Advancing a Free Society

Arab revolutions don’t mean end for Al Qaeda

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

For terrorism experts in the West, it’s tempting to think the so-called Arab spring will destroy the Al Qaeda movement. But it probably won’t happen in the short run — especially if you believe Anwar-al Awlaki, a leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the most dangerous affiliate organization of Al Qaeda.

In theory, the ability of young people to protest peacefully against unresponsive Arab leaders and work for change through more democratic institutions might help redirect some of the public frustration that Al Qaeda has long tried to harness. But in a four-page essay in the most recent issue of Inspire, the magazine of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Awlaki taunts Western governments with the claim that the mujahidin — the term he uses for jihadist fighters — are elated about the revolutionary fervor now spreading in the Middle East. The “fruits of Egypt” will spread far beyond its borders, Awlaki gloats, presenting many opportunities for the mujahidin.

Continue reading Jessica Stern in the Boston Globe

(photo credit: Khalid Albaih)