July 7, 2012

IT'S OVER, WE WON:

Local wars blur al Qaeda's threat to West (William Maclean, 7/05/12, Reuters)

Spinoff groups from al Qaeda have become increasingly engrossed in insurgencies in Africa and the Middle East, inflicting death and mayhem on local communities. But this emphasis on the pursuit of the enemy nearby has cast doubt on their commitment, in practice, to bin Laden's war on the "far enemy" - the West and the United States in particular.

More than a year after U.S. forces killed bin Laden, some groups such as the Yemeni-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) undoubtedly remain a menace to the West.

Turmoil in Syria, Somalia and parts of Libya, Mali, Iraq and Nigeria has also allowed Islamist militias to recruit, train, arm and organise. And yet their targets have been overwhelmingly close at hand, rather than in Europe or the United States.

"Al Qaeda has become a useful label for any group that essentially pursues local aims but wishes to exaggerate its reach and sophistication," said Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the Al-Qaida-Taliban Monitoring Team at the United Nations.

"Al Qaeda has lost much of its reputation as the vanguard of a global cause, and as the activities of its affiliates result in more and more death and destruction for local communities, this process will accelerate," he told Reuters.

Posted by at July 7, 2012 7:10 AM
  

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