On the surface, the story seems simple and detached from the political battles of triumphs or failure against the global Islamic jihad movement. Khalid al-Hubayshi, 32yrs old, was one of Bin Laden's fighters captured in Tora Bora, and held at Camp Gitmo until 2006. Today he's back in his native Saudia Arabia, working as a controller at a utilities company. And per this article, quite embittered with a less than glorious call to jihad. Thank goodness.. because were he still a jihad warrior, the last place he needs to work is at a utilities facility.
Woven thruout his story as a naive and impressionable 19 yr old, who idolized Bin Laden, are startling documentations of success in the war of ideology with jihad.
He was released in 2006 into a world radically altered by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Muslim fighters were no longer viewed in Arab countries as larger-than-life heroes, and clerics had stopped urging young Muslims to fulfill their religious duties by fighting on behalf of their brethren.
Hubayshi had also changed. He had grown disillusioned with bin Laden, whose initial idealism had turned into terrorism, he said, adding that his family, "not bin Laden," had suffered when he was at Guantanamo.
Muslim fighters no longer viewed as heroes? What hasn't this remarkable change made major headlines?
al-Hubayshi still feels betrayed by OBL at Tora Bora.
Weeks later [after 911], an associate of bin Laden came seeking experienced fighters, and those without families left for Tora Bora. In the trenches there, the fighters ate and slept and cleaned their weapons, surrounded by the distant sounds of bombardments.
"Bin Laden was convinced the Americans would come down and fight. We spent five weeks like that, manning our positions in case the Americans landed," he said.
As the airstrikes moved closer, and with the United States' Afghan allies advancing, bin Laden decided to retreat and left one morning. His aides told 300 Arab fighters to make their way to Pakistan and surrender to their embassies.
Pakistani authorities stopped the fighters near the border and handed them over to the U.S. military, which sent them to Guantanamo Bay.
Hubayshi then states, "The whole way to Cuba, I prayed the plane would fall," he said. "There was no dignity in what he made us do."
Hubayshi said he is sorry that Muslims carried out the Sept. 11 attacks because they targeted civilians: "That was wrong. Jihad is fighting soldier to soldier."
In all the years he spent trying to help Muslims, Hubayshi said, he regrets he did not do more.
"My dream was that I would fight when there was fighting, and teach children when there was peace," he said. "I'm sorry we left Afghanistan with so much war and death. I wish we had built hospitals or schools."
The Arab world's increasing rejection of the Islamic jihad movement's tactics, combined with increased awareness, as demonstrated by Habayshi, are landmarks in a battle against a stateless enemy. Landmarks that, sadly, would not have been possible but for the resulting war in Iraq. Given the chance to brazenly demonstrate their brutal warfare, the wanton killing of fellow Muslims, innocent women and children included, became the foundation for Iraq's The Awakening bond. Outside of Iraq, it has greatly diminished their respect in the Muslim world who once considered them "heroes".
Quiet success? Absolutely. Had we not liberated Iraq, and the cards fell as they may, it is most likely that the jihad fighters still would be idolized as heroes today, and more young men as Habayshi ensnared in their delusions of glory.