Experts: Al-Qaeda New Generation becomes more vicious than Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri
Many experts on Islamist movements warned against the expansion and spread of Al-Qaeda affiliated Jihadi Groups in Yemen , asserting that al-Qaeda exploits the central government’s weakness to spread among the tribes and take it as a sanctuary. The next generation will be quite different from older generations of al Qaeda and other armed Islamic organizations as they will be better educated and more adept at using the tools of modernity, particularly communications and weapons they have also mastered well modern technology, experts said, adding the next mujahedeen generation’s piety will equal or exceed that of bin Laden and Al- Zawahiri’s generation which they believe will in turn cause greater damage, due to their presence within European civilian communities not living under the constant threat of danger.
This came in a conference organized by “The International Center for Future and Strategic Studies (ICFS) in Cairo on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 titled “Evolution of al-Qaeda generations and the risk of regional spread of terror bases in the region and methods of confrontation”. The Conference was attended by many distinguished experts on Islamic groups in Egypt , Yemen and Palestine .
Makram Mohamed Ahmed, writer and head of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, was top keynote conference speaker warned in his speech against the risk of local organizations that are related to the radical Al Qaeda because of its ability to implement widespread quality processes which will bring down heavy losses to the United States and other countries as well as achieving the same objectives so originally sought by al Qaeda.
Makram indicated that the rise of the radical Al Qaeda in Yemen came after the decline in its influence in Iraq and the new migration of significant numbers of al Qaeda’s belligerents from Iraq to Yemen . This contributed to the Islamists regaining a strong impetus on their former power and strengthening its elements particularly these militant elements have moved to Yemen after the merger between the Yemeni and Saudi two regional offshoots of Al Qaeda was called “Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” under the leadership of Yemeni Abu Basir Nasser al-Wahayshi.
Makram believes that the rise of al-Qaeda in Yemen could pose a serious threat to the region and facilitate communication between Al Qaeda members in Yemen and the Salafi-Jihadist Al Qaeda-oriented Harakat Al Shebab in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, and of course migration between Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
“There are many factors that help to make Yemen a base for al Qaeda including the failure of Yemen ‘s central government to control the Yemeni tribes, maintain its territory and its inability to deter rebel separatist movement in the south and Houthis, Makram said as the humanitarian situation is deteriorating due to lack of security. In fact, Ahmed regarded the lack of security as undoubtedly an ideal environment for further expansion of Al Qaeda.
Makram ascertained that al Qaeda’s objectives is to turn Yemen into a base aimed at implementation of military operations all over the world, which has already been achieved by attempts of Nigerian student Omar Farouq Abdul Mutely to blow up the US airliner in Detroit.
Dr. Fouad Al-Salahi, Professor of political sociology in Sana’a University, in his speech about al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and its relations with Yemeni tribes said that Al Qaeda’s deep tribal ties make Yemen a hub saying “Yemen is traditionally organized along clan lines using patrilineal family ties to define social groups, which in turn played an important role in political life in addition to the harsh geography of rugged mountains as well the majority of the population live in rural areas as economic and social manifestations of modernity down. This and the fact that the Yemeni society in general is very conservative in which the Salafi discourse spread in the early 1980s. “
Dr. Fouad Al-Salahi sees this created a favorable environment for al Qaeda and it benefited greatly as a new hub and shelter to its members. They also recruited poor unemployed youth by using financial gain as a motive and effective mechanism for Al-Qaeda militants.
In this context, Al-Salahi emphasizes that waging wars for the vast majority of tribesmen in Yemen ‘s north and north-eastern are a way to earn a living rather than constructive work. By virtue of this, Al-Salahi views that al-Qaeda in Yemen was able to operate safely for a long time till the end of the 1980s and is still active today, with very few exceptions demonstrated the role of the tribes seemed reluctant to support them in accordance with the state foregoing mechanisms, along with fears of US military strikes something which the Yemeni government recently in a statement threatened all Yemeni tribes who hide and protect suspected members of al-Qaeda.
