November 11, 2004

Is Al Qaeda Finished?

Chad at In the Bullpen brings this WaPo article to my attention, which forwards the thesis of Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at London's King's College, that al Qaeda will begin to fragment and cease to be a global threat in the upcoming years. Chad's take is also very interesting. I would only add that al Qaeda's demise is ultimately meaningless for long-term security planning. It is the ideology of al Qaeda that threatens our way of life, not it's organizational structure. When al Qaeda ceases to exist, I will bid it good riddance. But another jihadi ideology bent on bringing about the global caliphate will only take it's place.

Clarke said he envisaged the network breaking down into smaller, disparate cells which would be more easily infiltrated and dealt with, bringing an end to the group's ability to carry out major attacks along the lines of the Sept. 11 attacks

"Terrorism will go back to being about more local issues. It will be reduced to a level which people can live with," he said....

Clarke pointed to Iraq, where Baathist supporters of deposed president Saddam Hussein were fighting alongside foreign Jihadists linked to al Qaeda although the groups had nothing in common.

Ultimately the Baathists would go their own way and pyramid would be weakened.

Clarke noted that even association with bin Laden's network had proved damaging to the cause of other militants such as Chechen separatists.

Chad continues the conversation with this post. Very good thoughts, and well thought out.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:53 PM | Comments |