A year after bin Laden slain, Al-Qaeda 'in ruins'

One year after the death of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, his network lies in ruins even if some supporters, whether lone wolf extremists or Al-Qaeda members, still brandish the jihadi banner.

The death of their figurehead and US drone attacks in the Pakistani highlands have disrupted Al-Qaeda's core guerrilla organisation, now reduced to a few dozen militants battling for their own survival, experts say.

With the group's Saudi kingpin slain in a US commando raid, his chosen successor as Al-Qaeda's emir, Egyptian doctor Ayman Al Zawahiri, has not been able to unite the same loose global movement under his command.

"What gave substance to Al-Qaeda's global ambition was the person of bin Laden. He was a unique figure whom Zawahiri is incapable of replacing," said Jean-Pierre Filiu, a French academic and author of a book on Al-Qaeda.

"This son of a good family, who could have lived the most comfortable of lives but chose the asceticism and privation of the terrorist struggle, had a kind of romantic aura about him that was a very powerful draw," said Filiu.

"At no time in the past year has his successor marked public opinion by any act, pronouncement, initiative nor gesture."

Now lacking the means to carry out itself attacks with geopolitical clout like those of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda has focused on trying to inspire allied local groups and to claim credit for their victories.

In Yemen, Saudi Arabia's chaotic and poor southern neighbour, fighters from local franchise Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) carry out incessant attacks on government forces and have captured several towns.

In Somalia, the Shebab Islamist group has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda's global jihad, and continues to resist pressure from a weak interim regime supported by African Union forces and periodic US strikes.

And in the countries of the Sahel desert, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has allied itself with Tuareg rebels who -- reinforced by mercenaries fleeing the fall of Moamer Khadafi's Libyan regime -- have split Mali in half.

Meanwhile, many of the bomb attacks that still rock Iraq from week to week are blamed on surviving members of the once powerful Al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers that sprung up in the wake of the 2003 US invasion.

So, on a map of trouble spots in the Islamic world, Al-Qaeda's black banner is still very much in evidence -- but experts caution that the various factions do not really amount to much more than the sum of their parts.

Only Yemen-based AQAP has attempted, with remarkably little success, to take the struggle beyond its local conflict and inflict more damage on the "greater enemy" -- the United States -- in the form of failed aeroplane bombings.

Beyond that, the global jihad has become a virtual movement in cyberspace, seeking to indoctrinate troubled Muslim loners or small self-radicalised cells in Western countries into carrying out unpredictable small-scale attacks.

But in a report published Wednesday, the European Union's police coordination agency Europol warned that such self-starters could become the new face of the threat.

"The more Al-Qaeda's core is under pressure, and the more difficult it becomes to prepare large scale attacks, the more Al-Qaeda will try to recruit individual supporters in the West to plan and execute attacks," it warned.

In March, a young Frenchman, 24-year-old Mohammed Merah, carried out three shooting attacks in and around the southern city of Toulouse, killing three off-duty soldiers, a trainee rabbi and three Jewish children.

Shortly before he was killed in an exchange of fire with the police, he claimed to negotiators to have been an Al-Qaeda member, but intelligence agencies have since found nothing to link him directly to the network.

He did make a personal trip to the Taliban's heartland around the Afghan city of Kandahar, but he seems to have taught himself his extremist ideology from Islamist texts he read in prison and on the Internet.

"It's not easy, because these individuals seem to be a mix of terrorists and people who have very big personal problems," the head of Canada's SCRS domestic security agency Richard Fadden told his country's Senate recently.

"My colleagues in Britain, in Australia and the United States think the same thing --- we are already seeing an increase in the number of people who are acting as individuals, and that really makes our lives complicated."


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • BPI Family Savings extends auto loan promo
    BPI Family Savings extends auto loan promo

    BPI Family Savings Bank, the country’s leading consumer bank, is extending its newest campaign “Bagong Kotse, 1-Month Libre” promo untilJune 30, 2015 which allows you to avail of a car loan with a loan term of at least 36 months. The promo, which includes free 1-month free loan amortization, gives every customer an ease when […] The post BPI Family Savings extends auto loan promo appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

  • ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’
    ‘Kentex owners still in Phl’

    The daughter of one of the Kentex Manufacturing Corp. owners has assured the government that the businessmen are still in the Philippines, contrary to some reports that they have fled the country. Barbara Ang, daughter of Kentex shareholder Veato Ang, said her father and his business partners have no plans of leaving the country despite the razing of the Valenzuela slipper factory, which killed 72 workers on May 13. Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian also stood by his promise to punish any local …

  • Lawmakers to review building code provisions
    Lawmakers to review building code provisions

    Lawmakers are set to review provisions of the National Building Code and Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act, to strengthen contingencies and policies to prepare the country for possible major earthquakes. The move came following proposals from Reps. Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Lito Atienza of the Buhay party-list to review the two laws and other regulations during a hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development on the …

  • Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms
    Noy: Phl may attain first world status with continued reforms

    The Philippines’ attaining first world status may soon be imminent if significant reforms initiated by the current administration would be consistently pursued, President Aquino suggested yesterday. “Kung madidiligan ang ating mga pinunla, at makaka-graduate ang mga pinag-aaral natin upang makapasok sa maaayos na trabaho, baka po tuluyan nang nasa first world status tayo sa panahong iyon (If we water the seeds sown and those we sent to school will find better jobs, then time will come that …

  • Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions
    Phl won’t recognize China air restrictions

    The Philippines will not recognize restrictions on air and sea travel set by China in the West Philippine Sea, President Aquino said yesterday. “We will still fly the routes that we fly based on international law and the various conventions, agreements that have been entered into through various decades,” Aquino told reporters in an ambush interview after inspecting the Marikina Elementary School in preparation for the opening of classes in June. But he expressed confidence that China would …

  • Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June
    Rainy season likely in 2nd week of June

    Filipinos may have to wait until the second or third week of June for rain, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. Rene Paciente, chief of PAGASA’s marine meteorological services section, said they expect the rainy season to start in the second or third week of June. The criteria for declaring the onset of the rainy season include the prevalence of the southwest monsoon and the 25-millimeter rainfall recorded in at least five …

  • UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term
    UN urged to probe torture cases under Noy’s term

    The United Nations has been asked to look into   110 cases of torture and numerous cases of illegal arrests during the Aquino administration. Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary-general, yesterday said the matter could be looked into when the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) visits from May 25 to June 3 to monitor the  implementation of the Optional protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OpCAT), which the Philippines ratified in 2012. “We enjoin the UN SPT to …

  • Filipina maid photographs "modern slavery" in Hong Kong

    By Emma Batha LONDON, May 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A Filipina maid in Hong Kong has published stark photographs of burned and beaten domestic workers to highlight the "modern slavery" she says has long been the city's shameful secret. "Hong Kong is a very modern, successful city but people treat their helpers like slaves," said Xyza Cruz Bacani, whose black and white portraits won her a scholarship from the Magnum Foundation to start studying at New York University this month. It's …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options