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Is El Qaeda still a force to be reckoned with?





deanhills
Just learned through Yahoo!News that El Qaeda now has a successor to Bin Laden. He is a long-time friend of Bin Laden's, a medical doctor - Ayman al-Zawahri. Wonder whether he would have the same talent that Bin Laden used to have during his very active years around 2001 when he was able to get some meaningful funding, as I would think that would be the key to the re-affirming the power of El Qaeda, i.e. their ability to buy politicians in Pakistan for example. I aslo wonder whether he would be dynamic enough in order to grab the imagination of Islamists like Bin Laden apparently could do. I remember with a El Jazeera show that it was pointed out that Bin Laden had a really good knack for befriending the Mullahs .... and contributing to their financial needs, but apparently sincerely.

Here's more info about the new leader of El Qaeda:
Quote:
Ayman al-Zawahri, who turns 60 on Sunday, has long brought ideological fire, tactics and organizational skills to al-Qaida. The surgeon by training was first behind the use of the suicide bombings and independent terror cells that have become the network's trademarks.

He is believed to be living somewhere near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and has appeared in dozens of videos and audiotapes in recent years, increasingly becoming the face of al-Qaida as bin Laden kept a lower profile.

Al-Zawahri had been considered the most likely successor because of his long-time collaboration with bin Laden, and analysts had said that few were likely to challenge the al-Qaida deputy leader for the top spot.

He and bin Laden first crossed paths in the late 1980s in the caves of Afghanistan, where al-Zawahri reportedly provided medical treatment to bin Laden and other Islamic fighters battling Soviet forces. Their alliance would develop years later into the terror network blamed for America's worst terror attack in its history.

However, U.S. intelligence officials have said that some al-Qaida members find al-Zawahri to be a controlling micromanager who lacks bin Laden's appeal. And al-Zawahri also faces significant challenges in promoting al-Qaida's agenda following uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa movements that were driven by a desire for democracy rather than a religious state.


Source: Yahoo!News
menino
I believe Bin Laden had more leadership skills than al-zawahri.
But it doesnt mean that Al Qaeda will die off that easily, even if Zawahri may not have flexed his muscles as yet.
Al Qaeda hates America and Israel (mainly), and as long as these sentiments can be prolonged in anyone, terrorism will never be eliminated.
The problem is that Al Qaeda is targetting innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to spread terror across, and that is sad to see.

Even if AL Qaeda dies out.... there are a lot of other factions out there that just in need of proper leadership and finances, and then there's more trouble.

I hope no one really goes to study Osama Bin Laden, but I think a lot of people will try to be like him.
deanhills
menino wrote:
The problem is that Al Qaeda is targetting innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to spread terror across, and that is sad to see.
Right! But they are working in very favourable circumstances with very fervent anti-American and even more important anti-Obama sentiment in those areas. I remember when Obama had just become President, and I'd asked the local taxi drivers who are from Afghanistan and Pakistan what they thought of Obama, and they thought this guy was great. Ask them now and you get a very spontaneous exclamation.

Having said that, I think the key is really funding. And probably to get the funding, they would have to convince sponsors that they are a viable organization with "meaningful" objectives.
menino
Yes, a lot of anti-sentiment has grown on Obama among Pakistanis and Afghanistanis.

The funding has to be highly secure, and untraceable, and that is one of the reasons that funding is less than before.
But a lot of al qaedas funding happens through selling drugs from afghanistan and also stealing arms and selling them to fund the terrorist groups as well.
it was found some time ago, that some charity groups were also funding terrorist cells, but I guess funding can happen in any way..... like for example .. some disgruntled person who hates the west and has no family (possibly because of some war with the west), will leave all his assets / will to a terrorist cell. this is just one example, and I hope it never happens, but you never know.... Sad
deanhills
menino wrote:
The funding has to be highly secure, and untraceable, and that is one of the reasons that funding is less than before.
But a lot of al qaedas funding happens through selling drugs from afghanistan and also stealing arms and selling them to fund the terrorist groups as well.
it was found some time ago, that some charity groups were also funding terrorist cells, but I guess funding can happen in any way..... like for example .. some disgruntled person who hates the west and has no family (possibly because of some war with the west), will leave all his assets / will to a terrorist cell. this is just one example, and I hope it never happens, but you never know.... Sad
Agreed. Particularly with the latter. Those cells got me worried too.
liljp617
deanhills wrote:
menino wrote:
The problem is that Al Qaeda is targetting innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to spread terror across, and that is sad to see.
Right! But they are working in very favourable circumstances with very fervent anti-American and even more important anti-Obama sentiment in those areas. I remember when Obama had just become President, and I'd asked the local taxi drivers who are from Afghanistan and Pakistan what they thought of Obama, and they thought this guy was great. Ask them now and you get a very spontaneous exclamation.


