Al-Qaeda’s 20-Year Plan: From 9/11 to Final Victory

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (

Al-Akhbar Management

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (top), during a protest in solidarity with Syria's anti-government protesters, in the port-city of Tripoli in north Lebanon October 7, 2011. (Photo: REUTERS - Omar Ibrahim).

By: Radwan Mortada

Published Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In certain Salafi-jihadi circles, a so-called strategic plan of al-Qaeda is being circulated. Al-Qaeda has ostensibly been working to implement this plan according to a two-decade timetable, beginning in 2000, with preparations for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and concluding in 2020.

The widespread belief that al-Qaeda’s bloody activities are random and not governed by any clear strategy is a misconception. To be sure, counterterrorism agencies possess dozens of documents on al-Qaeda’s projects and long-term strategic plans, which have well-defined goals.

For example, one security agency, nearly a year after the beginning of the conflict in Syria, was able to intercept correspondence between the leader of al-Nusra Front, Abu Mohammed al-Golani, and a prominent al-Qaeda figure in Lebanon, outlining the jihadi group’s plans after the fall of the Syrian regime, which included recruiting experts in medicine, chemistry, IT, and telecommunications, and spreading out across Lebanon in preparation for operations.

Documents obtained by this security agency reveal that al-Qaeda’s strategy in Lebanon and the region includes specific objectives, both on the ground and at the level of recruitment and mobilization.

Some of the features of the plan were mentioned in a book published in 2005 by Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein, titled Zarqawi – Al-Qaeda’s Second Generation. Hussein interviewed Sheikh Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, a prominent al-Qaeda ideologue, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in the Swaqa prison in Jordan.

Another book circulating in jihadi forums, titled This is How We See and Want Jihad, sheds light on the objectives, plans, and stages through which al-Qaeda wants to take power. The plan calls for expanding jihadi activities to cover the entire world, “to amplify the nation’s strength and terrorize its enemies.” The plan is divided into seven phases, and covers two decades, from 2000 to 2020, the year “final victory” would be achieved.

The first phase from 2000 to 2003 is dubbed the awakening stage. This phase focused on “reawakening the nation” by “dealing a powerful blow to the head of the snake in New York. The aim: to push the United States to react in a way that would “crown al-Qaeda as the leader of the nation.” This is in reference to what al-Qaeda calls the US “crusade” against Islam with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, which – according to al-Qaeda – made the Americans easy prey and al-Qaeda the viral brand it is today. This phase ended with the US occupation of Iraq in 2003.

The second phase from 2003 to 2006 is dubbed the “eye-opening stage.” In this phase, al-Qaeda’s plan was to perpetually engage the enemy in combat, while developing so-called “electronic jihad” capabilities, in preparation for the third phase.

In parallel, al-Qaeda would expand quietly in strategic parts of the Arab and Islamic world, while using Iraq as a base to build an army to be deployed in neighboring countries, also with the start of the third phase. In addition, efforts would be stepped up to raise funds from Muslims though charities and alms, to be diverted to al-Qaeda.

The third phase from 2007 to 2010 is dubbed “rising up and standing on the feet,” a phase of proactive al-Qaeda activities. During this stage, important changes would be introduced in the region surrounding Iraq.

First, the focus would be on al-Sham (Greater Syria), with sayings of the Prophet Mohammad interpreted to suggest that this region would be next after Iraq in the conflict, “not to mention the clear plans to partition Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan into sectarian statelets to reshape the region.”

In his book, quoting Maqdisi and Zarqawi, the Jordanian journalist pointed out that the idea of creating a jihadi division in Greater Syria, known as Jund al-Sham, had actually been proposed in the days of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, though the idea could not be developed further because of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.

Hussein explains that the advocates of this idea returned to Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq at the time (2005), to prepare themselves for any opportunity there. At the end of this phase, al-Qaeda would have theoretically finished its preparations to initiate direct operations in Palestine and on the border with the state of Israel, “establishing al-Qaeda as the legitimate leader of the nation.”

The fourth phase, from 2010 to 2013, dubbed “recovery,” coincided in reality with the Arab Spring wave of uprisings and the crisis in Syria. In this phase, al-Qaeda would focus on toppling regimes by directly participating in insurgencies against them.

