A charming fellow going by the name of Abu Bakr Naji has authored what must, objectively, be called a brilliant strategy manual for jihadists around the world, entitled The Management of Savagery. Found on the Internet and translated into English, it provides a fascinating look into the mind of an intellectual, worldly terrorist, who advocates reading modern management books (which have often taken their lessons from American business) as well as Western anthropological studies of Middle Eastern tribes in order to gain insights about ruling a future Islamic state. More chilling, however, is Naji’s advocacy of causing chaos in weaker states in Africa to provide a foundation for world domination — a scenario played out in Somalia, for example. By creating civil war, Naji aims to destabilize regions and then have jihadists enter and provide security for desperate peoples — in essence, by employing a manufactured heroism strategy. Naji is also quite sophisticated about the power of the media, asserting that U.S. geopolitical dominance is as much about the image of the U.S. as an invincible state as it is about actual U.S. firepower, and that to defeat the U.S., al-Qaeda must first defeat the U.S. image.
The bright side of all of this is that, while Naji’s manual may be a first-rate theory, life is a little less tidy. Commentators note that one of al-Qaeda’s more successful “princes,” the late al-Zarqawi, did not play by the book — he squandered media sympathy by attacking other Muslims, bombing Amman and beheading captives. Brutes rarely follow the rules, even the ones they’d be smart to follow.