Archive for May, 2011

The Future of al-Qaida

Here’s a link to an article I wrote on May 10 for Praeger Security International. The title is “The Future of al-Qaida Without Bin Laden“.

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The Future AQ Threat

My thoughts on the future threat of al-Qaida include three kinds of potential motivations for attacking the U.S. in some major way in the coming months.
1) There is the oft-cited concern about retaliation, avenging the death of bin Laden. A group or even an individual somewhere is already thinking about this, and considering how they would “make a name for themselves” by carrying out an attack like this in the name of bin Laden.
2) There is also a real possibility that a future terrorist attack will be the product of senior individuals within al-Qaida trying to position themselves to claim the mantle of lead philosopher-warrior that is left behind by bin Laden’s death. Possible culprits include Abu Yahya al-Libi, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Adnan Shukrijuma, or even Anwar al-Awlaki.
3) Finally, I am convinced that al-Qaida members are generally going to feel increasing pressure to “do something” in the near future, for the simple reason that the absence of an AQ-attributed attack will speak volumes in terms of the network’s capabilities, or lack thereof.
We must be vigilant. A storm is coming . . .
– James Forest

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Bin Laden’s Death

Bin Laden’s Death and the Implications for Jihadism
By Scott Stewart

U.S. President Barack Obama appeared in a hastily arranged televised address the night of May 1, 2011, to inform the world that U.S. counterterrorism forces had located and killed Osama bin Laden. The operation, which reportedly happened in the early hours of May 2 local time, targeted a compound in Abbottabad, a city located some 31 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. The nighttime raid resulted in a brief firefight that left bin Laden and several others dead. A U.S. helicopter reportedly was damaged in the raid and later destroyed by U.S. forces. Obama reported that no U.S. personnel were lost in the operation. After a brief search of the compound, the U.S. forces left with bin Laden’s body and presumably anything else that appeared to have intelligence value. From Obama’s carefully scripted speech, it would appear that the U.S. conducted the operation unilaterally with no Pakistani assistance — or even knowledge.

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