7 November 2001
Source: Decision Support Systems, Inc.

Original PDF: http://cryptome.org/alqaida-game.pdf  (70KB)

[10 pages.]


D S S I          M E T A T E M P O : S U R V I V I N G     G L O B A L I Z A T I O N




2 NOVEMBER, 2001







DSSi’s strategic scenario analysis regarding Al-Qaida’s endgame leads to the following conclusions about the real current events:


The following analysis is the product of DSSi’s strategic analysis team using scenario planning to make sense of the current situation and the ‘war on terrorism.’ During the course of exploring future scenarios, past events acquired meaning, and the direction of the conflict as desired by Al-Qaida began to make sense.

Because of national security implications for the U.S., this material is being made available to assist the public in understanding the significance of the unfolding events. While the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001 were horrific, the consequences of success for Al-Qaida in their probable objective have the potential to destroy much of what are considered the benefits and functions of industrialized Nation-States.

Taking Osama bin Laden at his word, that he wants the U.S. out of the Middle East, and his desire for the destruction of the West, the stakes are greater even than massive fatalities by terrorist attack. That such ambitions are achievable were part of the conclusions of DSSi scenarios.


“This world is the prison of the believers and the paradise of the unbelievers.” –Islamic saying

It is critical to understand, and not to underestimate, the ‘network of networks’ that is the World Islamic Front, of which Al-Qaida is the most well-known component:


To understand the current and future events, it is necessary to realize that this ‘game’ has been going on already for a number of years. Only considering the events from 11 September 2001 does not provide adequate scope of how the conflict has evolved:

Al-Qaida’s terrorist attacks are not ‘thrill kills’—they have a purpose. Terrorist behavior, as with most individuals, is anticipatory—actions will be taken in anticipation of their results. If the results achieved are not what was desired, then different strategies and tactics are tried.

Prior to 2001, Al-Qaida attacked three different sorts of ‘target profiles’—civilian, diplomatic, and military targets—all without ‘success’ in achieving their purpose. It could be argued that “the attacks were the message,” and that mass casualties was the intention; shifting the target profile would then appear to be a demonstration of capabilities, range, and creativity. This does not fit well with the current ‘controlled escalation’ profile of Al-Qaida attacks, nor with their own stated purpose. The other primary reason, and the one assumed by DSSi to assess Al-Qaida strategically, coincides with their own statements that they are attempting to force the U.S. into engaging them on their terms (it should be reasonable to take bin Laden at his word—while he doesn’t issue statements directly related to attacks, his comments at other times are related, and ambitious enough to be considered). 11 September 2001 saw massive casualties inflicted largely on the civilian population inside the U.S. homeland. Al-Qaida now has the U.S. attention, the U.S. has responded as they intended, and events are moving along the course they planned out.

Why the necessity of forcing U.S. engagement in the region? Al-Qaida can not ‘win’ in the U.S. Beating the U.S. on its home territory would require massive conventional attacks or use of weapons of mass destruction, which Al-Qaida may be unable or unwilling (because of the possibility for immediate U.S. reprisals with its own weapons of mass destruction) to utilize at this point. The U.S. is also incredibly resourceful, technologically adept, in possession of vast material resources, and resilient psychologically. It is also not possible to effect a mass transformation of U.S. public or political opinion through the use of terrorist attacks, quite the opposite in fact. Comparison to the Afghanistan-Soviet conflict does not ‘mesh’ well because of the terrorism angle—the success against Soviet forces occurred when they were drawn into Afghanistan, not fought on Soviet territory. The Chechnya model must be considered—terrorist attacks in Moscow led to reprisal military action. This leads to the clear argument that the terrorist attacks have all along been intended to force U.S. engagement in the region, where U.S. forces deployed could in fact be destroyed. The more forces deployed, the more that can be destroyed, the better the result from Al-Qaida’s viewpoint. Future terrorist attacks on a massive scale would lead directly to such deployments of U.S. forces, particularly if the war can be widened—encouraging the U.S. to engage in massive military operations against regional Nation-States, such as has been discussed by U.S. strategic planners. Destruction of U.S. forces on this scale would have a dramatic adverse effect on overall U.S. national security as well as the geopolitical balance of power.

What is the evidence that the U.S. is acting as Al-Qaida predicted, and continues to function in ways for which Al-Qaida has planned? The most significant indicator is the 9 September 2001 assassination of Ahmad Shah Masoud, only two days before the attacks in the U.S. Given the level of planning that went into both operations, the assassination and the terror attacks, the timing cannot be viewed as a coincidence. Looking at the result of the Masoud assassination is helpful. Afghanistan, the known ‘home’ of Al-Qaida, is largely an Islamic warrior culture. U.S. operations in the past made the response to 11 September 2001’s attacks predictable—Desert Shield/Storm, missile attacks on Afghanistan and the Sudan, the air war over Kosovo. Coalitions, alliances with indigenous forces on the ground, use of ‘over the horizon’ weapons, reluctance to commit troops and suffer casualties, etc. are hallmarks of U.S. military operations. The assassination of Masoud removed the most likely single strong individual capable of providing leadership and a post-Taliban government. Not being able to stabilize the situation, the U.S. would be forced to continue active engagement over a longer period than it would normally like, and which would have been achievable had Masoud been available. The U.S.’s ‘proxy’ on the ground, the Northern Alliance, and ‘ally’ Pakistan, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, have also likely been penetrated by loyalists to the Taliban and Al-Qaida, as the execution of Abdul Haq on 26 October 2001 indicates. Haq’s capture and execution, within roughly twelve hours of entering Taliban-controlled areas, could only have been accomplished through unbelievable luck or good intelligence. The ISI has had close ties to the Taliban and Al-Qaida, close ties in the past to the ‘black’ network of BCCI, and has recently had key individuals removed because of concerns regarding their relationships. A great deal of preparation has gone into overt and covert control of the region, clearly with the foreknowledge of U.S. operations. Since the U.S. has not deviated from its ‘standard operating procedure,’ then the events unfolding were, predicted, planned, and prepared for by Al-Qaida.


