Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Failing recruiting AQ switches to corporate-style takeovers

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Failing recruiting AQ switches to corporate-style takeovers

    Al Qaeda planning takeovers

    WASHINGTON: Al Qaeda is trying to expand its network through corporate-style takeovers of regional Islamic extremist groups, reports said.Citing unnamed US intelligence officials and counterterrorism experts, the Los Angeles Times said the moves indicated a shift in strategy by the terrorist group as it sought to broaden its reach and renew its ability to strike Western targets.

    "Certainly we do see Al Qaeda trying to influence the broader movement and to control some of these affiliates in a more direct way," the paper quotes a senior counterterrorism official as saying.

    "The word I would use is 'co-opt' ... as opposed to simply associating with or encouraging. By that I mean target selection, types of attacks, methodology, funding, all of the things that would make an affiliate suddenly a subsidiary."

    The official's assessment coincided with those offered by a variety of current and former government authorities and private-sector experts, the report said.

    Bruce Riedel, a senior CIA counterterrorism official until late last year, said Al Qaeda "central" stands to gain hundreds or even thousands of foot soldiers, many of whom carry European passports and do not require a visa to travel to the US, the report said.

    "I think what we are seeing is the reconstitution of their capabilities to strike targets in Western Europe and ultimately North America on a scale identical or bigger than September 11," Riedel, now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, is quoted as saying.

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