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Old 04-27-2012, 05:08 PM
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Think Again: Al Qaeda

Excerpt below, follow link for full article.

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article...aeda?page=full

Quote:
"Al Qaeda Is on the Brink of Defeat."

Keep dreaming. Osama bin Laden was fond of recounting the following parable from the Quran to rally his followers in times of despair: A much-better-armed Christian army employed war elephants in a fearsome assault against Mecca, aspiring to destroy the Kaaba shrine, one of Islam's most sacred sites. But birds showered the Christian army with pellets of hard-baked clay, and the Arabs eventually defeated the invaders. To bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders, this demonstrated that God was on their side -- even in the face of certain defeat.

Over the past decade, U.S. policymakers and pundits have repeatedly written al Qaeda's obituary. The latest surge of triumphalism came after bin Laden's killing a year ago. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asserted that the United States was "within reach of strategically defeating al Qaeda," while President Barack Obama proclaimed, "We have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat," and academic experts churned out a new wave of books with such bullish titles as The Rise and Fall of al-Qaeda.

These declarations of victory, however, underestimate al Qaeda's continuing capacity for destruction. Far from being dead and buried, the terrorist organization is now riding a resurgent tide as its affiliates engage in an increasingly violent campaign of attacks across the Middle East and North Africa. And for all the admiration inspired by brave protesters in the streets from Damascus to Sanaa, the growing instability triggered by the Arab Spring has provided al Qaeda with fertile ground to expand its influence across the region.

Al Qaeda's bloody fingerprints are increasingly evident in the Middle East. In Iraq, where the United States has withdrawn its military forces, al Qaeda operatives staged a brazen wave of bombings in January, killing at least 132 Shiite pilgrims and wounding hundreds more. The following week in Yemen, fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seized the town of Radda, while expanding al Qaeda's control in several southern provinces. "Al Qaeda has raised its flag over the citadel," a resident told Reuters.

Beyond these anecdotes, several indicators suggest that al Qaeda is growing stronger. First, the size of al Qaeda's global network has dramatically expanded since the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Somalia's al-Shabab have formally joined al Qaeda, and their leaders have all sworn bayat -- an oath of loyalty -- to bin Laden's successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

These al Qaeda affiliates are increasingly capable of holding territory. In Yemen, for example, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited a government leadership crisis and multiple insurgencies to cement control in several provinces along the Gulf of Aden. Al Qaeda's affiliates in Somalia and Iraq also appear to be maintaining a foothold where there are weak governments, with al-Shabab in Kismayo and southern parts of Somalia, and al Qaeda in Iraq in Baghdad, Diyala, and Salah ad Din provinces, among others.

The number of attacks by al Qaeda and its affiliates is also on the rise, even since bin Laden's death. Al Qaeda in Iraq, for instance, has conducted more than 200 attacks and killed more than a thousand Iraqis since the bin Laden raid, a jump from the previous year. And despite the group's violent legacy, popular support for al Qaeda remains fairly high in countries such as Nigeria and Egypt, though it has steadily declined in others. If this is what the brink of defeat looks like, I'd hate to see success.

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Old 04-27-2012, 05:35 PM
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Re: Think Again: Al Qaeda

Great post and sadly the majority of people thinking OBL's death is the end of Al Qaeda. Not giving thought to the fact that public popular opinion is that they have been done multiple times over the last ten and half years. They have a knack for rooting themselves in politically unstable regions and luckily for them their has been quite a bit of that in the regions closest to were they were originally based pre-9/11. With Pakistan and it's distrust skyrocketing and approval of American involvement in the Middle East diving, Uprising in Libya,Egypt and Syria, political instability in the Congo,Nigeria, Kenya, and Northern Africa, a inability and lack of proper international and individual national policing power has made it all too easy for them to just uproot and go 12-24 hours travel time to a receptive area and inhabitants. When you don't have a home base or country with heavy roots you can do that and I think that was a major factor not calculated in the directives from the very beginning. Is how to properly cut them off from leaving one country where the Coalition has engagement clearance to a country that they are not allowed to enter....fucked up all around I say!

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Old 04-27-2012, 06:14 PM
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Re: Think Again: Al Qaeda

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Originally Posted by RedneckR0nin View Post
Great post and sadly the majority of people thinking OBL's death is the end of Al Qaeda. Not giving thought to the fact that public popular opinion is that they have been done multiple times over the last ten and half years. They have a knack for rooting themselves in politically unstable regions and luckily for them their has been quite a bit of that in the regions closest to were they were originally based pre-9/11. With Pakistan and it's distrust skyrocketing and approval of American involvement in the Middle East diving, Uprising in Libya,Egypt and Syria, political instability in the Congo,Nigeria, Kenya, and Northern Africa, a inability and lack of proper international and individual national policing power has made it all too easy for them to just uproot and go 12-24 hours travel time to a receptive area and inhabitants. When you don't have a home base or country with heavy roots you can do that and I think that was a major factor not calculated in the directives from the very beginning. Is how to properly cut them off from leaving one country where the Coalition has engagement clearance to a country that they are not allowed to enter....fucked up all around I say!

Good post.

Its almost more of trying to defeat a way of thinking, more than defeating a group or person.
That's why Bush's black & white, good & evil approach to it pissed me off so much...... Its not something that can be beaten with military force alone, if anything the Iraq invasion just created the next generation of people willing to die to kill us.
Until we can keep people from being brainwashed by fanatics, this will probably never end.

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Old 04-27-2012, 06:27 PM
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Re: Think Again: Al Qaeda

Yes. Al Qaeda has surpassed an establishment, or army. It is an idea that many have adopted regardless of where they are, or live. When that happens, it will get worse. You can kill a man. You can kill an army, but good luck killing an idea.

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Old 04-29-2012, 07:20 AM
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Re: Think Again: Al Qaeda

Anyone looking for an authoritative text on this subject should look no futher than Jason Burke's book Al Qaeda. It's a little dated now, but the origins of the movement are still true and captured in this book. Unlike so many terrorism 'experts', Burke has spent a lot of time in the Middle East and Afghanistan in particular.

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