Tuesday, April 03, 2007

al-Qaeda's Leadership, Generation 2.0

Very good NyTimes article on how al-Qaeda's leadership (OAQ, original al-Qaeda) has changed since the hit it took after the Coalition war in Afghanistan.

Yet again Western "experts" underestimate the enemy because they do not understand the nature of the threat, their resentment, and their modus operandi:

Although the core leadership was weakened in the counterterrorism campaign
begun after the Sept. 11 attacks, intelligence officials now believe it was not
as crippling as once thought.

For example:

Many American officials have said in recent years that the roles of Mr. bin
Laden and his lieutenants in Pakistan’s remote mountains have diminished with
the growing prominence of the organization’s branch in Iraq, Al Qaeda in
Mesopotamia, and with the emergence of regional terrorism networks and so-called
home-grown cells.

So the CIA disbanded in 2005 its bin Laden al-Qaeda unit.

But bin Laden and Zawahiri have begun to adopt the tactics of the Iraqi mujihadeen:

Officials say they believe that, in contrast with the somewhat hierarchical
structure of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan before Sept. 11, the group’s leadership is
now more diffuse, with several planning hubs working autonomously and not
reliant on constant contact with Mr. bin Laden and Ayman
, his deputy.

Anyone alerted to John Robb's work (GlobalGuerillas) will recognize the move to diffuse planning hubs.

The key is that the two al-Qaeda's are split by their perceived main enemy: far enemy jihadis (bin Laden/Zawahiri, Pakistani al-Qaeda) and near enemy jihadis (al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia).

Both are now moving towards open-source warfare. Pakistani Britains become the hybrid go-between allowing for a far attack (relative to the Pakistani mountains) on Britain (US?) and near attack al-Qaeda viral theo-ideology from within Britain itself.


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