Al Qaeda on verge of collapse?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Trotsky, Nov 10, 2004.

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  1. Al Qaeda "to disintegrate" in 2 years
    Wed 10 November, 2004 15:29

    By Michael Holden

    LONDON (Reuters) - Al Qaeda will begin to disintegrate within two years as its various factions start to squabble and militants return to their local roots, a senior parliamentary adviser has predicted.

    Professor Michael Clarke, a specialist adviser to lawmakers on the House of Commons defence committee, said the consequence would be that the security services would be able to win the "war on terror" as the group's structure fell apart.

    "I think (cracks) are going to start to appear in the next 12 months to two years," he told Reuters at a security conference in London on Wednesday.

    "It's going to start to fragment and split up," he said.

    Clarke said he envisaged the network breaking down into smaller, disparate cells which would be more easily infiltrated and dealt with, bringing an end to the group's ability to carry out major attacks along the lines of the September 11 attacks

    "Terrorism will go back to being about more local issues. It will be reduced to a level which people can live with," he said.

    Al Qaeda's pyramid structure -- with Osama bin Laden and about 30 associates at its head spreading out to a loose franchise of affiliated networks -- would begin to prove a major weakness when it was once a strength, he said.

    Groups associated with al Qaeda across the world, such as those in southeast Asia, would start to pursue their local agendas, he added.

    Clarke pointed to Iraq, where Baathist supporters of deposed president Saddam Hussein were fighting alongside foreign Jihadists linked to al Qaeda although the groups had nothing in common.

    Ultimately the Baathists would go their own way and the pyramid would be weakened.

    Clarke noted that even association with bin Laden's network had proved damaging to the cause of other militants such as Chechen separatists.

    Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at London's King's College, said this would be fuelled further as the "glamour" surrounding bin Laden started to wear off and political in-fighting took hold.

    "Whenever you get a general movement, people will vie for prominence and that's what I think is the next stage," he said.

    He said a major failing of al Qaeda was its complete misunderstanding of western society and the belief it could terrorise governments into achieving their aims.

    "They are not going to frighten Western society out of policies, they are not going to bring down the House of Saud, their first real objective, by terrorism," he said.

    "They can cause great inconvenience but they can't damage them in the way they think they can."

    Your Thoughts?

  2. Pretty good assessment I'd say, but its always dangerous to put actual time limits on your predictions as they hardly ever come true. I think that A-Q could disintegrate, but it depends on what the West does. If the West takes actions that might 'provoke' the Muslim world then AQ will get a continuing flood of recruits, continued attrocities in the face of the western aggressors will likely galvanise AQ and keep it together. If however, the West adopts a more careful hearts and minds attitude towards the Muslim world, helping to improve the economies of these countries then less young Muslims will feel dissaffected and there will be less recruits and AQ may implode. How to do it though. Freeing up Iraqi oil and giving the profits to the people of Iraq doesn't seem to be working in full yet, but hopefully it will and then other countries have an example to follow...
  3. theres probably about as much truth in it as 'the resistance will collapse now that Saddam has been captured'
  4. IISS are very good at nebulous prediction and assessment, bending in the breeze and stating the bleeding obvious. I imagine they get handsomely paid for it too.

    Al-Q will be finished in 2 years? HURRAH!!!!

    Now what about all the terror groups and offshoots that it spawned/inspired/encouraged? Will they be downing tools in 2 years time too?

    Best not mention anything prior to the invasion of Iraq, that IISS may have commented on/presented.
  5. To see a real end to the disenfranchisement and dissolution in the Arab World, the Palestinian question must be solved. After that, (that of course being a huge undertaking) things will slowly start coming together. There cannot be a gap where "The West" goes shooting everything in a headdress that moves and then sit back and let Israel get on with it.
    My opinion of course but get the big problem solved and the yoof'll have one less problem to bitch about.
  6. I think that assessment merely reveals the institutional ignorance that characterises a large part of our current intelligence establishment. They are still stuck in the Cold War mindset, expecting the opposition to operate along known and predictable lines. Both we and the Soviet Union had structured, centralised command structures in place. We had doctrine, policy, defined chains of command and so on. We operated to set missions and boundaries. Viewing AQ as an organisation that operates - or aspires to operate - in that manner could very well lead one to the conclusions stated.

    However ... AQ is something different. It is a loose federation of like minded people. It is driven by emotion in large part. They do things because they can, not because they have a specific goal in mind. Their goal is to survive - as that is all they need to do to succeed. If someone gets a good idea then they'll get supported, rather than having detailed objectives passed down from on high. It's a decentralised network so wiping out the odd node doen't change much. It lets the press recruit for it, exploits the internet to groom recruits and then offers them opportunities to serve rather then posting them for specific purposes.

    Finally, how anyone thinks that infiltrating a number of small cells is easier than cracking one big one is beyond me. The smaller it is, the more secure. the more there are, the more likely you miss the one that matters. That's completely blown his credibility for me.
  7. I think that assessment is from the same bunch of half-wits who dreamed up the 45 min warning, Saddam and AL-Q link, Saddam has weapons of mass des... you know the score..

    Load of old Bollx
  8. That would be the very same , Ripper :D
  9. Can something that doesn't exist disintegrate?
  10. But for some strange reason people still give these predictions credit. :? :? :?
  11. Well hes a Professor, It must be right, think of all the time he has spent on the ground listening to source Intel.
  12. I've actually worked for Prof Clarke briefly. I was stuffing envelopes for him as a temp back in 96 I think it was, in the Centre for Defence Studies. He's very highly respected and not a politico type. I believe he does advise the govt when asked, but its up to the politicians to interpret what he and other experts say. If they want to twist it into things like 45 minute claims, then I guess they can...
  13. When the Palestine/Israel conundrum is solved to the joyous satisfaction of both parties, the head-up-bottom-islamists will stop pulling their triggers. It might also help that the bad guys have productive jobs and that head-up-bottom donors don't keep their cause alive with bags and bags of saudi riyals.
  14. In one to two years, we'll know for sure
  15. Are we but a colony of mites on a spec of dust?