Lights Out for Al Qaeda’s Number Two

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This is the third killing of a top-level Al Qaeda operative since Bin Laden was killed. On June 3, a drone strike killed Ilyas Kashmiri, a feared terrorist operative nicknamed the “commando commander.” He was important to Al Qaeda’s efforts to recruit Westerners, and was actively trying to find Americans to carry out acts of terrorism. One American recruit said he was the “main key, after Osama Bin Laden.” Kashmiri is thought to have had a role in a plot to bomb New York City subways in 2009 and was involved with plans for dramatic attacks in Europe in 2010 modeled after the Mumbai attacks. He was trained as a commando by the Pakistanis, and had been described as “the most effective, dangerous and successful guerilla leader in the world.”

Kashmiri’s death was closely followed by the June 11 killing of Fazul Abdul Muhammed, Al Qaeda’s operations chief in East Africa. Muhammed was at the top of the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 embassy attacks. He also helped orchestrate the 2002 bombing of a hotel in Kenya and attempted downing of an Israeli airliner. He was killed when he accidentally arrived at a checkpoint in Somalia, and his death was described by one official as a “strong kick in the gut” to Al Qaeda. It is probably not a coincidence that Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia, al-Shabaab, has had to retreat from Mogadishu since his death.

It is thought that the deaths of Bin Laden, Kashmiri and Rahman in Pakistan will force Al Qaeda to move much of its operations to places like Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria. As mentioned before, al-Shabaab is suffering major setbacks in Somalia. In Yemen, tribes have turned on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the U.S. is preparing for a drone campaign in the country. The Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, is linked to Al Qaeda and could offer safe haven. Al Qaeda has also established itself in the Sinai Peninsula, but an Egyptian military offensive there is likely. Libya could present an opportunity for Al Qaeda, but the National Transitional Council will be hesitant to accept the group when it is so dependent upon the West for support. The presence of Western special forces in Libya also poses a problem for Al Qaeda.

The Obama administration will point to Rahman’s death as proof that the war on Al Qaeda will soon be victorious. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says, “We’re within reach of strategically defeating Al-Qaeda.” The administration believes it can “cripple Al-Qaeda as a threat to [the U.S.]” if 10 to 20 leaders can be arrested or killed. General David Petraeus and incoming director of the CIA likewise said, “It does hold the prospect of a strategic defeat, if you will, a strategic dismantling of Al-Qaeda.”

Al Qaeda is in a broken position, but it can heal with time. It will be difficult for it to recover from its losses this year and the losses to come, but it can if the U.S. gets complacent. A premature declaration of victory by the U.S. is exactly what Al Qaeda needs.

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  • The Infidel

    Are these guys actualy the "brains" or are they just the mouthpieces? who is getting the materials for these guys to make all their bombs, who is getting their weapons and ammo, who is their quatermasters? these are the guys who need going after IMVHO. Go after the supply chains, surely knocking them out will make it harder for the jihadists to work, no goods, no work.

    • Chezwick_mac

      You're basically referring to the ISI. Attacking the "supply chains" means literally attacking Pakistan's government. Such a move would be emotionally gratifying, but geo-politically speaking, it would complicate our lives significantly.

      Our relations with Pakistan remind me a lot of Mubarak in Egypt. He was playing a double-game, helping us in some respects, working against us in others. But facilitating his overthrow has worsened things in the region, particularly for Israel.

      So it is with Pakistan…they are bastards playing a double-game, but if we mis-manage the relationship, we could find ourselves pushing the Pakistanis into an implacably hostile posture, working against us in every field…including cutting off our supply routes to Afghanistan and proliferating nuclear know how and materials to other Islamic countries (essentially picking up where AQ Kahn left off).

      I'm all for commensurate reductions in aid to Pakistan to correspond to the level of their cooperation (or lack of) on a plethora of issues…and I'm all for an aggressive pursuit of the drone attacks on high-value targets in Pakistan, but I caution that we should be careful what we wish for. Like we're now seeing in post-Mubarak Egypt, there are outcomes in Pakistan that could be far worse than the present leadership.

      My inclination is a policy of carrot-and-stick, not one of total disregard. It's not very emotionally gratifying, but it's the prudent thing to do.

      • Jim_C

        Correct again Chezwick. As much as if might feel good to "get real" with some of our "friends" in that region, there are more important strategic reasons to hold their feet to the fire. One precious commodity we've gotten through these fraught relationships is intelligence–sometimes good, sometimes bad–but in the absence of any, where would we be? And it's clear that while there are some working against us, there are also those who want us to succeed.

      • jacob

        CHEZWICK:

        PERHAPS INDIA WOULD BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO TAKE OVER PAKISTAN

        • Chezwick_mac

          And take responsibility for that dysfunctional sh*thole?…and add 200 million Muslims to India's voter rolls?

          I think not.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    I hope they get Rahman Emmanuel next. He is terrorizing Chicago with curfews and wants a 2 year mandatory slave labor plan for all Americans. Can someone send a drone?

    • UCSPanther

      Wow. You are delusional.

  • Jim_C

    "The Obama administration will point to Rahman’s death as proof that the war on Al Qaeda will soon be victorious. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says, “We’re within reach of strategically defeating Al-Qaeda.” The administration believes it can “cripple Al-Qaeda as a threat to [the U.S.]” if 10 to 20 leaders can be arrested or killed. General David Petraeus​ and incoming director of the CIA likewise said, “It does hold the prospect of a strategic defeat, if you will, a strategic dismantling of Al-Qaeda.”

    Had the president been Republican? ah, there'd be much rejoicing on the pixillated pages of FPM, and multiple articles! But that's OK–at least there's this: FPM's way of saying "Thank you, President Obama, for once again striking a blow against our enemies and seeking justice for 9/11.

    • Frankwye

      Actually, its good that Obama is following up on the information that they got from the Osama kill. What is funny is that the Left doesn't think that this will help recruit more jihadists. So you think the Iran deal was a good deal?

      • Jim_C

        If we keep taking out AQ leadership, I'd say it's a pretty good disincentive from joining an organization whose leaders keep getting popped. Besides, with these guys and their ilk blowing up mosques in Saudi Arabia, I don't think they're winning too many friends. That righteous cache they had when they were doing penny ante stuff and acting tough just isn't there anymore.

        Then again, if you're inclined to join with these guys, there's probably not much that will change your mind, right?

        What do you mean a "good deal?"

    • Steve

      Had the President been Republican:

      * You and the Democrat (aka, liberal) media would be decrying these targeted assassinations, just as you do the few Israel carries out.
      * You'd consider this a war crime, especially when innocents get killed along with the guilty – just as you accuse Israel.
      * You'd be screaming about war in Libya without congressional consent being unconstitutional.

      Hypocrisy on the left knows no bounds.

  • Fred Dawes

    Listen to Alex Jones and savage Nation. ask who really setup Al Qaeda and who is working for who?

  • g_jochnowitz

    We can rejoice that the danger of Rahman has been eliminated. Israel, on the other hand, apparently did not dare to save the world from the danger of Haniyeh. Israel is desperately eager to preserve whatever remnants there are of its peace treaty with Egypt. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/rep

  • BLJ

    Another Islamist lowlifes takes a dirt nap. Always warms the cuckolds of my heart. I am sure another #2 (nice nickname for them by the way) will take his place.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    At the risk of seeming greedy, could we get on with #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10,
    and on through………..#999,000,000 roasted and toasted with hell fire missiles,
    while understanding that colateral damage will be a good thing as all of the potential
    suicide bombers will have exploded at home. We need to get this on and over.
    William

  • NMM18
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