Al-Qaeda has revived, extended its influence and has the capacity to carry out a spectacular strike similar to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the US, one of the world's leading security think tanks warned on Wednesday.
There is increasing evidence "that 'core' al-Qaeda is proving adaptable and resilient and has retained an ability to plan and coordinate large-scale attacks in the Western word despite the attrition it has suffered," the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said.
"The threat from Islamist terrorism remains as high as ever, and looks set to get worse," it said.
"The US and its allies have failed to deal a death-blow to al-Qaeda; the organization's ideology appears to have taken root to such a degree that it will require decades to eradicate," it said.
The warning came in the latest annual review of world affairs by the IISS. Its strategic survey paints a bleak picture of global security in the future and warns:
* Iran could have a nuclear weapon by 2009 or 2010, though this remains the "worst-case prediction";
* the US suffered a loss of authority as a result of the failure to impose order in Iraq;
* there are serious doubts about the ability of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, but any replacement would probably come too late to "halt the draining of American willpower to `stay the course'";
* if climate change is allowed to continue unchecked, its effects will be catastrophic "on the level of nuclear war."
At a press conference launching the report, senior IISS analysts went further.
Asked whether al-Qaeda had the capacity now to carry out a 9/11-style attack, and whether it was stronger than in 9/11, Nigel Inkster, the institute's director of transnational threats and political risk, replied: "Both."
Inkster, a former MI6 chief who was a candidate for the secret agency's top job three years ago, said there was much debate within al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks.
Many of its supporters believed it was a "tactical error," Inkster said, because it led to the removal of a safe base -- Taliban-controlled southern Afghanistan.
However, the recent foiling of an alleged plot in Germany and the alleged airliner plot last year in Britain showed that al-Qaeda had the ambition to carry out spectacular attacks while "strengthening" its "position in the bad lands of northwest Pakistan," he said.
Pakistani indigenous groups were "aligning themselves with al-Qaeda and the process of radicalization within Islamic countries is continuing apace," he said.
The institute said that disrupted plots had pointed to a "continuing and worsening problem of radicalization within Europe's Islamic diasporas -- and the degree to which terrorists were still being directed by al-Qaeda."
The IISS' assessment of the terrorist threat reflects that of MI5 and MI6. There are 2,000 individuals engaged in 30 terrorist plots in 200 networks, according to British security and intelligence officials.
"Western governments tend to meet the Muslim `single narrative' [that the West is by definition anti-Muslim] by way of rebuttal, arguing against its basis in fact," IISS director general John Chipman said.
That had to be addressed by encouraging non-violent responses, he said.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
‘CHAPITOS’: An ex-DEA agent said the sons of the former cartel head are engaged in a battle for control, with the health of the man temporarily in charge a factor The fight for control of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s legacy spilled into the open on Thursday after a gun battle between rival Mexican gangs left 16 dead, authorities said. The 16 men, heavily armed and wearing bulletproof vests, died in a six-hour running shootout near the rural town of Tepuche in northwestern Sinaloa province. “A van with seven bodies was located” after an initial clash, while nine bodies were discovered following a second exchange, Sinaloa Minister of Security Cristobal Castaneda told reporters. Castaneda said that Wednesday’s clash near Tepuche, 25km from the capital of Sinaloa, Culiacan, was “part of a struggle