Page 1 of 2 AL-QAEDA'S RESURGENCE, Part 1 Ready to take on the world
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
KARACHI - Al-Qaeda will this year significantly step up its global operations
after centralizing its leadership and reviving its financial lifelines.
Crucially, al-Qaeda has developed missile and rocket technology with the
capability of carrying chemical, biological and nuclear warheads, according to
an al-Qaeda insider who spoke to Asia Times Online.
While al-Qaeda will continue to operate in Afghanistan and Iraq, it will
broaden its global perspective to include Europe and hostile
Muslim states, Asia Times Online has learned. For the first time since its
attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, this could be al-Qaeda's year on the
According to the contact, "The time has come for a message to
be communicated to Europe." Asked what kind of message this would be, the
contact simply smiled.
Nevertheless, he stated that with Western forces trapped in
Afghanistan and Iraq, it was time to open up new fronts in Somalia, Algeria,
Egypt, Palestine and other places.
"In each place, al-Qaeda has its own command and control apparatus, including
Palestine, and all those fronts will be opened up very soon," the contact said.
At the same time al-Qaeda is planning this offensive, it has received something
of a setback in Afghanistan, where its alliance with the Taliban is under
strain. The Taliban have struck a deal with Pakistan over mutual cooperation,
which is anathema to al-Qaeda (see
Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban,
Asia Times Online, March 1).
Osama in the shadows
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has not appeared in a video since October 2004
or on an audio tape since January 2006. He is by no means out of the al-Qaeda
picture, although his deputy, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, claims the media spotlight.
Reportedly recovered from ill health, bin Laden - possibly even sporting a
trimmed beard - is active in al-Qaeda's planning, according to the contact Asia
Times Online spoke to. "He could be in Chechnya, Somalia or Iraq," the man said
not about to divulge bin Laden's whereabouts. Or even in Iran, some insiders
Over the course of many hours of conversation and information exchanges in
several locations, the contact - who has a sound track record of being informed
of developments within al-Qaeda - explained how bin Laden and Zawahiri had
rebuilt al-Qaeda over the past year or so.
Since 2005, the al-Qaeda leadership had been talking to many groups, including
Egyptians, Libyans and the takfiri camp (which calls all non-practicing
Muslims infidels). Al-Qaeda paid for differences in tactics and ideology among
these groups as its structure unraveled and the organization developed into an
"ideology" rather than a cohesive group.
As a result, al-Qaeda's global agenda was largely shelved and the international
community's financial squeeze definitely hurt. This problem has been overcome,
according to the contact, although he would not give any details. Even US
intelligence agencies concede that the group's finances have improved, but they
no idea how. All the same, they have pressured Pakistan to clamp down on some
charitable organizations in that country.
The Jamiatul Muqatila (Libyan) led by Sheikh Abu Lais al-Libby, the Jabhatul
Birra of Ibn-i-Malik, also Libyan, the Jaishul Mehdi, founded by slain Abdul
Rahman Canady, an Egyptian, and now led by Abu Eza, the Jamaatul Jihad, an
unnamed Libyan group once led by Sheikh Abu Nasir Qahtani from Kuwaiti, who has
now been arrested, and the takfiris under Sheikh Essa, an Egyptian, have
once again joined forces with "Jamaat al-Qaeda" under the leadership of bin
The contact insisted that since two major tasks - regrouping and finances - had
been completed, major operations could now be planned. But in addition to this,
to ensure that 2007 would be "the year of al-Qaeda", a "great compromise" had
to be made.
Deal with the devil
Before the "Mother of all Battles", the Gulf War of 1991, bin Laden offered to
help the Saudi monarchy fight Saddam Hussein's forces in Kuwait. The Saudi
royalty ignored the offer and opted instead for US military assistance. The
presence of these troops in the land of the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina
inflamed bin Laden, and he split with the Saudi royalty.
Nevertheless, the growing influence of Shi'ite Iran in the Middle East,
especially in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003 and Lebanon, concerned
al-Qaeda and the anti-Shi'ite Salafi Saudi