Al-Qaeda, The other jihadist state
Eclipsed by Islamic State, al-Qaeda may be making a comeback in a more pragmatic, and dangerous, form.
SOON after it attacked America on September 11th 2001, al-Qaeda issued a book by its co-founder, Ayman al-Zawahiri, setting out a grand strategy. “Knights under the Prophet’s Banner” explained that striking America, not local regimes, would galvanise Muslims everywhere; jihadists had to cleave “to the masses” and needed a “base in the heart of the Muslim world” to achieve eventual success.
In the event, al-Qaeda was chased from Afghanistan and dispersed by American forces, which eventually killed its leader, Osama bin Laden. In Iraq, the jihadists were nearly wiped out as the masses turned against them, for a time. And with the subsequent collapse of Syria and Iraq, al-Qaeda was eclipsed by its rebellious progeny, Islamic State (IS), which declared a caliphate in 2014 and has inspired jihadists—and earned the enmity of everyone else—ever since.
Yet the threat from al-Qaeda never disappeared. Its central leadership remains committed to attacking the West; its regional branches are active; and Mr Zawahiri remains at large. The IS caliphate looks likely to be dismantled as American-backed forces close on its strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul. By contrast, Mr Zawahiri’s dream of a secure base for al-Qaeda in the Arab world may be turning into reality. So, at least, fear Western governments.
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WNU Editor: This sobering report makes you wonder if we ever had chance to destroy Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the first place .... US military is hunting al Qaeda in at least 7 Afghanistan provinces (Long War Journal).