Workshop in Cairo discusses Al-qaeda’s future.

Workshop in Cairo discusses Al-qaeda’s future.

The future of al-Qaeda and the search for safe havens.

Political guests and researchers convened in Cairo to discuss the Al-Qaeda Movement on September 30. The seminar was attended by a number of researchers interested in studying the Islamic movements in Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan.

 Many ideas were brought forward, and speakers ascertained that there is much evidence demonstrating the decline of al-Qaeda in many areas of power and influence. Reasons are varied including the US military campaign against the network in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal region. Mistakes committed by al Qaeda in Iraq including the irregularity in the ideology of many jihadist armed Islamic groups and the death of many influential field commanders all led to the movements’ retreat.

Safe haven

 Egyptian writer Makram Mohamed Ahmed discussed the negative impact of the military strikes launched against Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq which forced the armed groups to look for safe havens causing conflict and tension in places such as such as Yemen and Somalia through the Young Mujahideen Movement led by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Lax security and absence of state authorities has resulted in the forming of a network dispersing elements of the Salafi Jihad movement to operate and practice their hostile activities.

Researcher on Islamic movements Habib agreed with Makram, indicating that the decline of Al-Qaeda in the areas of the current turmoil does not necessarily indicate the end of the movement revealing that the network succeeded in building new alliances and is continuing in its activities. The Movement has adopted measures helped to disguise and protect them and from the pursuit and military campaigns.

Habib stressed that “Al-Qaeda network has recently faced severe difficulties deterring them from spreading outside the areas of influence”.

The denouncing and condemning of violence which was generated by the older extremists for the establishing of a world-wide Islamic Caliphate, is common with the younger Muslims. These generations are now looking for ways to peacefully and politically achieve their elusive dream.

Indicators of decline

Mohammed Fayez Farahat, Researcher at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies (ACPSS), shares the opinion with Makram and Habib. He talked about indications of the Network’s decline referring to the retreat as a result of field commanders and leaders of regional branches of the al-Qaeda being killed. In the past two months alone, Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, key leader in Somali Mujahdeen Youth Movement Saleh Nabhan and the leader of Al Qaeda in south-east Asia Malaysian Noordin Mohammad Top were killed. Farahat asserted that “This will no doubt affect the activity of the armed groups as a decentralized organization”.

Despite casualties, Al Qaeda is trying to follow relatively stable measures, nevertheless, it could lead to the deterioration of the armed group, Farahat notes. Farahat believes that “There are some factors that might help al-Qaeda to renew its vitality and status in Iraq, including the failure to contain some Sunni factions into the political integration of Awakening Councils. Iraq’s Awakening Councils failed to integrate some Sunni members the continuing of this deteriorating situation, may encourage the members of the factions to join al-Qaeda.  The failure of the U.S. to distinguish the differences between Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and its failure in the dialogue initiative with the Taliban, led to the conversion of the whole matter for the interest of al-Qaeda. 

Taliban and al-Qaida

Afghan researcher Muhammad Moheq sees it is a serious mistake viewing Taliban as  a national liberation movement because the movement’s operations within Afghanistan as they took up arms against the Mujahideen government killing most of its leaders along with other negative factors ended its legitimacy.

The future of al-Qaeda are linked to Taliban

Moheq believes that the future of al-Qaeda is linked to the continuing of the Taliban movement where its rise is in the interest of al-Qaeda to prolong its presence in Afghanistan and the tribal regions and vice versa. The defeat of the Taliban in fact, poses a threat to al-Qaeda.

Dr. Hameed Shihab, professor of political science at Baghdad University, said that “The future of al Qaeda in Iraq does not depend on the movement and their strategic plans. However it depends mainly on the internal Iraqi affairs and the maturity of the political actors to favor national interests over personal interests”. Shihab also calls for the neighboring countries to stop supporting al Qaeda stressing that support has consolidated al Qaeda’s presence in Iraq so far.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Dr. Hassan Abu Taleb, a researcher at Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, stressed that al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia is in reiteration with the rise in Yemen where there are suitable environments in Yemen which are favorable for Al Qaeda’s ideology. Yemen has become a threat with the ongoing operations in Saudi Arabia with access to travelling the vast border between the two countries.

Abu Taleb regards that al Qaeda’s new activities in the Arabian Peninsula is to focus on the assassination of leaders designated to discuss their cause where they indicating that they have  attempted to assassinate Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammad bin Nayef as well as the  recruiting of women and young teens. It is noted the movement does pay attention to the media where they have published their outstanding edition “the Echoes of Epics”

Researcher of the Islamic movements Diaa Rashwan talked about the importance of Somalia and the entire East African region to al Qaeda saying “The area is close to Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula and there is foreign presence there. Poverty which extensively prevails among the population in the absence of state authority in addition to the presence of Israeli intelligence could endanger the entire region into a confrontation between al-Qaeda and Israel.

Rashwan stressed the existence of a strong relationship between Al Qaeda and the Young Mujahideen Movement as the leaders of al Qaeda like Bin Laden, al-Zawahiri and Abu Yahya al-Libi are keen on issuing consecutive statements about the recent events that took place there.Bin Laden explicitly called the Young Mujahideen Movement to overthrow the Government of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

Salafist groups in Gaza

Writer Samir Ghattas, said that the Hamas resistance’ raiding of Ibn Taymiyah Mosque and the killing of a number of the Jihadist Salafi movement Jund Ansar Allah has advocated the movement to give priority during the next phase to the rebuilding and the organizational structure of the movement where they will seek to attract a new wave of young immigrants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They seek to consolidate strong ties with al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups to implement operations against Hamas and to escalate attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip.


First Session


Second Session

 International Center for Future & Strategic Studies