RealNews

Conflict 'may cut' role of al-Qaeda

The US-led invasion of Iraq and signs of a resurgence of militancy among national Islamist groups may diminish the global role of the al-Qaeda terrorist network, security officials and political analysts say. The al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s call on April 9, for Iraqis to resist the US and UK invasion by launching suicide bomb attacks, is not thought to have been behind the attacks of this kind that have killed several US soldiers there in the past week. “We don’t see al-Qaeda active in or around Iraq, even though indications are that it is certainly not dead and buried,” said a senior intelligence officer. Before the invasion of Iraq, security officials and intelligence services had adapted their counter- terrorism strategies to the possibility that al-Qaeda operatives would launch terrorist attacks in response to the actions of US and UK troops there. So far this has not happened, in part due to waves of arrests in the weeks before the war. But while all law enforcement agencies remain convinced that al-Qaeda has plans for a big attack intended to be as devastating as those on New York and Washington on September 11 2001, the network’s ability to carry one out now appears uncertain. “Osama bin Laden may already have done his worst. What he has shown is what can be done, and whatever he does now he will never top the 11 September attacks,” said a senior security official. Full Story

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