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A Look Back at 2002 — From the Journal of Osama bin Laden

What would Osama bin Laden say about the state of al Qaeda in the past year?

December 23, 2002

What would Osama bin Laden say about the state of al Qaeda in the past year?

Allah be praised for his blessings to his servants over the past year.

A year ago, I hardly dared dream that al Qaeda would survive, let alone recover as well as we have. Kabul had fallen, and the enemy was closing in on our Afghan strongholds.

Our escape was uncertain, and our funds endangered. The floods of American dollars threatened even to buy my betrayal.

But we live — and with Allah's help we strengthen. Our brothers in Islam in their operations this year in Bali and in Kenya, in Tunisia and in Karachi, have revealed the extent of our reach.

Our enemies scurry like rats in the wreckage, looking for the wrong thing. They seek clues to the identity of our martyrs whom they call criminals, but they miss the point. We have many martyrs. And more join all the time as they see our effectiveness.

What our enemies fail to understand is that the new martyrs are not members of our core organization, not my Arab-Afghan veterans. They come from other lands, other groups, sympathizers rather than al Qaeda loyalists.

I do not know them all, so the CIA and FBI are chasing shadows. Part of our strength lies in our lack of organization.

These attacks are useful to keep alive the fear in the homelands of our enemies. Our bombs remind the Christians and Jews that the world is not theirs to travel and enjoy, endlessly open to their holidays and their shameful displays of nakedness and debauchery in our lands.

But the real attacks — and our real work — lies elsewhere. And it is curious how slow our enemies are to recognize it.

Because no Westerners died, they barely noticed the bombs in the Philippines that killed six local Christians, or the shootings of Christian Pakistanis in Karachi and Lahore.

They have never understood the war against the Christian infidels in Sudan, nor that the struggles in East Timor set Muslim Indonesians against the Christian enclave.

They do not understand that the Miss World idiocy in Nigeria — setting Muslims to kill Christians — proves that the world is moving in our direction.

Some of their wiser men half understand this when they talk of a war of cultures or a clash of civilizations. Perhaps they are too frightened of the name of God and the power of belief to give this war of religion, this new campaign against the Crusaders its true name — a war of faith.

Our foolish enemies look for our holy work in the wrong places. They focus on our tactics, on how we arrange to attack an oil tanker at sea or French naval engineers on land or a Jewish airliner and hotel in Africa. They do not stop to ask what is our strategy, and because of that, they fall constantly into our traps.

Our world of Islam grows plump with the targets they present. Their troops are scattered across our lands, in the holy peninsula and in the Gulf, in Pakistan and Afghanistan and all the Muslim lands to the north.

Thanks to their useful CNN and the even more useful al-Jazeera, I saw recently that their Green Berets had to call in B-52 bomber strikes in eastern Afghanistan to help them fight their way out of trouble. I will ensure that there will be more such troubles, wherever the Americans are to be found.

Allah be praised at their foolishness and their disarray! The Americans no longer trust their puppets in Saudi Arabia. They withhold the bribes they call aid from the impious Mubarak regime in Egypt, a poor reward for Mubarak's service in crushing the Muslim Brotherhood.

They push Pakistan's Musharraf towards 'democracy,' so now my hosts and friends control two of Pakistan's provinces. And the mindless Americans remain joined at the hip to our best recruiting sergeant, the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon — long may Allah let him continue to unite the Arab nation.

And the Crusaders are at odds among themselves. The Germans have gone militantly pacifist. The French find their national pride in tying the Americans' hands.

And Europeans and Americans alike all sneer at the Russians and the Serbs — the only Christians who understood early the power of this great Islamic revival and unity that I have pledged my life to build.

And the Russians and the Serbs may be the only Christians brutal enough to fight this war of faith as ruthlessly as we in al Qaeda intend to do.

Al Qaeda has had a very good year, and if the Americans go ahead with their plan to invade Iraq, next year should be even better.

I for one shall cheer when that atheist Ba'athist Saddam Hussein is sent to Hell, but cheer even more as the Americans remain in Iraq — to inflame the Islam nation even further.

We shall have them where we want them, exposed to our hatred, drained by our guerillas and overstretched beyond even their wealth as we gather our strength to evict these Crusaders once and for all.

And then, secure in our purified Islamic world, Allah's dutiful custodians of the oil wealth entrusted to us, we can launch the great work of conquest and conversion that Mohammed himself began over thirteen centuries ago.