Various variables must be considered when analyzing and laying out strategies for dealing with enemies. These variables of the operational environment include Political, Military, Economic, Social, Infrastructure and Information (PMESII).
Additionally two other variables i.e. Physical environment and Time (PT) have been added to the Army doctrine. In analyzing the letter from Abu Muhammad to Abu Musab, the way in which these variables present is of crucial importance if any meaningful strategies are to be designed and implemented.
From the letter, it is clear that there are administrative ranks within Al-Qaeda under the general leadership of Bin Laden. Being second in command in the global Al-Qaeda leadership, it is Abu Muhammad’s responsibility to offer guidance to regional leaders and this has clearly presented in this letter.
He details a plan for getting the American forces out of Iraq in order to establish a Muslim led administration, “The second stage: Establish an Islamic authority or amirate…over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq” (2005).
The said strategy is targeted at ensuring political dominance by Al-Qaeda both in Iraq and its neighboring countries. He also goes ahead to detail the strategy for installing the government and explains that once the Americans are sent out of Iraq, the governing authority will be elected by the people; an aspect that has a political bearing. Abu Muhammad requests Abu Musab to give him details regarding the political situation in Iraq (2005). This shows that Al Qaeda is interested in political supremacy more than anything else.
In the introductory part of the letter, Abu Muhammad reveals that he had sent a speech on tape for broadcast to the Al-Jazeera network. He inquires if the entire message was broadcast and promises to provide details of the speech in this particular letter. From this introductory part as
well, it is evident that the Al-Qaeda’s most convenient channel of communication is the letter preferably sent through various publications. It is also clear that any letters sent to the leader, Osama Bin Laden,
Abu Muhammad-Abu Musab 3
either pass through the hands of junior officials or Bin Laden reads them first and then communicates the message to his aides, “we received your last published message sent to brother Usama Bin Laden.” (Abu Muhammad, 2005). Later on in the letter, Abu Muhammad reveals that the greatest challenge that Al Qaeda faces is in the media. He claims that they are in a battle to win the hearts of the people since he perceives the support of the masses as the key driving force in their mission (Abu Muhammad, 2005).
The Al-Qaeda’s intended method of getting the American Forces out of Iraq involves usage of military force. In the letter, Abu Muhammad suggests that in order to get to their goal of forming an Islamic government, they have to start fieldwork immediately “alongside the combat and war.” (2005) He proceeds to propose a combination of military action and political forces in the raid against American forces and advices Abu Musab to ensure that enough support is received from the masses.
Abu Muhammad credits the Jihad as a very successful method of getting to their goal of dominating the Middle East. Even without him categorically stating this, his implied message by virtue of the definition of a Jihad is the use of military attack on forces that don’t share Al-Qaeda’s faith. The proposition that the Mujaheeden should not just stop at chasing away the Americans and “lay down their weapons” (Abu Muhammad, 2005) illustrates the kind of military force that the Alqaeda intends to use in its mission.
In order for the American forces to succeed in keeping the warring zones under check it is imperative that the various variables of the operational environment be given consideration while analyzing messages intercepted between the enemies’s various ranks.
Care should be taken to ensure that all seemingly minute details are properly included in all response decisions against an enemy attack. This is even more crucial when the enemy forces have centers of authority scattered all over the world. It is only by understanding the enemy’s line of thought that proper strategies can be crafted to ensure victory.
Muhammad, A. (June 18 2005). Personal communication. Abu Musab, 1-10.