Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Friday, November 24th, 2017

Al-Qaeda – A Threat to the Region

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Al-Qaeda – A Threat to the Region

With the defeat of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Qaeda is most likely to emerge stronger than before and fill the vacuum left by ISIL group. Al-Qaeda sought to capitalize on Arab Spring and muddy the water in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, etc. If Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was not killed, he would play as destructive role as ISIL.
It has been unraveled by a journal that how Osama viewed the world around him and reveals his deep interest in the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions unfolding in the months before he was killed in a United States raid. The journal states what bin Laden shared with his family about how to exploit the uprisings, what to make of the rapid changes unfolding in the Arab world and when Al-Qaeda should speak out. “This chaos and the absence of leadership in the revolutions is the best environment to spread Al-Qaeda’s thoughts and ideas,” bin Laden is quoted as telling his family.
Bin Laden’s wife, referred to as Umm Hamza, assures him that a tape he released seven years earlier calling out the rulers of the region as unfit could be one of the major forces behind the Arab Spring protests roiling the region.
The conversations took place between February and April 2011 when uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had ousted longtime autocratic rulers, touching off protests in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and Syria. The Middle East was on the cusp of unstoppable change, chaos and turmoil.
On Libya, bin Laden says he believes the uprising “has opened the door for jihadists,” as he says, “This is why Gadhafi and his son say that the extremists will come from the sea, which will be an area of operation for Al-Qaeda. This will be the Somalia of the Mediterranean.” Still, bin Laden appears reluctant to issue a statement in support of extremists in Libya for fear that if Gadhafi is ousted, the US will try to expand its footprint there.
Bin Laden, who held Saudi citizenship until the early 1990s, imagines that Saudi Arabia would soon feel the “tsunami” of change sweeping the region. He talks about wanting to deliver a message to Saudi youth and Saudi rulers: “The flood is coming and it will lead to a change so there is no need for violence.” A journal made all these issues public by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and apparently handwritten by one of Osama bin Laden’s daughters.
On the other hand, Osama bin Laden’s favorite son Hamza bin Laden urges Muslims in an audio message released recently “to take revenge on the Americans, the murderers of the Shaykh [Osama bin Laden], specifically on those who participated in this heinous crime.” He tells young Muslim men to prepare for a new wave of armed uprisings across the Arab world.
Al-Qaeda has released several audio messages from Hamza, and to mark a recent anniversary of 9/11, Al-Qaeda superimposed a childhood photo of him over a photo of the World Trade Center. Dubbed the ‘Crown Prince of Terror’, he has purportedly called for terrorist attacks on London, Washington and Paris in an audio message released by Al-Qaeda. He issued another audio message in July 2016, calling for “revenge against the United States”.
It is believed that by bringing out bin Laden’s son Al-Qaeda is both trying to evoke the family name of bin Laden which still carries much weight for jihadists and at the same time challenging the al-Baghdadi leadership.
Hamza bin Laden seeks to organize his father’s proponents and exploit their sentiments to continue war and militancy. His video will boost the morale of militant fighters and encourage them to spill the blood of people without hesitation. Perhaps, he intends to fill the vacuum left by Al-Qaeda’s strong opponent ISIL group. His father’s death seems very rational justification to recruit radical elements and send them to war. However, Hamza has forgotten that his father’s death was a revenge for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which killed three thousand innocent people. Indeed, calling for revenge is very insane of him as his father killed hundreds of people and supported the cruel regime of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
If bin Laden was not killed, he would compete ISIL’s leader in shedding the blood of people. Since Al-Qaeda was established earlier, it would surpass ISIL in destabilizing the region. Osama was a great mastermind in terrorist activities with having a bunch of experienced politicians around him. So, after al-Baghdadi, now it will be Al-Qaeda’s incumbent leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to destabilize the region. Since Zawahiri lacks the charisma and fame of Osama, he will use Osama’s name and fame through his son Hamza Osama. For the same reason, he could not compete with ISIL, either.

The threat of Al-Qaeda must not be downplayed. Hamza’s repeated calls for war bespeaks of the fact that Al-Qaeda is preparing a strong attacks against any nation and it will also destabilize Afghanistan. In short, Afghan army and U.S. soldiers in the country will not be immune to its threat. Hence, the Taliban’s intensified attacks on the one hand, and Al-Qaeda’s offensives on the other hand, will deteriorate the security situation in Afghanistan.

Hujjatullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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