News / Middle East

Experts Fear Mounting Al-Qaida Resurgence

FILE - Handcuffed al-Qaida-linked suspects sit in the terrorist combat and organized crime department in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 2, 2010.
FILE - Handcuffed al-Qaida-linked suspects sit in the terrorist combat and organized crime department in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 2, 2010.
More than two and a half years after the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, American experts and counter-terrorism officials say his organization remains a major threat across the Middle East and North Africa. 
 
That assessment comes as several recent news reports say U.S. lawmakers and American intelligence officials are expressing growing concerns over al-Qaida's expanding manpower, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.  
 
James Mattis is no stranger to al-Qaida, having led the U.S. Marines in Iraq and later overseen U.S. military operations in the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan as the general in charge of the United States Central Command.
 
Now retired, he remains anxious about the course of the struggle against al-Qaida.
 
“Violent jihad, al-Qaida in particular is growing in adherence right now. It is not shrinking," he said recently. "It is actually gaining ground and they are exploiting new opportunities"
 
Mattis spoke at a terrorism conference in Washington in December sponsored by the U.S.-based think tank the Jamestown Foundation. He said the West is failing to understand al-Qaida and as a result has not been able to fashion an effective operational and propaganda strategy to defeat the terror organization.
 
“Certainly our efforts to date have not been sufficient. We defend today more than a geographic realm; we defend a realm of ideas," Mattis said. "For us in the West they grew out of the Enlightenment and they have to do with freedom and the dignity of the individual and a whole lot of things like that.
 
"Since Tony Blair left office I don’t know that we have had any Western politician able to stand up and to explain the nobility of what we are trying to keep alive in terms of our civilization’s values,” he added.
 
Growing concerns
 
Mattis isn’t the only one dismayed by the resurgence in jihadist activity during 2013. 
 
While many of Bin Laden's top lieutenants may now be dead, killed by U.S. Special Forces or in drone strikes, jihadist groups in Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and West Africa were able to mount several major perorations over the past year.
 
In 2013, jihadists inspired by or linked to al-Qaida stormed a shopping mall in Kenya killing at least 72, invaded a natural gas facility in Algeria and executed 39 hostages.
 
Al-Qaida attacks are on the rise once again in Iraq. In Egypt’s Sinai desert, experts fear homegrown militant groups may be edging closer to a formal affiliation with al-Qaida. 
 
And jihadists have emerged as the most powerful force in the ranks of rebels in Syria fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad. 
 
Influence in Syria
 
In northeast Syria, Giwan Ibrahim, a top Kurdish commander who has been battling al-Qaida affiliated fighters said jihadists are having success in worldwide recruiting. Many of the jihadists he battles aren’t Syrian-born.  
 
“Ninety percent of them are from foreign countries. They are not from Syria: most of them from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Libya," he said. "I saw by my eyes people from European countries they were members of al-Qaida and fighting us.” 
 
Ibrahim said it is hard to counter jihadists because of their psychology. 
 
“He has got nothing in his mind apart from destruction and to go to heaven. That makes the mission for him easier than for us,” he said.
 

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
January 04, 2014 7:54 AM
Take it to hell and hide it.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 04, 2014 7:28 AM
What is the difference between the rule by al qaida and that of an islamic republican government? All of them want extreme islamic law or sharia. From Riyadh to Tehran, from Libya to Turkey, from Morocco to Sudan, Kenya to Ethiopia, to the Gulf States and Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan - it is the same thing all over - restriction to human rights and liberties, strict adherence to islamic and barbaric jungle justice system last seen on this planet in the Stone, Dark and Middle Ages. Mr. Barack Obama was being extra gratuitous with his contribution to islamism when he pulled out the US army from Iraq, whether he knew this was going to be the fall out of it or not is another story for another day. But whether or not the conflicting news from Falujah - I can still remember how the American army wrestled the territory from islamist fighters during the campaign - is true, the world and USA in particular will hold Barack Obama accountable for that inauspicious decision to pull out US forces from Iraq when its security apparatus had not stabilized, thereby leaving it in the lurch. That hurry to return the country to al qaida just means one thing; somebody somewhere may have been insidiously sympathetic to the cause of al qaida in Iraq. The whole gain of the campaign have been wished away by the caprice of one man, and the lives lost in this campaign have been a colossal mistake, no thanks to Obama – Mr. know all.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid