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OPANGA: It seems al-Qaeda has devolved its operations

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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The United States of America closed 22 of its embassies, missions and consulates in Africa, the Middle East and SE and SW Asia last weekend and then closed at least 18 of them until last Friday.

Why? Because, Washington said, it had credible evidence that al-Qaeda was planning an attack on American assets.

Now, that kind of action is without precedent in American diplomatic history. It tells you that al-Qaeda is still a powerful force and that President Obama may have celebrated too soon.

On the campaign trail in 2012, he repeatedly said the terror network was on its heels thanks to his campaign to derail, dismantle and defeat it.

That massive closure of embassies also tells you that though Washington has repeatedly claimed that al-Qaeda’s leadership has been decimated by drone strikes and Special Forces operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the terror network has found successors for its fallen beloved. Indeed, it would appear al-Qaeda has devolved its operations.

Notice that Washington not only closed its embassy in Sana’a in Yemen, but also evacuated staff from the mission. Yemen is the headquarters of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The al-Qaeda affiliate in the country is Nassir al-Wuhayshi, who was last week promoted to boss of the terror outfit in the Muslim world.

It is important to observe that Washington’s drastic decision to close its 22 embassies was taken after the CIA intercepted a telephone conversation between al-Wuhayshi and al-Qaeda boss Ayman Zaharawi, in which the latter ordered the former to launch an attack. There was no knowing where he was to strike, hence the massive closure.

But while the rest of the world knew only that a conversation between al-Qaeda leaders had been intercepted, the Daily Beast, an online American publication, established that the CIA had actually eavesdropped on a conference call involving at least 20 al-Qaeda operatives, including representatives for Nigeria’s Boko Haram.

Now that tells you that Zaharawi, as chief executive officer of cold blooded terror international, brings together his coalition for calamity to discuss the business of terror and implementation of strategies for success and growth. That is why there is al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, al-Qaeda in Sinai and Uzbekistan, with Boko Haram, Somalia’s al-Shaabab and Taliban as affiliates.

Do not forget that it was al-Qaeda-supported Islamists who marched into northern Mali last year and overran it. Paris intervened because it sought to stop the march of al-Qaeda in West Africa.

Boko Haram remains defiant and undefeated even in the face of a military onslaught already being accused of using excessive force against civilians and trampling on their every civil right. And, the Daily Beast reported, the reason Washington closed its embassy in Tel Aviv was because of al-Qaeda in Sinai. Washington feared al-Qaeda would rain motor shells on the facility from across the border.

Al-Qaeda may have been derailed but it was never defeated. Its founder Osama and others may have died and others are in jails across the world, but the terror network is thriving. It is replenishing its leadership and ranks. It is never short of battle-hardened terrorists ready for immediate action or myriads of aspiring ones ready to bide their time as interns.


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