Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Sri Lankan terrorism expert, Dr Rohan Gunaratna, talks about al Qaeda, why liberal democracies (especially New Zealand) are vulnerable and other terrorism related topics.

Gunaratna goes on: "We must kill the ideology that appeals to people [who believe] these groups are doing the right thing for God. That's a very difficult thing because only Muslim leaders, the community organisations, the imams, can do it. Western Governments and local Governments have to work with the Muslim community.

"[Imams] can't do it too much because it is very difficult for them to justify saying, 'Don't attack the United States, don't attack Westerners' because Muslims feel very upset and annoyed about America's skewed Middle East policies, especially with regard to Israel and what is happening in Chechnya and Kashmir."

Gunaratna says the battle is more than just for hearts and minds - it is a literal war zone that now includes civilian and economic targets, such as the tourism industry, which are almost impossible to protect.

He doesn't believe now is the time for Iraq because he believes we should focus on the remaining al-Qaeda leaders first. He doesn't explain why, in his view, the two are not linked. If they are allied enough that sleepers are awaiting an attack on Iraq I would say it is more imperative to cut Saddam off before he can further help those cells or for more of the cells to be created.

"All the key leaders are alive and so long as the leadership of a group is alive, they will be able to provide strategic direction, allocate resources for operations, recruit, and continue.

"Because of that, the United States should not go into Iraq, but finish al Qaeda. They can wait for five years because Iraq is not posing an immediate threat. But President Bush is determined to invade."

If the United States feels a sense of urgency, al Qaeda and its allies on a mission from their God have exhibited patience. The first September 11 operative moved to the United States in 1994, seven years before the attack, and the 20 hijackers received 18 months of training. But if the US invades Iraq, then sleepers awake. It is only a matter a time.

< email | 1/23/2003 04:21:00 PM | link

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