Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer, 2004, Excerpts
Al-Qaeda is an insurgent, vice terrorist, organization and has two primary, manpower-intensive missions: to provide quality insurgence training to Muslims from around the world, and to build an ample cadre of veteran fighters who can be sent foreign legion – like to serve as combat leaders, trainers, engineers, logisticians, financial advisors, or administrators wherever militant Islam needs them. America is facing a talented, sturdy, charismatic, and determined enemy, much of the Muslim world and not just the lunatic fringe.
Pre 911, Al-Qaeda’s camps were staffed by veteran fighters who trained insurgents who fought, and trained others to fight, not only against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, but also against Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tajikistan, Egypt, Bosnia, western China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and the Philippines. Sunni Islamist groups have been running training camps in Yemen, Pakistan, Kashmir, Sudan, and the Philippines. More recently, since 1990, Somalia, Uzbekistan Montenegro, Eritrea, western China, Chechnya, Algeria, Tajikistan, Lebanon, Bosnia, northern Iraq, and Albania can be added to the list.
The main function of the camps was and is to provide quality and uniform religious or paramilitary – or insurgent - training to young Muslims. The trainees learned how to use: AK-47s, Stinger missiles, GPS systems, advanced land navigation RPGs, map reading, demolition techniques, celestial navigation, hand-to-hand combat techniques, trench digging, weapon deployments, escape and evasion techniques, fist aid, scientific calculations to plot artillery fire, first aid, secure communications, et cetera.
Al Qaeda has survived the U.S. military onslaught and is thriving militarily. In an ironic twist, moreover, actions by the United States and its allies have increased the effectiveness and impact of al Qaeda’s efforts, leaving Washington confronted by a lose-lose situation almost every time it needs to make a decision vis-à-vis what it inaccurately describes as “the global war on terrorism.”