By: Brent Parrish
Back in 2005 The Long War Journal published an article titled “The Seven Phases of The Base.” The article pointed to a piece in the German publication Der Spiegel (“The Mirror”) by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, who is reportedly a reliable source for information on the al-Qaeda terrorist group.
Fouad Hussein was able to score an interview with none other than al-Qaeda’s military commander Saif al-Adel, who was operating from Iran at the time.
Before I get to what Fouad Hussein learned from Saif al-Adel in 2005, I think it’s worth pointing out that the predominately Shiite Iranian regime was allowing a military commander for the Sunni-aligned al-Qaeda to operate from their territory. Something to think about today when pondering the involvement of Iran in Syria and Iraq, in my opinion. But I digress.
Saif al-Adel intimated to Fouad Hussein that al-Qaeda had a seven-step plan for establishing an Islamic Caliphate that would span from 2000 until 2020.
Keep in mind it was 2005 when the article describing the seven-step plan was published. The timeline for the the first phase of the plan had already passed, and the second phase was in progress during 2005.
Here are the first two steps from the The Long War Journal article:
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.”
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.
The article concluded that the second phase had essentially been a “failure,” stating the “Arab and greater Islamic Street has been essentially silent in its support of al Qaeda.” But that assessment appears to have been premature, judging by what we now see occurring in Iraq and Syria.
Now we move unto the third and fourth phases, whose timeline has already passed:
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.
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.
The fourth phase mentions “that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments.” Enter the “Arab Spring”—which began on December 18, 2010.
This brings us to today. According to al-Qaeda’s seven-step plan, we are now in the fifth phase of their diabolical strategy (emphasis mine):
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.
It looks like al-Qaeda’s 20-year strategy to create an Islamic Caliphate is right on schedule.
So what does the future hold?
Here are the final two phases of al-Qaeda’s plan:
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 million Muslims,” the caliphate will undoubtedly succeed. This phase should be completed by 2020, although the war shouldn’t last longer than two years.
It appears it would behoove the United States and the West to not take any of this lightly. The urgent need to develop a long-range strategy to counter and crush the threat should be obvious at this point. If we choose to bury our collective heads in the sand, we may very well find ourselves dealing with a revived Islamic Caliphate that will not only gravely threaten the security and safety of the United States and the West, but the entire civilized world.