Still unknown is whether or not Al-Qaida is behind the anthrax attacks in the U.S. Some argument has been made that, given the target profile, it is more probable that U.S. domestic terrorists are the perpetrators. This is a questionable conclusion—the timing makes no sense, nor do the targets. If domestic terrorists had the sophistication and capabilities, why choose now to strike, when the U.S. is mobilized against such actions?

There is a motivation possible for Al-Qaida that makes sense within the assumptions discussed so far. During Desert Shield/Storm, there was a great reluctance to engage in military operations from the ‘Left’ in the U.S. One of the most certain ways to convert ‘doves’ to ‘hawks’ is to personally target them in attacks. If such an attack is successful, the ‘dove’ is dead and out of the political picture; if such an attack fails, their viewpoint has shifted dramatically. Attacks such as the one on U.S. Senate Majority Leader Daschle have galvanized the political left. The mass of political opinion is now momentum toward military action—pushing operations faster than appropriate, moving faster than intelligence can be supplied, and silencing voices that might urge a more cautious approach. Attacks on the media create ‘feedback’ in the media cycle—coverage all out of proportion with the events, and ‘the story is the story.’ Targeted media outlets are also directed at serving the U.S. ‘grassroots’ population (such as the tabloid publisher), which feeds the political cycle through polling.

The anthrax attacks have additional benefits from the perspective of an attacker such as Al-Qaida:

An anomaly in the use of anthrax by Al-Qaida can be seen if one understands the history of terrorist operations. ‘No retreat’ operations—hijackings, hostage situations—led to the development of improved security measures and crisis management forces (commando teams). ‘No contact’ operations evolved in response—explosive devices on airplanes, hand-grenades into crowds, etc. ‘No survivor’ operations have evolved because of improved security measures—suicide bombers, and the terrorists of 11 September 2001—where a human mind is necessary to accomplish the mission. Al-Qaida has preferred to use ‘no survivor’ operations, while the anthrax attacks are clearly ‘no contact’ in approach. Whether undertaken by Al-Qaida, sponsored by Al-Qaida, or conducted by an unknown third-party, they do contribute to the momentum of the U.S. toward massive military action in the Middle East. Analysis of the anthrax agent used is contributing to the view of the super-’hawks’ that want to extend the conflict to include Iraq—Iraq is identified as one of the possible sources of the anthrax agent, many strategic planners in the U.S. feel Iraq is ‘unfinished business,’ and bin Laden’s comments about the suffering of the Iraqi people have helped move events in such a direction.


DSSi’s strategic scenario analysis of possible directions of future events leads in three primary directions: ungovernability, control of the petroleum production system, and destruction of the petroleum production system. The three approaches are in fact serial, and can be viewed as successive ‘fall-back’ strategies.

Conventional. Iraq, as part of their ‘spoiler’ strategy when forced out of Kuwait, managed to destroy many facilities and damage many wellheads. Given the number of individuals trained by Al-Qaida, the dispersed task of destruction of petroleum facilities is not out of the question; plans for such ‘rolling destruction’ date back to World War II, when many production systems were in fact destroyed

Nuclear. There are a limited number of strategic positions that a nuclear device could be detonated at as a demolition charge, having three effects: massive radiation exposure of the petroleum system; hydrostatic shockwaves destroying the in-place production systems; hydrostatic shockwaves shifting or destroying the accessibility of petroleum supplies. Again, such devices could be obtained from Pakistan, Russia (which has never adequately accounted for its ‘backpack’ nuclear weapons), or perhaps Iraq (less likely, given the impact on Iraq’s petroleum supplies as well)

Nuclear. Osama bin Laden’s recent comments in support of the Palestinian cause may have been for more than generation of popular support, and linking his cause to theirs. It has ‘engaged’ Israel as well. Any conflict in the Middle East would likely draw in the Israelis—unlike in Desert Storm, Ariel Sharon has expressed that Israel will respond to any attacks made on it. Israel has nuclear-warhead equipped missiles, and would perhaps use them if provoked adequately. What form such provocation might take is unknown, but launching a weapon of mass destruction on a SCUD would invite retaliation, particularly if the launch platform and Al-Qaida leadership were located conveniently on critical petroleum system points. The politics of why this is not an ‘unthinkable’ scenario are beyond the scope of this document, but it can be stated that Israel has little to lose by destruction of their regional competition, particularly the source of their incomes


Any loss of U.S. position in the Middle East would have considerable regional consequences:


Whichever of the three possible endgame scenarios Al-Qaida is playing for, the impact of their success on the global economy would be a lasting depression:

As a consequence of such events unfolding in the Middle East, the geopolitical balance could shift away from the U.S. This almost certainly would leave Nation-States such as China and Russia in positions of advantage—able to secure their own petroleum supply, maintain military ‘force projection’ capabilities, and dictate terms inside their regional spheres because of the dependence upon petroleum products.


Again, DSSi’s strategic scenario analysis regarding Al-Qaida’s endgame leads to the following conclusions about the real current events:

DSSi believes the materials presented in the above strategic scenario analysis substantiate these conclusions.


Similar to the conclusions presented in the above scenario analysis, President Bush today warned the public of Al-Qaida’s global ambition and quest for nuclear weapons. Thus, this material is made available to assist the public in understanding the significance of unfolding events. In reviewing our assessment, please keep in mind the following:

Transcription and HTML by Cryptome.