Monday, May 8, 2017
Is Al Qaeda Stronger Now Than When Bin Laden Was Killed?
Ali Soufan, Daily Beast: Al Qaeda is Stronger Now Than When Bin Laden Was Killed
It’s been six years since the 9/11 mastermind’s death—and in the shadows, al Qaeda has been quietly amassing power.
This week marks six years since the death of Osama bin Laden, an event that, for me, sparks bittersweet memories. On the one hand, I felt that justice had finally caught up with a vicious terrorist who killed thousands of Americans, including my friend and mentor John O’Neill, who died in the act of rescuing dozens of people from the crumbling Twin Towers.
On the other hand, I worried that al Qaeda without bin Laden might prove even more dangerous. As I wrote in The New York Times on the night of bin Laden’s death, “With al Qaeda on the decline, regional groups that had aligned themselves with the network may return to operating independently, making them harder to monitor and hence deadlier.”
To judge by the preoccupations of U.S. media coverage, one might think this assessment overly pessimistic. Different geopolitical villains, from the Islamic State (ISIS) to the despotic regime of Kim Jong-Un, now fill our broadsheets and broadcasts. By comparison, al Qaeda seems like yesterday’s news.
But in reality, the situation is even worse than I predicted.
Read more ....
WNU Editor: Al Qaeda has definitely changed in the past few years .... and what has helped them is that the attention and focus from foreign military and intelligence services has been on the other groups .... the Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Taliban, etc. .... and not on Al Qaeda. And while it does have thousands of followers throughout the Muslim world via through groups like al-Shabaab in Somalia, al-Nusra in Syria, al Qaeda in Yemen, etc. .... in terms of sheer numbers it is not doing what Al Qaeda was doing before 9/11 ... and that is training tens of thousands of followers from their bases in Afghanistan to wage jihad against the West and their allies in the Middle East. The above Daily Beast post is sounding the right warning .... Al Qaeda should never be underestimated, it is a dangerous organisation with a lot of resources, and their ideology that attracts recruits still resonates with many Muslims.