Empire by Terror, Afghanistan to Syria: Brzezinksi’s al Qaeda Doctrine

Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine as defined by the US Department of Defense’s Dictionary of Military Terms:

” Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine is the calculated use of violence or threat of violence by proxy to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological in nature.”

Read why, after decades of global destabilization, Brzezinski’s terror policy has failed:

US Executive doctrine is meant to guide foreign policy, while the implementation of that guidance involves real-world action. All US presidential doctrines say essentially the same thing, that the United States will protect its interests anywhere at any time, by any means, with the latest iteration being the Wolfowitz Doctrinehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfowitz_Doctrine (1) (2)

But one clandestine doctrine is different. And since the background and history of Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine is unaddressed beyond intelligence circles, we document that history here.

Zbigniew Brzezinskihttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zbigniew_Brzezinski did not introduce the concept of soft power (3) but American failures in Korea and Vietnam required a new strategy for imposing US hegemony. Brzezinski believed that a long insurgency would damage the Soviets, just as Vietnam had damaged the US. In conjunction with the CIA, Brzezinski proposed Operation Cyclonehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone to engage the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. (4)

Originating with CIA Langley, Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine was enthusiastically endorsed by the Pentagon, by its analysts and contractors, and even by Hollywoodhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rambo_III . The result was the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

For the CIA Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine was an acceptable response to hegemonic challenge, even touted by al Qaeda’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahrihttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-qaeda/al-qaeda-chief-tells-jihadist-fighters-in-syria-unite-or-die-idUSKCN0XZ0OA

From his 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski provided this telling reply when asked about Blowbackhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowback_(intelligence) in Afghanistan, subsequent to the Soviet troop withdrawal in 1989:

“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? …What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?” (5) (6)


Brzezinski claimed US success in Afghanistan by 1998 – America’s longest warhttps://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/afghanistan-longest-war-american-history but admitted failure by the imposition of US ‘hard’ power there from 2002. Brzezinski proposed that his al Qaeda Doctrine had morphed into a disturbing new form, as adopted by the Bush-Cheney regimehttps://www.cfr.org/interview/brzezinski-america-lacks-international-credibility when the US invasion and occupation of Iraq failed.


When the US occupation of Iraq degenerated into a guerilla/ terror war, the strategy to end the insurgency with another insurgency was enforced by the “Sons of Iraq” and the “Concerned Citizens”, ie Sunni militias effectively sub-contracted by US Statehttps://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2008/10/200810151630737451.html

to enforce security, effectively a proxy reign of terror to oppose resistance to the US occupation in Iraq. The “Concerned Citizens” of Iraq originated with Cheney’s policy of “Re-direction” as documented by Seymour Hersh’s article of March 5th, 2007 . https://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh But redirection and proxy terror were not simply strategies to defeat insurgency by counter-insurgency in Iraq, insurgency worked on a global, as-needed basis to discourage Shia influence. (7)


The policy evolved beyond Iraq, tested in Lebanon in 2006 by Elliott Abramshttps://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Hersh_Bush_arranged_support_for_militants_0522.html resulting in the destruction of Nahr al Bared camp 2006-2007, a Palestinian refugee camp located in northern Lebanon.

The tragedy of Nahr al Baredhttps://www.france24.com/en/20190208-revisited-challenge-rebuilding-lebanon-nahr-al-bared-palestinian-refugee-camp-unrwa is largely unknown in the West, but was not unknown to the Bush regime via Elliott Abrams and Kataeb’s Saad Hariri in Lebanon.

