Osama bin Laden
A video grab from an undated footage from the Internet shows Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden making statements from an unknown location. REUTERS

Osama bin Laden isn’t just a crazy terrorist trying to kill as many Americans as he can. In fact, that probably wasn’t his primary goal for the 9/11 attacks.

To understand what he wants, one must understand his ultimate desire, which is to recreate the Muslim Caliphate Empire.

The Caliphate Empire – built from the initial conquest of Mohamed, Islam’s founder – stretched from Spain to Afghanistan at its peak.

The religion of Islam and Islamic societies flourished – politically, economically, cultural, and technologically – during its rule.

The Caliphate’s power waned after the Mongols conquered Afghanistan in 1258. It officially collapsed in 1923 when the Ottoman Empire --which might be regarded as a successor to the original caliphate -- was replaced by the Republic of Turkey.

What bin Laden and other al-Qaeda members are trying to do is recreate this bastion of Islamic influence, power, and success.

They have accused Western empires of preventing this from happening in the past few decades.They believe the West purposely maintains a balance of power in the Middle East and suppresses the emergence of a single state strong enough to unite the Muslim world.

Their goal, therefore, is to bring down these Western powers.

Al-Qaeda’s plan is to engage Western empires in costly and long-term conflicts in Muslim countries, drain their economic resources, and bring about their economic demise. They theorize that once Western empires lose their economic strength, they will cease to be relevant as superpowers.

Bin Laden claims to have successfully carried out this plan against the Soviet Union. Now, he’s doing it to the US.

In a video released in 2004, he said the following:

- We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat.

- We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah.

- All that we have to do is to send two mujahedeen to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al Qaeda, in order to make generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic and political losses without their achieving anything of note other than some benefits for their private corporations.

- Every dollar of al Qaeda defeated a million dollars, by the permission of Allah, besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.

- As for the economic deficit, it has reached record astronomical numbers estimated to total more than a trillion dollars.

- And it all shows that the real loser is you. It is the American people and their economy.

The US reaction so far to bin Laden’s attacks since 9/11 plays right into this grand strategy.

In accordance to bin Laden’s plans, the US is engaged in a long-term conflict in two Muslim countries, putting on record deficits partly as a result of them, and struggling to recover from the recession and create jobs for Americans.

On May 1st, the US finally killed bin Laden after nearly ten years (and billions of dollars) of trying to hunt him down.

Bin Laden’s grand strategy and beliefs, however, are widely held by other al-Qaeda leaders, judging by the tapes, videos, and writings they have produced. So even after his death, bin Laden’s ideologies and methods continue to live on in al-Qaeda.