His book ‘Al-Zarqawi – al-Qaeda's Second Generation' was published at the end of 2005.
Though a couple of years old, it might be an interesting exercise to see how his predictions turned out. But first, who is Fuad Hussein? As reported by Spiegel Online International, Hussein has not only spent time in prison with al-Zarqawi, but has also managed to make contact with many of the network's leaders. Based on correspondence with these sources, his book details the organization's master plan.
There must be something particularly trustworthy about the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein. After all, he has managed to get some of the the most sought after terrorists to open up to him. Maybe it helped that they spent time together in prison many years ago — when Hussein was a political prisoner he successfully negotiated for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to be released from solitary confinement. Or is it because of the honest and direct way in which he puts his ideas onto paper? Whatever the reason, the result is that a film which Hussein made about al-Zarqawi has even been shown on al-Qaida affiliated Web sites. "That showed me that they at least felt understood," the journalist says.
Hussein explains the seven phases that al-Qaedahopes to establish to create an Islamic caliphate which the West will then be too weak to fight.
The First Phase Known as "the awakening" — this has already been carried out and was supposed to have lasted from 2000 to 2003, or more precisely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington to the fall of Baghdad in 2003. The aim of the attacks of 9/11 was to provoke the US into declaring war on the Islamic world and thereby "awakening" Muslims. "The first phase was judged by the strategists and masterminds behind al-Qaida as very successful," writes Hussein. "The battle field was opened up and the Americans and their allies became a closer and easier target." The terrorist network is also reported as being satisfied that its message can now be heard "everywhere."
We can say that Phase One has been accomplished. The Islamist propaganda machine has done well in convincing a large portion of the Muslim population into believing the West is waging war on Islam. The misquotes and missteps by the current Administration lead credence to this belief.
The Second Phase "Opening Eyes" is, according to Hussein's definition, the period we are now in and should last until 2006. Hussein says the terrorists hope to make the western conspiracy aware of the "Islamic community." Hussein believes this is a phase in which al-Qaida wants an organization to develop into a movement. The network is banking on recruiting young men during this period. Iraq should become the center for all global operations, with an "army" set up there and bases established in other Arabic states.
One can say they’ve been pretty successful at that. Case in point is the greater threat from home-grown terrorists rather than those infiltrating from abroad.
The Third Phase This is described as "Arising and Standing Up" and should last from 2007 to 2010. "There will be a focus on Syria," prophesies Hussein, based on what his sources told him. The fighting cadres are supposedly already prepared and some are in Iraq. Attacks on Turkey and — even more explosive — in Israel are predicted. Al-Qaida's masterminds hope that attacks on Israel will help the terrorist group become a recognized organization. The author also believes that countries neighboring Iraq, such as Jordan, are also in danger.
Some of this has come to fruition. Jordan has experienced al-Qaedaterrorism and Syria is noted for harboring terrorists and their plans for attacking Israel.
The Fourth Phase Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that "the creeping loss of the regimes' power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida." At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.
We’ve seen signs of this. Saudi Arabia is now actively fighting insurgent elements in its country seeking to damage or destroy oil producing facilities and overthrow the Saudi government. We can only believe that this will get worse and spread to the other oil producing emirates in the peninsula. How successful will al-Qaeda be? Yet to be seen.
The Fifth Phase This will be the point at which an Islamic state, or caliphate, can be declared. The plan is that by this time, between 2013 and 2016, Western influence in the Islamic world will be so reduced and Israel weakened so much, that resistance will not be feared. Al-Qaida hopes that by then the Islamic state will be able to bring about a new world order.
The Sixth Phase Hussein believes that from 2016 onwards there will a period of "total confrontation." As soon as the caliphate has been declared the "Islamic army" it will instigate the "fight between the believers and the non-believers" which has so often been predicted by Osama bin Laden.
The Seventh Phase This final stage is described as "definitive victory." Hussein writes that in the terrorists' eyes, because the rest of the world will be so beaten down by the "one-and-a-half billion Muslims," the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn't last longer than two years.
So, how realistic is the 7 phases? The Spiegel article has its doubts.
Nevertheless, there is no way the scenario he depicts can be seen as a plan which al-Qaida can follow step by step. The terrorist network just doesn't work like that anymore. The significance of the central leadership has diminished and its direct commands have lost a great deal of importance. The supposed master plan for the years 2000 to 2020 reads in parts more like a group of ideas cobbled together in retrospect, than something planned and presented in advance. And not to mention the terrorist agenda is simply unworkable: the idea that al-Qaida could set up a caliphate in the entire Islamic world is absurd. The 20-year plan is based mainly on religious ideas. It hardly has anything to do with reality — especially phases four to seven.
This analysis is wrong. Saying that the plan is absurd because it’s based on religious ideas shows a deep lack of understanding. Ideologies that have a strong belief component – religious or secular – is what drives them to success until they confront an ideology that is as strong and there’s. And over the last year there have been mumblings and debates from the Islamic World of where the next Caliphate will be centered.
As for the ‘Islamic Army’, I have said in posts before that the tactic of terrorism will have to eventually lead to the creation of a regular conventional army if the Islamists want to achieve ultimate victory over the West.
What is interesting is that major attacks against the West are not even mentioned by Fouad Hussein. Terrorism here cannot be ignored — but it seems these attacks simply supplement the larger aim of setting up an Islamic caliphate. Attacks such as those in New York, Madrid and London would in this case not be ends in themselves, but rather means to a achieve a larger purpose — steps in a process of increasing insecurity in the West.
In other words, insurgents who use terrorist tactics can not win the war themselves. To do that, like in every war before this, you must occupy enemy territory to win and impose your ideology on the population. That means putting boots on the ground. Like all other wars, there will be a theater of battle. That theater stretches from North Africa through the Middle East through south-central Asia to Southeast Asia and Malaysia. Some Islamic nation or nations will lead the alliance in this war of fronts.
So we are left with an interesting phased development. How well it’s executed is yet to be seen.
From The Gathering Storm