And while al-Qaeda has receded from some regions, such as Iraq, its members appear to be regrouping in countries like Somalia (which seems to make it on JW daily), the whole of north and east Africa, and Yemen.
“Al-Qaeda strength growing in Africa,” by Ewen MacAskill for the Sydney Morning Herald, November 14:
THE Indonesian Government’s execution of the Bali bombers was a “dramatic step that underscores Jakarta’s commitment” to the fight against terrorism, the head of the CIA has told journalists in a rare meeting.
Speaking at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, General Michael Hayden said the terrorist actions of Jemaah Islamiah had been disrupted. “The group’s capabilities and confidence are simply not what they were three years ago,” he said.
However, General Hayden warned that al-Qaeda was growing in strength in many regions – generally the north and east of Africa, and particularly in Somalia and Yemen – and that increasing numbers of Westerners were travelling to the tribal areas of north-west Pakistan to receive terrorist training.
“All the threats we have to the West have a thread that takes it back to the [Afghanistan-Pakistan] border,” General Hayden said. Westerners were prized by al-Qaeda because they could blend in and were the kind of people who would not attract attention in airport queues.
General Hayden described Osama bin Laden’s network as a “determined and adaptive enemy” in a “war that is far from over” and warned: “If there is a major strike on [the US], it will bear the fingerprints of al-Qaeda.”
He said bin Laden was hiding in the lawless tribal areas of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border but was spending most of his time on his own security, making him ineffective – “in fact, he appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organisation he nominally heads”.
I.e., “Because we have no clue where he is, he must be working feverishly hard at hiding, and so he must be unable to contribute to al-Qaeda proper.”