There are three interesting points that this report touches on: One is the ease with which local jihadist groups ally with a global organization like al-Qaeda. This underscores the fact that the many jihadist-fueled conflicts worldwide cannot be written off as isolated, regional squabbles; on the contrary, those local conflicts are driven by a shared agenda they intend to pursue worldwide: Imposing Islamic law.
Next, the global reach of Al-Qaeda itself, amid the sea of other jihadist movements, should make clear that while capturing Osama bin Laden would be a psychological victory and a source of some useful intelligence, removing him and his top aides will not win the “War on Terror,” or halt the jihad, because of its ideological basis in Islamic texts and tradition.
Lastly, the connection to communities in Europe mentioned in this article — both the traditional “Al-Qaeda Pipeline” and the growing connections in Somalia and Algeria — is of particular interest: Lax immigration policies facilitate the transfer and support of the jihadists trained and given marching orders in any of these places to their intended targets.
“Al-Qaeda finds three safe havens for terror training,” by Michael Evans for The Times, July 2:
Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organisation, driven out of Afghanistan and defeated in Iraq, is re-emerging in strength in three alternative safe havens for training, operational planning and recruiting — Pakistan, Somalia and Algeria — according to Western intelligence and defence sources.
The core al-Qaeda headquarters in the tribal areas of Pakistan pose the gravest threat to the United Kingdom. But in Somalia and in Algeria, where the so-called al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was set up in 2004 as a powerful bin Laden offshoot, the organisation is recruiting energetically and its leaders are believed to have aspirations to hit Western targets. […]
Al-Qaeda also appears not to be short of experienced operational commanders. One senior figure who was responsible for carrying out research into nuclear, chemical and biological systems when the organisation was in Afghanistan, is believed to be involved in trying to produce unconventional weapons to target the West. That is known to be al-Qaeda’s top ambition.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has moved to the front line of terrorist operations, including suicide truck bombings and the murder of European tourists. The nationalist Algerian terrorist group has been converted into an organisation posing a threat beyond Algeria’s borders. American officials estimate that there are between 300 and 400 terrorists in the mountains east of Algiers and another 200 elsewhere in the country.
The same transformation is occurring in Somalia, particularly in the south. A large number of radicalised Somalis are living in Britain and it is feared that instead of going to Pakistan for jihad training, they are travelling to Somalia.