Proxy local militias and takfiri terrorists provided the foundation for Redirection, directly evolved from Brzezinski’s ideas on soft-power, proven tactically (outside of Iraq) by the destruction of the Nahr al Bared camp in 2006. (8)


Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu had joined the Taliban in 1998 was a “probable member of Al Qaida and a member of the African Extremist Network”, a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and an alleged CIA asset by 2008. Gaddafi had warned that such rebel insurgency leaders — including al-Qaeda fighters — had been infiltrating Libya under the sponsorship of the CIA and other stateshttps://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204002304576627000922764650 as proved later by the Sinjar Papers and Wikileaks. (9) During the 2011 ‘Arab Spring’ revolts sponsored by US State, the CIA failed to vet their sponsorship of the radical Islamist February 17 Martyr’s Brigade. The CIA employed the Brigade to assist in the overthrow of Gaddafi, with disastrous results. https://www.thedailybeast.com/in-benghazi-cia-trusted-local-militia-that-melted-away To document the vast network of Islamist groups employed by US State and CIA (and other states) in Libya to oust Gaddafi is beyond scope, but the unfavourable result for Libya has been an object lesson for the application of Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine in Yemen.


Besides a botched MEK insurgencyhttps://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a504064.pdf the US also sponsored a farcical MEK operation, the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassadorhttps://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/31/iran-demands-apology-assassination-plot via a Mexican drug lord — a farce now long forgotten. But compare the foregoing to real covert acts of terrorism within Iran, where the US and Israel have ordered politically-motivated assassinations.


Iran is threatened by a massive US military presencehttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/14/world/middleeast/trump-iran-threats.html on its southern border. Iran is relatively self-sufficient and likely immune to US-led insurgency, considering the incompetence of the oppositionhttps://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/07/284292.htm . Iran can easily out-wait and outwit Trump’s Dogs of War, barring a US false flag.


Likewise in Syria by 2011, Syria’s insurgency was well-organized and funded by the United States, engineered by US State and the CIAhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore and Syria’s historic insurgency represented a major leap forward for Netanyahu’s “Clean Break”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Clean_Break:_A_New_Strategy_for_Securing_the_Realm developed from Brzezinki’s al Qaeda doctrine.

However, the US-led insurgency and Syrian regime-change attempt failed when Russian Federation forces effectively intervened in Syria at the behest of the Syrian government. The Russian Federation’s effective support for Syria’s sovereign government now called Brzezinki’s al Qaeda Doctrine into serious question.


Russian troop presence in Venezuela further upset Kimberly Breier’s CIA planshttps://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Who-Is-US-Intelligence-Official-Advising-Guaido-on-his-Regional-Tour-20190302-0013.html to destabilize Venezuela, via a Colombian-based insurgency.


China has taken steps to prevent a US-sponsored Uighur insurgencyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/world/will-chinas-uighur-detentions-spur-us-sanctions-mike-pompeo-wont-say-5711995/ and taken an active role in Africa to protect China’s interests from US mercenary insurgency. In a bizarre twist, the United States condemned China for its treatment of the Uighur’shttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/04/us-accuses-china-of-using-concentration-camps-uighur-muslim-minority .


The war in Yemen represents the new and current iteration of Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine / Redirection in 2019. Since 2014 Ansarullah (Houthi) forces have controlled Sana’a – Yemen’s largest city – and areas bordering Aden, opposing the Saudi/UAE -imposed Hadi government. While Ansarullah forces are called insurgents, the Saudi-UAE coalition reportedly employed al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to fight versus Ansarullah. Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning has denied the reports, and whatever alliance existed between AQAP and Saudi-UAE has apparently ended.

Mercenary insurgency represents the evolutionary embodiment of Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine, with disastrous results in US State foreign policy. From Afghanistan 1979 to the 2011 “Arab Spring”, to Syrian adventurism, MEK operations in Iran, color revolutions, or NATO‘s intervention in Libya, or Yemen, all these operations have resulted in disaster and destabilization. The disturbing expansion of Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine is the expansion of its use by other nations, even versus US interests, just one more unintended consequence for the United States. Eclipsed too is the US ability to successfully leverage a policy of covert insurgency. As such, Brzezinki’s al Qaeda Doctrine represents a massive failure of US foreign policy.

