Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

3rd generation al-Qaida is 'deadliest yet'
by Staff Writers
Beirut, Lebanon (UPI) Apr 3, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Despite Western claims that al-Qaida's on the ropes, counter-terrorism experts warn that jihadist forces remain as dangerous as ever as they gather strength across the Muslim world and exploit the Middle East's political upheaval.

Indeed, the so-called third generation of jihadists "may prove to be the most deadly al-Qaida yet," observes veteran CIA analyst Bruce Riedel, now with the Brookings Institution.

Riedel is a hard-line conservative for whom jihadists are an existential threat to the West. Yet al-Qaida has been unable to replicate the horrors of Sept. 11, 2011.

The last major attack in Europe was the multiple bombings of London's transport system July 7, 2005, in which 54 people and four suicide bombers people were killed.

But then al-Qaida is no longer the highly centralized network it was in 2001.

Its founder and mastermind, Osama bin Laden, was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in Pakistan May 2, 2011.

Dozens of his top- and mid-level commanders have been killed, mainly in U.S. drone strikes, decapitating the leadership of al-Qaida Central.

These days, the threat is more diffuse, coming from regional affiliates which run their own wars. The threat to the West is largely directed at its interests in regions far distant from the United States or Europe.

The jihadist storming of Algeria's In Amenas desert gas complex in January, apparently in retaliation for France's military push against jihadists in Mali, is a case in point.

So although the current surge of jihadist operations aren't a direct threat to Western civilization, they still cause deep concern among the West's intelligence services.

The mushrooming jihadist influence in Syria's civil war, now in its third year, threatens to destabilize the entire Middle East and ignite new sectarian conflicts in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

Meantime, the maelstrom of turmoil triggered by the pro-democracy uprisings of the so-called Arab Spring that began in January 2011 has opened immense opportunities for the jihadists.

They were originally thought to have been marginalized by these revolutions, but they've exploited the chaos and strengthened their power.

The assassination of bin Laden "signaled a watershed in the West's long struggle with jihadism," the Financial Times observed.

But nearly two years on, "unease has returned and a new chapter in the battle against Islamic extremism appears to be underway ... U.S. and European governments have a right to be worried.

"Now the threat is more widely scattered and therefore more complex."

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned after the In Amenas slaughter, "We face a large and existential terrorist threat from a group of extremists based in different parts of the world who want to do the biggest possible amount of damage to our interests and way of life."

Echoes of George W. Bush in 2001 but, as al-Qaida expert Jason Burke observed, "A gas refinery in southern Algeria is not the Pentagon."

That may be so. But al-Qaida is attracting increasing numbers of Western Muslims and converts, particularly in Syria, just as the war in Iraq did a few years ago.

The International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King's College, London, concluded a yearlong survey of the Syrian conflict by noting, "We can say with certainty ... that hundreds of Europeans have joined the fight in Syria."

And here things get more complex, because there's a school of thought that Saudi Arabia and the other Arab monarchies are supporting the secondary uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia because they don't want democratic Muslim governments to succeed lest they threaten the future of their own absolute regimes.

Nigel Inkster, a former senior official with Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, observed: "When al-Qaida was largely holed up in the badlands of Pakistan and the tribal areas, the U.S. had the capability to deal with them in a much more focused way through drone attacks.

"But now we have a far more disaggregated threat that no one country has the capability to tackle."

Riedel says of al Qaida 3.0: "It's an adaptive organization and it has exploited the chaos and turmoil of revolutionary change to create operational bases and new strongholds ..."

It's "a complex and decentralized enemy that requires strategies tailored to each franchise. There's no one answer to each challenge. There's no 'strategic defeat' of al-Qaida in sight."


Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Four in court over mystery Dutch sarin gas sale
The Hague (AFP) April 02, 2013
Four Dutch citizens suspected of dealing in deadly sarin nerve gas appeared before a judge on Tuesday, a justice ministry official said, with the case still cloaked in mystery. The four suspects, two men aged 21 and 35 and two women, aged 33 and 52, face charges of "attempting to transfer, possession or use of a toxic substance, possibly sarin", Public Prosecutor spokeswoman Cindy Reijnders ... read more

US missile shield sent to Guam after N. Korea threat

Raytheon's Patriot missiles receive US Army service life extension

SBIRS GEO-2 launches, improves space-based capabilities

Israel: Too few Iron Domes, cities exposed

Raytheon receives Rolling Airframe Missile contract

Taiwan to aim 50 medium-range missiles at China: report

India's Nirbhay missile aborted in flight

Taiwan develops medium-range missile: report

US Congress hears calls for drone safeguards

'Journalism drones' on the horizon

N. Korean leader watches 'drone' attack drill: KCNA

Friend or foe? Civilian drones stir debate

Soldiers and Families Can Suffer Negative Effects from Modern Communication Technologies

DARPA Seeks More Robust Military Wireless Networks

DoD Selects Northrop Grumman for Joint Command and Control System

Northrop Grumman Highlights Affordable Milspace Communications

Lockheed Martin Demonstrates Gyrocam Sensor Maritime Capability with US Navy

Nanofoams could create better body armor

NGC Offers New High-Resolution Sensors for Hawk Air Defense System

Seven killed in Marine Corps training accident

Russian arms exports set to widen

UN adopts global treaty on weapons trade

'Everything on table' as US cuts defense: Hagel

UN adopts global treaty on weapons trade

US military chief to pay rare China visit

Norway sees rise in Russian military jet activity

Obama thanks Singapore for military help

Three Chinese ships enter disputed waters: Japan

Imaging methodology reveals nano details not seen before

Glass-blowers at a nano scale

Nanoparticles show promise as inexpensive, durable and effective scintillators

Scientists develop innovative twists to DNA nanotechnology

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement