By Konstantin Garibov
A brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has proposed to mediate a truce between the West and the Islamists. Mohammed al-Zawahiri claims to have sufficient influence on his brother and is confident that he will heed his proposal.
But the two brothers haven’t spoken to each for ten years. The latter circumstance and attempts by Al Qaeda to portray itself as the leading force of the radical Islamists, and the Islamists themselves as one of the forces of a multi-polar world, arouse concern, says Gumer Isayev, a researcher at the St. Petersburg Center for Contemporary Middle East Studies.
“Al Qaeda is not the Islamist forces’ leader. And as a matter of fact, there is no such thing as the global Islamist forces. There are various religious-political organizations in various countries and various regions, each of them pursuing its own goals. They certainly do have something in common, chiefly the use of religious dogmas in political tasks. They express their ideas in a very populist format. It’s actually a form of communication that resembles a provocation. The way it has been worded means to say that there is the Western world and the Islamist organizations, and the brother of a certain leader of a certain organization suggests some abstract form of cooperation, a conventional truce. It’s just yet another media hoax”.
Why is it a provocation? Because in all probability, the West will decline Al Qaeda’s offer and Al Qaeda will seize the opportunity to step up its struggle. This will cause a new spiral of tension, leading to fresh terrorist attacks in Iraq or elsewhere.
Incidentally, Al Qaeda’s former leader Osama bin Laden had repeatedly come up with similar proposals which had been repeatedly rejected, followed by a fresh wave of terrorism. The 2004 metro blast in London that claimed more than 50 lives was actually a response to the West’s refusal to conclude a peace deal with Al Qaeda. But what if such a deal already exists?
Alexei Podtserob is a researcher at the Institute for Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
“From the point of view of domestic policy, an open reconciliation with Al Qaeda is hardly rational for the West. Islamist extremists played a significant role during the civil war in Libya and continue to play it during the current civil war in Syria. The so-called freedom fighters, many extremists among them, are receiving support from the United States and other Western countries. They are actually playing on the same court. Al Qaeda, once a pet project of the Untied States in a war against the Kabul regime and the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, struck back with the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, terrorist acts in Britain, and death trains in Spain. As it sides itself with Islamists, the West is stepping on the same rake again”.
Mohammed al-Zawahiri has probably some shrewd plan on his mind and is trying to trap the West into it. On the other hand, the West continues to stake on Islamists whenever it wants to get rid of disobedient regimes, which was the case in Afghanistan and Libya, and which is now happening in Syria.