Probably because half their family has been blown to pieces by the US for no apparent reason.
deanhills
liljp617 wrote:
deanhills wrote:
menino wrote:
The problem is that Al Qaeda is targetting innocent civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to spread terror across, and that is sad to see.
Right! But they are working in very favourable circumstances with very fervent anti-American and even more important anti-Obama sentiment in those areas. I remember when Obama had just become President, and I'd asked the local taxi drivers who are from Afghanistan and Pakistan what they thought of Obama, and they thought this guy was great. Ask them now and you get a very spontaneous exclamation.


Probably because half their family has been blown to pieces by the US for no apparent reason.
Well said. Amazing how well connected all of them are. These guys are all on the same page. Like having their own live broadcasting operation. They are checking world news on radios right through the day and are working their cell phones very hard. The faces are all different but their anti-American philosophy seems to be very solid and sorted out. Canada seems to be OK however. Very Happy
jmlworld
Nobody can predict Al-Zawahiri and whether he's as talented as Osama bin Laden, but I've a feeling that Al-Qaeda is past of its prime at the moment and it may take few more years before they come up with another groundbreaking plot. They lost valuable members in Osama bin Laden who's confirmed dead and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad who's a U.S. detainee in my knowing.

At the moment, all they can do is to blow up innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia.

menino wrote:
I hope no one really goes to study Osama Bin Laden, but I think a lot of people will try to be like him.
I hope so, but there are a lot of folks drawing inspiration from the old man.
deanhills
jmlworld wrote:
Nobody can predict Al-Zawahiri and whether he's as talented as Osama bin Laden, but I've a feeling that Al-Qaeda is past of its prime at the moment and it may take few more years before they come up with another groundbreaking plot. They lost valuable members in Osama bin Laden who's confirmed dead and Khalid Sheikh Muhammad who's a U.S. detainee in my knowing.
I'm just wondering while everyone's attention is on El Qaeda, whether another more lethal organization may be in the process of growing. Sort of would make sense wouldn't it? There has to be some really angry revolutionaries in that neck of the woods who would like to even the score a little. Question
jmlworld
deanhills wrote:
I'm just wondering while everyone's attention is on El Qaeda, whether another more lethal organization may be in the process of growing. Sort of would make sense wouldn't it? There has to be some really angry revolutionaries in that neck of the woods who would like to even the score a little. Question


Most of these guys go public in their early days to show off their bragging rights; but as you noted, there may be an underground Qaeda-like revolutionaries in the process. It's not easy to build such sensitive group from ground zero though.

Al-Qaeda was some legitimate group back in the 80's when all the attention was on the USSR.
deanhills
jmlworld wrote:
Al-Qaeda was some legitimate group back in the 80's when all the attention was on the USSR.
I guess it is time for a book to be written about it, although I wonder who would be brave enough to do that ... Very Happy
Bikerman
jmlworld wrote:
Al-Qaeda was some legitimate group back in the 80's when all the attention was on the USSR.

'Al Queda' simply means 'the base'. The name apparently originates, as you say, in the 1980's when the US was busy encouraging OBL and his mujahedeen fighters to take on the USSR in Afghanistan. The mujahedeen leadership were based in a particular training camp, and it was generally known as 'al queda' - the base.
jmlworld
Bikerman wrote:
jmlworld wrote:
Al-Qaeda was some legitimate group back in the 80's when all the attention was on the USSR.

