From The Gathering Storm Blog

Is this a rift in the leadership of Al Qaeda or just a disinformation campaign?

According to a news article in the New York Sun, one of Al Qaeda’s senior theologians, Sayyed Imam al-Sharif, said that the attacks on 9-11 and the current jihad on the West in general, were a “catastrophe for all Muslims”.

Mr. Sharif, currently serving a life sentence in an undisclosed Egyptian prison, wrote in the 1980s two of the modern seminal texts for Sunni jihadism and in particular Al Qaeda, in “Fundamental Concepts Regarding Jihad” and “The Five Ground Rules for the Achieving of Victory or Its Absence.” Those books are scholarly justifications, citing the Koran and Hadiths, for joining a war against Muslim apostates such as the Egyptian ruling class and for a broader jihad against the far enemy of America.

In a serialized manifesto written from prison in Egypt, Sayyed Imam al-Sharif is blasting Osama bin Laden for deceiving the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, and for insulting the Prophet Muhammad by comparing the September 11 attacks to the early raids of the Ansar warriors. The lapsed jihadist even calls for the formation of a special Islamic court to try Osama bin Laden and his old comrade Ayman al-Zawahri.

Those are mighty strong words. Could to be that our execution of the war on terror is having an effect on the Al Qaeda leadership? Or is this some kind of disinformation propaganda.

The disclosures from Mr. Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl and Abd al-Qadir ibn Abd al-Aziz, have already opened a rift at the highest levels of Al Qaeda. The group’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, a former associate of the defecting theologian in Egypt, personally mocked him last month in a video, remarking that he was unaware Egyptian prisons had fax machines. Meanwhile, leading Western analysts are saying the defection of Mr. Sharif indicates the beginning of the end for Al Qaeda.

The author of “Inside Al Qaeda,” Rohan Gunaratna said in an interview this week, “There is nothing more important than a former jihadist as important as Dr. Fadl criticizing the jihadist vanguard.”

This is the usual mistake made by those who think this struggle is about terrorism. As we know terrorism is just a tactic to wage war – not a war itself. Even if Al Qaeda collapsed tomorrow, the ideology that has been metastizing in the Islamic world since the early 20th century will not disappear by a long shot.

If we don’t defeat the ideology of Islamism and those that support it in non-violent ways, killing all the terrorists in the world will not end the struggle.

When will our policy annalists and politicians get this through their thick skulls?

And this new development between Egypt and Israel. DEBKA reports:

Under new arrangements, the Israeli and Egyptian armies will work together. Their security teams meet at Nitzana on the Gaza border Sunday, Dec. 30, to establish a combined staff center for eradicating tunnel traffic from Sinai to the Gaza Strip. This was one of the agreements reached by Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in their talks last week. A joint team will deal with each active tunnel separately. Most of the estimated 80 and 90 tunnels, some heavily fortified, run through the Philadelphi border strip. Each team will be responsible for blowing up a tunnel and rendering it unusable.

Until now, the Egyptians, when they discovered a tunnel, blew up the opening on their side of the border, while the exit on the Gazan side under Hamas rule was left untouched. The agreement reached with Mubarak is taken to leave Israel free to go into Gaza and destroy the tunnel exits as determined by the joint military teams.

If this scheme works, it will be the most important Egyptian-Israeli security partnership ever undertaken.

Perhaps pigs can fly?

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