May 11, 2005

Fissures within al-Qaeda?

An al-Qaeda schism?

The Uzbeks and other Central Asians found themselves competing with Arab members of al-Qaida for hideouts and resources with Arabs having the political and economic advantage, Katzman said.

Adding to the tensions was a lack of trust by senior al-Qaida figures in the Central Asian fighters, said a senior Pakistani Interior Ministry official.

Another Pakistani security agent said the Central Asians "were al-Qaida's foot soldiers, but they were never promoted. They felt ignored. The Central Asians were not happy," he added. "Osama bin laden and (his Egyptian deputy) Ayman al-Zawahri only trusted Arabs."

Increasingly, the two sides began operating independently, often competing for the same money, weapons and dwindling areas of influence among the Pakistani tribesmen. Captured Uzbek, Chechen and Tajik fighters felt far more loyalty to Yuldash than to the Arab al-Qaida men.

The Pakistani intelligence official said it was difficult to get captured Uzbeks to talk about Yuldash, "but it was a lot easier to grill them for clues about the Arabs and their possible hideouts. They felt far less loyalty."

As Glenn might say, this strikes me as good news. The capture of Abu Farraj al-Libbi--reportedly perhaps partly as a result of such intra-al Qaeda squabbling--is certainly a nice bonus too. Particularly given that it could well help further tighten the noose around UBL's neck:

MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, will we ever capture Osama bin Laden?

MR. SCHROEN: I think with the capture of Al-Libbi recently--gives some hope that the Pakistanis will cooperate if we put enough pressure on them, and maybe we end up doing it unilaterally but I think we're going to get him within the next three to four months.

MR. RUSSERT: Three to four months.

MR. SCHROEN: Well, that's my hope.

MR. RUSSERT: From your lips to God's ears.

Indeed.

Posted by Gregory at May 11, 2005 04:40 AM | TrackBack (33)
Comments

I'm more disturbed by the fact that those who identify with al-Qaeda have increased so much that such "fissures" could exist that I am encouraged by the existence of such "fissures."

Al Qaeda has never had a wholly centralized command and control infrastructure --- it has always been far more amorphous, and that lack of centralization has increased over the last four years to the point where identifying/thinking about al Qaeda as an "organization" that is capable of having "fissures" is no longer useful.

So while competition between different groups that identify with "al Qaeda" may provide some tactical advantages in specific situations, to suggest that such "fissures" represent some sort of strategic opportunity in the "war on terror" is little more than wishful thinking.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at May 11, 2005 01:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Exploiting this competion and resentment among the different factions presents an avenue to deal with the long standing issue on not having enough human intel on Al Qaeda & its sub groups. This can be intel that provides real world results such as the capture of Abu Farraj al-Libbi.

Losing high level command figures that provide leadership and are sources of over scope information is both sigificant & decisive.

Posted by: m.harn at May 11, 2005 06:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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