Don't let this week's anniversary of Osama bin Laden's assassination fool you. President Barack Obama may have killed bin Laden, but no one on Earth has done more to help al-Qaeda and the world's radical Islamists achieve their goals in the last year than our president.
Bin Laden's ultimate goal was for radical Islamists to rise up and retake control of the Middle East from largely secular, American-backed leaders. Bin Laden's strategy was to use terror attacks on the West to inspire this.
Just a few years ago, bin Laden probably couldn't have fathomed that it would be an American president who would ultimately accomplish his goal of bringing radical Islamist leaders to power in Middle Eastern countries, or that the same American president would get closer to accomplishing those goals in just three years than bin Laden himself did in his entire multi-decade terror career.
Bin Laden also didn't know he wouldn't be alive to see it because that president, Barack Obama, would preside over his assassination just as radical Islamists were on the brink of bringing the caliphate to life with the American government's help.
Today, a year after bin Laden's death, a sizable chunk of Middle Eastern real estate is either in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded groups or on the brink of falling into their hands. The newly empowered Muslim Brotherhood, which as recently as two years ago was banned from political life in most of the countries it now runs, comes to and goes from the White House with impunity.
This happened thanks to a consistent, persistent strategy by the Obama administration of using American pressure, diplomacy, and firepower, or the lack of it, to ensure that country after country slips from secular rule into Islamist control.
In the beginning, when the people in Washington were pressuring secular leader and long time U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt, the Obama administration would still distance itself from groups like the Brotherhood, assuring the American public that they wouldn't be strong enough to take over Egypt, or that if they did, they wouldn't really be that radical. Today the Brotherhood controls the Egyptian parliament, and an ex-Muslim Brotherhood leader whom the media is selling as moderate stands poised to take the presidency of that country.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration is finally beginning to come out of the closet on its real plans for radical Islamists like the Brotherhood -- to put them in power in country after country. Obama administration officials call this strategy "legitimate Islamism."
The theory is that with secular leaders who were former U.S. allies out of the way in Middle Eastern countries, radical Islamists will now have an outlet for their Islamism and won't join al-Qaeda.
Obama administration officials were pretty blunt about this in a recent National Journal interview, explaining that the president came to a "realiz[ation that] he has no choice but to cultivate the Muslim Brotherhood and other relatively 'moderate' Islamist groups emerging as lead political players out of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere."
"It is no longer the case, in other words, that every Islamist is seen as a potential accessory to terrorists," administration officials told the Journal. "Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaeda see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism."
Today, the Obama administration no longer hides its goal of bringing the Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded Islamists to power.
And that's exactly what Obama has been doing. After American and international firepower drove former leader Moammar Gaddafi from power in Libya, the country came to be run by the Transitional National Council, which the Obama administration recognizes as the official government of Libya. It is packed with activists, lawyers, Islamic scholars, and others who have ties to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.
In 2007, the LIFG formally joined al-Qaeda, an event so well-documented that even Reuters covered it. Its goals at the time included killing Gaddafi, setting up an Islamic caliphate in Libya, and waging international jihad. With Obama's help, they are well on their way to accomplishing these goals.
The National Transitional Council, which is backed by the Obama administration, has already decreed that the country will be run in accordance with sharia law. The Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists are expected to make a strong showing in the next election. And they'll have plenty of dough with which to carry out their plans, since the Obama administration and NATO turned the country's oil fields, which are capable of generating billions of dollars of oil revenue a year, over to them.
In Afghanistan, the Obama administration is conducting "peace talks" with the Taliban aimed at bringing them into the government, even as Taliban operatives kill U.S. troops daily on the battlefield. Given the Taliban's obvious inability to win control of the Afghan government for themselves on the battlefield, the Obama administration's determination to hand it to them at the negotiating table is baffling. This would create yet another radical Islamist-dominated Middle Eastern nation -- the exact opposite of what American troops have been fighting and bleeding for in that country for a decade.
In Syria, where the Obama administration is calling for dictator Bashar Assad to step down, the U.S. has left secular forces to fend for themselves and backed an Islamist-dominated group called the Syrian National Council, which has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The list goes on and on, but in country after county, the results are the same. Osama bin Laden's dream, which he thought would take decades to achieve, is coming to life in a single term of Obama's presidency. Bin Laden's Middle Eastern caliphate is rising. Once united in Islam, the caliphate was supposed to turn outward, conquering the rest of the Earth for Allah. No word yet on where Obama stands on that part of the plan. Perhaps we'll have to wait for a second term to find out.
While Americans focus this week on the anniversary of the killing of bin Laden and feel smug about our destruction of al-Qaeda's main cell, they need to understand that with bin Laden's dream already in motion, al-Qaeda is in many ways is an outdated relic whose purpose has already been served.
By Tara Servatius