Washington, 18 May (AKI) – A former Egyptian special forces officer has been chosen as the new leader of Al-Qaeda following the shooting death of Osama Bin Laden earlier this month, CNN reported.
Saif al-Adel has been a prominent player in the upper ranks of the terrorist organisation, the report said, citing an interview with Noman Benotman, who was once a leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant organization that used to be aligned with al Qaeda, but in recent years renounced Al-Qaeda’s ideology, CNN said.
Benotman based the information on personal communications with militants and discussions on jihadist forums.
Al-Adel, is also known as Muhamad Ibrahim Makkawi, the report said. According to Benotman, he was annointed the new Al-Qaeda chief because of a strong desire by jihadists to have a new leader to replace Bin Laden following his death on 2 May.
The decision to appoint Al-Adel ass “caretaker” leader belonged to six to eight leaders of Al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, CNN said.
Al-Adel battled the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s. Following the fall of the Taliban in the late 2001 he fled to Iran, the report said. He later made his way to Pakistan.
According to senior Saudi counterterrorism officials, from there Al-Adel authorized Al-Qaeda’s branch in Saudi Arabia to begin a campaign of terrorist attacks in the Saudi kingdom that began in Riyadh in May 2003, a campaign that killed scores., CNN said.
Here’s another indication that there may eventually be US troops on the ground in Libya.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island asked Adm. James Stavridis about NATO putting forces into “post-Gadhafi” Libya to make sure the country doesn’t fall apart. Stavridis said he “wouldn’t say NATO’s considering it yet.” But because of NATO’s history of putting peacekeepers in the Balkans — as pictured above — “the possibility of a stabilization regime exists.”
So welcome to a new possible “endgame” for Libya. Western troops patrolling Libya’s cities during a a shaky transition after Moammar Gadhafi’s regime has fallen, however that’s supposed to happen. Thousands of NATO troops patrolled Bosnia and Kosovo’s tense streets for years. And Iraq and Afghanistan taught the U.S. and NATO very dearly that fierce insurgent conflict can follow the end of a brutal regime. In fact, it’s the moments after the regime falls that can be the most dangerous of all — especially if well-intentioned foreign troops become an object of local resentment.
In fact, Stavridis told Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma that he saw “flickers of intelligence” indicating “al-Qaeda [and] Hezbollah” have fighters amongst the Libyan rebels. The Supreme Allied Commander of NATO noted that the leadership of the rebels are “responsible men and women struggling against Col. Gadhafi” and couldn’t say if the terrorist element in the opposition is “significant.” But the U.S. knows precious little about who the Libyan rebels are.
The new prospect of NATO force on the ground in Libya seemed to alarm Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who got Stavridis to say that there’s “no discussion of the insertion of ground troops” in NATO circles. (And “to my knowledge” there aren’t troops there now, he said.) But Stavridis told Reed that the memory of the long NATO peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans is “in everyone’s mind.”
And the US isn’t even running the show – NATO is.
What could go wrong?
Islamabad, 27 Oct. (AKI) – Police in Turkey have arrested 12 people suspected of aiding Al-Qaeda insurgents battling NATO forces in Afghanistan, according to a Wednesday report in Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
The arrests were made in the Turkish capital Istanbul and Van, a predominately Kurdish city in the east.
Following the arrests, police seized explosives and documents they say prove that the alleged militants were planning an attack in Turkey.