Zawahiri plans to better coordinate the goals of Al Qaeda's leaders in Pakistan and affiliates, particularly in Yemen, which are increasingly becoming the group's front line operators. The modus operandi of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen is to conduct any type of attack possible, whether or not it will have a spectacular result, U.S. officials told the Journal.
As a result, the U.S. may have to alter its approach to counterterrorism operations, especially if Al Qaeda's Yemen and North African branches try to seek out U.S. or other Western targets in Europe or Africa. Such attacks would be reminiscent of Al Qaeda's first U.S. attack- the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania for which Zawahiri was indicted for.
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He did, however, release a video that eulogized bin Laden and vowed revenge for the Al Qaeda leader's death. It wasn't until months after bin Laden's death that Al Qaeda announced Zawahiri as its new leader, and he hasn't been heard from publicly since. I read lots of threatening responses to the killing of Osama bin Laden on terrorist Websites, including the video (below) by Omar Bakri. One Internet statement released by Al Qaeda warned that "soon, with God's help, we pray that their happiness turns into sorrow, and may their blood mix with their tears." Al Qaeda militants "will continue to plan and plot without any fatigue, boredom, despair, surrender or indifference:"
I also believe that the documents and other materials seized at the time of bin Landen's death should be taken seriously, especially the already planned attack on the U.S. Rail Transportation System to celebrate their 9/11 slaughter. The plan was found in the captured documents. Al Qaeda would enjoy carrying them out, to memorialize bin Laden and to prove we are still vulnerable. The most amazing event over the tracking down and killing of bin Laden was that the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) maintained a safe house near the compound for months before the attack, unbeknownst to Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI. The IC was correct in not telling the ISI, for it is permeated with radical Muslim members. Read the article Pakistan's Intelligence Service Crossed The CIA.
Several months ago, one Jihadist website made real threats. It mentioned pending attacks by al Qaeda will be with "God's Might", and take place in the "heart of the land of non-belief, America, France, Denmark, other countries in Europe, and in other countries that have helped France". The site also mentioned that "the attacks will be strong, serious, alarming, earth-shattering, shocking and terrifying.” The website added that the attacks will be “group and lone-wolf operations, in addition to the use of booby-trapped vehicles.”
I wonder where, in America's heartland, the attacks will occur.
Robert Morton, Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online spy novel series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean". The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Contact him on the Secure Contact Form