Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Al Qaeda Documents Show Internal Trouble

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    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Al Qaeda Documents Show Internal Trouble

    By Kevin Whitelaw Thu Oct 11, 10:16 AM ET

    A new study released by the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy examines the history of splits among the top leadership of al Qaeda and finds that the terrorist network may be more vulnerable than many officials suggest.

    "From its beginnings . . . al Qaeda has been at war with itself," says the report, which draws upon a trove of captured internal al Qaeda documents and correspondence released by the Department of Defense. The translated documents depict an organization of al Qaeda associates who frequently protest decisions made by al Qaeda's leader Osama bin Laden, as well as his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

    The report documents a constant theme of the group's leaders arguing over everything from immediate tactics to the wisdom of making the United States the group's primary target. It also shows how prejudices of the group's Arab leaders against their non-Arab affiliates and their former Taliban hosts repeatedly led to serious infighting and even some betrayals. The report's authors conclude that many of these splits remain a characteristic of al Qaeda today.

    "There is no evidence to suggest that it has overcome the persistent weaknesses identified in this report," they write, adding that the group's transition to a global "brand" name has created new vulnerabilities that could make it open to exploitation.

    "Lacking a broad command-and-control structure, al Qaeda Central finds itself unable to control the uses--and abuses--of its brand by self-starting 'affiliate' groups." They point to the gory tactics of the now deceased Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist who wreaked havoc in Iraq but alienated many of al Qaeda's potential supporters with his indiscriminate killing of other Muslims.


    IN their own words: Al qaeda

    Binny loosing control

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