The label ‘Al Qaeda’ has been used, or rather abused, ever since 11 September 2001 when the finger of blame for that terrifying day was pointed at bin Laden and his ‘al Qaeda’ organisation. Indeed, according to George Tenet in his book, At the center of the storm: My years at the CIA, bin Laden was blamed for the attacks by at least three-thirty in the afternoon of 11 September 2001.
Ever since 11 September 2001 bin Laden and/or al Qaeda have been used as an excuse for nigh on every attack that the US and the Israelis have made on Islamic peoples and their nations. An alleged relationship between Saddam Hussein and ‘al Qaeda’ was used as the casus belli for the US and its allies to invade Iraq. Dick Cheney even asserted that Saddam Hussein, with al Qaeda, was responsible for the events of 11 September 2001. But it turned out that there was no such connection at all.
As the insurgency against the occupiers in Iraq gained momentum and US and allied casualties began to mount, so the blame for the increased resistance was placed on ‘al Qaeda in Iraq’ and all those that resisted the occupation were labelled ‘terrorists’. The hate figure devised by the allies to perpetuate the propaganda myth of ‘al Qaeda in Iraq’ was ‘Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’. He gave something that young and gullible US and allied troops could go after. And when he was supposedly ‘killed’ in June 2006 there was much propaganda fanfare and mileage gained from his ‘death’ which was hailed as a ‘great victory’ against al Qaeda.
The ‘great victory’ was short-lived however, and a new hate figure, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, previously Zarqawi’s number two in Iraq, was quickly promoted before people started to believe that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s death may actually have signalled the end of the ‘war against terrorism’. It had been reported that he too had also been killed, not by allied forces but by Sunni insurgents in factional fighting, though this has not been confirmed by the US authorities in Iraq.
For some time Mossad, the Israeli intelligence organisation, have tried to plant stooges in the Gaza and West Bank among Palestinians who have tried to pass themselves off as ‘al Qaeda’. The Israelis have failed miserably in their attempts at this. For one thing, the Gaza resistance community is a very tight knit one where everyone just about knows everyone and strangers are very quickly pointed out. The same applies in the West Bank. Of late, however, the Israelis and the US have taken a new tack playing on the friction that has evolved between Hamas and Fatah. Despite the fact that Hamas was popularly elected to govern the Palestinian peoples the Israelis have constantly thwarted Hamas’ ability to so do and have attempted, almost successfully, to polarise the two groups and Palestinians. The US has been active in playing off one against the other by supplying arms to Hamas’ opposition, Fatah.
Meanwhile, in Lebanon, the same US officials responsible for working with the Israelis to undermine Hamas have also been arming and supplying a Sunni Palestinian refugee group in an effort to wedge the influence of the Shia Hizbollah predominate in southern Lebanon. The problem here is that the arrangements have backfired on the US. The group, known as Fatah al-Islam, has taken on an aggressive role against the Lebanese government. The western propaganda machine is trying to say that the Fatah al-Islam group are an ‘al Qaeda inspired’ group. In fact they are more like an ‘Elliot Abrams inspired’ group. The US is now desperately flying in big weapons to deal with this tiny group – which brings us to the next anomaly in this saga.
The group are said to be only five hundred strong at most, probably nearer three hundred, yet the US are going to a huge amount of effort to airlift a lot of weapons for the Lebanese government army. This is more than just a hammer to crack a nut. It’s more like a 300 tonne hydraulic press to squash a pea; unless, of course, the US knows something that the Lebanese don’t.
In raising the ante in Iraq, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza by again raising the empty spectre of ‘al Qaeda’ in order to get at Iran, Syria and Hizbollah, the US and the Israelis have exposed their hand about the myth of ‘al Qaeda terrorism’ in the Middle East.
 George Tenet, At the center of the storm: My years at the CIA. (New York: Harper-Collins, 2007.) p. 169.