Democracy Arsenal

« Welcome To the Club | Main | 10,000 more kids alive per day: Foreign Aid that Works »

September 10, 2009

How Big A Threat is al Qaeda?
Posted by Michael Cohen

I am without a doubt the worst vacation blogger ever - but here I am at the San Diego airport reading this fascinating article from the Guardian about al Qaeda and I just HAD to write something.

Here a couple of its key conclusions:

  • al-Qaida is under heavy pressure in its strongholds in Pakistan's remote tribal areas and is finding it difficult to attract recruits or carry out spectacular operations in western countries
  • "Core" al-Qaida is now reduced to a senior leadership of six to eight men, including Bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, according to most informed estimates. Several other Egyptians, a Libyan and a Mauritanian occupy the other top positions. In all, there are perhaps 200 operatives who count.
  • Lethal strikes by CIA drones – including two this week alone – have combined with the monitoring and disruption of electronic communications, suspicion and low morale to take their toll on al-Qaida's Pakistani "core"
  • European Muslim volunteers faced a chaotic reception, a low level of training, poor conditions and eventual disillusionment after arriving in Waziristan last year.
  • The most significant recent development is evidence that al-Qaida's alliance with the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan is fraying
  • The failure to carry out spectacular mass attacks in the west since the 2005 London bombings has weakened the group's "brand appeal" and power to recruit.

This is really fascinating, particularly the stuff about the number of core al Qaeda operatives. Do we really have 60,000 troops in Afghanistan to fight a core group of 200 al Qaeda operatives? I suppose it's true, as one person cited in the article mentioned that you only have to get lucky once, but a) didn't AQ already get lucky once and b) does anyone really think it is a wise allocation of huge amounts of American resources and 65,000 troops to combat the terrorist aspirations of 200 core operatives of al Qaeda?

But this thing about this article that I find most interesting is the notion that al Qaeda is having a difficult time bringing in new recruits. I think this goes to show the intelligence of the American people in electing an African-American Muslim who was born in Kenya to hold the nation's highest office. U.S.A! U.S.A!

But jokes aside, allow me to ask a question - if al Qaeda is having a hard time finding new recruits is a long-term US military intervention in Afghanistan going to help or hinder that process?  I tend to think it plays right into AQ's hands, just as nearly everyone agrees the Iraq war did great things for the organization's recruitment efforts. If the goal of the US mission in Afghanistan is to disrupt, defeat and dismantle al Qaeda, wouldn't a long-term military presence in the country actually run counter to that goal.

And while I'm not completely sure what to make of these reports of fraying in the Taliban/al Qaeda alliance I find it harder and harder to believe that if the Taliban are able to take over Afghanistan again they are just going to give a desiccated, unpopular and exhausted AQ carte blanche to operate in the country - and this invite a robust US military response. I get that religious orthodoxy is religious orthodoxy, but even zealots aren't that stupid.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How Big A Threat is al Qaeda?:


The root cause of terrorism is Islam. So, capturing or killing a live terrorist or leader is a band aid solution. As long as there are mosques, mullaas and madressas, the factories that produce terrorists, the world will get more and more sinister terrorists.

The solution to terrorism is to keep islam out of the country.
All musmim countries have only islam legal; thefore, all non-muslim countries could make only islam illegal in their countries. The muslims produce children like pigs with four wives and force islam on the children. Koran says that if one quits islam, he/she must be killed. So, if this way of spreading islam is not checked, then islam will take over all democracies and then democricies will die; because, per koran, a democracy is illegal. Therefore, all the muslims living in democracies are hypocrite muslims; and they are waiting for to get an oppertunity to take over the power over the non-muslims.

Islam can be curbed by an education system also. Let the schools teach the principles and history of a few major religions objectively - correctly without bias. So, by high school graduation one will know which religion is good to bring peace in the world, and which religion has alweasy caused killings of the non-believes. Then the student could make an educated choice of religion for him/her. If this happens, then no sane person will accept islam.

Islam/koran does not give freeom of thought, speech and action. Koran even teaches to lie, cheat, rape, and loot the non-believers. The forefathers of USA who made the constitution did not know that islam could be such a big threat to freedom. Now that it is known, the constitution needs to be amended. Australia has declared that those who do not like the christian values and way of life, are free to go back to their countries. USA could do the same. Of all non-muslim counries, India/Hindus have suffered a lot - holocoust of 56 million- due to many islam invasions. They have been suffering since 1000 years by the this invaded barbaric ideology. They will loose the freedom, country,and their culture if they do not wake up and act. Same for the Americans if they do not change the constitution declaring islam illegal. Americans, wake up!

Learn more about islam. Then write something about it.. From this paper i found it worthless and only spreading hate minus knowledge.. Only a small group of people that claimed as fundamentalist moslem. Which is rejected in islamic world.. Lear more brother! You are indeed a lazy blogger. Sorry.

tenk u admins. good msj

Thank you for your sharing! I like i very much!

Great comments! You are so nice, man! You never know how much i like'em!

Yes, that's cool. The device is amazing! Waiting for your next one!

I came to know that president Obama is vowing to target al Qaeda wherever it takes root, after a terrorist who joined up with extremists in Yemen allegedly tried to blow up a U.S. passenger jet. Al Qaeda merged its operations in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia, becoming al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula a year ago, and it set up its base in Yemen.

The Nike air max Shoe lives up to its name with plush cushioning and a sleek silhouette. It brings you just what you need to style it up wherever you go. you can look at the Air max 2009,air max 90,Air max 95,Air Max 2010
* Minimalistic construction of leathers and synthetics in the upper
* Nike Shox technology for optimal cushioning
* Rubber outsole for excellent grip

Very informative and trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..

Thank you, I got it. o(∩_∩)o

The comments to this entry are closed.

Emeritus Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use