Al Qaeda has three essential weaknesses; internal contradictions, utopian vision, futile strategy and tactics.
However powerful cults can be, they are, nevertheless, not invincible. At a certain point, they tend to splinter and/or self-destruct. All cults, including Al Qaeda have two essential weaknesses. They are based on a lie, the contradictions of which eventually become untenable and, then, turn into an internal cancer causing its cells to turn upon one another and destroy themselves. Secondly, the larger they grow and the stronger they appear to become, they simultaneously loose their inner cohesion and become open to internal disputes, schisms and external influence and infiltration.
There is also a tendency that, once one group has denounced the established authority in a certain way, be it a Church or political dogma and/or socio-economic system, then they have also opened the field for other groups to emerge internally or externally, which can also claim that they are, in fact, the real “True Path” and “Only Way.” They then acuse the original group of being charlatans an traitors. This then multiplies and cults disintegrate into thousands of competing mini-cults, each more interested in fighting and denouncing the other, than concentrating on the original enemy or cause.
Secondly, and related to this, there is only room for one Â« FÃ¼hrer Â», for one living Guru or “Living God.” By virtue of the fact that its leaders are all sociopathic individuals, at some point, internal frictions must always lead to a split in the core leadership. A bloody reckoning follows leaving one faction victorious. In some instances, even more ferocious groups will emerge from factionalism, each vying with one another and aiming to out do the other(s) in their fanaticism as proof of their credentials as pretenders to the mystical throne. But as with all things they cannot live forever. Cults thrive only so long as the right social, political and economic conditions exist for the bacteria to keep breeding. Once external conditions change and they no longer find a host to feed upon, they must turn inwards and eat themselves alive.
Visionary myopia, utopian blindness.
The simultaneous strength and weakness of all cults is their supra-historical vision. It gives mission, which conveys extraordinary power to their members’ motivation, sacrifice and martyrdom. Yet at the same time, that vision is always a totally erroneous and preposterous view of reality. It usually centers around prophesies of doom, with salvation only for the righteous believers and torturous death and retribution for infidels and heretics. Even when these fairy tales have some tenuous basis in real relations and situations, they remain, at best, only a highly warped and deformed view of the way things really are. Living on the edge of or out of reality is not a sound base for any organization, because ultimately it must crash against the contradictions. It leads to unsound evaluations, incorrect decisions and inevitable strategic and tactical mistakes at some stage. From the point of view of Al Qaeda, the classical example was its participation in the hopeless “utopian nightmare” of Afghan Taliban society and, then its attack of 9/11, which combined temporarily to invite an aggression, which severely curtailed and weakened its command structure and nearly led to its demise. Al Qaeda was only saved partly by chance and partly by ineptitude on the part of Washington and US intelligence.
Al Qaeda’s vision of vanquishing the Crusaders and Zionists as the conduit of Allah on Earth is an unattainable fairy story. Apart from some political goals such as the removal of all Western military and economic interests in the Middle East its mission is vague and nebulous. Any apparent gains it may score will largely be due to the ineptitude of the US but its Fatwah against the
Stephen J. Morgan is a former member of the British Labour Party Executive Committee, a political writer and accredited Emotional Intelligence Coach. His first book was the “The Mind of a Terrorist Fundamentalist – the Cult of Al Qaeda.” He has lived and worked in more than 27 different countries and including crisis situations in Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia. He a journalist/columist for the Cheers.org magazine. He is currently writing a book on the Bush Administration. He is a political psychologist, researcher into Chaos/Complexity Theory and lives in Brussels (Old Europe) http://morgansreview.tripod.com Contact firstname.lastname@example.org