Al-Qaeda’s plan, according to the documents, would seek to “discredit the regime in the eyes of the people by helping expose their collaboration with US policy.” This, according to al-Qaeda’s plan, would be coupled with the growth of al-Qaeda and the exhaustion of US power through direct combat, but also “electronic attacks targeting the US economy, and attacks against Arab oil installations, to hurt regimes and their Western backers.”

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda seems to favor gold as an international reserve currency and wants to peg other currencies to gold. In its belief, this would lead to the US dollar’s collapse, since it is not pegged to gold.

In this phase, too, according to al-Qaeda’s plan, Israel would be in a weak state as a result of internal conflict, declining international support, and the collapse of Arab regimes that protect Israel.

The fifth phase from 2013 to 2016 would see the “declaration of the caliphate or the Islamic state,” al-Qaeda’s ultimate goal. This phase would see many international transformations, beginning with the demise of the Anglo-Saxon axis and the emergence of new world powers that Muslims have no strong antagonisms with, such as India and China, in tandem with the exponential rise of al-Qaeda.

The sixth phase from 2016 to 2020 is the phase of “total war.” Al-Qaeda’s ideologues estimate that the beginning of 2016 would be the “beginning of the confrontation between faith and disbelief, which would begin in earnest after the establishment of the Islamic caliphate,” echoing Osama bin Laden’s discourse in many of his speeches. This would be followed by the final phase, the phase of “final victory,” sometime in 2020. By then, according to al-Qaeda’s plans, “the Islamic state’s capabilities will be great beyond measure when Muslims would number more than 1.5 billion.”

The documents outlining this strategy were published in 2005. Comparing their contents to reality, one realizes that many of the objectives have indeed been achieved: the attacks in New York and Washington in 2001; using Iraq and Afghanistan as a base to build a “jihadi army”; and the subsequent expansion into Syria, culminating with the declaration of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2013, as was stated in the documents published in 2005. Will al-Qaeda continue to grow in strength all the way to achieving victory in 2020?

Hezbollah in the Eyes of al-Qaeda

Jihadi websites have also circulated a book titled Hezbollah and the Dissemination of the Shia Sect, overviewing the Lebanese Resistance Party’s ideology from al-Qaeda’s perspective. The book was first published on the website Minbar al-Tawhid wal Jihad, which focused on promoting the ideas of al-Qaeda ideologue Sheikh Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s mentor.

The book summarizes the jihadi perception of Hezbollah, and warns Sunnis, especially in Palestine, against falling prey to the Lebanese Shia party. According to Sheikh Halimeh, “Hezbollah is the major gateway for the international Shia plot through Palestine, which Hezbollah exploits to spread Shiism in the world.”

The book’s author, Sheikh Abdul-Munim Halimeh, has sided with the Islamic Front against ISIS in Syria. It is also worth mentioning that the book was published in 2002, nearly a decade before Hezbollah’s intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Follow Radwan Mortada on Twitter.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.


Sounds like the usual Western bullcrap, masking as "Muslim Terrorists". Isnt it funny how all their aims fulfill the ZIONISTS' plans for the area? While never really attacking or diminishing Israeli power- only increasing it? lolol The attack on Hezbollah was the biggest give-away.
ISIS IS ISrael, and its plans sound like Oded Yinon's 'ZIONIST PLAN FOR THE M.E." from the 1980s and earlier.
More Masonic B'nai B'rith GARBAGE by the fake JEWhadis and their MISTA'ARAVIM posing as Islamists. biggest joke of all is ISIS's "refusal to defend Gaza" and the Palestinians- on principle. lolol

Sounds very much like the Neocon- Zionist's Clean Break plan for the region... Is there a connection? How did Al Qaeda manage to pull off 9/11 using box cutters of all weapons? How did building 7 fall? Once the so-called War on Terror began, the true axis of resistance was targeted and sanctioned, while Al Qaeda was allowed to expand and strengthen itself ...

It's 2014. How convenient for this conspiracy.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><img><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><blockquote><span><aside>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

^ Back to Top