Tag Archives: Al-Qaeda

3 May 2014

Local Al-Qaeda groups exerting new power in Somalia, Syria, Yemen and West Africa

Despite weaker Al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Somalia, Syria, Yemen and West Africa are exerting increasing influence in their regions. According to a US State Department report that was released this Wednesday, this poses new challenges for American counterterrorism officials. (more…)

Source: The New York Times | Qaeda Affiliates Gain Regional Influence as Central Leadership Fades
Source: U.S. Department of State | Executive Summary | BUREAU OF COUNTERTERRORISM | Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 | 30 April 2014

8 January 2014

The Saudis support Syrian rebels

The New York Times reports that Saudi Arabia, which supports the ousting of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, has become the main backer of the Syrian rebels, even when these include Islamists who fight alongside militants loyal to Al Qaeda. Also, at least a thousand of Saudies have travelled to Syria to fight with rebel forces. Even though Saudi Arabia officially bans their citizens from going to Syria for jihad, this ban is not enforced.

Source: The New York Times | Saudis Back Syrian Rebels Despite Risks

6 January 2014

United States Aids Iraq with Arms to Fight Al-Qaeda-backed insurgency

The United States has sent dozens of Hellfire missiles and low-tech surveillance drones to Iraq to help government forces combat an violence by an Al-Qaeda-backed insurgency that is gaining territory in both western Iraq and Syria. The assistance was requested by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The New York Times reports that American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say they have effectively mapped the locations and origins of the Al-Qaeda network in Iraq and are sharing this information with the Iraqis.

The Iraqi military has a very limited ability to locate and quickly strike Al-Qaeda militants. The combination of American-supplied Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, tactical drones and intelligence, supplied by the United States, is intended to augment that limited Iraqi ability.

Source: The New York Times | U.S. Sends Arms to Aid Iraq Fight With Extremists

15 November 2013

Saudi Arabia plans, with the help of other states, to build a national army for the Syrian opposition

Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new national army for the Syrian opposition, aiming to create a force trained outside of Syria that is capable of defeating the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and countering the growth of jihadist rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda.

According to Saudi insiders, training involving some 5,000 rebels had already been under way in Jordan for several months with the aid of Pakistani, French, and US instructors, although Jordanian sources suggest a much lower number. Saudi Arabia reportedly plans to build a rebel army of 40,000–50,000 at a cost of ‘several billion dollars’. A high-level Saudi delegation visited Paris in October to negotiate contracts for arming and equipping both the Free Syrian Army and the new national army.

According to Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center, competition for external funding is a powerful driver of organisational dynamics within Syria’s armed rebellion. Not all of that support comes from government sources however, private donors in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates also sponsor rebel groups of their choice.

Source: Carnegie Middle East Center | Unifying Syria’s Rebels: Saudi Arabia Joins the Fray

4 June 2013

US transfers suspected senior Al-Qaeda member from Afghanistan to Mauritania

Mauritanian officials confirmed on Saturday 1 June that Younis al-Mauritani, a prisoner suspected of being a senior Al-Qaeda member, was transferred by the United States from the infamous Bagram military base in Afghanistan to his native Mauritania, an important Western ally against Al-Qaeda in the Sahel region.

Al-Mauritani was originally captured in Pakistan in 2011 in a joint US-Pakistani operation and was then suspected on planning attacks on US economic interests in Pakistan as well as European and Australian targets. Mauritania had issued an international arrest warrant against him pursuant to a deadly attack on an army base in 2005 and a police shootout in 2008.

Source: The New York Times | Mauritania Says U.S. Sent Prisoner From Afghan Base

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