'Al Queda' simply means 'the base'. The name apparently originates, as you say, in the 1980's when the US was busy encouraging OBL and his mujahedeen fighters to take on the USSR in Afghanistan. The mujahedeen leadership were based in a particular training camp, and it was generally known as 'al queda' - the base.

I think this is how they come up with such vague name. Some respected media stations go overboard and translate the term 'Al-Qaeda' as 'underground', isn't it what kids call lazy journalism? Osama bin Laden himself cited the origin of the name:
Quote:
The name "al Qaeda" was established a long time ago by mere chance. The late Abu Ebeida El-Banashiri established the training camps for our mujahedeen against Russia's terrorism. We used to call the training camp al Qaeda [meaning "the base" in English]. And the name stayed.

Source: Transcript of Bin Laden's October interview -- an interview with Al Jazeera journalist Tayseer Alouni in October 2001


Back to the main topic, I read an interesting summary of Al-Qaeda's 20-year strategy (the article was published in 2005), and it sums up the strategy in seven main phases. We're probably in the fourth phase:

Quote:
The Fourth Phase: Between 2010 and 2013, Hussein writes that al-Qaida will aim to bring about the collapse of the hated Arabic governments. The estimate is that "the creeping loss of the regimes' power will lead to a steady growth in strength within al-Qaida." At the same time attacks will be carried out against oil suppliers and the US economy will be targeted using cyber terrorism.

Source: The Seven Phases of The Base


This is probably true. The Arab World is in the middle of upraise at the moment, few Arab regimes are in the verge of collapse (Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya), while Egypt and Tunisia are already done. Iraq is powerless and Somalia is already a breeding ground for jihadistas.

Now, what's next?

In may opinion, Al-Qaeda can stand firm in the next 50 years or so. I don't know whether their ideology will change or not, but they have what it takes to remain masterminds.
deanhills
jmlworld wrote:
This is probably true. The Arab World is in the middle of upraise at the moment, few Arab regimes are in the verge of collapse (Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya), while Egypt and Tunisia are already done. Iraq is powerless and Somalia is already a breeding ground for jihadistas.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I have great difficulty believing that El Qaeda has been responsible for all of the uprisings in the Arab World. Their main base is Pakistan and Afghanistan and I have not seen any similar uprisings in Pakistan for example.
menino
liljp617 wrote:
[quote=Probably because half their family has been blown to pieces by the US for no apparent reason.


I'm not sure that is is for no apparent reason.
The real reasons might not be known, but a lot of the residents in those areas do look suspicious, and have illegal ammunition in their homes, whether they use them or not.
A lot of illegal arms are for protection than for causing harm (for a lot of the residents), but from the history of US strikes, innocent civilians are also affected.
When an armed militant goes to his home, or to a base camp, it would be difficult to establish, which is which, and then preemptive strikes do cause civilian casualties.
I'm not saying that I condone this, but that was one of the reasons that US has affected civilians.
jmlworld
deanhills wrote:
jmlworld wrote:
This is probably true. The Arab World is in the middle of upraise at the moment, few Arab regimes are in the verge of collapse (Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and Libya), while Egypt and Tunisia are already done. Iraq is powerless and Somalia is already a breeding ground for jihadistas.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but I have great difficulty believing that El Qaeda has been responsible for all of the uprisings in the Arab World. Their main base is Pakistan and Afghanistan and I have not seen any similar uprisings in Pakistan for example.

But the main reason to establish Al-Qaeda was, as Osama bin Laden himself said, to "oust the crusaders from the Arabian Peninsula." Al-Qaeda may not be directly involved in this, but don't you think that they can take advantage from the unrest in Yemen, Syria and Libya?
deanhills
MJsusan wrote:
yes, El Qaeda is still a force to be reckoned with
Why do you say that?
Smile
menino
[quote="deanhills but I have great difficulty believing that El Qaeda has been responsible for all of the uprisings in the Arab World. Their main base is Pakistan and Afghanistan and I have not seen any similar uprisings in Pakistan for example.[/quote]

Actually, also Yemen has AL qaeda operatives.

But Pakistan doesn't see much uprisings mainly because of the corruption involved with Al Qaeda and some officials. Remember how Osama's residence was not far from military personnel, and in a military area anyways.

