The elimination of Osama Bin Laden as the responsible for Al-Qaeda -last May 2nd- was a hard blow to the jihadist organization to the extent that all terrorist activities of enormous impact would be suspended, even if scheduled, pending the approval of the new leader. Bin Laden continued to exercise leadership in the organization, providing instructions for the development of far-reaching terrorist attacks, mainly directed against the Crusaders and Jews, and other allies.
The unconvincing Al Qaeda Command Control in Pakistan, given the lack of power, hastened to appoint as leader of Al Qaeda -mid-May-, a former Egyptian jihadist named Abu Saif, without the support of jihadist leaders. A month later, Ayman al-Zawahiri proclaimed himself as leader in an statement, again without the support of other leaders of the regional ramifications, some of which publicly stated: ‘we are all Osama bin Laden”. A warning for anyone who would try to proclaim himself supreme leader of the organization in the future.
It is clear that Al Qaeda is at a crossroads, and al-Zawahiri, as other jihadi leaders, knows it. Those who decide to lead the organization must prove with facts their leadership to the rest of the regional leaders. That’s why, in the search for such recognition, something which doesn’t have anything to do with Al Zawahiri professing an extremely radical or violent Salafi jihadist ideology, the new head of Al Qaeda should conduct a terrorist act that causes a huge international impact. That terrorist act should not take part in Muslim territories in conflict in which AQ claims the invading crusaders and their allies, are conducting military operations: Afghanistan and Iraq, or carrying selective bombing, such as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya, or in those places where Al Qaeda and its offshoots act in defense of Islam and sacred sites, but abroad, outside the natural boundaries of influence of the terrorist organization.
However, the message launched by some of the leaders of the organization, for example, Anwar Al Awlaki, ideological and religious responsible for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and even recently by Al Zawahiri, reflect the current interest of the terrorist organization on “Muslims living in the USA” as well as in other Allied countries for carrying out jihadi attacks in their home countries. The present objective of ‘attacking the far enemy’ has become the new focus of Al Qaeda, and especially after the elimination of Osama Bin Laden: ‘so we must avenge his death. ”
They are achieving a wide support from Muslim recipients sensitized to the jihadist cause offense in America, by mail, and electronic magazines widely reported in jihadist sites, forums and social networks, so to convince them that it is much more effective to travel to Afghanistan , Pakistan or Iraq.
We can confirm the existence of “two levels” about the importance of terrorist targets. Those who might be considered as ‘second level’, that have been identified for attack inside U.S., would be: Wall Street headquarters in New York, the intelligence agencies of the CIA, the NSA and the FBI, and military recruitment centers. However, they have also been identified with the same level but with a lower rating: the infrastructure and major roads, and markets and supermarkets. Those objectives could be programmed and executed by a group or cell composed of two to four Muslim residents in the country.
However, the objectives that we consider ‘first level’ are different, not only due to the degree of organizational complexity or technical difficulty but mainly because of the psychological impact that would result in American society, which would be left in a situation of mass terror. This, combined with the demands of Al Qaeda for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, considered as invaders of Muslim lands, in a very close date to the tenth anniversary of 11-S 2001 and 2012 presidential elections, would also provoke a not desirable electoral spin. Well, after the analysis of various jihadist electronic publications, we must note the existence of indicators that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula may be planning, from mid 2010 – the commission of four simultaneous attacks in the U.S.
There have been signs of potential terrorist targets that have been initiated in 2010, again in certain American cities. On these potential targets, we would highlight important localities spread across the East Coast and Midwest. So, by making it accurately, we could note that: the first signal, namely a major railway station and its auxiliary facilities, would have occurred in August 2010, the second point, an iconic skyscraper in a major town Central Region of the country, would have occurred last September, marking the third jihad, namely a political institution emblematic of the country, would have occurred in February this year, finally, the fourth possible signaling, a known high-rise East Coast, would have occurred last March.
Finally, in Spain, we must raise the level of security as we are a priority for Al Qaeda and its offshoots in Afghanistan, the Maghreb and the Arabian Peninsula, as they consider our troops as invaders of Muslim lands in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Libya. However, we note that at present there have been no indicators that suggest the development of a jihadist attack huge impact on our country.
Juan Carlos López Estarellas is an expert in Salafia Jihadia.
Diploma in Arabic Language.
- Al Qaeda’s 9/11 Obsession (thedailybeast.com)
- Spanish naturalized citizen taught Jihadist strategies to Al-Qaeda terrorists (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Terrorism: Al-Zawahiri speaks about Bin Laden’s death (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Bin Laden was plotting new 9/11 (thesun.co.uk)
- Frattini: Al-Qaeda is profitting from Libyan situation (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)