News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Osama MIA; Al-Qaeda in Disarray

Monday, December 12, 2005

Osama MIA; Al-Qaeda in Disarray

Recent intelligence reports show that Osama bin-Laden is so deep in hiding that he does not have any control over al-Qaeda. The reports come from Pakistani and US intelligence sources. Does this mean the war on terror is over?...According to the Fiancial Times:

Pakistani security officials said Mr Crocker's remarks confirmed their own assessment that al-Qaeda was in disarray and only capable of carrying out operations with its members banded together in small groups.

But European diplomats who routinely track terrorist movements warned that it was wrong to assume that an al-Qaeda in disarray was any less lethal than the group centrally controlled.

"For long, intelligence services have assumed that al-Qaeda has the capacity to operate in small cells which are independently motivated and capable of carrying out attacks. You could argue, bin Laden's value has been more symbolic than real for some time," said one.
No one is saying what this might mean for the US war on terrorosim. Since bin-Laden is the only terrorist directly tied to the attack on the US, one might begin to ask whether the war, while not over, should certainly enter a new phase.

I have always maintained that the threat posed by al-Qaeda is overblown. While it certainly is not prudent to under-estimate the possibility of small attacks on isolated targets, the terrorists cannot mount any form of sustained attack. Therefore, the US should re-think its terrorism policy, focusing on special-forces led operations and increasing the presence of on the ground specialists that rely more on human intelligence than electronic surveillance to gather information about terrorists.

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