Al Qaeda recovers fast from “loss of operational capacity” described by Obama

US president Barack Obama praised the efforts of the organizations represented by the National Counterterrorism Center which he visited Tuesday, Oct. 6, crediting them with al Qaeda’s “lost operational capacity ” and disappearing “legitimacy and credibility.” He vowed to continue pressing the battle to cripple the network around the world and noted “real progress in our core mission – to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and other extremist networks around the world.”
Administration officials added that 11 of the 20 most wanted figures were killed or captured in the Afghan-Pakistani border area over the last year and some foreign fighters, like Uzbeks, Chechens and Yemenis, had begun going home.
In its issue of Sept 25, DEBKA-Net-Weekly 415 offered a fuller and more accurate picture of al Qaeda’s situation. The top command did indeed suffer serious damage but has reduced it by speedily filling key gaps with fresh faces imported from other arenas like Chechnya, Iraq and the Caucasus.
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DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s counter terror sources named two key commanders:
“A Chechen known only as “Abu Zaar” – Father of the Pearl. He serves under the new Commander-in-Chief of all al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Abu Hafez, whose real name is Mustafa Abu Yazid. Abu Hafez is a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, who served as al Qaeda’s “finance minister” for the last 10 years. The very fact that a senior bureaucrat was given a key combat command attests to a shortage of experienced, professional field commanders.
Nonetheless, DEBKA-Net-Weekly military sources report, his al Qaeda superiors were surprised to find in Abu Hafez an efficient combat tactician as well as administrator; so too were US commanders in Afghanistan.”
The US president’s claim that al Qaeda had lost “legitimacy and credibility” is confuted by the spreading deployment of al Qaeda networks across three continents: They are operational mode in North Africa, West Europe, Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the Gaza Strip.
The fact that some foreign fighters, like Uzbeks, Chechens and Yemenis “had begun going home,” as reported by President Obama, is less the result of allied attacks than a deep controversy dividing radical Islamist ideologues over the level of brutality permissible in terrorist attacks.
Above all, some of the fighters who returned home, including groups of Yemenis and North Africans, challenge exceptionally brutal large-scale attacks, especially in cases when heavy Muslim casualties are caused.
This does not mean they have retired. Just the reverse: They have opted to put their shoulders behind the expanding terrorist fronts in their own countries – closer to home.

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