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Terror Networks
Files reveal al-Qaeda's marketing concerns
2006-02-23
IT COULD be any employment contract stating salary, paid holidays, home leave and grievance procedures - except in this case the employer is al-Qaeda and the recruit's job is "carrying out jihad".

By signing the contract, the recruit commits himself to al-Qaeda's objectives: "Support God's religion, establishment of Islamic rule, and restoration of the Islamic Caliphate, God willing".

The contract is one of thousands of documents captured by US forces, mostly in Afghanistan and Iraq, and stored on a Pentagon database known as Harmony.

An initial sample of 28 has been declassified and published by the Combating Terrorism Centre, part of the US Military Academy at West Point.

The documents set out the internal structure of al-Qaeda and illuminate disputes over tactics. They also analyse past failures, such as the crushing of an Islamist uprising in Syria in 1982, speculate on new regions for jihad and bemoan the lack of publicity about al-Qaeda's role in driving the US out of Somalia.

Some documents reveal dismay over the loss of al-Qaeda's bastion in Afghanistan. One writer, Abdel-Halim Adl, wrote to a man identified as "Mukhtar", in June 2002, complaining of Osama bin Laden's stubbornness and "the capture of a large number of brothers".

"We will become the laughing stock of the world," he says. He urges al-Qaeda to "stop rushing into action and take time out to consider all the fatal and successive disasters that have afflicted us during a period of no more than six months".

West Point academics say the documents add significantly to knowledge about al-Qaeda.

The most striking reveal al-Qaeda's personnel policies. The "employment contract" lists many requirements of recruits: obedience, secrecy, avoiding all links to other groups, being physically healthy, having integrity on matters of religion and morality and reciting the pledge to al-Qaeda.

A draft of al-Qaeda "bylaws" stipulates extra pay of 700 rupees a month for each additional wife as well as 20,000 rupees for married members to buy furniture and free health care.

The bylaws describe an organisational structure headed by an "emir" and "command council", which in turn oversee an "external relations branch" and "executive council", a "military committee", "security committee" and "political committee".

The military committee has a special "nuclear weapons" section, but there are no further details.

Job descriptions are set out in detail. To qualify as "emir", the leader (presumably bin Laden) should not be "too anxious to be an emir" and must have "adequate knowledge to qualify him to carry out the responsibilities".

The chairman of the military committee must be, among other things, older than 40 and "a university graduate, preferably from a military academy".

Jarret Brachman, the terrorism centre's director of research, said he believes some extremist groups, such as al-Qaeda's branch in Saudi Arabia or Jemaah Islamiah in South-East Asia, still use formal contracts.

Al-Qaeda's attention to publicity is apparent. A memo to bin Laden by "Abu Huthayfa" in Kandahar in June 2000 stresses the importance of better propaganda. He praises bin Laden as a "star", but complains that al-Qaeda suffers from "a political vacuum".
Posted by:Dan Darling

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Posted by: Yousuf   2006-02-23 02:02  

#3  Umm... I do have a life, B-whatever. Several of them, in one of which I was an AF E-6. Also a website of my own, where commercial, off-topic, comment spam is deleted ruthlessly. The management of Rantburg is equally vigilant about maintaining the same high standards.
Posted by: Sgt. Mom   2006-02-23 08:03  

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Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski   2006-02-23 06:47  

#1  Cleanup, aisle 1...
Posted by: Sgt. Mom   2006-02-23 06:29  

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