Al-Qaida is shape-shifting, spreading, not dead

If there is anything al-Qaida preys on, it is Western-influenced establishments, or any signs of a caliphate not ruled by Sharia puritanism.

Pakistanis holding Bin Laden poster 370 (photo credit: Naseer Ahmed / Reuters)
Pakistanis holding Bin Laden poster 370
(photo credit: Naseer Ahmed / Reuters)
Despite an anti-war movement in the United States claiming that al-Qaida is dead and no longer poses a threat, the vicious terrorist network is very much alive, even thriving.
If there is anything al-Qaida preys on, it is Western-influenced establishments, or any signs of a caliphate not ruled by Sharia puritanism.
This is why, as a result of the regime changes born from the Arab Spring, al-Qaida is multiplying like a nest of scorpions hiding under desert rocks.
One should not be surprised by Ansar al-Sharia’s now infamous 9/11 Benghazi attack on US diplomats and ambassadors.
Al-Qaida made up a formidable chunk of the ragtag rebels that warranted NATO assistance in ousting Libya’s Gaddafi regime. Likewise, it is widely reported that the Free Syrian Army is not alone in its campaign against the Assad regime. Here too, al-Qaida is a player with the same immediate interest as the storied protagonist the world has made of the Free Syrian Army.
Overnight on Sunday, October 21, the Israel Air Force targeted a terrorist cell in the southern Gaza Strip that was preparing to launch a rocket into Israel. This happened only one day after two Global Jihad operatives were killed when an Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the motorcycle they were riding in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip, according to Joint News Service.
Following the airstrikes in Gaza (before Operation Pillar of Defense) that killed three terrorists, including Hisham Saedni, one of the top al- Qaida leaders in Gaza, Israeli security forces were already on high alert along the borders with Egypt and Gaza to thwart potential attacks emanating from Sinai, reported the same source.
AFTER OSAMA bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals in Pakistan in May 2011, US President Barack Obama released a statement saying: “Those who attacked us on 9/11 wanted to drive a wedge between the United States and the world. They failed. On this 10th anniversary, we are united with our friends and partners in remembering all those we have lost in this struggle.... Working together, we have disrupted al-Qaida plots, eliminated Osama bin Laden and much of his leadership and put al-Qaida on the path to defeat.”
He welcoming the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, saying, “Meanwhile, people across the Middle East and North Africa are showing that the surest path to justice and dignity is the moral force of nonviolence, not mindless terrorism and violence... it is clear that violent extremists are being left behind and that the future belongs to those who want to build, not destroy.”
President Obama was and is misreading the threat the al- Qaida continues to pose.
At the Aspen Security Forum last summer, Peter Bergen, CNN’s national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation, gave a talk titled: “Time to Declare Victory: Al-Qaida Is Defeated.”
Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post brought this to the attention of readers of her blog.
She wrote: “Since then, AQ and/or its affiliates have launched lethal attacks on American diplomatic compounds in Libya and Yemen, hoisted an al-Qaida flag above the US embassy in Cairo, resurged in Iraq, and put boots on the ground in Syria.
They have bombed Christian churches in Nigeria and the mosques of Sufi Muslims in Mali. They have battled African Union troops in Somalia. Within the last week, Taliban terrorists shot Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani, for the ‘crime’ of advocating education for girls, and bombed the office of moderate tribal elders in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 17 people.”
On October 21, Jordanian authorities foiled an al-Qaida plot to attack “shopping malls and Western diplomatic missions using suicide bombers, booby-trapped cars and rockets smuggled in from Syria on a date terrorists dub ‘9/11 the second.’” according to the Associated Press. This news report was confirmed and sure enough 11 terrorists were taken into Jordanian custody.
And there is further evidence al-Qaida has not been defeated.
According to CNN: “Abu Sufyan Said al-Shihri was – or is – the second most senior figure in al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Last month, the Yemeni Defense Ministry announced al-Shihri had been killed ‘in an operation’ in the Hadramawt Valley, a stronghold of AQAP in the south of the country.”
But al-Shihri appears to have resurfaced with a defiant audio message. In the message – called “Events and Lessons” and released by AQAP’s media wing, Al- Malahem, on Monday – a speaker purported to be al- Shihri declares: “What has been reported in various media outlets regarding my death in the Arabian Peninsula is a rumor to cover the killing of innocent unarmed Muslims in Yemen.”
Al-Shihri (if it was him) accused the Yemeni government of being an American puppet, saying, “They pushed another lie so they can muddy the events, and this is when they reported my killing, as if America’s killing of the mujihadeen is a victory for Islam and Muslims, but they are wrong.”
He also addressed Arab media, saying: “To the mercenary media in Muslim countries, you have a duty to check the facts, have a credibility by checking your sources, and to use your tools to support Islam and its people rather than being a paid agent of the West.”
And the list goes on. According to NATO intelligence, Mali is loaded with al-Qaida sleeper cells and training camps. In fact, according to reports, France is planning to send drones into Mali to monitor large areas of land controlled by the deadly terrorist network.
The writer is a freelance journalist who has worked for Arutz-7 and holds an MA in literature from Bar-Ilan University.