Al-Qaeda is certainly pursuing a multi-dimensional strategy, both in terms of expanding the areas of its operations and determining the nature of the targets to be destroyed, and in respect of the new generation of recruits to carry out terrorist operations against Western targets. Al-Qaeda has been clearly focusing on tension areas such as Somalia and Yemen, or areas that lack control over their total territory and borders with other countries, as is the case of the Sahel-Saharan States, given the opportunities that these areas offer in terms of freedom of movement and training, and building rear bases in order to conduct terrorist attacks.
Africa provides favorable conditions for al-Qaeda to expand its network and develop ties with networks of weapons, drugs and human trafficking, which are active in many African areas. Mr. Muhammad Madani al-Azhari, the Secretary-General of the “Community of the Sahel-Sahara States”, had warned of the danger of this coordination during the meeting that was held on January 25, 2010, in Tripoli, Libya.
The coordination between al-Qaeda and the smuggling gangs has become an obvious fact, proven by the arrested elements, and the amounts of drugs that are constantly seized by the armies in Mauritania, Morocco or Algeria. The Royal Gendarmerie in Morocco has recently seized about six tons of the Chira drug, on April 30, 2010; besides, many gangs that included smugglers and extremists have been dismantled. This is not the first time that authorities find out about the coordination existing between extremist groups affiliated to al-Qaeda on one side, and smuggling networks on the other side. Security bodies are used to such activities that are permitted by the extremists.
Al-Qaeda and all extremist organizations associated or sympathizing with it, allow the use of all methods and activities, even if they are prohibited by religion, to reach their goals. For this purpose, al-Qaeda will not hesitate to establish targeted ties with criminal gangs or rebel groups against governments, no matter what their ideological background or ethnic motives are. Al-Qaeda’s strategic objectives include hitting western interests in Africa, for several reasons, mainly:
1- Alleviating the pressure practiced on al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq by Western armies.
2- Pitting Western public opinion against their governments in order to incite the latter to withdraw their armies from Muslim countries.
3- Expanding the recruitment base of the organization and associated cells, by deluding young people into defending the interests of the Islamic nation against Western countries that al-Qaeda holds responsible for the deterioration of Muslim countries.
4- Exploiting the media, whether for the threats directed by al-Qaeda to the West at every occasion (Christmas, presidential elections – especially the American and British ones -, the enactment of laws banning the Hijab in France or Belgium, the World Cup, etc.), or for the terrorist operations carried out by the organization or those that it failed to implement. Al-Qaeda aims to give the impression that it is evolving and expanding, and that the West’s war on terrorism led by the United States of America did not impair its determination and strength.
Therefore, we are facing a multi-cells organization that is developing horizontally, by creating cells that have independent plans from the center. What increases the danger of this organization and complicates monitoring or detecting its sabotage schemes is its adoption of a new generation of unsuspected terrorists who can move between countries with ease, as was the case with the Jordanian Hammam al-Balawi, known as Abu Dujana al-Khorasani, who carried out a suicide attack against U.S. intelligence members in Afghanistan; or the Nigerian Omar al-Faruq, who attempted to blow up an American plane in Detroit; or psychiatrist Major Nidal Malek Hassan, who killed 13 people and wounded 38 others at the American “Fort Hood” base last November.
Al-Qaeda will not hesitate to blow up stadiums and kill thousands of innocent people if it finds a way to do it. An organization that blows up mosques with worshipers inside, will not hesitate to blow up stadiums with spectators inside.
Terrorizing the innocent people is a faith upon which the organization is based. As a matter of fact, this organization’s members cheer at the sight of blood and body parts, as stated in a threatening article published by the magazine “Al-Mushtaqun Ila Al-jannah” (Those Yearning for Heaven), and written by “Ubadah Ibn Al-Samit”, saying: “How amazing could the match United States vs. Britain be when broadcasted live on air at a stadium packed with spectators when the sound of an explosion rumbles through the stands, the whole stadium is turned upside down and the number of dead bodies are in their dozens and hundreds. 50 grams are sufficient for such an operation”. So the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the authorities in South Africa, and on all intelligence and security agencies in the world, in order to face the plans and cells of al-Qaeda that has become transcontinental.
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