However, Dr. Al-Salahi says the tribe has not only become a haven for al Qaeda, but also indirectly regional and international interventions allegedly wanted to make Yemen a battlefield in civil war among rival parties since their trends, interests and identities are varied.
In his speech Director of the Arab Center for Research and Studies and expert in Groups’ affairs Abdul Rahim Ali discussed, “The phenomenon of Al-Qaeda’s new generations and their orientations,” emphasizing it is expected to be surprised by al-Qaeda in the upcoming years with a new development adequate with a new phase which intellectually and organizationally governs it. “Al-Qaeda’s next generation will be better educated and more adopted to using technological means, particularly communications and modern weapons,” he said.
Of the most important characteristics of Al-Qaeda’s generation, according to Abdul Rahim, is that they live in Western countries and are anonymous to its security services as well as possessing outstanding capabilities since they possess several nationalities. The next generation will be quite different from older generations of al Qaeda and other armed Islamic organizations such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and others as they are born in the West, flamboyant, multilingual, well-traveled, and eager for personal notoriety in addition to excelling in modern technology, physics and chemistry. All religious references are via Internet, according to Abdul Rahim.
Abdul Rahim also describes the younger generation as more lethal believing they may exceed bin Laden and can cause greater damage due to their presence within the European civilian communities not living under the constant threat of danger.
“Threats of the regional spread of Al-Qaeda bases and cross-border terrorism on the Arab region and ways of confrontation” Dr. Hassan Abu Taleb, an expert at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, identified risks as saying “Yemen has become a regional shelter for Al-Qaeda which is planning to hold wide operations targeting any U.S. interests and continue to exploit the frustration the Yemeni’s in the north and south after the collapse of the Yemeni state. The Houthis insurgency in the north and the southern secessionist movement are in Dr. Hassan’s view clear evidence as this will give new impetus to Somalia’s young believers especially the failure of state-building and their ability to cause damage to the central government as they have already succeeded in seizing several cities including ports on Somali coasts making it easier to move.
Latest developments and the rise of al-Qaeda in Yemen as deemed by Dr. Taleb may lead to further US military involvement in Yemen which would embolden al Qaeda and add to their popularity as an organization to bravely face the West in all open and closed battlefields. This, in turn, may give additional credibility to the militant jihadist ideology of the violent organization Al Qaeda it would also lead to expanding its experience in the West, he said.
Salafi-Jihadist organizations in Palestine
Palestinian Thinker and Director of Maqdis Center for Political Studies Samir Ghattas talked about jihadist groups and al-Qaeda in Gaza and Syria, stressing that the conflict between Salafi-Jihadist groups in Gaza and Hamas was derailed from long-tem peace to confrontation as it is clearly embodied in the events at the Ibn Taymiyyah mosque in Rafah in which Abu Noor al-Maqdis was killed while he was trying to announce an Islamic Emirate in Gaza.
According to Ghattas this indicates that the conflict is escalating and the relationship between Hamas and Jihadist groups turned into a direct conformation because Hamas’s policy, in the eyes of these radical groups, is unacceptable as they do not intend to enforce the Islamic law, accepted a truce with Israel and opposes all military operations by the Salafists groups against Israel occupation forces (IOF). Furthermore, Hamas also not oppose a political settlement and hold talks with the Israeli occupier.
Ghattas has emphasized as a result of Hamas’ policy as they took stances not acceptable by Salafi-Jihadi movement. “We had confirmed information that some Hamas members separated from it to the Jihadi groups. These members joined the Hamas as a movement adopts a radical approach and when it gives up this approach no longer they continue and consequently will look for other militant movements,” he said
Samir Ghattas concluded his speech explaining that although there is definite information about contacts at the highest level between the Salafi-Jihadist organizations and al-Qaeda such contacts have not however evolved to organizational ties. These groups have fully prepared for the establishment of close ties with al-Qaeda giving allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. They seek to find ways to implement a robust military operation to force al Qaeda to approve and give them the right to be associated members.