The Pentagon�s Joint Staff is very secretive but it is coming out of the shadows to better promote the idea that the global war on terrorism will be a "Long War" of perhaps 100 years� duration.
A Joint Staff briefing, entitled the "Long War," is given five or six times a week within the Pentagon to various public audiences and as many as 60 times around the country. The goal is to help the American people and leaders better understand the nature of the conflict, the enemy and its actions and the U.S. strategy and tactics for defeating them.
�It is not just about Iraq or Afghanistan. It involves the whole world and it involves the whole government,� said Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Schissler, deputy director of the war on terrorism within the Joint Staff J-5 strategy office.
According to the briefing, Al Qaida remains the main threat but it is also changing. The terrorist group is succeeding in making more connections around the globe, especially in Muslim-dominated regions where Islamists seek to re-establish a caliphate. These include North Africa, Southern Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Central and Southeast Asia.
�We see them reaching out a little more regionally and globally and you see groups that previously had not favored Al Qaida in some cases joining up with them now,� Schissler said. For example, terrorists in North Africa in the past had refused to join Al Qaida but recently have started to join forces with the group headed by Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri.
The briefing states that Al Qaida �has exploited a frustrated populace, increased communications, and improved tactics to inspire a global movement committed to establishing extremists domination over much of the world.�
�The extremists believe that only through total extremists domination can the Ummah once again be prominent in the world,� the briefing states, noting that Bin Laden has boasted that "the pious caliphate will start from Afghanistan."
The briefing discloses a 20-year Al Qaida plan to create an Islamist extremist homeland in the Middle East. The seven-stage plan began with the September 11 attacks as "The Awakening,� �Eye-Opening,� in 2003 when U.S. troops took Baghdad. The plan will continue with the �Arising and Standing Up� in 2007 with a new focus on Syria and Turkey, and also more direct confrontations with Israel to try to gain more credibility among Muslims.
By 2010, Al Qaida plans on the �Demise of Arab governments.� All this will culminate in an Islamic caliphate in 2013, when Al Qaida and Islamists gain powerful new allies such as China, and Europe declines into disunity.
The �Total Confrontation� period will commence from 2015 to 2020 with the creation of an Islamic Army that will begin a worldwide fight against believers and nonbelievers.
The "Definitive Victory" will be reached in 2020 when the Islamists will assume power globally.