The Crossroads of Special Operations

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

How Strong Is Al-Qaeda? A Debate | War on the Rocks

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The nucleus of al-Qaeda has not conducted a single successful strike. 

September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda attacks resulted in substantial policy changes and dominated U.S. politics. The United States initiated various harsh anti-terrorism initiatives, including the deployment of armed drones to assassinate suspected terrorists. Twenty years later, the efficacy of these tactics and the danger posed by al-Qaeda remain widely discussed. Daniel Byman is more doubtful, although Al-Qaeda remains a substantial danger. Al-Qaeda can threaten the United States homeland, its more extensive security interests, and regional stability in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. 

Al-Qaeda has now commanded by the veteran Islamist Ayman al-Zawahiri, who assumed control following bin Laden’s death. The organization maintains its commitment to its political objective of opposing the United States while integrating itself into primary regional settings. The persistent emphasis on the United States is a vital sign of the danger since al-Qaeda is under tremendous pressure to shift course. Al-Qaeda has also maintained remarkable cohesion despite competition from the Islamic State organization. Several affiliates have consolidated politically during the last five years, increased their funding, recruited more fighters, and established safe-havens. 

Zawahiri, who remains in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and has a $25 million reward on his head, has been kept alive by this affiliate. Some believe that al-affiliates Qaeda’s are a local issue, and thus the United States may disregard them. According to him, their local skills have extended into regional and global dangers. Al-close Qaeda’s ties with Iran and the Taliban in Afghanistan enable it to avoid international anti-terrorist measures. He asserts that American counterterrorism is deteriorating where both the core and affiliates are present. 

In the 2010s, the core of Al-Qaeda did not conduct a single successful strike against the United States or Europe. Al-Qaeda has failed to overthrow the governments of U.S.-aligned Muslim-majority nations. The organization views itself as a vanguard providing training and finance to Muslim insurgencies. An aid against terrorism and military training is still acceptable, but they do not need to be a policy priority. Since September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda has lost one leader after another, while U.S. counterterrorism attacks have sown disarray and intensified rivalries. 

Affiliate organizations are less capable of plotting sophisticated, high-casualty strikes against the West. Despite the rhetoric of Ayman al-Zawahiri and others, Al-Qaeda does not prioritize the United States in actuality. The difficulties of living and fighting in civil conflict zones motivate affiliates and allies to choose local battlefields. Al-ability Qaeda’s to halt internecine conflict in Iraq and Syria was its worst public defeat. ISIL has attracted tens of thousands of foreign fighters from 110 nations. 

In Afghanistan, the Taliban have incentives to prevent foreign terrorist acts of a significant scale. Al-Qaeda is present in several nations, but it can no longer operate training camps on an industrial scale. Counterterrorism and the fight against al-Qaeda are no longer the top policy priority they were in the years after September 11. In addition to being weakened, jihadists have failed to establish themselves inside Muslim communities. Many would-be terrorists in the Western world are not the brightest lights in the chandelier, which exacerbates this issue. 

Their list of errors is lengthy and, at times, amusing. Al-Qaeda and other Salafi-jihadist organizations, such as ISIL, pose a significant danger to the United States and its allies. If al-capacity Qaeda to undertake significant international terrorist strikes against the United States is diminished, writers believe other policy issues should take precedence. The United States is susceptible to the second-order impacts of al-terrorist Qaida’s actions, including increased polarization, division, and anti-immigrant attitude. Afghanistan, Yemen, the Sahel, Somalia, and Syria could benefit from robust surveillance and targeting capabilities. 

Source: https://warontherocks.com/2022/05/how-strong-is-al-qaeda-a-debate/ 

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