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Lecture 6: Micro Origin of 911 (I) – The Provocative Strategy of Al-Qaeda?. 17 th February 2003 (Monday). Session Arrangement. T1: 10:00-11:00am Room 4472 [s] T2A: 11:00-11:50am Room 1403 [k] T2B: 11:00-11:50am Room 4472 [s] T3A: 12:00-12:50pm Room 4472 [k]

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Lecture 6 micro origin of 911 i the provocative strategy of al qaeda l.jpg

Lecture 6: Micro Origin of 911 (I) –The Provocative Strategy of Al-Qaeda?

17th February 2003 (Monday)


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Session Arrangement

  • T1: 10:00-11:00am Room 4472 [s]

  • T2A: 11:00-11:50am Room 1403 [k]

  • T2B: 11:00-11:50am Room 4472 [s]

  • T3A: 12:00-12:50pm Room 4472 [k]

  • T3B: 12:00-12:50pm Room 3301A [s]

  • PLEASE FINALIZE TODAY!


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Macro Vs Micro Origins

  • George W Bush:

    Why do they hate us so much?

  • Macro Origins:

    • Long-term Historical Development

    • Islamic Fundamentalism, Clash of Civilization, the American Pride…

  • Micro Origins:

    • Why was 911 arranged that way?

    • Why did Osama Bin Laden arrange the attack despite his expectation of American revenge?

    • Laden Conspiracy; Bush Conspiracy; No Conspiracies…


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Structure of Lecture 6:

  • Does the Methodology of 911 Matter?

  • 2 Possible Plans of Osama Bin Laden

  • Minimalist Plan: Omar Doctrine

  • Maximalist Plan: The Grand Strategy

  • Conclusion: The “Taoist Strategy”


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PART IDoes the Methodology of 911 Matter?


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Alternatives of 911

  • Assassination of President?

  • Overseas Bombing?

  • Ally with Anti-American Powers?

  • Self-strengthening Movement?

  • Cultural/ Psychological Attack?


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Does Methodology Matter?

  • Doesn’t matter: The Invisible Hands Theory

  • Does matters: The Marxist History

    • Capitalism  Imperialism  Socialism

    • Class Consciousness against Exploiters

  • Some Yes, Some No

    • Short-term Vs Long-term History


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We Can’t Truly Understand the Planners: Goals of the Decision-makers

  • Type 1: Goals on Paper

  • Type 2: Goals by Research

  • Type 3: Conspiracy Theories

    • Goals not-researchable

    • The American Conspiracy Theory

    • The Al-Qaeda Conspiracy Theory

  • Goals of Al-Qaeda: Which Level?


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PART IIGoals of Osama Bin Laden:Goals by Research or by Conspiracy?


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Assigned Readings

  • Main Text: Walter Laqueur: “Left, Right, and Beyond – the Changing Face of Terror” (H&R P.71-82)

  • Supplementary Text: Tariq Ali: The Clash of Fundamentalisms. Chapter 20: The September Surprise. (P.290-302).


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The Minimal Argument

  • Laden has more capabilities:

    • Unconventional Weapons

    • Jihad

    • The Trend of Escalation

  • “HK Military Expert”: “more to come”

  • Aim: To drive America out of the Middle East


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The Maximal Argument

  • Laden has no more capabilities:

    • The Vacuum of US Intelligence

    • Eradication of Al-Qaeda Headquarters

    • Lacking in Mass Destruction Weapons

  • Pentagon (e.g. Wesley Clark):

    • No more of the same scale

  • Aim: to change the world


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PART III From Minimalism – The “Omar Doctrine”


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Precedence: Monroe Doctrine (1825)

  • Latin America (Central + South America)

  • America’s Sphere of Interest

  • End of Napoleonic War (1815)

     End of Spanish Colonial Empire (1820s)

  • President James Monroe:

    “America is America’s America” (1825)


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The “Omar Doctrine”

  • “If American wants to root out terrorism and intimidation, then it should withdraw its force from the Gulf and demonstrate neutrality over the issue of Palestine.”

    -- Omar, Head of Taliban (Sept 24 2001)


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Message from the Omar Doctrine

  • “Middle East is Islam’s Middle East”

  • Osama Bin Laden’s Video Speeches

  • Omar instead of Laden:

    • Victim Vs Aggressor


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PART IV From Maximalism – Grand Strategy of Al Qaeda


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Grand Strategy”

  • Professor Paul Kennedy:

    “Grand Strategy” in Cold War

  • “War of Unlimited Boundaries” by Chinese

  • Provocative Strategy

    • The strategy to unite the whole world against the United States

    • To provoke the Americans at 911

    • The Americans will fight back in an insane manner and angered the whole world


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OBL Step 1: Hysteria of America

  • Human Loss/ Civilian Loss

    Vs Military Loss/ Assassination

  • Hysteria of Mass Opinion

    • Getting out from the Vietnam War Shadow

  • Hysteria of Government

  • Extremist Foreign Policies

  • Patriotism, Marginalization of Leftists

  • New McCarthyism against the Muslims…


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OBL Step 2: Alienation of Arabic Allies

  • Sentiments of Muslims  Unification

  • Crisis of Pro-Western Arabic Governments

  • Coups d’etat?

    • Saudi Arabia: the money

      • Crown Prince Abdullah’s Dilemma

    • Pakistan: the nuclear arsenal

      • General Pervez Musharraf:

      • Military Dictatorship by American Endorsement + Popular Election


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OBL Step 3:Alienation of Western Allies

  • Genuine Anti-war Movements

  • Convince American Allies of the “Next Step of America”: towards its allies as well

  • Neutralization of the Western Bloc

    • France: UN Veto power; The Uncompromising History…

    • Germany: Real Leader of Europe…

    • Turkey: Internal Security Concern…


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OBL Step 4: Revolution of World Order

  • Anti-Americanism as a New Culture:

    • Message from the Anti-war Demonstration

    • Message from the Internet

  • Experience of Cultural Revolution in China:

    • From “Great Disorder” to the “Great Order”

  • Assumptions under Chaos Theory

  • 2001-2003: Successful?


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PART V Conclusion – Lessons from Chinese Philosophy


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Osama Bin Laden: Benefit of the Doubt

  • A “Calculative Planner”:

    the planner who can see the outcome --

    • Computer Simulation/ RISK

    • McArthur: I’ll be Back!

  • A “Messianic Planner”:

    the planner who can’t see the outcome --

    • “Statements of Wisdom”

    • Jesus: fall of Roman Empire


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Taoism in International Relations

  • Philosophy of Lao Zi’s Tao Te Jing:

    • “The Way can be told is not the Way.” (Cp.1)

    • “The Weak conceal its ability to overcome the Strong.” (Cp.36)

  • Osama Bin Laden: Invite the American Invasion under Taoism?


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Analogy of the Business World

  • Stock Market

  • Unfriendly bid by small potatoes 

  • Hysterias fight back by Tycoons 

  • Chain Effects: sympathy/ allies/ overreach of tycoons… favorable to small potatoes

  • Revolution of Stock Market


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Laden’s Grand Strategy

  • An Unfinished Story

  • Patience!


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~~The End~~

Thank you for attending


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