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Friday, September 08, 2006

The Islamists Have a 20-year Plan: Do We?

By Douglas Farah

This week's New Yorker should be required reading for those interested in the Islamist jihadi movements. The reason is simple. It gives us, in al Qaeda's own words, the 20-year plan of the group and its different iterations to wear away the West's resolve: plunge the United States into wars that will over extend its military, focus on a few key concepts (use of the internet, building a single narrative of itself and the West to give a unified vision of the war, drastic decentralization of command and control structures etc.) and a specific timetable in which different phases of the plan will be completed.

Author Lawrence Wright does not write this based on a huge intelligence coup or the ability to place a mole inside the jihadi camp. He wrote his story based on publicly-available, but little read, jihadi documents, which a few scholars and analysts have taken the time to read and analyze.

Tragically, he notes that, while some analysts, particularly in the military, study these prolific jihadi texts, the analysis is seldom filiters up to senior policy makers because, as one official says, "decision-makers are not looking for that kind of information. They think they know better."
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