Saturday, August 23, 2008

Al-Qaeda Today

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence has just released its assessment of the intentions and capabilities of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, seven years after the start of the war on terror.

Key points:

* The core Al Qaeda leadership remains in place, but it is still far from recovering the position of strength it enjoyed in 2001.

* There has been a considerable backlash against Al Qaeda-inspired violence across the Muslim world, with the result that even in places where Al Qaeda used to be highly active - such as Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, and Saudi-Arabia - its campaign has lost traction and influence.

* The one geographical area where Al Qaeda has retained influence, or even consolidated or increased its standing over the last three years, is the Afghan-Pakistan border region.

* The key to defeating Al Qaeda will be to undermine its local base in the Afghan-Pakistan border area.

* It will be important to promote the drift of the Afghan Taliban away from Al Qaeda, which could be achieved by allowing President Karzai more political room to negotiate a deal.

* Al Qaeda will aim to provoke further intervention by foreign forces, knowing that this is the one thing all the tribes will combine to oppose.
Entire paper available here.

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