As the Islamic State is driven out of its former strongholds, a U.N. panel is warning that the next big terror threat in the region could come, once again, from Al Qaeda — led by the son of Usama bin Laden. The report by U.N. experts, delivered to the Security Council and released this week, included startling findings about both terror networks, Fox News reports.
Hamza bin Laden — has “continued to emerge as a leadership figure in Al Qaeda,” the report said.
“Al Qaeda’s leadership demonstrates strategic patience and its regional affiliates exercise good tactical judgment, embedding themselves in local issues and becoming players”
One Yemeni commander who was put on the U.S. terrorism list for Al Qaeda ties last year continues to receive money from the UAE to run his militia, his own aide told the AP. Another commander, recently granted $12 million for his fighting force by Yemen’s president, has a known Al Qaeda figure as his closest aide.
The Department of State has designated Hamza bin Laden as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a result of this designation, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Hamza bin Laden has any interest is blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him.
On August 14, 2015 Hamza bin Laden, son of Usama bin Laden, was officially announced by al-Qa’ida senior leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as an official member of the group. In this 2015 audio message from al-Zawahiri, bin Laden called for acts of terrorism in western capitals. On July 9, 2016, al-Qa’ida issued another audio message from Hamza bin Laden threatening revenge against the United States and warned Americans they would be targeted in the United States and abroad. Specifically, in 2015, bin Laden called for lone offender attacks against U.S., French, and Israeli interests in Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Tel Aviv, Israel.
To think of Al Qaeda as an international terror group is to miss its other reality. For many Yemenis, it is simply another faction on the ground — a very effective one, well-armed and battle-hardened.
Its members are not shadowy strangers. Over the years, AQAP has woven itself into society by building ties with tribes, buying loyalties and marrying into major families.
Al-Qaeda is an international terrorist network founded by Usama bin Laden [the “Osama” spelling is deprecated, because there is no letter “O” in Arabic). Sustained counterterrorism pressure since 2008 – including the killing of al-Qaida leaders Usama bin Ladin, Atiyah Abel al Rahman, and lIyas Kashmiri in 2011 – reduced the Pakistan-based core al-Qaida’s cohesion and capabilities, including its ability to mount sophisticated, complex attacks in the West similar to the 2006 Transatlantic Airliner plot. However, despite these setbacks, al-Qaida retains its intent, though perhaps not the robust capability, to plan and conduct terrorist attacks against the West, including the U.S. homeland. Core al-Qaida almost certainly will also try to inspire regional nodes and allies, as well as unaffiliated but like-minded extremists, to engage in terrorism against the West.
Established around 1988 by bin Laden, al-Qaeda helped finance, recruit, transport and train thousands of fighters from dozens of countries to be part of an Afghan resistance to defeat the Soviet Union. To continue the holy war beyond Afghanistan, al-Qaeda’s current goal is to establish a pan-Islamic Caliphate throughout the world by working with allied Islamic extremist groups to overthrow regimes it deems “non-Islamic” and expelling Westerners and non-Muslims from Muslim countries.
In February 1998, al-Qaeda issued a statement under banner of “The World Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Jews and Crusaders” saying it was the duty of all Muslims to kill US citizens-civilian or military-and their allies everywhere. Al-Qaeda would merge with Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Al-Jihad) of Ayman al-Zawahiri in June 2001. Global Security
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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