberal media CENSORS.

orwellian = north korean concentration camps; something more liberals arent concerned with, and which american liberal media censors.

ravenrdr
ravenrdr

Bur first arms dealers, suppliers, etc. (military industrial complex) will have to figure out how to make money on other "defenses."  Until then, they will rage on--even against open space.

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

The jihad has been mainly Muslims killing Muslims. I guess a quick trip to paradise looks pretty good when compared to living in the daily hell that characterizes life in most Islamic states.

SMJenkins1
SMJenkins1

Nothing at all jingoistic about this..

Dan Bruce
Dan Bruce

Are you apologizing for radical Muslim violence and the cultures of violence that produce it?

Some Psycho
Some Psycho

MVKaz, cite your sources, please. I can point you to a vetted list of tens of thousands of Islam-fueled terrorist attacks; can you do the same for Christian violence?

MVKaz
MVKaz

That is a one-sided a view.  There has been as much if not more of Christian violence over the last 100 years all over the world, particularly in developing nations.