But despite the fact that US has already killed off the 2nd and 3rd in command of al qaeda, it is still a force to be reckoned with, due to the fact that its organization spread out among different countries, and they are mainly looking for opportunities to invoke terror. This can happen anytime and anywhere, and no one would be the wiser.
I don't think that Al Qaeda is responsible for all the uprisings in the arab world, though I hope your not talking about the Jasmine revolution, which I think they had no hand in at all.
deanhills
menino wrote:
Actually, also Yemen has AL qaeda operatives.

But Pakistan doesn't see much uprisings mainly because of the corruption involved with Al Qaeda and some officials. Remember how Osama's residence was not far from military personnel, and in a military area anyways.

But despite the fact that US has already killed off the 2nd and 3rd in command of al qaeda, it is still a force to be reckoned with, due to the fact that its organization spread out among different countries, and they are mainly looking for opportunities to invoke terror. This can happen anytime and anywhere, and no one would be the wiser.
I don't think that Al Qaeda is responsible for all the uprisings in the arab world, though I hope your not talking about the Jasmine revolution, which I think they had no hand in at all.
Great post Menino and so much on the mark for me. Particularly with regard to different countries would have different people that could make or break El Qaeda in that country. The Ossama Bin Laden example is a great example. In Yemen people are not as easily corrupted and enormously loyal to their cause.
menino
deanhills wrote:
In Yemen people are not as easily corrupted and enormously loyal to their cause.


I just got to know recently that Al Awlaki, who was killed by the US last week was actually of Yemen Origin and visited there frequently.
I'm not sure about Yemenis actually, but I think that because of its location between many arab countries, it provides Al Qaeda a base to operate from as well, and I doubt anyone would want to join AL Qaeda, but then it doesnt take a lot of Yemenis to invoke terror. Just one mentally usntable person, a concealed bomb, a detructive plan and an unjust cause that only he/she believes in... Sad
deanhills
menino wrote:
deanhills wrote:
In Yemen people are not as easily corrupted and enormously loyal to their cause.


I just got to know recently that Al Awlaki, who was killed by the US last week was actually of Yemen Origin and visited there frequently.
I'm not sure about Yemenis actually, but I think that because of its location between many arab countries, it provides Al Qaeda a base to operate from as well, and I doubt anyone would want to join AL Qaeda, but then it doesnt take a lot of Yemenis to invoke terror. Just one mentally usntable person, a concealed bomb, a detructive plan and an unjust cause that only he/she believes in... Sad
Yemenis are VERY passionate in nature and very easily riled, in comparison with other countries in the neighbourhood. They make both the best of friends and worst of enemies. Sort of offsetting negative of a GREAT positive. I think there is plenty of room for Al Qaeda in Yemen since the people are very poor there, plenty of grievances that are going round, and of course you're right, it just takes one unstable person to take it a few steps further and you have major chaos as a result.
asnani04
El Qaeda is still alive..Osama is dead, but the organisation can still do big things and rock the world with its explosives. I don't know whether they will be that strong or not, but they just might be planning for revenge against the USA. Also, they may have a weak or a strong heir to Osama Bin Laden. Let's see how this unfolds...
deanhills
asnani04 wrote:
El Qaeda is still alive..Osama is dead, but the organisation can still do big things and rock the world with its explosives. I don't know whether they will be that strong or not, but they just might be planning for revenge against the USA. Also, they may have a weak or a strong heir to Osama Bin Laden. Let's see how this unfolds...
There are many other organisations and individuals who have an axe to grind with the US, so El Qaeda to me is just one out of a whole long list of organisations and individuals the US must be watching. I'm certain Osama Bin Laden was killed at a time when El Qaeda had not been as strong, and I'm almost certain that had something to do with Bin Laden's funds running out. Osama Bin Laden was very good at buying the Imams and influential leaders like for example in Afghanistan and in Pakistan Government leaders and the army. So when his money ran out and he started to lose some of his family's support in Saudi Arabia, it was easy for the US to buy the whereabouts of Bin Laden in Pakistan. The moment that they managed to "buy" that information would be the moment in my mind that Bin Laden's assassination would have become redundant. He did not have that much power any longer relative to the need for his assassination.
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