Tuesday, May 20, 2003
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AL QAEDA'S CURRENT STRENGTH(?): The
AL QAEDA'S CURRENT STRENGTH(?): The attacks in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, combined with the Bush administration's deliberations about raising the terror warning, prompts media reports that Al Qaeda is back in strength.
However, some reflection is in order. The AP reports that the Morocco attack suffered from some poor execution:
This fact, combined with evidence that the Saudi attack was hastily arranged, suggests that Al Qaeda is more dependent than ever on its local affiliates, who are of varying degrees of quality in terms of their competence. The BBC has more:
Christopher Hitchens uses punchier language:
This ties into my previous post.
It is possible that Al Qaeda is marshalling its remaining strength to attack a target in a Western country, and is therefore subcontracting its other operations to locals. I'm not saying they can be entirely written off. The point is, Al Qaeda may be adapting to new circumstances, but those new circumstances have weakened it more than the past week's media coverage suggests.
UPDATE: Brian Ulrich suggests a similar phenomenon occurring among Al Qaeda's affiliates in Central Asia. He also links to Juan Cole, who has some interesting thoughts on the spate of recent bombings.posted by Dan on 05.20.03 at 01:57 PM