While the Western media barely even acknowledges it, the al-Qaeda terrorist network is making quite the comeback in the Middle East. And if you listen to his detractors, Barack Obama is doing his level best to reconstitute the terrorist organization all by himself.
Reporter Ben Norton of the usually left-leaning Salon Media Group noted on Apr. 19, 2016, considered by many an expert in the field, renowned Middle East reporter Patrick Cockburn is sounding the clarion call in his native Great Britain that as bad as ISIS is, al-Qaeda is making quite the comeback. Claiming the current civil war in Yemen is quite simply “Iraq all over again,” the veteran newsman places the blame directly on the United States, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia and certain Gulf States for fueling the fire that’s seen al-Qaeda set-up their own Shari’a Law compliant caliphate in war ravaged Yemen.
Holding little back, Cockburn plainly stated, “They have done it again. The U.S., Britain and regional allies led by Saudi Arabia have come together to intervene in another country with calamitous results. They have produced chaos, ruining the lives of millions of people and creating ideal conditions for salafi-jihadi movements like al-Qaeda and Islamic State.”
“The real winners in this war are al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which has taken advantage of the collapse of central government to create its own mini-state,” he said. Currently, al-Qaeda controls a 340 mile area along the Yemeni southern coast.
The terrorists aren’t just waiting from money to flow in from outside sources, either. They’ve already taken to their version of taxing the locals to keep their ad hoc government humming along.
With it widely understood that the George W. Bush troop surge effectively crushed Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the State Department noted that AQI numbered as few as 1,000 members, but no more than 2,000 in 2011. It was in that same year that Barack Obama made good on his campaign promise to pull the plug on all American troops in the embattled nation.
However, Obama took heat for not leaving in-country at least a small but competent American fighting force. Free to run riot over an incompetent and fractured Iraqi central government, AQI not only grew, but mutated.
From the root of al-Qaeda in Iraq came the scion popularly known today as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). What started as a small but unchecked and extremely violent group of Islamic jihadists has metastasized to a heavily armed organization larger than the militaries of many nations.
To make matters worse, during the summer of 2015 the troops of the Iraqi central government basically panicked and ran away for $1 billion worth of brand new American weapons and equipment in the face of ISIS. Needless to say, the billion dollar windfall of artillery, small arms, up-armored Humvees, etc, was much appreciated by the jihadists.
As reported by the Moscow-based TASS News Service at the end of 2015, just in Iraq and Syria alone, ISIS had grown to a fighting force estimated at 80,000. That number failed to add the various terrorist groups throughout the Muslim World that have pledged fealty to ISIS. All under the black banner of ISIS, Islamists from the Western Sahara to London to Chechnya to the Philippine Islands swell the ranks to what has been estimated as upwards of well over 250,000.
Sadly for the West, things look as if they’ll get much worse before they become batter. As reported by Sam prince of the Heavy.com news portal, the word is starting to percolate to the surface that al-Qaeda and ISIS very well may seek to put their differences aside and re-unite. As Prince notes, “reunification of ISIS and al-Qaeda can be expected by 2021.”
All this comes in the wake of Matthew Vadum of Front Page magazine reporting on Apr. 23, 2016, the Obama Administration further emptied the Guantanamo Bat Detention Facility by releasing two veteran and quite dangerous Islamic jihadists. While both Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby and Omar Khaifa Mohammed Abu Bakr Mahjour Umar have been described by the Department of Defense as experts with explosives, the two will reside at least for the time being in the West African nation of Senegal.
Of the nation’s 14 million citizens, fully 95 percent are Sunni Muslims, just like Ghereby and Umar. While Senegal officially has “shown no signs of jihadist terrorism,” the small country does border the Islamist hotbeds of Mali and Mauritania. As cited by Vadum, the American Foreign Policy Council of of the opinion there are “concerns that Senegal presents a potential ‘backdoor’ for radical, jihadist Islam, which already exhibits a major presence in rapidly-changing North Africa.”