Subsequent to decades of US-led global destabilization, we see US sanctions and weaponization of SWIFT and financial instruments being used as the new strategy for “Securing the US-Israeli-Saudi realm” while Brzezinki’s al Qaeda Doctrine is increasingly untenable.

We must ask why the goal of US foreign policy is to disrupt and destabilize. According to geopolitical analyst Peter Lavelle, the goal of Empire throughout history was to impose order and stability on its subjects; to strive for stable levels of commerce and State interaction, to make Empire possible. At least that was the intent. Historically, Empire never maintained bad faith Imperial attempts to destabilize itself.

For the first time, Empire is attempting to destabilize itself through its own covert internecine warfare, globally… and even threatening its own allies, without reason. Presumably we will not have long to wait before we see the inevitable outcome.

” Brzezinski’s al Qaeda Doctrine is the calculated use of violence or threat of violence by proxy to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological in nature.” (10)

*The Nixon Doctrine (also known as the Guam Doctrine) was put forth in a press conference in Guam on July 25, 1969 by U.S. President Richard Nixon. He stated that the United States henceforth expected its allies to take care of their own military defense, but that the U.S. would aid in defense as requested. And, in cases involving other types of aggression, the US shall furnish military and economic assistance when requested in accordance with treaty commitments. But, Nixon said, the US shall look to the nation directly threatened to assume the primary responsibility of providing the manpower for its defense.

The Carter Doctrine states: “The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two-thirds of the world’s exportable oil. The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Straits of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world’s oil must flow. The Soviet Union is now attempting to consolidate a strategic position, therefore, that poses a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.”

The portentous last line as written by Brzezinski: “Let our position be absolutely clear: Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

(2) Like Brzezinski, Wolfowitz never held presidential office so the Wolfowitz Doctrine cannot be considered presidential guidance to US foreign policy, but essentially is.

(3) CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt installed the Shah Reza Pahlavi’s royal family to power in Iran while taking out the Parliamentary democracy of Mossadegh in 1953. It is interesting to note that British Imperial power could not interest Truman in the Mossadegh coup, while Eisenhower farmed out the job to the Dulles brothers when Eisenhower assumed power. (See Sourcewatch, “Iraq: the Road to War”)

(4) Brzezinski was coming to a new administration from Kissinger’s Vietnam tragedy, which shaped much of Brzezinski’s thinking in opposition to hard (military) power.

(5) Copyright, Le Nouvel Observateur and Bill Blum, Fair Use 1998

(6) Zbig has re-stated necessity for intervention by terrorist proxy in a late article, “After America” (Foreign Policy Jan 3,2012) this time re-hashing the old Neoconservative line that China is today’s major threat to US hegemony, but can only be covertly thwarted in its aims in satellite states, “At the same time, the security of a number of weaker states located geographically next to major regional powers also depends on the international status quo reinforced by America’s global preeminence..” These states are: Caucasus Georgia, Taiwan, South Korea, Belarus, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Israel, and the greater Middle East
(7) Seymour M. Hersh. “The Redirection”, The New Yorker, 5 March 2007.

(8) “Spotlight” documents US funding for the destruction of Nahr al bared, by the Lebanese army. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K9CWpa-fBc The Ain al-Hiweh and Yarmouk Palestinian camps in Syria were destroyed by the same means.

(9) Combating Terrorism Center, West Point, Sinjar Records

(10) The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms defines terrorism as: “The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.”

NB: The essence of any announced official Executive doctrine is interesting as a restatement of the Machiavellian power principle that the desired ends justify any means. See Mike Ledeen, “Machiavelli on Modern Leadership”. While an Executive doctrine may guide policy, the implementation of such guidance consists of real-world action, and the real-world aggression we see is not the “end terror” as the Bush Doctrine proclaimedhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_Doctrine but a preponderance of it.

By Steve Brown
Source: The Duran